If the League didn’t exist, I would have started it myself. I said those words a couple of years ago, knowing full well that the League Against Cruel Sports not only existed but also had a long and glorious history and considerable support from the public.

Its name defines its reason for existence. In a saner and safer world, everyone would agree with what it stands for and what it does. “Against cruel sports?”. Who wouldn’t be? Does that imply there are people who are in favour of cruel sports? It certainly does. Alas, there are many blood sports aficionados who intentionally maim, injure or kill living creatures, for no other reason than that they enjoy doling out death. They call it “sport”. The League calls it cruelty, much of which is illegal, but all of which is morally abhorrent.

Over the years, the League and other Non-Governmental Organisations with large public support have exposed ever-increasing examples of cruelty. There have been arrests, fines, prison sentences and public ignominy, yet incidents are, if anything, on the increase. Violence, deceit and money is used to attack the League. However, we are gathering strength as an organisation and our public profile is growing rapidly - so too is our profile in the media. Supporters guarantee a flood of exposure and outrage on Twitter, Facebook. We are frequently invited to discussions on both radio and television, including almost permanent presence on Radio 4’s flagship PM news programme. Rarely a week passes without an article in the national newspapers on shooting, hunting, snaring, dog fighting (still alarmingly rife) and our very valid safety concerns around horse racing. This profile makes sure that the public become aware of how widespread animal cruelty is. It also strengthens our case in the legal battles with those who deny and defend their dreadful activities.

Influence and progress is growing. Our new chairman, Dr Tim Holmes, has pledged to put a stop to hunting with dogs completely, effectively closing any loophole in the Hunting Act in one go.

Naturally, we need as many supporters and donors as we can get, but in return you will not only have the satisfaction of funding some wonderful work but you are also invited to witness and contribute in branding workshops, joining one of our many supporter groups, and enjoying some impressive wildlife such as the Stag rut at one of our sanctuaries, where the animals are not only majestic, but are also safe.

Oh yes, just one more thing… did I mention that I am now the President of the League Against Cruel Sports? I promise you that I am prouder about that, than being awarded an OBE! I have met some of the League volunteers and staff, who I believe are as proud as I am. Together, and with your help, we can put an end to animal cruelty in the name of ‘sport’.

Bill Oddie, Conservationist