Friday, May 26, 2006
About three of years ago attended an RSPCA AGM. The platform, together with attending delegates were dominated by the sort of self-righteous animal-rights mindset that hunting and other country sports people have become depressingly familiar with over the years.
One of the motions accepted for debate involved re-homing retired racing greyhounds. The last speaker to be selected was Roger Helmer MEP for East Leicestershire (the organisers clearly had no idea what he was about to say). To many sighs, oooh's, ahhh's, nods of approval and the odd ripple of applause, Roger described just how lovable and worthy such animals are as household pets. He then concluded by saying - and I paraphrase as accurately as I can remember it:
"I should know; over the past 20 years I have taken on 5 retired racing greyhounds; without exception they have been contented rewarding animals to care for; and every year they come with me to Altcar - to fulfill their potential in the Waterloo Cup, doing just as nature intended".
Those of us from the hunting community had no idea it was coming and neither did anyone else; There were a few seconds of hushed, disbelieving shock; then the place erupted. It was a moment to savour. Hundreds of earnest, sour-faced, puritanical, do-gooders provoked to outrage (and we all know just how comical an outraged puritan is to behold!) - it was hilarious! Presentation and timing were masterful. It made my day and I'll never forget it.
Anyone who applauds such fearless honesty and independence of spirit in elected representatives will be outraged to learn that Roger has had the Conservative whip withdrawn (note the word whip - just a small example of how hunting-with-hounds permeates the language) for being too enthusiastic in challenging and rooting out corruption at Brussels. He was required by his party to back off, in another example of that "shhhh keep-your-head - down; don't-rock-the-boat" approach to life that has played such a large part in assisting the enemies of country sports. But Roger is not the sort to keep his head down; if he spots an injustice he tackles it and the stuffed shirts can lump it. We need more like him.
A campaign to have Roger reinstated is underway and I urge you to support it. The website is <Here> Email <Here>