In my opinion: Is Countryside Alliance trying to influence police policy?
Following the way that the Countryside Alliance organised a vendetta against the RSPCA for the successful prosecution of the Heythrop hunt, both the media and a collection of pro-hunt Conservative MPs are trying to bully the Charity Commission to take action against the country's number one animal protection organisation. No one, it seems, is allowed to protect wildlife if the hunters have their sights on it – then it will be called 'wildlife management'.
They were all shouting from the rooftops that the RSPCA was politically motivated in its legal action. But this must now be viewed as the Countryside Alliance's most hypocritical action as that organisation has now arranged a meeting on rural crime in the South West to be attended by new politicians who are now entering the police force. All three main parties put up candidates for the Police and Crime Commissioner posts. Many regions opted for the independent candidate, but alas not Devon & Cornwall, the Conservative candidate won.
Perhaps the Alliance are worried that hunting may be looked at more carefully and so they may wish to bend the ear of the Commissioner to not commit any resources for policing illegal hunting. After all they did advise their members that for Devon and Cornwall, Tony Hogg was their first choice for Police and Crime Commissioner. Perhaps they view this meeting as an opportunity to receive some payback for supporting Mr Hogg during the election.
Interestingly the meeting will take place on Thursday 21 February at 2pm at the National Farmers' Union (NFU) headquarters, Pynes Hill in Exeter. Perhaps the badger cull may also be on the agenda as following the postponement of last year's badger cull, as new locations are being considered and Cornwall may be a better bet with so many pro-cull farmers supporting the badger cull rather than vaccinate both cattle and badgers.
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This would be a disaster for the holiday and leisure industry as the moors and countryside would be filled by farmers and shooters out with high velocity rifles, killing badgers on warm summer evenings, in a vain attempt to halt bTB in cattle, but then would that worry the hunters and cattle barons?
However if you are interested in attending, please contact Countryside Alliance South West Regional Director, Alison Hawes.