BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
Our Parliament and democracy are revered across the globe by a great many nations, and are the envy of many people suffering under corrupt government or dictatorship. Our Grandfathers fought long and bitter wars so we could have the freedom of choice in who governs us.
To some individuals though it can appear our system has a major flaw – the views of others and not just their own have to be taken into consideration. These people can be considered fundamentalist in their beliefs. If they get the chance you can almost guarantee these fundamentalists will baulk the democratic process by limiting opposing views in favour of their own. Their world view is such they cannot be wrong.
The RSPCA are an example. In 1961 they were to hold a vote on whether to change their stance on hunting. In turn their membership was increased by fox-hunters who did not want them to take a stance against hunting and the vote was carried in favour of the fox-hunters.
One can surmise three scenarios from this information. The first, fox-hunters had been concerned enough to join and turn up and vote in a democratic manner. Secondly, they could have also pressed for the exclusion of animal rights fanatics from the organisation and thus prevent them from ever taking a stance on hunting, however they stuck to the democratic process, and no doubt would have been horrified at the idea of excluding people on the basis of their views. And thirdly, as far back as 1951 and documented in the Scott Henderson report, the League Against Cruel Sports were claiming sixteen million people were for banning fox hunting, clearly not opposed enough to warrant paying a pound and vote for the RSPCA to change their stance. However, another vote a number of years later and this time the dice were rolled in favour of the animal rights fundamentalists who win the vote and change the stance of the charity to one of opposition to hunting. Only now they include a line in their membership form excluding those taking part in ‘blood sports‘ from joining.
This is another abuse of a democratic process as the RSPCA are the largest and most noticeable animal welfare charity in the country and one many responsible for animals and their welfare would like to join for that very reason. Only now these people find themselves labelled ‘blood sports’ enthusiasts for protecting their livestock from fox predation and refused charity membership but still forced to pay more tax to allow the RSPCA to pay less.
Animal rights groups appear willing to play fast and loose with democracy to support their world views.
Most law-abiding citizens will have their interpretation of what constitutes a civilised society and don’t need the interpretation of others thrust upon them. The democratic process should protect these people as the roots of democracy are buried deep in finding a compromise.
All views and opinions will have opposites but the vast majority of people in the UK have a high degree of tolerance and a compromise is surprisingly rarely sought.
Unfortunately, as in all walks of life, people will find ways around this tolerance and compromise solution democracy offers. Their idea of a democracy enables them to force their expectations of a civilised society on others. This has become more prevalent since the late nineteen sixties with the rise of animal rights fundamentalism along with their vegan or vegetarian diets. They have established themselves as the so-called defenders of animals in a country that has the highest animal welfare standards anywhere in the civilised world.
So naturally most of the problems they express concern over are either exaggerated or created to satisfy their need for a campaign. As an example, we find Lord Burns, the Chairman of The Report of the Committee of inquiry into hunting with dogs in England and Wales (2000), informing the House of Lords categorically a ban on hunting will not save the life of a single fox.
And yet hunt saboteurs swear blind they are saving foxes from hunts. That the fox may get shot later instead appears to go beyond their scope or reason. It would appear the more fundamentalist an individual is, the further up the animal rights ladder of respect amongst their peer group they go. It’s no surprise to find outspoken vegans on the council of the RSPCA.
Nigel & Paul’s excellent report, A Trail of Lies & Money, can be read in full here at the Aldenham. It is well worth a read if just to see what a mess the Labour Party has got into regarding policy and issues related to hunting.