So the Hunting Act doesn’t work? Interesting, try telling that to 19 year old Matthew Swinbank. I imagine that the teenager who had admitted three charges, including hunting a wild mammal with dogs contrary to the Hunting Act 2004, would beg to differ.
Swinbank, convicted at Bishop’s Auckland magistrates court last Friday, had set his dog Titus onto a badger in local woodland. It seems to me that the legislation is doing exactly what it set out to do and just in case anyone needs reminding, here’s the very simple principle at the heart of the law:
A person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog, unless his hunting is exempt.
Perhaps the next time you hear the hard done by hunting community describe the Hunting Act as vindictive and somehow criminalising law abiding citizens think of these words from an experienced RSPCA Inspector involved in bringing Swinbank to justice:
“When the police first saw Swinbank’s van, it looked like someone had been stabbed because there was so much blood. It was all over the windows and soaked into a carpet in the back of the vehicle. The sad thing is that we don’t know what happened to the badger that was attacked, and whether it survived or not. The same can be said of his dog, Titus.”
And just in case you were wondering what happened to Swinbank, he was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, pay costs of £768 and in addition has been banned from keeping animals for five years. I wonder if the Countryside Alliance spokesperson was outside the court to defend this ‘countryman’?