An English Campaigner in Paris
While the League Against Cruel Sports focuses on ending hunting with dogs in the UK, it’s important to remember that the campaign to end hunting with dogs is a global issue. No matter where it happens, the cruelty is the same. Animals still find themselves fleeing for their lives, still end up being torn apart by a pack of dogs and those that seek to inflict such cruelty still hide behind feeble excuses such as ‘tradition’.
It is this global approach that found me in Paris, invited to speak on behalf of the League at an anti – hunting rally organised by One Voice, in support of their work.
It was an impressive event with more than 1,000 people march through the French capital to the sound of a brass band and chants of “enough bloodshed, enough animals killed” and “stop hunting/hunting kills!”.
Unlike in England, Scotland and Wales, hunting with hounds in 100 percent legal in France, a fact that doesn’t sit well with the 79 percent of French people who are opposed to the practice of hunting with hounds. This isn’t far off the 85 percent who want it to remain illegal in the UK.
This isn’t the only similarity I noticed between our respective campaigns. While there are groups in France that focus on getting hunting banned, there are some who have bought up land to deny access to the hunts,not unlike our sanctuaries in the South West. Others monitor the hunts activities and expose their cruelty in the media, which sounds very similar to our investigations and press teams.
But I wasn’t there to scope out the lay of the land in France, I was invited to extend the hand of friendship and show solidary to our counterparts across the English Channel. Speaking in public is part of my job, so I was happy to do so. However, for reasons that my blood pressure is still looking answers for, I decided to give my speech in French!.
This made it a particularly nerve wracking experience, but one that I felt worth doing to truly show the scale of support that the people of France have in their fight. Below is an extract from my speech:
“What is happening in France today is happening around the world. People are waking up to the exploitation and cruelty that animals suffer at the hands of human beings. And while the world is divided over many issues, one of the things that unites us all is our love of animals.
The League Against Cruel Sports is proud to be supporting One Voice in its call to ban hunting in France, we are proud to call you friends and we wish you good luck. Change is possible. The League has proven that, and we have no doubt that you will prove it too.
You must do it, for the animals, for yourself, and for the soul of France. It is only a matter of time that you will. We are with you.”
And with them we are. While the League focuses on bringing hunting and shooting to an end in the UK, we look forward to assisting our French cousins in their fight, and to see the movement to end cruel sports grow and grow and grow.