Went down to the Boxing Day meet at Welshpool this morning. What magnificent defiance. 40 horses, a pack of hounds and 1000 people looking on, just to show their support. Like many of the crowd, I had no interest whatsoever in foxhunting until it was banned - with the inevitable increase in cruelty to our wildlife that the ban has brought. I went to Welshpool to offer my support last year for the first time, because it was the first Boxing Day after the ban. I had expected that the numbers of supporters would have fallen off this year - but No! The people of Montgomeryshire are as angry as ever.
There are still some people who refuse to accept that the ban on hunting with dogs has actually increased cruelty to foxes. They are in denial, of course. But then, country folk always knew that the ban had nothing whatsoever to do with animal welfare. I have talked to a few opponents of foxhunting who now openly admit that their determination to ban hunting was nothing to do with animal welfare at all. Probably the most culpable organisation of all was the R.S.P.C.A. who receive donations from people who believe that they are contributing to the welfare of animals. If only. I just hope that the sensible way in which the law is currently being enforced will eventually reduce the incidence of the horrifically cruel and illegal snaring and amateurish shooting that is going on.
And where was Lembit Opik this year. Although he was in favour of banning foxhunting until he moved to Montgomeryshire 10 years ago, he has become a steadfast supporter of the hunt and has been a regular at the local Boxing Day hunt for a while now. He must have other fish to fry this year!