Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing day hunts

Today is Boxing Day, traditionally the day when the poor and needy received "Christmas boxes" filled with money and gifts. It’s also associated in this country with the annual Boxing Day Hunts, which remains the biggest event in the sport’s calendar despite the 2004 Hunting Act banning the use of live foxes.

But this year things are slightly different, and not just because hunts will be taking place tomorrow as this year's Boxing Day falls on a Sunday. We now have a Conservative Prime Minister and a Conservative government; the Tories, as I'm sure you will remember, were the only party to back a repeal of the Act before the general election earlier this year.

So far more pressing matters have occupied our coalition masters, but that does not mean that the threat of repeal has disappeared entirely. There are, after all, legitimate concerns that media coverage of the Boxing Day Hunts allows the likes of the Countryside Alliance to present a polished and sanitised version of their sport for the cameras and at the same time demand the repeal of the Hunting Act whilst the illegal hunting and killing of foxes and other wild animals continues the rest of the year.

It's vital that this important piece of legislation is not scrapped whilst public attention is diverted elsewhere. Boxing day should be about the celebration of life, not an orgy of bloodletting.

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