The CLA Game Fair

The Country Landowners Association have a Game Fair every year somewhere in the UK. For the uninitiated this is where lots of extremists (about 130,000 of them) get together at a stately home and play with guns and fishing rods, have a few beers and march up and down countless stall selling everything from beaver burgers to canoes, Purdeys shotguns to meeting Clarissa Dickson Wright selling her latest book on the monolithic Countryside Alliance stall.
This year it being at Ragley Hall only a few miles away I went along for a peek. It was strange really that FIT were not there after amongst the tens of thousands milling through were there not those who threatenened to poison the water supply if hunting were banned? What about those who threaten to kill anti hunt campaigners and those who nearly succeed with that promise? Yes I know that some of them were only interesting in mincing up and down the catwalk in full hunting dress to “drink puppy drink” with one vile creature posing with a fishing rod between his legs but I do have a point eh?

Anyway the not so great and not very good attended and I found myself in the debates marquee.
First up was the Daily Telegraph debate “Killing foxes, culling badgers or protecting birds. What shoule the new government do first to help protect the countryside”.
This was chaired by Geoffry Lean environment correspondant to the Daily Telegraph.
The panel were Jim Paice Farming Minister,Mark Avery director of conservation for the RSPB, Douglas Batchelor chief executive of the League Against Crual Sports, Jim BArrington of the Middle Way group and Pauline Kidner founder of the secret world animal sanctuary.
Poor Pauline and Douglas opposed as they are to the slaughter of innocent animals were up against farmers and hunters and were mildly heckled by the assembly. Of most interest was Jim Paice who was very annoyed when I suggested that it was humans who were the problem not badgers. He did say that he did not want to cull badgers mainly so it seemed because of the police protection which would be needed to protect his staff who by the way have never been harmed by activists. An elderly man next to me who was muttering “rubbish” every time Pauline Kidner spoke told me that in an experiment in Staffordshire that he could not get badgers and cows to cross contaminate. There will be a public consultation. I was a little suprised to be confronted by someone who recognised me from when I was a hunt supporter on Exmoor 24 years ago but I did not feel threatened.
There will be a public consultation on the badger cull.

The other debate of interest was the Countryside Alliance making much of the killer fox hysterics sweeping the nation “Urban fox, rural fox:the case for management” Chaired by Simon Hart MP formerly the cheif executive of the CA. On the panel they had Jim Barrington (again), Dr Nick Fox a zoologist, Garrick Hawkes an urban pest controller and as Brian May did not accept an invitation they got some lawyer in who in between promoting his new book “only £5 from the Countryside Alliance” kept asking for new laws to killl lots of other creatures. In the audience were an elderly looking Captain Brian Fanshawe (MFH of the Cottesmore etc) and Baroness Mallileau Labour peer, QC and hunt supporter. I think that it shows what exactly we are up against when Simon Hart was implored by 2 of the panel to make it legal to hunt some of the 10 million cats in the UK especially the feral ones. Of course hunts kill a few cats anyway nothing new there. Furthermore urban fox hunts were mooted to help build communities. I have since found out that blood sports are not unknown in urban areas, I did know about the dog rolling and fighting but now it seems to be the case that a fox is captured, restrained and ripped apart by fighting dogs. Still as long as the lads are having fun, and the people are saved from a horrific death at the jaws of a fox I suppose the CA are happy. It should not suprise me but it still does that it is WE who are considered the violent extremists and not they. Unfortunately my statement to the panel (who were invited to discuss hunts sabs as well) that I am a sab and animal rights activist resulted in just a few groans and not cries of utter terror but they were polite and answered my question which once again centred on us sorting ourselves out as a species and not using every other creature as a scapegoat for our woes.
So I left them to it and went home with a few free magazines extolling the virtues of guns and blasting innocent beings to shreds. Over the 23rd/24th and 25th this went on and how very sad that so many thousands consider it the centre of their very being to kill and maim others. If that is not “extreme” then I don’t know what is!


3 Responses

  1. Good post. One point, the ‘consultation’ they speak of will not be a consultation of whether to have a cull of badgers or not, it will only be on where and how to kill them.

  2. Thanks Mike, I’m afraid the badger cull will be one of those things we have to be eternally vigilant on.

  3. Thanks Mike,
    Of course it is now evident that the fox being killed by thugs film is a hoax done by 2 anti hunting activists who are no doubt shocked by the response!
    2 things
    1. These things do happen in towns and across the countryside. Terriermen operate wherever there are foxes or badgers (etc) to kill.
    2. Hardly any terrierman is dense enough to film their own activities let alone put it on the web which is where this film was unusual. It highlights not only the fact that what they enacted actually does happen but the importance of cameras.
    I think that they did a good job and were right to come clean about the hoax, it certainly diverted the media away from the killer fox menace right back to the killer ape menace and made the CA squirm.

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