Talk about a dream, try to make it real.
- Bruce Springsteen

When the proponents of hunting, shooting and other cruel sports come under scrutiny by both the public and the League, the counter argument presented is often “well, we know what you stand against, but what do you stand for?”. That has often struck us as an odd question; surely by standing against suffering we are, by default, standing up for animals to live their lives free from persecution?

But perhaps (probably by accident), they have a point? As the Boss says, you can’t just talk about a dream, you have to make it real.

Which is just what we are attempting to do with our sanctuaries. We have created our own promised land.

On World Wildlife Day we are proud to say we provide a home for animals that can live their lives in peace, but through this desire we’ve also allowed the development of a natural eco system where a whole variety of wildlife can flourish.

Our main sanctuary Baronsdown is one of the few places in Britain where you are almost guaranteed to see wild Red Deer. Badgers and foxes breed there and otters pass through the local waterways. Of course, there are rabbits and squirrels, and if you are really lucky you might see stoats, weasels or maybe a polecat.

We have a healthy population of Hazel Dormice and sometimes Fallow Deer and Roe Deer call in, even wild boar have made an appearance. You can see buzzards wheeling overhead, or a Peregrine or Sparrowhawk flitting by.

In summer, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and a host of other birds nest on the sanctuary. On a sunny day, a bountiful bonanza of British butterflies is likely to be on the wing, supplemented by migrants from mainland Europe.

Careful management of the land on all of the League’s wildlife sanctuaries, including minimal use of chemicals, means that a wide range of animals and plants flourish. We’re proud to be practising good animal conservation.

So perhaps when our arguments that the actions of the hunting and shooting fraternity are unscientific, unnecessary and (at best) morally dubious are dismissed, we can take a look at our sanctuaries and say “this is what we stand for.”

This is our dream. And it’s our job to make that dream a reality.