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Hunt protesters occupy MP’s offices

TWENTY-FIVE women representing the pro-hunting action group Families for Hunting took direct action against the anti-hunting stance of their local MP in a bid to make him understand the effects of a possible hunt ban on their livelihoods and families.

The women occupied the Penzance constituency office of Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George last Friday and secured his agreement to spend a day with a family threatened by a hunt ban. Jackie Alway’s family would lose their home and livelihood if the Hunting Bill, supported by Andrew George, forces the closure of the Cury Hunt.

In its present form the Hunting Bill will effectively ban most hunting with dogs. The Bill looks likely to be debated on the floor of the House of Commons in the next few weeks prior to its Third Reading.

Jackie Alway, the Cury Hunt groom, said: "We asked Andrew George to spend a day of his time with us before he votes to destroy our way of life. It’s not much to ask considering the devastating effect that the Bill could have on my family. We will lose our home, which is owned by the hunt, and I will lose my job. My son was the youngest person to march from Madron to London in 1997 because he wanted to enter hunt service. This banning Bill stinks of prejudice and bigotry, it certainly has nothing to do with animal welfare. Indeed, Mr George commented during our meeting that he thought trapping during the close season was a more humane alternative to hunting – clearly trapping a lactating vixen is far less humane, so we feel we need to educate Mr George and are pleased that he has accepted our invitation.

"Hunting is not cruel, there is no evidence to prove that it is. If I thought it was cruel I simply wouldn’t support it.

"The majority of the public no longer support a ban on hunting – only 36% in the last national poll*. Andrew George, in his words says "possibly a majority of constituents oppose a ban on hunting" but that "irrespective of the strength of argument" he will vote to ban hunting. We cannot let our MP continue to ignore the devastating effects of this banning Bill on rural communities and rural families in his constituency."

Jacky Always’s Letter to Andrew George:
7th March 2003

Dear Mr George

As we approach the Third Reading debate on the Hunting Bill, I would like to invite you to spend a day of your time with my family and I at our home at the Cury Hunt kennels, so that you can witness at first hand the devastating effect that this banning Bill will have on our family and our way of life.

If this proposed legislation, which effectively bans all forms of hunting with dogs, is passed, my family will lose everything. I will lose my job, my home and my children will lose their security.

Nothing will benefit from this legislation, which has been dishonestly disguised as a Bill to license hunting, but is now a ban in all but name.

We were promised a Bill based on ‘principle’ and ‘evidence’, but Alun Michael pre-emptively outlawed certain forms of hunting and has consistently failed to produce any credible evidence to justify his decision.

The Bill we now face is driven by prejudice and cynicism. The political process has been brought into disrepute by a Minister who has supported amendments which contradict his own Bill.
Before you vote to destroy our way of life, I urge you to please come and spend some time with us and meet the ordinary people who you would seek to criminalise.

Yours sincerely
Jackie Alway
Cury Hunt Groom