The Hunt Is Up

Letter From England

On September 15, 2004, Tony Blair cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war.  They were particularly ugly dogs.  Ill-bred, untrained, snarling, spitting, hate-driven mongrels led the pack; half-witted lapdogs yapped along behind, their pampered noses tight up against the backends of those in front—except when taken momentarily away to add a feeble, unintelligent yelp to the general hue and cry.  There was never any chance that their quarry might get away, for the pursuit was not across open country but in a confined space: the debating chamber of the House of Commons, where resistance to the massive New Labour majority is as futile as the struggles of a bear tied to a stake.

That day, the object of their unequal pursuit was not a social evil, a burning injustice, a rotting immorality, or a threat to the freedom of the nation: It was a pastime, a sport.  MP’s voted by a majority of 339 to 155 to criminalize foxhunting, a pursuit that has, for centuries, brought color to the English landscape and kept down the population of a pest.

And yet, to listen to the speeches made by the abolitionists, you would think that foxhunting was as great an affront to humanity as cannibalism, human sacrifice, or slavery.  MP’s vied with one another to produce superlatives adequate to the Great Cause on which they were embarked, but there are only so many ways of dressing up the words barbaric...

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