I don't think I'd ever seen a fox until I moved to London, which is probably why most of the Countryside Alliance live here too. My first lodgings were in a ground floor flat about fifty yards from the railway tracks in Acton, and I used to see the crooked tail of a fox disappearing through the twilight, away from the rubbish bins and towards the fence and the undergrowth at the top of the railway embankment. Eventually the fox grew bolder, and once or twice towards the end of my time there it came right up to the window that comprised most of the wall on the railway side of the sitting-room.
When I moved to Brixton they were everywhere, perhaps encouraged by the large proportion of hunt sabs and environmentalists among the population. Certainly, on any given weekend one is more likely to hear the sound of a police siren than that of a hunting horn, and Alsatians are a rather more common sight than beagles. The cats would prefer to see much less of any of these species. A few weeks ago one fox, which - I know not how - had managed to get into the back garden, came right up to the low window at that end of the house, which caused Alfred and Guthrum to resort to keening and running round in circles. For some time afterwards they refused to turn a corner until they had craned their necks both forwards and sideways to see if it was all right, as if they were trying to extend their bodies like Mr Fantastic. Certainly they had an unnatural, cartoon-like aspect to them. I'd never seen them stretch like that before.
Alf and Guth might have a case for limiting the vulpine population of the district. So might even the Countryside Alliance, if they didn't pretend that screaming round the countryside red-coated on a horse was anything to do with it. George Monbiot writes, quite rightly, that hunting is not only sadistic, but is all about reiterating the rights of the Norman class to have the countryside for themselves. He could have gone on to say that it is about that same class ritualising and practising cruelty and violence. When they smear their children's faces with the blood of the kill, those same children then go on to schools where they are taught to be military officers and give orders for the spilling of blood.
These things are important to these people ,and there's a good principle that says that if something is important to your enemy, you should find out why, and stop them doing it. Hopefully, after today, that will happen.