The Hunting
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1. What is the Hunting Declaration?

The Declaration is a statement by those who sign, of their intention, in the event of the current banning Hunting Bill passing into law, to openly and peacefully refuse to accept any such unjust law.

2. Why has it been written?

Our Democracy is based on the principle that we give our consent to be governed. We give that consent because we trust that those who govern us will do so in a fair and reasonable manner. Laws that will affect our lives must be based on evidence and tolerance – the current Bill to ban hunting is based on intolerance and the personal prejudices of MPs. It is more about attacking those who hunt than about any genuine or practical concern for animal welfare. The Government put forward a Bill proposing the regulation of hunting; the backbench MPs have turned it into a measure proposing the abolition of hunting. The Declaration gives those who support the freedom to hunt the opportunity to declare their opposition to any potential future ban and their intention openly to refuse to accept any such unjust law.

3. What is it hoping to achieve?

We hope to show to the public, press and Parliament the clearest possible evidence that enough people are committed to non-cooperation with any potential banning law that to proceed with a banning Bill will become unthinkable. Like the March, this declaration is yet more evidence that not only would any banning law not have the support of the majority of the public or those who would be affected by it, but that people are determined and committed in sufficient numbers to render any ban unworkable. The Declaration is also part of a wider initiative to ensure that appropriate preparations are in place to ensure a cohesive, determined and ultimately successful civil rights campaign against any unjust law that attempts to ban hunting.

4. Should you sign it?

Though the issue of hunting is not one of the great civil liberties issues like apartheid or slavery, it will be a great wrong if a law is allowed to be passed that is not based on evidence but is designed purely to criminalize a minority activity. The attempt to ban hunting is motivated by a desire for social and political retribution and ignores the evidence and enquiries that led to the Government putting forward a bill to regulate hunting.

5. Will it make any difference?

Our Government has publicly steered its commitment to governing with tolerance and to campaigning against prejudice and the oppression of minorities. If a bill to ban hunting is passed into law it will be one of the most illiberal acts of modern politics. It will establish a principle that the personal prejudice of MPs can, in the face of the facts and public opinion, enact laws that prejudice the lives of people simply because the MPs don’t like them and what they do. This is fundamentally wrong and will set a precedent for the future victimisation of other minority groups.

6. How can it help hunting?

The Declaration provides evidence to the media, public and politicians of the number of people who will be involved in opposing any unjust law, should it be enacted. There will be enough to ensure that any such law will be unenforceable and so unworkable.

7. Who is responsible for it?

This is a grass root initiative. It has come from those who support the freedom to hunt and who are determined to ensure that a Bill to ban hunting is never passed into law, and if it is then to make that law unworkable so that it is eventually revoked.

8. Can I show my support for the Hunting Declaration by breaking other laws – not paying taxes, for example, or obstructing the traffic on the motorway?

Definitely not. The point of a campaign of civil disobedience is to disobey the law in question, and no other. Signatories to the HD must show through their conduct that they are law-abiding citizens, driven to disobey a particular law, but no other, and prepared to accept their punishment in order to show that the law in question is unjust.

9. Is it a Criminal Offence to sign the Hunting Declaration?

Definitely not. You will be signing that it is your intention to disobey any future law banning hunting. The number of signatories will show that people are determined and committed in sufficient numbers to render any ban unworkable.