The Hunting Act
- Eight Years On
Short Humour Site Report
original idea by Alan Pinkett)
The Hunting Act 2004 is a
United Kingdom Act of Parliament. Its effect is
to outlaw hunting with dogs - particularly for
foxes, deer, hares and mink.
During the pre-legislation
debate it was claimed by the country sports
community that the Act would be devastating to
rural economies as well as undermining centuries
of agrarian cultural tradition.
Eight years on, however, it
is apparent, even to those in rural communities,
that the legislation has had no discernible
impact on those issues.
Country vets have not been
exhausted by endless queues of foxhounds, beagles,
other assorted canines and horses awaiting
euthanasia. Oxfam clothing banks have not been
overwhelmed with hunting caps, stock shirts, hunt
coats, hunt waistcoats, hacking jackets, hunter
gloves, jodhpurs, breeches, chaps and hunting
boots. Their charity shops have, likewise, not
reported a surfeit of saddles, bridles, stirrups
and hunting horns.
Short Humour Site
journalists therefore launched an undercover
operation to answer the question of what really
happened in our countryside to allow continuation
of hunting traditions, despite the 2004 Act.
Members of the hunting
fraternity will quickly, perhaps too quickly,
claim that drag hunting has been their salvation:
A subservient member of the working classes,
possibly an idle servant, has been commanded to
run across fields, up hills and down dales to lay
a scent for a hunt to follow.
For those with any
knowledge of country sports, however, this will
not ring true. Prior to release of the dogs, any
such lowly serf would have completed his task and
left the area of the hunt. Thus, the critical
dénouement - the tearing, limb from limb, of a
sentient creature could not occur. What
possible satisfaction could remain for hunt
The Short Humour Site
can reveal that the practices which have
maintained historic hunting traditions have been,
shockingly, very different from the innocent
entertainment of a drag hunt. A loophole in the
legislation has meant that, whilst hunting of
wildlife has become illegal, there has been no
legal restriction placed on the hunting of non-wildlife
on private land.
Thus hunts began to target
selected groups within NRS social
classes) D and E.
Its true that
hunting people is technically
illegal, advised a spokesman for the Law
Society, but those in NRS grades D and E
dont know anyone of influence who will take
their complaints seriously.
Working class smokers were
the first group to be identified by hunts.
Smokers lost their citizen status and human
rights on 1st July 2007 with the introduction of
a smoking ban, following the Heath Act of 2006.
These outcasts were driven from public buildings
and often from surrounding land. This denigrated
status of smokers, together with class divisions
within British society, made it just a small step
for hunts to decide, indeed consider it a duty,
to hunt anyone who was both a smoker and a member
of the working classes.
This practice was first
suspected by regulars at the Dog and Duck public
house in Ashford, Kent. It was noted that some
who left the premises for a smoke never returned,
often leaving an unfinished drink upon the bar.
Such disappearances were frequently and eerily
accompanied by the distant sounds of a hunting
horn and the baying of hounds.
I love working class
smoker hunts, admitted one hunt participant
to an undercover SHS reporter. We
pick an isolated country pub frequented by local
workers, assemble the horses and hounds nearby,
and then wait. A decoy approaches the most
gullible looking smoker and tells him that free
pints of Shepherd Neame are being served, topless,
by Jennifer Aniston in the middle of the adjacent
field. Should the most seemingly gullible smoker
be female, Daniel Craig and Colin Firth are said
to be providing the free drinks.
If the dolt takes the
bait, then the hunt is on!!
quickly spread across the shire counties,
revealed one anti-hunt activist. Hounds can
easily be trained to pursue the scent of burnt
tobacco. One Hampshire hunt is even known to have
named its leading dogs Benson and Hedges.
Questions were initially
raised in Parliament about these alleged new
activities by the hunting community. Lord
Wealthbucket of Southshire, however, noted in the
House of Lords that
no male Old
Etonian has ever been harmed, or is ever likely
to be harmed by these activities... The
issue, therefore, fell well down the list of
Hunting smokers was
fine in the early days, admitted Colonel
Digby Fortescue-Magdalen-Smythe, Master of the
Southshire Hunt, to an undercover SHS
journalist an interview secretly recorded
by two further SHS reporters disguised
as a horse but smokers were so unfit,
the hounds caught them too easily, and we lost
the thrill of the chase. Thats why George
Osbornes recent proposal of disabled granny
hunting, to complement his older persons' benefit
reforms, never took off. It was the hunting of
dustmen and postmen, concluded the colonel,
that was the real advance.
Thats why we
jog nervously whilst on the job, confirmed
a refuse collection operative who wished not to
be named. Most people think thats
about efficiency. Its really to give us a
head start if a dustman-hunt appears over the
Postmen make for the
best sport, continued Colonel Digby
Fortescue-Magdalen-Smythe in his unguarded
interview. Theyre physically fit and
have experience of being attacked by dogs, so are
a much more rewarding challenge for the hunt.
Towards the end of the last
decade, individual hunts began to specialise in
specific quarry. Indeed, the Short Humour
Site has uncovered evidence to suggest that
elements of the Establishment covertly encourage
some hunts to target individuals who meet with
the disapproval of Conservative right-wingers and
Daily Mail readers.
We turn a blind eye
to horse boxes arriving on council estates,
admitted a senior Metropolitan Police officer,
grateful for a new source of income since the
News International cash dried up. Hunts can
then pursue single parents on welfare, and asylum
The Short Humour Site
has also discovered that, in very recent times,
it has not been just the poor and disadvantaged
who have been at risk.
I thought it was odd
to see horses and dogs at Canary Warf,
admitted one animal of the species bankerus
greedius. I narrowly escaped death
after being pursued by hounds, from Canary Warf
to Poplar, along the track of the Docklands Light
Railway. If it hadnt been for hunt
saboteurs calling me a taxi, he recalled,
my pelt would certainly have been displayed
on the wall of some farmhouse in the shire
To be frank,
concluded Colonel Digby Fortescue-Magdalen-Smythe
to the hidden voice recorder, I
wouldnt be worried if the 2004 Act
wasnt repealed. The current years
hunting programme contains such variety, and
should also rid society of many undesirables.
However, I think the Act will be
repealed as there are many fewer people around
today who object to fox hunting. We must thank
the hunt-protester hunts for that.