LACS’ Lost Leaders


James Barrington, formerly League Against Cruel Sports (aka LACS) CEO, wrote an excellent article in Country Squire Magazine last week on the devastation of native wildlife through the myopic approach of animal rights zealots. It was clear these zealots despise field sportsmen/women with such obsessive fervour that they seek to denigrate them at every opportunity. They believe they are behaving in this way for the wildlife and have what’s known as ideological possession.

James Barrington, more than most, will recognise this fundamentalist behaviour because he was among a number of high-ranking officials at LACS that turned their back on them after recognising the destructive nature of the group’s ideology.

The shenanigans surrounding the hunting debate from the mid-nineties became the forerunner of today’s ‘woke’ abominations that, when combined with fake news, are helping to promote bogus narratives causing divisions in our country, leaving the real possibility of civil strife and unrest as consequences.

The Hard Left set out to seize any situation, ignore real facts and promote opinion as fact. The truth, as the they see it, only appears in “uncorrupted” hard-line Left-wing media which any sensible judge can immediately see is no more than propaganda. Smearing or abusively labelling people is fair game. Anyone disagreeing with them is a racist, or worse – in the case of hunters, psychopathic and child-abusing, blood-thirsty murderers.

Hence the martyr status of scumbags like George Floyd or Gerry Adams. The Hard Left ignores facts. They swept aside Floyd’s repeated drug abuse, his long criminal record, one conviction for putting a gun to a pregnant woman’s stomach. Instead, they imagined him as a saint and made him into a saint. As with Adams – the terrorist to far left Labour supporters is a freedom fighter and his paedophile brother is smeared.

What to do with fact? How do the Hard Left respond when they are caught in the crosshairs?

They lie.

LACS excused having eight high-ranking officials leave one after the other as “standard staff turnover” in a charity. They ignored the question, “Why have all those who have left LACS believe the charity is doing more harm than good towards animals?”

What should have been outright humiliation thus described:

“It’s as if the board of Greenpeace got up and walked out to join an oil giant”.

Who were these LACS deserters who saw the light?

Graham Sirl – Once LACS’ Head of Operations at Barons Down deer sanctuary in the UK, wrote to the local press in 2001 stating a hunting ban would do nothing for animal welfare and would only lead to indiscriminate killing of foxes, deer and hare. He went on to say “After 22 years working against hunting, I now believe hunting with hounds plays an integral part in the management of deer…” He described LACS as a cult.

Miles Cooper – Cooper also described LACS as a cult, becoming concerned they were massaging evidence to suit their political agenda. He was commissioned to investigate gun packs by LACS and IFAW but when he reported back to them he discovered IFAW head of press had no idea gun packs existed. He found their ignorance and lack of knowledge frightening. They were campaigning, collecting public donations and advising the government to ban something they knew nothing about.

Richard Course, formerly executive director of LACS  –  Course pulled no punches in his submission to the Government inquiry in 2000, having obtained a fox-hunting ban on County Council land – land owned by the Co-op, providing a precursor to what would happen in the event of a real ban. 

His comments were revealing indeed:

“The common misconception of fox-hunting is that, from the outset, a small terrified fox is hounded and ruthlessly pursued for several hours until it is exhausted then torn apart by a vicious pack of dogs whilst a semi-drunken pack of toffs look on laughing and smearing each other with blood in some kind of ritual. I know that because, to my eternal shame, I portrayed fox hunting as just that from 1975 to 1988 whilst leading the campaign to abolish fox-hunting”

Richard Course was questioned – Are the mounted followers there to get drunk and watch a fox torn apart? He then answers that it is highly unlikely that these mounted followers will in fact see the kill or even what remains of the fox. It is untruthful and deceptive to describe these people as bloodthirsty savages.

“The scent hunting or tracking down aspects of fox-hunting cause no stress or trauma to the fox who must be totally unaware of this major part of the hunt. How the fox is located is totally irrelevant to animal welfare considerations. It took me ten years to realize that irrefutable fact – others will never realize it because bigotry, prejudice, narrow mindedness, class animosity and ignorance blind people to the truth”

“1987 I was selected as a Labour candidate in the 1987 General Election and promoted animal welfare in that election. However by 1988, after visiting a lot of farms subject to County Council and Co-op bans, I realised that I had, in fact, made a very big mistake. Foxes were being killed by snaring and shotgun in increasing numbers. I actually saw foxes caught by snares and dead foxes that had been wounded but not killed outright by shotgun, by trying to reduce suffering, I had contributed to increasing it”

What was LACS’ response?

These sound responses by Course are were dismissed by LACS as Richards Course’s opinion, even when supported by findings of the Government inquiry as noted in their conclusions:

“However, in areas where lamping with rifle is not feasible or safe, there would be a greater use of other methods. We are less confident that the use of shotguns, particularly in daylight, is preferable to hunting from a welfare perspective. We consider that the use of snaring is a particular cause for concern”

So 15 years after the ban what has happened?

James Barrington investigated:

“…..but with at least one reputable report stating that the fox population has dropped by about one third and with the condition of some herds of red deer in the West Country known to be deteriorating”

Who has run LACS since?

One was paid off after a drunken fight in a pub toilet, another left claiming illness, an illness so severe he made a miraculous recovery and started another organisation targeting trophy hunting! Another quoted moral grounds and would oppose hunting whatever the welfare perspective. Amongst other things, he got into trouble for making grandiose claims at a government inquiry. Douglas Batchelor told the inquiry he pioneered sheep housing and never used the local hunt to control foxes whilst employed as a farm manager. Within days the inquiry took receipt of two letters, one from a farmer claiming he pioneered sheep housing a full 5 years before Batchelor and, even more embarrassing, one from a farm worker who claimed to have worked under Batchelor, who said he was never there and they had called on the local hunt to control foxes!

Nobody should take moral guidance from LACS on the issues of animal cruelty or wildlife management.

Time this “charity” faced a statutory enquiry under Section 84. If the Charities Commission need a heads-up, they ought just speak to the charity’s departed leaders.