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From time to time the League is contacted by people who utter the familiar words, ‘I used to go out with the hunt...’. What follows is usually a description of how the caller came to see a different and ‘unsporting’ side to hunting with dogs.
No exception to this was a man who contacted us last week. This chap had worked at various hunts in his early years and was rightly convinced that hunting belonged to another less enlightened age. He spoke at length about his experiences and then said something that I think bears repeating here: “In the old days the terrier shows used to have a category for most injured dog.”
I think, or at least hope, that most reasonable people who own dogs would be appalled if their dog was injured and not seek to glorify the animal’s misfortune.
However this is where the people who hunt seem to differ from the rest of us and in fact find common cause with those who choose to fight dogs. Both groups seemingly take pleasure from the suffering that they themselves facilitate.
In the League’s archive there is a pamphlet produced by the Pony Club from 1953 which is intended to educate young riders in the etiquette of foxhunting. Written by a former Master and Huntsman, one section is devoted entirely to Injuries out Hunting.
There are 15 injuries listed and the thirteenth illustrates perfectly the misplaced glorification of suffering inflicted in the course of a days sport:
‘The real wound of honour. The bite the leading hound receives from the beaten fox at the end of a good hunt’.
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