Fox Hunting and the Politics of Compromise

(If you Googled this in search of an argument against animal rights, read this editorial first, then check out the articles here.)

The House of Commons has just voted for a total ban on fox hunting in England. One might be tempted to dismiss this as another sign of the loony leftists in Europe, but the failure of the “pro-hunt” lobby holds a number of important lessons for conservatives in America. The primary causes for the failure of the hunting lobby was their willingness to compromise and a failure to offer a moral defense of their rights.

Two weeks ago, Andrew Linzey, a prominent British “expert” on morality and “animal rights” compared fox-hunting to rape. To quote, “‘Causing suffering for sport is intrinsically evil. Hunting, therefore, belongs to that class of always morally impermissible acts along with rape, child abuse and torture…All acts of cruelty to animals are of a kind ….they diminish our humanity and offend.”

While Linzey’s argument is wrong on oh-so-many levels, I am more interested in what the opposition had to say in response. Here is one of the spokesmen of the Countryside Alliance, a pro-hunting group: “If you ask a rape victim or a victim of torture who has suffered so much whether they think what they have gone through can be compared to hunting, I think you know the response you would get. Frankly, it’s disgusting. We are talking about a legal pastime which is being likened to illegal acts of gross exploitation.”

Note that no attempt is made to refute the moral equivocation Linzey makes between human beings and animals. The best answer the spokesman comes up with is that rape feels worse that hunting. The second part of his reply is to say that rape is worse because it is illegal, which is completely irrelevant in the question of whether it is right. Similar flaws are found in arguments in all of the Alliance’s defenses. Their latest slogan is “59% say keep hunting.” Other arguments call for a defense of their “way of life” and that hunting an improper priority for the legislature. Not one has dared to offer a moral defense of hunting or to explain why it’s wrong to kill humans but not animals. Having forfeited the moral argument, they resort to appeals to tradition and popularity.

In response to the Alliance spokesman, Mr Linzey could easily say “Well how do know that rape feels worse than hunting? Have you ever been hunted?” In a comparison between being hunted down by dogs and being raped, most people would probably choose rape, and any sane person would certainly say that both are immoral and ought to be illegal. If a clear distinction between the moral status humans and animals is not made, what possible defense of hunting can be made? And how can one defend the moral status of humans if one does not recognize what makes them different from animals in the first place?

In short, hunting is doomed in England not because the arguments of the anti-hunt lobby have any merit, or because the defense of the hunters is wrong, but because hunters fail to provide any defense for their views at all, other to offer vague clichés such as “tradition,” “way of life,” and desperate resorts to public opinion. Realizing that they have nothing to offer in defense, they argue for compromise measures such as registration and various limits on where and how they hunt.

The gun lobby in America faces the same proposition. While the liberals offer laughable claims that guns are intrinsically evil, gun owners fail to defend their position on a basis of individual rights and refer to the traditional role of guns in American society and the Second Amendment. There is no certainly no question that gun ownership is an American tradition and a right guaranteed by the Constitution, but until recently fox hunting was an even older British tradition that collapsed before a small but vocal minority. Until gun owners on both sides of the pond realize that they must defend their rights on a moral basis and offer a principled stand for individual rights, their freedoms will continue to be eroded by collectivists with preposterous claims that hunting amounts to rape and guns are evil while criminals are not. Ironically, it is Tony Blair who stated in response to calls to weaken the hunting ban that “this is a moral issue, and as soon as you try and compromise on a moral issue you end up hacking everybody off.” Until conservatives stop “conserving” and start defending their rights, their stance is as useless as the fox hunters.

(By the way, I think the NRA’s willingness to compromise on their principles makes them unworthy of anyone’s support. If you want to support an organization that truly supports your rights, I recommend you check out Keep and Bear Arms)

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0 Responses to Fox Hunting and the Politics of Compromise

  1. liberty

    i hate and i meen hate fox hunting im only 11 years old and have riped down every singh i have seen in my area

  2. David Veksler

    Wow, the educational system in the UK is even worse than our own! Not only are they growing up to be good little commies, but they don’t even know how to write!

  3. sum kid

    its do wrong and bad if i see a poster then ill rip it down

  4. sum kid

    its wrong ok dont do it

  5. Anonymous

    good so capaign aganst it and if i see it again then congratulations:)

  6. American

    Wow, Im an american researching this topic and Im surprised to see how ignorant you people seem to be here. I wish they made people take a test before the get internet acsess, you people would still be reading the newspaper. Oh and the author of this article is absolutely correct.

  7. i think those fucking tiny dicked cunts should be hunted down slotered by a pack of beten brainwashed dogs deinared decapitated and plased above my fier place and then see how those stuk up so far-right-they-fall-of-there-horse up there ass mother fuckers like that.
    (excuce me for my bad spelling i am only 13 and i am schooled in the uk) PEACE OUT BITCHES!!!!

  8. fred

    stop fox hunting

  9. corrina

    i dont se how andrew linzey has got the bottle to say that fox hunting is like rape. not atall being a rape victim myself i feel that it is morally wrong to even think that. being raped ruins the rest of your life and its always there staring you right in the face. you obviously have no idea what you are going on about. if your gunna make judgements then make sure you know what you are asaying and how you are addressing them .

  10. wow, id like 2 c hunters get chased down & shot, it is a matter injust dis-respect

  11. marie

    how can u say she is wrong? yes, rape ruins ur life 4eva, BUT SO DOES BEING SHOT…. i mean u dont even hav a life 2 ruin, lol !!!

