We are extremely lucky this side of the pond when it comes to anti-foxhunting activities. We don't yet have the attacks on our sport that happen in the U.K. and are starting to appear in France.
But we don't need to rest on our good fortune. The Animal Rights movement is starting to attack deer hunters, their tree stands, and other hunting activities. We need to rally round each other to protect our sport with hounds. We have already seen attacks at some state levels, and Animal Rights activists are probing for weaknesses.
We can help our friends in the UK to combat their foes by supporting This is Hunting U.K. through their Facebook page. This organization was set up by James Barclay, ex-MFH, some five years ago following a concept paper I wrote for him after an epic conversation we had based on our heartfelt needs to combat the lies and rhetoric that the Animal Rights lobby had escalated in the world of social media.
I came to Canada from the UK to hunt hounds in May 2015, and by June of that year James had set up This is Hunting U.K. The group now has an membership of 30,000 and a worldwide audience in excess of 250,000. Not only does it have social media success, but Kennel Open Days, presences at Hound Shows, and public events. It has recently become involved with French hunting associations. Much can be learned in North America from its successes, and I would personally encourage you all to visit the website and join the information super highway in its pages.
We need to start defending our sport in America and Canada by being open and honest and by inviting our legislators—both county, state, and federal—to our kennels. We need to explain our sport and its benefits to our communities and to the environment in which we live and work.
Nothing plays into the hands of our opponents like the “We don't kill foxes; we only chase them” statements we occasionally hide behind. We need to be honest. Most foxhunters are excited by the chase and have no desire to kill foxes. However, we manage the population of our quarry in a sustainable, ecological, and natural way using hounds to hunt. Yes, hounds might overtake a sick or lame fox or coyote, which is often a mercy. Yet we hope to leave intact an ecologically balanced strong and healthy wildlife population.
The health of quarry is a focus of our preoccupation in hunting, and the venery associated with hunting with hounds is a skill which has been developed over centuries, testing hounds, horses, and humans in a natural state and in a wild and natural setting. We should be proud of our heritage, our traditions, and our hounds.
We need to encourage other hunters to understand what we do and how we do it. And we should invite them and fellow equestrians to experience the most exciting of all equestrian activities, the thrill of the chase, and our commitment to open space preservation.
Posted December 24, 2019
British-born Colin Brown has served as a professional huntsman in Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. He is a co-founder and a board member of This is Hunting UK, published by the popular British Master James Barclay. Brown administrates TIHUK’s Facebook page as well, promoting and discussing joint activities with Sportsman’s Alliance (UK) and MFHA (UK). TIHUK’s purpose is to make foxhunting better known and understood by the British population in general.