Hunting Down the Politics of Prejudice

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), February 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

Hunting Down the Politics of Prejudice


Emotion, ignorance and bigotry informed the legislation that banned hunting with hounds in Wales and England, according to a new book, published on the first anniversary of the ban.

Rural Rites: The Politics of Prejudice, written by environmental journalist Charlie Pye-Smith, claims to track the path that anti-hunting legislation followed before coming into force in February 2005.

It examines the various hunting Bills since Labour came to power in 1997 and explains why hunting with dogs became so important to a number of MPs.

Pye-Smith highlights how payments by animal welfare groups to various local political parties throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s helped buy support for the anti-hunting campaign.

And his book claims scientific evidence was then twisted to support a ban, while genuine research was simply ignored.

The book also examines attempts to find a fair, balanced way genuinely to improve animal welfare.

How those efforts were undermined by a minister and backbench MPs who hijacked the legislation. And how the Prime Minister decided too late that a ban was wrong.

Peter Oborne, political editor of The Spectator claims in his foreword, 'It demonstrates that we are ruled by emotion rather than logic, by ignorance rather than knowledge, by bigotry rather than understanding. …

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