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Friday, 13 April 2012

Posted by Parveen Hassan
| 11:23
We  would like to thank Parveen Hassan, the Founder of Conservative  Women’s Hub for kindly inviting Conservatives Against Fox Hunting also known as the Blue Fox Group to introduce our campaign and how it relates to women MPs in particular.

All of the animal welfare organisations we have spoken to, have a very high women supporter base.  Some have informed us that it can be as high as 70% - 90% of their membership. Our leading animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA and countless other charities campaign to support the ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs for sport.

They also campaign on a spectrum of issues involving cruelty to animals and advocate protection and work to save animal’s lives from exploitation, fear and suffering. The hunting fraternity kill wild animals as the focus of their recreational sports.

Both men and women are capable of inflicting suffering to wild animals but most participants involved in blood sports are men. Of course, women do participate in blood sports but are out numbered by men. Badger baiters and hare coursers are nearly always men, very rarely women. These sports involve aggression and brutality which are the characteristics of dogs being set upon wild animals, whether they are badgers, hares or foxes. They involve fear, blood, gore, pain and agony .It has sometimes been claimed that cruel activities can allow the people involved to express their aggression and a sense of control on the animal victim. Wild animals are promoted as ' game or quarry' to be pursued and conquered.


Multiple studies and polls have repeatedly found that women have greater concern for animals than men, possibly as a result that traditionally women took care of domesticated animals while men hunted for food for communities to survive. Women have historically had the main responsibility to care for and protect children. Most nurses for the sick and carers for the elderly and weak are women in current modern society although an increasing number of men are involved in these roles too. Empathy often extends in many people beyond human connections to a concern for animal welfare. Children and animals are very dependent on how people treat them.
Many of the major animal welfare advocacy groups, all regarded as radical in their time were founded by women, including Battersea Dogs Home founded by Mary Teable in 1860, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection ( the BUAV) founded by Frances [Power  Cobbe in 1898 and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals- PETA by Ingrid Newkirk to name just a few.
Women only networking groups are cropping up all over the country and are extremely successful. The UK and European governments actively encourage and support female political candidates through multiple programmes and initiatives. The Conservative party recently launched Women2win and Conservative  Women’s Future groups. It also operates an active  Conservative Women’s organisation -the CWO which provides valuable resources  and encourages and supports women candidates to step forwards as future politicians. The first female Prime Minister in British history was a Conservative  woman.
The press recently reported of the current low female support of the conservative party .The Guardian stated that support for the Tories among women is in decline, with just 13% saying in a recent poll that they feel the Conservative party is the one closest to women: 


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/05/conservative-party-women-support-falling

Women comprise 51% of the population. They make 90% of consumer choices in the home. They are a huge force and every political party is keenly aware of the need to attract women's support. In order to do this, political parties must appeal to women and their values.
An increasing number of Conservative MPs support the RSPCA’s stance against blood sports rather than a self interested rural sport's lobby group's stance to return hunting with dogs. The MP’s position against repeal demonstrates their connection with the public's support against blood sports and rejection of outmoded activities. 

New Conservative women MPs such as Caroline Dinenage, Esther Mc Vey, Tracey Crouch and Laura Sandys to name a few, are representing the majority opinion of supporting the iconic Hunting Act 2004 which bans hare coursing and hunting with dogs .They are politicians who are in touch with the public's increasing awareness of environment, wildlife and green issues. 

The Daily Telegraph reported on the 14th August 2011; "The group, tagged “the blue foxes” includes several women elected as part of Mr Cameron's push to change his party's image" 


www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8700702/Blue-foxes-spark-Tory-spat-over-hunt-ban.html

The Daily Mail on the same day also called the MPs 'modernising'-


Anne Widdicombe herself a staunch  opponent of fox hunting also wrote of ‘the new breed of MPs' support of the ban- 'Outfoxed by Blue Foxes' in the Daily Express on the 17th August 2011 www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/265436


The Guardian in December 2011 also wrote about the modernising MPs www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/26/david-cameron-pressure-hunting-ban


These Conservative women MPs are showing the way forwards on this issue within the party. It is significant that a Conservative  woman MP sponsored our first Parliamentary Breakfast Briefing event for anti hunting Conservative MPs in the House of Commons in 2010. It was also chaired by another Conservative anti hunting woman MP too. We were delighted that six anti hunting Conservative MPs attended our first Parliamentary event 11 months after our launch. The other political parties MPs have an overwhelming majority against repeal
.
Some traditions belong in the past and hunting with dogs is one of them. Indeed, Margaret Thatcher herself was against hare coursing. This cruel unnecessary sport involving two large dogs being set upon a small hare for sport would make a comeback if repeal is successful. Hare populations have declined by an estimated 80% in the last 100 years and there is no justification to further decimate their vulnerable populations by a return of hunting them with dogs and hare coursing. In 1995 hares were included in a government Species Action Plan to double their numbers by 2010 and this was not met. Repeal would also bring back not only hare coursing but stag, mink and fox hunting with dogs for sport. It is important to remember that the bull baiting ban was flouted for decades before it was finally accepted but nobody would contest it now. The hunting ban is only 8 years old, still new and feelings run high yet the longer it remains in place the more embedded in society it becomes. Hunting with dogs belongs in the past along with bull baiting, dog fighting and badger baiting and more. All these sports involve training dogs to attack wild animals for the pleasure of a minority of people. Less than 0.6% of people are involved in hunting with dogs which means that 99% of the population are not involved in participating in such sports. 
Bring on the revolution of modernising Conservative women MPs who are in touch not only with their own natural instincts against unnecessary cruel sports but are also in touch with the majority of the public's view on this issue too. Future generations learn from our example today and let's keep moving forwards and leave illegal cruel sports in the past where they belong.

Written by Conservatives Against Fox Hunting (The Blue Fox Group).

www.conservativesagainstfoxhunting.com