Hunting’s a great spectacle but it should be banned outright

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

I can understand the irritation of hunt members at being bannedfrom killing foxes with hounds. Just as I can understand the irritation of smokers who can’t sit in a pub and enjoy a pint and a smoke.

They are being stopped from doing what they want to do, of course they are irritated.

But that doesn’t make what they are doing right. And it doesn’t mean they can disobey the law.

And that is what a judge decided Fitzwilliam huntsman George Adams did on a New Year’s Day hunt at Wansford in January 2016.

I am a lover of tradition and the sights and sounds of the hunt with the hunters on horseback in their red jackets surrounded by their hounds on a frosty morning in a picturesque village is quintessentially British.

But hunting has a darker side to it than this setpiece for the cameras.

I am a meat-eater and have no illusions about the red raw savagery of nature nor the cold, clinical reality of animal farming.

But the problem I have with hunting, shared I believe with most people, is the pleasure the hunters take in the pursuit even if it doesn’t result in the death of the quarry.

When the law was changed to ban the killing of foxes by hunting it was a half-way house. The politicians should have been bolder and banned it outright.

Adams was asked in court if his intention was to kill the fox with hounds.

His reply was: “Absolutely no. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.’’

That would be legal, and that’s the problem, because that’s still wrong.

Crashing bore

Making my weary way home after a long day at Telegraph Towers, a car almost ploughed into mine.I was on a roundabout turning right when I spotted a car hurtling towards me. The road was wet and he had no intention of stopping.

I hit my brakes to avoid a collision and the driver sped off left from the roundabout. I was about 150 yards behind him when he lost control on a bend and smashed into a wall side on. I was first on the scene and stopped to help the driver. He was a very lucky man, he didn’t have a scratch on him although he was in shock. Some people from nearby houses came out and called an ambulance so I left them to it. Thinking about it later my concern for the driver turned to anger – he could have killed someone his driving was so appalling. I thought about calling the police. I didn’t because I was pretty sure that given it was a one-vehicle accident with no injuries, the police would not be interested.

I have no criticism of the police (although don’t get me started on the politicians), but what a sad state of affairs it is when people like me are giving up on the police for incidents like this.

transport

Train of thought

Our old friend The Flying Scotsman is paying another visit to Peterborough later this year. Tickets went on sale on the Nene Valley Railway website on Tuesday morning and within minutes the site had crashed due to the enormous demand.If I was a train company boss I’d put The Flying Scotsman back in service on the mainline between Peterborough and London. People love it so much they wouldn’t complain if it was late or if they had to stand up the whole way!

Life’s too short

I received an email this week entitled: Talks ongoing to avoid irrigation abstraction fee hike.

Now I’m sure that’s an important issue, but I’m afraid I wasn’t motivated to read on!

Second class

The decision to close the travel information centre at Queensgate bus station has sparked a lot of understandable anger.Peterborough City Council has withdrawn a £58,000 subsidy forcing it to close. It’s just another example of bus users being treated like second class citizens. You would think bus company Stagecoach would be concerned that their customers are so unhappy. Perhaps they are. But we don’t know as despite being asked for a comment by the PT they have declined to do so.