Things look bleak for the state of wildlife in this country. The election of the Tories with a majority of seats in the House of Commons creates a number of threats.
The continuing cuts to public services will without doubt impact on the ability of the Police to ensure that wildlife crime is investigated and prosecuted. More and more the RSPB will be required to work with the Police and to act as the initial investigation team on their behalf. This is a job that they do well. So well that the Countryside Alliance, and the odious What about the Birds group continually attack and undermine the work that the RSPB do. Clearly they fear the professionalism and forensic skills that are brought to bare to catch the wild life criminals.
The Tory manifesto contained a pledge to repeal the Hunting Act. Already there are mutterings that it should be repealed before the Autumn to enable hunters to start slaughtering foxes for the season. (Did they ever actually stop?) There is no public appetite for the repeal of the Act. Opinion polls differ but there seems to be a clear majority against repeal. It is bizarre that in a civilised country there should be an appetite to restore an activity that is cruel and barbaric. The pathetic plea that it is one of the traditions of the countryside doesn’t wash. Badger baiting, bear baiting, public executions these were all traditional, but I am not aware of a clamour for their restoration. Hunting, enjoying a day out in the countryside on your horse can still be done, instead of the fox as the focus of the day, they can drag hunt. Perhaps the increase in popularity that has been allegedly recorded by hunts, is because people feel able to go out and enjoy the sight of the hunt in full flight with out the brutal slaying of a beautiful wild animal.
Whether the Act will be repealed, will depend upon numbers of course. It appears that without the SNP, it will be difficult to stop the repeal even with the “Blue Fox” Conservative MP’s. Perhaps Cameron should listen to the people and not the narrow minded lobby groups. Perhaps the threat of the chaos that the In Out referendum threatens to cause will distract attention. We shall see. But I fear for the fox this autumn.