I am grateful to Wonko’s World for drawing to our attention this story of the ungallant forces of class-hatred and bigotry oppressing some poor old 69 year old gentleman whose job it is to sort out those wily foxes which when chased or persuaded to think they might be being chased bolt underground to evade whatever they think is hunting them.


The Hunting Act 2004 is, in my view, probably one of the worst drafted Statutes of modern times, with so many holes in it you could wash your lettuce in it. To absolutely nobody’s surprise it has, despite the activities of the League Against Cruel Sports (who care nothing for the terror caused to 60 million songbirds killed every year in our gardens by marauding pet cats or the fear and distress felt by thousands of chickens slaughtered, often for fun, by ravening foxes) produced no more than a dozen prosecutions, none of them for what most of us would call Hunting.


This sad story from Wales points up one feature of this useless Act which is that otherwise law-abiding citizens need a lawyer, a film and sound recordist and probably an ‘elf n safety expert to accompany him as he tries to keep down the fox population.


Apparently 69 year old William Francis Armstrong, who ended up being fined £200 for all this, failed in three respects to comply with Schedule 1 of the Act’s terms:


Mr. Armstrong apparently had not ensured there was another hole from which the fox could be flushed out. This is to avoid the dog cornering the fox underground;


Armstrong also failed to give the fox a chance to escape before he shot it;


and should have used a shotgun instead of the .22 pistol.

As to the latter two conditions, the mind boggles: I would think that a ten yard start would be enough, then give it both barrels. There, it has had a chance to escape and didn’t make it.


I am slightly puzzled by the use of a .22 pistol: this must be an airgun since the Nanny-Police State has long removed our firearms from us and I cannot imagine why anyone would use an air pistol to whack a fox which by and large needs a shotgun at close range or a rifle, preferably of .22 hornet or larger.


But the bottom line is this: doubtless most people though that the whole point of this ludicrous Act was to stop the parade of horses and hounds about the countryside chasing poor innocent foxes to death whereas most prosecutions so far have been anything but that.


The next matter which occurs to me is this: overwhelmed as we are by real crime (burglaries, drugs, street robberies, car thefts, to name but a few of the scourges of modern life), why is so much money, so many man hours, so much court time being expended on this when it could be being devoted to making us safer from the kind of real evil which I have adumbrated above?


What of the LACS which will doubtless bruit this prosecution about as a triumph for them and their long campaign to end hunting (which is still in failure mode, as we all know)?


If this is the best they can do, so be it. If this sort of picking on pensioners makes them get their collective handmade jollies, then wonderful. But however hard they try, this band of class-warriors, who if the truth be known care not a fig for the fox or the rat, will ultimately become a curious footnote to history, limping along by bringing real, tangible terror themselves into the hearts of pensioners such as Mr. Armstrong.


They should be ashamed of themselves, but as ignorant Townies with no real knowledge of or feel for the ways of nature and of the countryside, they will for sure indulge their bigotry until, hopefully, a future Government consigns this ludicrous, wasteful, damaging Act to the landfill of history where it will remain buried for ten thousand years.

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