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12th September 2018

Your Membership & Voice Matters #Bateson

Since 1988 there have been five National Trust (NT) Members Resolutions against hunting with hounds. Some were defeated, others were carried. Way back in 1990, the Chairman used between 30 and 40 thousand proxy votes in an attempt to defeat two motions presented to the AGM. It only half worked because one, the Cronin-Wilson Resolution (to ban staghunting on NT land), was carried by 68,679 to 63,985.

That Members voted to stop this particularly hideous form of rural entertainment rocked the NT Ruling Council and the hunting community at large.

The Ruling Council ignored the Members. Instead of implementing a ban, they set up a Working Party crammed with hunting sympathisers to investigate the implications of a ban whilst specifically ignoring the abuse of and suffering caused by deer hunting with dogs. Predicatably, the Working Party recommended no ban on staghunting. The hunting fraternity, amid threats of rural vandalism and disobedience if the bloodsport was prohibited, urged their supporters to join the NT in an effort to swing the balance of power in their favour. There was a battle royal being waged within and around the NT.

Lord Soper was President of the League Against Cruel Sports at the time and also a member of the NT. His Members Resolution to a NT Extraordinary General Meeting held on Saturday 16 July 1994 (The Soper Resolution) called for a “balanced Working Party to be convened to consider the aspects of cruelty and welfare that were ignored previously.” It was carried by a whopping 114,857 to 99,607.

In April 1995 the NT Ruling Council invited Professor Patrick Bateson of Cambridge University to conduct a two-year scientific study into the welfare implications of hunting deer with hounds. He and his team did this with the full co-operation of West Country staghunts and the League Against Cruel Sports. The findings were published as ‘The Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Culling Red Deer’ (aka The Bateson Report). The evidence of cruelty inherent in staghunting and the proven effects of suffering caused to hunted deer, regardless of whether they were eventually killed or not, stunned all concerned. The day after being presented with The Bateson Report, the NT Ruling Council (to its credit) agreed not to renew any licences for staghunting on NT land.

After a couple of days shame and shock, the hunters fought back. Among other tactics, Countryside Alliance President and staghunting apologist Baroness Mallalieu set up Friends of the National Trust (FONT) with the aim of getting their people elected onto the NT Ruling Council and overturning the staghunting ban. Even now in 2018, FONT has not fully succeeded, but under the disguise of pro hunting organisations and individuals they are still trying.

You Membership matters and your voice counts!

© Hounds Off

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3 Comments | Leave a comment

  • Neal says:
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Yes. Your membership counts, but that membership (and the money it provides) counts more for their benefit than for yours.

    What will count far more is your LACK of membership, en masse, and their resultant lack of money.

    They are a charity, relying on your funds, and without membership they will do what all “businesses” do without “customers”. Collapse.

    If they are threatened with that, they will have no the choice other than to listen or be destroyed. It won’t make any difference how many pro-hunters take over the Ruling Council, if their is no financially viable organisation left to rule over.

    If your membership continues all you can do is protest to people who have proven themselves to not only have no interest in listening, but to actively (very actively!) disagree with you and use your money to finance that disagreement, as this article insightfully demonstrates.

    Just read the article again to see how much your continued membership has clearly been working for them far more than for you.

    In simple terms, what it boils down to…

    Members: Please stop hunting on your land.
    Trust: No.

    Next time…

    Members: Please stop hunting on your land.
    Trust: No.

    Next time…

    Members: Please stop hunting on your land.
    Trust: No.

    Next time…

    Members: Please stop hunting on your land.
    Trust: No.

    How many more times are the anti-hunt membership going to repeat that monotonous conversation before they get the hint ?

    So next time you “vote” do so with your wallets, as many of you as possible in on organised boycott.

    Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted September 30, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      Worth mentioning that NT membership is up since the 2017 AGM vote, so arguably folk leaving with the best of intentions is not having the desired effect (of hitting the NT in the pocket). If it leaves a vacuum for pro hunters to fill, and if this is what’s happening, then we stand by our words even more. The Bateson Report, which is the only independent scientific research on the effects of hunting with hounds on their quarry that exists, exists only thanks to NT members demanding such. Maybe we will just have to agree to disagree.

      Reply to this comment >
  • Neal says:
    Posted October 01, 2018 at 10:22 am

    A post-2017 increase in membership is a worry to one extent or another, whether they are pro or anti hunt.
    Obviously pro would be worse from a voting perspective, but either swells the coffers.
    Bad guys financing bad guys or good guys financing bad guys; the end result is the same. As we currently see.
    Yes we must agree to differ I think.

    Just out of interest…. does anyone have a feel for where those recent members are coming from in terms or pro vs anti stance? Is there any hard evidence available to help determine the proportions?

    Possibly not easy information to ascertain with any accuracy I would imagine.

    Reply to this comment >

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