The bloody British

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1998:

The Countryside Alliance,
near collapse only six months after mustering
250,000 protesters in London to
oppose a ban on fox hunting, issued a
new eight-point mission statement on
September 10. The Alliance goals are
now stated as being to “preserve the freedoms
of country people and their way of
life; lead campaigns for country sports,
their related trades and activities, and the
countryside; and to cooperate closely
with other organizations to promote and
protect the rural way of life.” The
Alliance, depending for numbers upon
uniting small numbers of hunters with
large numbers of nonhunting rural residents,
has struggled from the start with
the conflict between defending hunters’
presumed right to trespass in pursuit of
wildlife and land owners’ wish to control
the activities of trespassers also including
hikers and birdwatchers.

Actor Jeremy Irons, surgeon
Charles Collins, and former Conservative
foreign secretary Angus Stirling
have formed an organization called
Friends of the National Trust in hopes
of electing hunters to the board of directors
of the National Trust, the British
equivalent of The Nature Conservancy,
which recently banned stag hunting on
trust land in the West Country district.
Paul McCartney, recently
knighted by the Queen of England f o r
his achievements as songwriter, musician,
and humanitarian, on August 13
told the vegetarian magazine V i v a ! L i f e
that her husband, Prince Phillip, is a
hypocrite in his role as president emeritus
of the World Wildlife Fund for shooting
birds––and recalled that his late wife
Linda once said as much to his face.
“Because she was an American,”
McCartney remembered, “she talked to
him just like he was a bloke. ‘Are you
vegetarian?’ he asked, trying to catch us
out. ‘Yeah,’ we both answered.”
Survival, a British nature program
aired since 1961 on ITV, was
embarrassed in August when obliged to
admit that it took a captive hyena, porcupine,
and caracal to Kenya to be sure of
getting shots which included the porcupine
stabbing the hyena with quills, during
the making of Tale of the Tides, a
documentary nominated for the 1998
Wildscreen Golden Panda Award.
“I’m not a fluffy bunny sort
of person at all,” Watership Down
author Richard Adams, 78, recently
told a London newspaper. “If I saw a
rabbit in my garden, I’d shoot it.”
Watership Down, a 1972 international
best seller based on stories Adams told
his daughters as children, was an early
inspiration to the animal rights movement,
with a strong anti-hunting and
anti-habitat development message––and
as critics pointed out in response to
Adams’ remarks, will undoubtedly outlive
its creator, much as B e a t r i x
P o t t e r’s turn-of-the-century stories of
Peter Rabbit have long since outlived her
reputation as a vivisector, who took up
writing only after gender discrimination
thwarted her ambition for a career in science.
Adams spoke after the Eastbourne
town council approved a plan to kill hundreds
of thousands of rabbits in the South
Downs by gassing their burrows, over
the objections of the Royal SPCA.
Fulminated Nobel Prize-winning
physicist Stephen Hawking at the
September meeting of the B r i t i s h
Association for the Advancement of
Science, “I think the fuss over the use of
animals in medical research is ridiculous.
Why is is worse to use animals in experiments
to save lives than to eat them,
which the majority of the population are
happy to do?” Hawking, suffering from
an advanced degenerative disease, is a
patron of Seriously Ill For Medical

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