  12. galfgarion

    wow, it’s clear that none of the anti-hunting crowd posting here even begins to comprehend the above article. the morality of hunting lies in man’s inherent right to seek his own happiness… apart from coercing other men to his will. thus forcibly preventing a person from hunting or performing any other activity that does not harm another human or violate his individual rights is immoral. at the core of the issue is that man’s mind is the highest value. human beings are more important than animals. Linzey’s “moral” argument clearly shows his contempt for man’s mind.

  13. blackmilk

    Firstly, what other arguements can conservatives make apart from tired cliche’s and boring sound bites, they (you)no nothing else. The author of this article claims that the conservative’s lack a moral arguement is their downfall, not true. It’s just that they simply don’t have any moral arguement. The same is for Pro gun lobbyists in the USA – gunshot wounds kill too many people in your country, the rational thing to do is ban them.

    Secondly, the author gets too tied up in a moral arguement, the simple fact is that the majority of Uk citizens want this banned, our politicians therefore have banned it. This is called people’s democracy, maybe you should adopt it in America, it’s really good. The author points out that a small vocal minority won the vote, he needs to do more research.

    Lastly, when has a moral arguement EVER won an individual his rights. The only truth in this world is the power of the State and Coercion.

  14. apolkadot

    look, fox hunting was a part of the economy over there, i used to live in england and have spoken to many who fox hunt there. making it illegal put a lot of ppl out of jobs, many hounds now have nothing to do, since it it illegal the ppl who donate money for hunting have stopped or at least mostly stopped giving money to the ppl who take care of the dogs, now the caretakers have less money to feed them with and many are doing worse than before. they are not good pets and cannot be given away and obviously the solution is not to kill them, so many are not taken care of as good as can be. the hounds are not just discarded, the bond between the master and his/her hounds is very close and the master keeps very good care of them as their own children, granted there are a very few who mistreat the hounds, but that is so rare and more dogs are eaten in asia and killed for those purposes. the horses are taken great care of, and ppl put all of the money they have into keeping them happy, i know a man who could live a rich life with crappy horses, but instead spent tons of money on vet bills for his horse who contracted cancer of the brain. the saddle makers now have much less of a consumer base, if ppl cant fox hunt, then they will most likely stop riding all together and those ppl lose their jobs, the hunt master families lose sources of income, and farmers will now have more stock lost. the foxes kill tons of chickens and what not and a few foxes lost to a pack of hounds is not so bad, they do shoot it, but i believe many of you eat pork and to kill pigs they drag many of them behind a vehicle to their deaths so you can fill your happy fat tummies. horses live a lot longer when taken care of by humans, obviously, but they wouldn’t take them hunting if the horse didn’t want to. horses love to gallop alongside other horses through the land and i know that they love jumping. it is not cruel to ride a horse, mine drags me to the jumps and i know for a fact she enjoys it. she is always happy to see me and can’t wait to go to hunts. i don’t think it is right to kill animals for sport, but fox hunting was created for a reason and that is to save the farmers a lot of trouble. i know not a ton of foxes are killed by hunting, but enough that the government will have to step in and find a way to exterminate the excess overrunning the countrysides killing the chickens and causing more trouble than hunting ever did. fox hunting should not be done solely as a sport. i, in fact, hunt coyotes and they are too smart to be hunted so they haven’t been caught in, i believe, 6 years now. they kill baby calves and pigs and many other animals that are pets here in texas. the way the coyotes are killed here is the hounds do it themselves, it is just like a pack of coyotes getting one of their own b/c it is old or sick. the ones that are caught are going to die soon and if anything their long painfull deaths are shortened to a few moments. it is very natural and should never have been prohibited. i know that animals are not for our entertainment and only the illegal and unfair hunting should be outlawed, not the pure kind that saves many of our sweet little cows, so there, a person has given reasons other than just cliches and crap, those are real reasons

  15. charley

    Im only 10 but
    FOX HUNTING IS WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!
    and i hate any one who does it

  16. marilyn

    The tradition of fox hunting in England has finally come to an end, when people become enlightened,better educated and empathic, they have realised that just because it was done in the past does not mean that it has to continue into the future, fox hunting was always a tradition and so called sport of the upper classes of british society, and there is something very very sick about people, horses and dogs enjoying chasing a terrified fox, then people enjoyng watching the dogs tear the fox into little bloody pieces. the upper classes can still go on their “hunts” but use a lure that the dogs can scent and follow, it then negates the hunters need to block up any foxhole and badger sett they find to stop a fox escaping. then forgetting to unblock them after the chase, the so called sport was not set up to help farmers, it was an excuse, farmers were quite capable of shootong foxes themselves. now they will have make better chicken coops instead. As far as the hunt masters are concerned, they would still be in business if the upper classes cared about them enough to chase the lure, and if they have too many dogs, then all they have to do is to stop using their bitches as puppy machines. This is supposed to be a new century, where compassion for each other and love for the animals we share this world with is of paramount importance, animals have as much right to an existance as we have, if we are “overrun” with one particular species, it is our fault, with our encroachment into their world, and our wasteful nature, if there is more for animals to eat, then animals will breed more, nature was always good at naturally limiting the creatures in her world until we came along and ruined everything, with our greedy natures and uncaring attitudes. what we have to remember is they were here first. and I am grateful for each and every single one of them.

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