The Hunting
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In recent years a substantial number of MP’s have demonstrated a cynical determination to ignore all reasoned, fair and objective advice concerning the proposed need for legislation relating to hunting with dogs. They have assiduously ignored the evidence of successive Government inquiries, and the findings and recommendations of independent research.

The process of objective debate leading to a democratic and balanced solution has been usurped by a vindictive and oppressive parliamentary majority representing a minority of the voting population. This Declaration is not a party-political protest, it is a protest by British people of all political parties on behalf of liberties that successive Governments have always promised to uphold. Our Prime Minister Tony Blair himself reaffirmed this in his speech to Congress (18 July 2003): “We are fighting for the inalienable right of human kind ... to be free. Free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others. That's what we're fighting for. And that's a battle worth fighting.”

It is a settled democratic principle that legislation should have the consent of law-abiding communities that are affected by it, and that it should be guided by natural justice. Those who hunt or support hunting would be the only people whose lives would be adversely affected by a ban on hunting. This Declaration clearly and unequivocally demonstrates that such a proposed law does not have their consent.

Throughout history our citizens have put their personal freedom in the balance to resist oppressive and ill considered laws. We intend to follow in this honourable tradition of civil disobedience - a tradition endorsed by law-abiding communities in both Britain and elsewhere. We believe that by publicly declaring our position now we are upholding true democratic principles and the spirit of tolerance.

Consequently, we the undersigned declare our intention to disobey, peacefully, any law purporting to ban hunting; any such law would be manifestly unjust. We do this with sadness, and recognising that our defiance inevitably threatens our freedoms and livelihoods. We believe that to date we have clearly demonstrated our respect for the law and its institutions. We take such action with the expectation and acceptance of any penalty that may follow, in the hope of persuading both the legislators and our fellow citizens of the injustice of such a ban. We feel it appropriate to put our personal freedoms at risk in this belief. Civil disobedience is being forced on us, and it is by this action that we demonstrate that the legislative process is being abused by those who would govern us. It is not we who are undermining the law, but the Government.

We call upon the Government to recognise that it must uphold and affirm the rights of law-abiding minorities if the rule of law and the sense of community are to endure. We ask those that govern us to reconsider introducing such ill-considered and subjective legislation, the consequence of which will be that law-abiding people are made, simply by following their traditional way of life, into criminals.