Upping the Ante

Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2019
In: Editorial
Written by: Michelle Close-Hudson and The Editor

Just what are antis for? No, this is not a trick question.
We know what antis are against, though the list is long and varies almost on a daily basis – in fact it seems move with the need to think up another cunning wheeze that separates people ‘who care about animals and fur babies’ from the cash in their bank accounts via an endless stream of stories backed up by appeals using ‘please fall for our latest scam’ online fund raising.
But, to repeat the question what they are actually ‘for’? It is NOT animal welfare. The actions of anti-hunt groups trying to disrupt legal hunting and shooting would have more social value if they took on the gangs that gamble on the outcome of hare against coursing dogs, or injured badgers against terriers live-streaming the event to paying customers and then abandoning or killing losing dogs. However, this animal abuse seems to go unnoticed by masked vigilantes, perhaps because  taking on registered hunts is seen as blow for the antiestablishment and as such seems to be much more important that the suffering of a few greyhounds or other wildlife.

What is more depressing is that this sort of blind negativity is sucked up by social media and amplified to give it a platform and a voice which it not only does not deserve, but which is then used to threaten businesses into conforming to the demands of these para military clad thugs.   The social media providers demonstrating time and again that to them profits are more important than any form of self-regulation or governance.

If this was not depressing enough then news from Ireland where hunting is not fettered by legislation shows that pressure from a tiny thoughtless and very selfish group can have far-reaching and negative consequences.
According to a recent news report the Irish Cancer Society have apparently decided that they will no longer take donations from an annual hunting festival after ‘several members of the public’ complained about the source of the donation.
The Abbeyfeale Harriers annual hunting festival, which takes place across Kerry and Limerick, has chosen the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) as their designated charity for donations for a number of years.
Having hunted most of my life, and also having been a cancer patient on more than one occasion, I was horrified to learn of the Irish Cancer Society arbitrarily and publicly refusing their donations!
Whilst hunting is a controversial subject for some, if the objective is to beat cancer does it matter who makes the donations?

The society’s decision raises a number of points that need further analysis.

Does the ICS check the background and activities of everyone who might leave them legacies?  Will such legacies now be rejected because the donor followed hounds on one or more occasions?

Do they refuse donations from those individuals that hunt?

Do they pick and choose clinical staff based on their views of hunting?

Do they receive enough donations to be able to be picky about the views of donors?

Can they take that potentially lifesaving or life changing donation away from cancer patients, many of whom will be children, just because it has been donated by those that participate in a legal activity which this tiny but vocal group dislike?

Will your view on hunting with hounds now determine whether or not you receive support of any kind from ICS?

Have they asked those whom would be receiving the support and care from those donations if they mind now not getting it, because the funding was turned down?

As a former cancer patient, I really couldn’t give two hoots if the money was raised by pro or anti hunt supporters, the important thing is the fact that there are people willing to donate money to a much-needed cause which is to beat this awful indiscriminant disease.

Why does the ICS feel it has the moral right to refuse funds just because a couple of people have expressed their objections?

Will antis in Ireland now refuse treatment from a nurse/oncologist/doctor who hunts, if they or a member of their family needed it!

Surely the most important thing here is funds to beat cancer, in the ICS’s own words, “The Irish Cancer Society relies on members of the general public for 98pc of our annual income. We are very grateful to the many people across the county that take time every year to fundraise and donate to us to help us provide support and care to thousands of cancer patients and their families,”

Many hunts around Great Britain and Ireland raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for all sorts charities and good causes, so hats off to The Abbeyfeale Harriers for raising funds, it’s just a shame it won’t be for the ICS.