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Campaigners to target shooting activity next

A LEADING official in the UK’s foremost anti-bloodsports association has publicly declared that if the Government’s long-promised anti-hunting Bill becomes law, then campaigners will seek to ban shooting next, writes Nick Mays.

Quoted in the Times newspaper on 25th August in an article ‘A scent of victory’ by Rosalind Renshaw, part of the ‘Working Relationship’ series, Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, and his PA, Tamsin Joiner Morgan make it clear
that they believe a ban on hunting with hounds in now within their grasp, leaving the LACS free to target other forms of country sports.

This is, of course, in direct contradiction of what Prime Minister Tony Blair promised in 1998 that the Government had no plans or intention to ban shooting or fishing.

Joiner Morgan, a vegetarian, knows there are arguments about a whole way of country life disappearing but dismisses this saying: "People can simply switch to drag hunting, where there is no live quarry, and preserve everything they now have."

The article goes onto state that she works with the committee of 12 who decide policy, the board of four directors and the five trustees of Working With Wildlife, the educational charity set up by the League. She also organises the AGM, sets up media interviews and works with her boss on strategy.

Douglas Batchelor has been CE at LACS since 1999, after being made redundant in his mid-fifties. He is quoted as saying: "When I saw this job advertised, I thought how nice it would be to do something I believed in. I have always disagreed with blood sports. My grandmother used to say, ‘If you are going to kill it, kill it but don’t play with it first’. I can never get my head around the idea that people get their thrills from hunting and killing.

"It is an issue that goes to the heart of how people behave. There is a theory that people kill animals to demonstrate their dominance and that animals are a proxy. Certainly, cruelty to animals can be linked to anti-social behaviour and worse."

When asked whether the fox population will soar if hunting is banned, Batchelor simply replies: "When hunting was suspended for a year during foot and mouth, there was no difference. More foxes are killed by cars than by hunts and if you simply pick off foxes, then you create predator-free zones into which new predators move."

If hunting is banned, asks writer Renshaw, where will that leave the League, other than relishing victory after 80 years? ‘The organisation has other campaigns, including improving conditions for greyhounds. But its next big target is guns. "We are opposed to shooting animals for sport," says Douglas. "So we will move on to that."’