The Campaigners

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By : Accidental Writer

14/10/2020

“Foxhunting Evidence UK” …..  Have you ever thought, whilst scrolling or browsing through our website and facebook page & group, what goes on behind the scenes?  

 

The group admin part only amounts to a small percentage of the work that goes on in a campaign group. Unbeknown to many, most of the work goes on behind the scenes.

 

It is rather like that analogy of seeing the swan gliding effortlessly and elegantly through the water, but you can’t see the effort its little feet are making below the surface.

 

Well, the Admin Team is a bit like that. Members are verified, approved, monitored and posts read. 

But what else, you might ask. Here is a little light reading on the ‘under the water’ part, that few people realise. There are many parts to a campaign group and all the work they do.

 

Firstly, I will tell you how I arrived here. I had been a member of facebook for several years. My account stayed dormant as I never had the inclination or time to bother with it. However, just before last Christmas, I badly injured my knee (my own stupid fault). That meant completely resting it. I thought I would drag my facebook account out of hibernation.

 

I became interested in wildlife and nature groups. I have always loved nature, trees and wild plants. That is how I found FHEUK. The group came up in a suggestion.

 

It might surprise people I wasn’t always anti fox hunting, although I have never hunted. I had moved to London at a young age and foxhunting never entered my head. It was only years later, I moved to the countryside in Sussex and was introduced to hunting fraternity. 

I was horrified at the tales these hunting people told me of lambs being eaten alive. I was told the kindest quickest way to stop this was allowing the lead hound to “give a quick bite to the back of the neck” they claimed the fox “wouldn’t know a thing about it”. I naively believed them. After all, who was some upstart from London to argue with the born and bred custodians of the countryside.

 

One day I met a lady who changed my perception. A wonderful lady who rescued animals, and owls who had been hit by cars and other needy animals. She even had a sign warning drivers ‘Beware low flying owls’ as they were hit by cars as they swooped to catch prey. She also kept sheep, chickens and was a fox lover.

 

I began to question the whole ethos of hunting. It didn’t hold up to scrutiny. The numbers didn’t add up. The hunters claims seemed fake.

 

I recall the defining moment of becoming anti when I witnessed something I wish I could forget. The haunting, desperate and pleading expression of a hunted fox. This was as it took refuge in my garden under an outbuilding. The entourage arrived, the eager beavers with greedy eyes, hungry for a kill. I sent them packing. That was my fox who lived in my orchard, happily gorging on the fallen apples, pears and blackberries. Sunning itself with the horses in the field. How dare these people! I felt so angry.

 

I didn’t get involved with anti hunting until earlier this year when I became a member of “Foxhunting Evidence UK”, just after Christmas. I, like a lot of others, thought fox hunting was no longer legal. What kind of evidence could the anti’s possibly have?

 

I was shocked at what I saw and read. I didn’t want to look at the videos or look at the pictures. To be honest, they traumatised me and gave me sleepless nights. I couldn’t imagine why hunters behaved like that and were so cruel. Soon, I wanted to do more to help. My personal revulsion became secondary to wanting to help to stop this.

 

I remember saying something like ‘I wish I could do something to help’. I envisaged driving along following the hunt as a monitor. However, with an injured knee and unable to drive, that was a non starter.

 

Steve suggested I became an armchair moderator for the group instead. I tentatively agreed. I didn’t want to stuff up and look an idiot. Something I don’t seem to have much trouble doing. Steve and Eloise were most kind and helpful and soon I felt I was at least doing something positive and supportive.

 

Then Covid! We were all stuck at home. 

Steve was busy working all hours campaigning and running the group. I asked if there was anything I could do. “Yes” Steve said, “write an awareness article or do a poster…” If he could have seen my face right then! “Of course” I blurted out, secretly thinking ..”me and my big mouth!”

 

I took my time and thought Steve would forget and my pride would be intact, I didn’t have much confidence that I could do a worthy job. Wrong!  He kept politely asking how it was going until he made me fess up. I hadn’t done anything, and I felt such a let down. That was the push I needed.

With lots of encouragement and support from Steve, I finally made a start.

 

It was such a lot of work, particularly the researching and double checking to ensure facts were correct, cross referencing everything. 

Next, passing it over to Steve to turn it into a readable article for the website, uploading it all and setting it out.  

Steve was brilliant and helped a lot, despite the fact he was snowed under with his own personal work as well as campaign work.

Having spent some time working with Steve, it’s a real eye opener to learn what actually goes on behind the scenes of campaigning. I had no idea at first.

He spends endless hours campaigning, liaising with people, hours spent answering emails and messages, updating data bases, researching, lobbying people, studying laws, managing the website, making awareness material, gathering information & evidence, organising it all, then mass mailing it all out. 

I was shocked at the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and i’ve only seen just the tip of the iceberg. 

I felt proud to be a part of that and contribute something. It actually gave me confidence and a sense of accomplishment getting involved.

 

Campaigning is only a small cog in the big wheel of anti hunt movement. It all starts with the tremendous work our sabs and monitors do, being on the frontline and gathering the evidence to enable us to campaign. Huge thanks to them. It enables us to prove hunts are liars. 

 

Many of us don’t have the time, physical capabilities, assertiveness or bravery to be a sab, so online campaigning is a way to contribute. It takes no effort or time to press a share button, make a memes or support the work of campaigners.

 

We are all volunteers so the hours spent, are willingly and freely given.

 

What does disappoint us though, after all the time and effort and the hard work spent, it does not always have the results we hope for. For reasons not always clear to us, people don’t always engage, help by sharing to get the message out beyond the immediate anti fox hunting groups. 

There are millions of anti hunt people, however it sometimes seems our weakness is the inability to simply press a button i.e to send a template letter, share an awareness poster or sign a petition.

 

It’s people like me, previously unaware or indifferent to what has been exposed by campaigners and activists, we need to get onboard to do our bit.

There is so much more we can all achieve if everyone does their little bit to help save our wildlife.

 

All we ask is for your support. It’s for our foxes and all of us who love our wildlife and want to see it safe and able to thrive.