BY NIGEL BEAN & PAUL READ
“Leaked webinar shows huge criminal conspiracy at hunting’s highest level”. Or so the hunt sabs’ tweet proclaimed.
So what was breaking?
Not a lot.
So what really happened during this webinar?
It seems an invite was sent out to hunt staff to attend a trail hunting webinar by the Hunting Office, which is the body responsible for the administration of hunting across the UK and aims to promote and protect the interests of hunting and the hunting community.
Somehow hunt saboteurs got inside information that the webinar was happening and then cheekily ‘phoned up on the day to say they had recently changed emails, that as a result they had lost their invite and requested another be forwarded. Someone then sent them an invitation. The hunt sabs could therefore enter the webinar and record the proceedings live.
The full version of the webinar reveals nothing of any particular interest. However if someone with ulterior motives were to cut out certain chunks of the webinar and remove context – sound familiar? – the end result would show exactly what they wanted it to show.
What sort of context removal are we talking about here? The difference between legal and illegal hunting, for instance. Take the gentleman who clearly states before his presentation:
“In case anyone is listening that shouldn’t be, this talk is about legal hunting”
Later, when this same fellow mentions a ‘smokescreen’ in the context of his presentation, he is therefore still talking about legal hunting, and the smokescreen he refers to is a suggestion that the layers of trails overexaggerate actions to emphasise to onlooking hunt saboteurs that trail laying is actually taking place. Pretty bloody obvious advice really.
The Hunting Office are correct in their statement:
“The purpose of the webinars held in August was very clearly to facilitate legal hunting and any allegation that they were organised for any other purpose is completely incorrect.”
So why then would the Hunting Office want to prevent the leak from becoming widely available?
Look at the deviousness of the opponents of hunting.
Previously, opponents of hunting have obtained context-less snippets from audio or video and then fabricated news stories out of them – using selective quotes and footage to damage hunting’s reputation. The League Against Cruel Sports’ Terry Hill is a case in point. The Hunting Office were obviously concerned this would happen again, especially after some high profile dishonesty from antis resulting in sentences for tampered footage in Her Majesty’s courts.
The Hunting Office have plenty of other reasons dating back over the last twenty years for feeling they should be circumspect:
Example 1: Daresbury & the Sunday Mirror
During a nationwide drop in fox numbers around 2003 – 2004, due to a mange outbreak, Lord Daresbury wrote a letter to hunt masters asking they request local shoots save some foxes for when the local hunt turn up giving them a chance to dispatch pest foxes rather than be shot a week or so beforehand.
Prof David Macdonald’s Submission to the Burns inquiry 2000:
Simon Hart got wind of the letter and emailed Lord Daresbury advising he watch his language at this crucial time of the hunting debate as pest control of foxes in upland areas is a serious business and then went on to say if the Mirror got hold of your letter they will twist it to their advantage and we will be a laughing stock. The Mirror didn’t get hold of Lord Daresbury’s letter but instead claimed to have been shown a copy of Simon Hart’s email and twisted that instead. They then lied claiming Daresbury had said we need to ‘breed more foxes’ to resolve the ‘problem’ of a ‘nationwide shortage’.
All fabricated of course. Despite requests to this day, the Mirror have never been able to produce Simon Hart’s email or Lord Daresbury’s letter. Alison Hawes from the Countryside Alliance did go on record stating:
This did not stop the Mirror fabrication being swallowed whole by gullible/opportunist Labour MPs as the proposed Hunting Ban bill ping-ponged between the Houses of Commons and Lords and featured in an early day motion by Paul Flynn in 2004 and then again in 2015.
Paul Flynn during his lifetime personified the anti-hunting Labour MP. When he was passed information on a comment made by Jackie Ballard, then of the RSPCA, over hunting by the Middle Way Group he responded in typical Labour bully boy fashion:
Example 2: Cruelty & The Guardian
This was another made-up tale that aided the antis’ cause. Some vets claimed that foxes were subjected to immense cruelty because of hunting, that “independent forensic evidence by university veterinary surgeons on foxes killed by hunts and hares caught by greyhounds during coursing show that it is extremely rare for hunted animals to be killed instantly.”
The vets in question, working in the orbit of The Burns Inquiry, had a gentlemen’s agreement not to go to the press until after Lord Burns’ findings had been announced in Parliament by Jack Straw.
To circumvent the gentlemen’s agreement The Guardian asked independent vet David Morton to comment – he had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the inquiry team and so was outside of any agreement. He later found out about the agreement and how he had been manipulated. Morton admitted he only saw some X-rays and not full post mortem results as The Guardian claimed in its article.
The Guardian article was written to help out the anti-hunt brigade. They had only managed to progress their bogus cause in the political arena off the back of twisted scientific data provided by their go to and well-funded academic Prof Stephen Harris. Harris’ science was exposed as ‘guff’ at the Government inquiry in 2000 and worse was to come – Jack Straw was about to announce in Parliament that this “cruelty” data had been debunked and there was ‘no scientific evidence‘ to prove the cruelty of hunting. The antis knew what was coming so deceitfully planted this fraud in The Guardian a few days before Straw’s announcement.
There are many more examples of antis taking snippets of evidence and clipping them or decontextualizing them to aid their campaigns and bring in fundraising from conned members of the UK public.
That’s why the Hunting Office moved to prevent the leak, in case selective quotes from the webinar were used out of context and transformed into fake news by immoral antis to damage hunting. Field Sports TV have covered the issues really thoroughly here if you wish to learn more.