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The British Field Sports Society

(This is the unedited and uncut text of the article The British Field Sports Society sought to have censored by threatening a court injunction and legal damages against the author and his service provider. Many thanks to those ISPs and private individuals, both in the UK and abroad, who have since offered to host this site for free.)

photograph of deer killed for fun by BFSS/Countryside Alliance supporters

Killing for Kicks

What does it feel like to be hunted down in terror and then torn apart while still alive? Certain types of experience are so horrific that their nature is hard to contemplate for long without feeling physically sick. The infliction of agonising pain on another sentient creature might at least seem in need of some compelling moral justification. It may come as a shock, however, to find The British Field Sports Society promotes the institutionalised rituals of such cruelty - for fun. This chillingly ill-named outfit has lately been trying to infiltrate and subvert the hopelessly inoffensive Royal Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals. Members are even being offered cash bribes for procuring new recruits with a similar taste in ritualised abuse.

It is always difficult to predict the likely moral values of our descendants. Yet the advocacy and systematic practice of terrorising the vulnerable and defenceless - simply for thinly-disguised kicks - will surely strike posterity as among our vilest social traditions. If a functionally equivalent human infant or toddler, or a much-loved family pet, were preyed upon and physically torn limb-from-limb in the way living "wild" animals can still be treated, then the full sanctions of the Law could be brought to bear against the perpetrators. We would regard such depraved thrills, quite rightly, as barbarous beyond belief. Yet as things stand at present, this sort of perversion is still perfectly legal if performed in the name of a traditional "sport".

In the old American South, runaway slaves were medically diagnosed as suffering from "drapetomania" - the pathological desire for freedom. The condition could be "treated" by the use of torture. The British Field Sports Society peddles an almost equally Orwellian parody of the abuse of language and for no less self-serving ends. Ineffectual pacifists who try and disrupt the slaughter of the innocent are damned for their "violence"(sic). Peaceful direct action to defend terrified victims is denounced as "terrorist". Socially responsible animal activists who use non-violent tactics to protect their fellow creatures are labelled as "criminals"; while the violence frequently practised by hunters on their opponents is described euphemistically as mere "over-reaction" by law-abiding citizens. In an Alice-in-Wonderland, blame-the-victim syndrome, even the helpless quarry are held responsible for their fate. Deer, for example, are condemned for being "destructive"(!) because they "overfeed". It's hard to know how much of all this rationalising sophistry is self-deception, and how much is calculated deceit. In either case, the end-product is the same.

Hunters often like to point to the huge amount of suffering in the world as though its existence somehow justified our wantonly adding to it. They bewail the remoteness of animal activists from the "realities" of country life - as if one's first-hand ignorance of the realities of, say, torture, somehow debarred one from putting the case against it. At the risk of showing an unduly naïve faith in the mechanisms of parliamentary democracy, it seems likely that a free vote in the House of Commons under the next Labour government will finally bring this despicable chapter in British social history to a close. Until then, the horror and the hypocrisy goes on; and so must the campaign to stop it.

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(8 August 1996)

The BFSS is attempting to have this article censored. Its Chief Press Secretary is using the threat of a possible court injunction and legal damages against the author and his Internet Service Provider unless it is removed from this server within 7 days. Irrespective of their views on hunting, Net-users opposed to censorship in cyberspace may wish to make their views on freedom of expression - or otherwise - known to the relevant parties.

(28 August 1996)
Last night the BFSS's solicitors faxed Pavilion a further legal threat. Court action would be imminent unless Pavilion bowed to BFSS demands and censored this site by 4.00 p.m. today. If you can still read these words, then the latest BFSS attempt to stifle freedom of expression on the Net has yet to succeed.

Contact the BFSS :
See also :
Dave's Diary
(7 Aug)
Censoring Cyberspace (BFSS lets the Net know what it can do with its blue ribbons)
UK Press Coverage

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