I’m sure most American sportsmen found the news yesterday of a British ban on fox hunting to be nothing more than an interesting news tidbit, mostly because it does not have any direct effect on our sporting interests here in the U.S. But is that true? Does the event taking place across the big pond have little or no impact on the way we enjoy our hunting sports? For more information on this topic click here.
I guess time will tell…but I still find the news quite disconcerting, to say the least. While I’ll be the first to admit that I do not understand the law-making process of our European ally, it seems quite evident that a small group of policy makers have come into power to outlaw what is a very popular and profitable activity that has existed for ages. The thoughts of a British fox hunt conjure up a storied image of well-dressed hunters on horseback with dogs trained for the chase.
But opponents to the hunt say that when the dogs finally chase down the fox it meets a barbaric death as the dogs kill as nature intended them to do. They call it senseless and unnecessary cruelty and that is the main motivation for why the activity must be stopped.
Unfortunately, these “anti’s” have no concept of nature. Mortality in the wild does not always meet with a pleasant and aesthetic death for the wild critter. Nature by its very nature is cruel and it is simply part of the fact of life. When wild populations become out of control nature generally has its own mechanism for keeping things in check – and usually this means disease. I can assure you that if you’ve ever seen a mange-ridden fox dieing a slow, agonizing death due to disease you might quickly opt for the relatively quick kill by the dogs.
My concern, however, is this news will surely give groups in the U.S. a “shot in the arm” to seek similar measures with our outdoor sports. They’ve certainly tried to do so in the past, and it is almost certain we can expect more challenges to our sports in the future. A British ban on fox hunting only shows to these groups that with the right strategy almost anything is possible. Indeed, bringing down a century’s old tradition is not only possible…BUT IT JUST HAPPENED apparently.
I think this should prove to all of us the importance of fighting this battle together. Hunters must join forces with trappers, and fishermen must likewise be part of the same group. We must meet these challenges with a forceful response so as not to let the groups get a foot-hold into bringing our traditions down.
There is a sort of do-gooder mentality that seems to rear its ugly head whenever it’s election time. I think we can learn from this and better appreciate the importance of putting the right people into the jobs as our elected officials. After all, there’s a lot at stake here and we cannot allow what happened in Europe yesterday to be repeated in and shape or form here in the U.S.
Surely the American sportsman does not participate with the same flair and elegance in hunting dress as our European partners, but nonetheless the activities we pursue in this continent have every bit the same importance and traditions attached to them. We all need for this to be a wake up call to do a better job of uniting and protecting our rights. Sometimes I fear sportsmen can get too complacent believing that their rights will never be effected or challenged. But being lulled into this type of thinking is one of the most dangerous mistakes we can make…just ask our sporting brethren over in Britain who must now struggle to get their hunting rights reinstated.
© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.