BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
Once again this week, unpleasant and illegal accusations were made against field sports enthusiasts accusing them of being child abusers. According to Cheshire Against Blood Sports, studies have shown those that engage in childhood acts of cruelty often become violent and cruel later on in life. They refer to this as childhood grooming that can also result in domestic violence, which is rife apparently in rural communities. According to these Cheshire thugs we should be shielding future generations from such acts of cruelty. The sabs’ Facebook post is viewable below:
So, are the sabs’ claims well-founded or fake news?
Let’s start by examining the basis of their reasoning. This is their unswerving belief that those who hunt or shoot only do so because they enjoy killing animals – deriving pleasure and delight from animal murder.
Well, fox hunting is now illegal in England and Wales in so far as you can’t chase a fox over distance and kill it with hounds, so those who hunt are not, as the sabs would see them, “killers”. Instead the hounds now follow a pre laid trail designed to mimic the old way of fox hunting. This is where the hunt saboteurs come into play – they either use a gizmo, an audible hand-held box that emits the sound of hounds in full cry and attracts them to their location, in an attempt to take control of the hounds off the huntsman. Or they noisily trespass onto land near the pre-laid trail and spray a substance they hope will conceal the scent of a fox.
Both these actions will disturb a fox (or deer) forcing them to cross the line of the pre-laid trail. This newer, stronger scent is picked up by the hounds who switch to the line of the stronger scent and start hunting the fox – this can result in its death if the huntsman is not aware of what’s happened. The antis then accuse the hunters of illegally killing for pleasure and sport – despite the death of the fox arising from a situation they have solely been responsible for. Groups like Cheshire Against Blood Sports waste a huge amount of police time in public meetings with the police commissioner, promoting a problem they caused while far more important crime related issues get put on the backburner by police. (Note to Cheshire police – look up ideological possession and stop wasting taxpayers’ money on these muppets).
The scientific studies the antis refer to were also used by the RSPCA and the NSPCC around 2002 to find links between cruelty to animals and a later life of child abuse. So let’s examine the RSPCA’s record on scientific studies shall we?
In the late eighties the RSPCA commissioned a disinterested study by one of the world’s leading animal behaviourists (Martha Kiley-Worthington) to research the welfare of wild animals in circuses. The RSPCA didn’t like Martha’s findings so tried to persuade her to change her conclusions. She stood by her results, so they turned nasty and pressured other animal welfare groups and charities into not using her. This brilliant academic and animal lover, ahead of her time in understanding animal behaviour to improve animal welfare, spent a lifetime struggling to obtain funding for research into improving and enriching the lives of animals.
You shouldn’t be. The RSPCA turned their own internal review into a rant about hunting hoping it would persuade politicians to strengthen the hunting ban just before the 2015 General Election. That they are the largest private prosecutor in the UK should be of grave concern to everyone.
So now to the actual scientific study Cheshire sabs are quoting from – this particular research looked at dark personalities (Psychopathy, Narcissism and Machiavellian behaviour), dark attitudes and dark behaviours. All very convenient really because along with getting called child abusers, field sports folk are often labelled psychopaths as well. The referenced research into red flag indicators – the angle Cheshire Against Blood Sports opted for:
“Early attempts to determine a predictive relation between the Macdonald triad (animal cruelty, fire setting, and nocturnal enuresis) and risk for adulthood aggression and criminality have foundered (Taylor & Signal, 2008). However, several researchers have reported associations between animal cruelty and juvenile fire setting (e.g., Slavkin, 2001)”
The word foundered suggests nothing was found. Nothing is written about hunters – links have only been established between animal cruelty and juvenile fire setting.
We move on …
“In general, attention has focused on the utility of intentional animal cruelty as a ‘red flag’ indicator for the propensity to engage in violent antisocial behaviours including intimate partner abuse (Volant, Johnson, Gullone, & Coleman, 2008), intra-familial violence (Khan & Cooke, 2008), sexual assault (Simons, Wurtele, & Durham, 2008), and bullying (Gullone & Robertson, 2008)”
To get to this conclusion, academics asked a few hundred students the following questions:
- Have you ever intentionally killed an animal that was owned by yourself or by someone else for no good reason? (‘‘owned’’ animal)
- Have you ever intentionally killed a stray, feral, or wild animal for no good reason? (‘‘unowned’’ animal)
- Have you ever intentionally hurt or tortured an animal for the purpose of teasing it or causing pain?
- Have you ever tried to control or intimidate someone by threatening to hurt, or by actually hurting, an animal?
But there was a very important footnote to this mini quiz. You didn’t have to answer the questions if:
“These questions did not include incidents where the animal was killed for food; while hunting or fishing; to help the animal because it was hurt, old, or sick; to exterminate pests; or to protect yourself or another person.”
So, Chesire sabs made the science in their post up! Can’t they read? Fake news!
Quite clearly folk who shoot, fish or hunt are normal – it is confirmed by this research. Meanwhile, Facebook thought the accusations nasty, inappropriate and unfounded and removed Cheshire sabs’ post. Unfortunately, the post was not removed before some useful idiots had time to comment on it:
What absolutely charming people.