Monday, April 06, 2015
Victory for fox hunting after RSPCA abandons policy of 'pursuing pointless prosecutions' after collapse of latest case
The RSPCA is considering abandoning its controversial policy of 'pursuing pointless fox hunting prosecutions' after the collapse of the latest case.
The animal charity has no more legal actions left under the Hunting Act after its decision last month to drop the case against William Bryer, joint master of the renowned Cattistock Hunt in Dorset.
Following criticism for spending £22.5million pursuing animal welfare prosecutions last year, the RSPCA is now reviewing its policy on fox hunting cases.
The RSPCA has the power to bring its own prosecutions rather than rely on the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
However last October, a report commissioned by the charity recommended abandoning the policy and leaving the job to the CPS, which has more expertise.
The organisation stressed that its main role is to focus on the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals, rather than taking people to court.
A spokesman said: 'One of the questions we are currently looking into it whether or not we continue to prosecute under the Hunting Act.'
Other hunts use an exemption that allows dogs to flush out the animals from woodland which can then be shot.
There were more than 400 prosecutions under the controversial Hunting Act between 2009 and 2013.
Just 49 people were charged with hunting offences in 2005, but this more than doubled to 110 by 2010.
However critics claim many of these people are prosecuted under the Hunting Act for poaching offences, rather than fox hunting, and that hardly any are from official hunts.
Last month Mr Bryer's case collapsed after the RSPCA pulled out of a three-year battle to prove he had broken hunting laws.
His solicitor, Jamie Foster, claimed that the case had been flawed from the start. He said: 'There is video footage of my client laying legal trails before and after the alleged breach of the hunting ban which was not disclosed to us by the RSPCA.'
He said the laying of a trail, or a scent which the hounds can track rather than chasing a live animal, showed that the Cattistock had behaved responsibly, not recklessly as the prosecution claimed.
Tim Bonner, from the Countryside Alliance, said: 'We would welcome any decision by the RSPCA to leave the question of prosecuting hunts to the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
'The Society has always faced a fundamental difficulty acting as a prosecutor while also being a political campaigning organisation. It can only be in the best interests of animal welfare that the RSPCA returns to its core principles rather than pursuing pointless prosecutions through the courts.'
An RSPCA spokesman said: 'Whilst we have not changed our policy on prosecuting alleged offences under the Hunting Act we don't have any other hunt cases pending at the moment.'
Sajid Javid: The 'cultural' problem among Asian Muslim men
Muslim communities in parts of Britain have a “cultural” problem that has allowed Asian men to view women as commodities to be abused, Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, has said.
Mr Javid told The Daily Telegraph that some of the values in certain communities were “totally unacceptable in British society” and must be discussed by the Government.
Mr Javid, the son of a Muslim bus driver, said a “misplaced sense of political correctness” prevented police and social workers from “properly investigating” claims of abuse.
His comments follow inquiries into sexual abuse by Asian men in Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. The scandals saw hundreds of vulnerable young girls fall into the hands of gangs because the authorities failed to protect them, often because police and social workers were fearful of being presented as racist.
Mr Javid said: “Well, first of all the perpetrators were disproportionately Asian Muslim men, and I absolutely think there has been a misplaced sense of political correctness that prevented authorities, whether social workers or police, from properly investigating what was going on.
Mr Javid, the Culture Secretary, with the portrait of Lady Thatcher that hangs in his office
“If we are to learn proper lessons from this, we have to look at the cultural side of some communities in Britain and see why it is that in some communities there are men that have a view of women that is completely unacceptable in modern British society; why do they have such a low value of women that they see them as commodities to be abused?”
The Culture Secretary, who is seen as a future leader of the Conservative Party, said the authorities had to “get to the bottom of this” and emphasised that “we have to look at the cultural aspects of it”. He urged communities to look into “what might be going on that we don’t know about”.
Mr Javid added: “We can no longer be held back in any sense by political correctness. I know plenty of people, British Muslims, men and women, who would 100 per cent agree with that, not only out of a sense of shame but also because of the fear of what else might be going on.
“Some of the values that certain people in some communities have, in their attitudes to women or on the question of freedom of expression, are just totally unacceptable in British society; and we do no one any favours when we don’t investigate or talk about them
Attacks on Muslims will become specific hate crime, say Tories
What about attacks BY Muslims?
Every police force in England and Wales will be required to record anti-Muslim hate crimes and treat them as seriously as anti-Semitic attacks if the Tories win the next General Election, Theresa May has announced.
In a move hailed by Islamic groups, Mrs May said that police will have to record Islamophobic attacks as a separate category, just as anti-Semitic crimes are recorded separately.
At present some forces, including London’s Metropolitan Police, do record Islamophobic crimes as such. Other forces categorise them as hate crimes or specific offences such as assault or grievous bodily harm.
The new requirement will create the first accurate picture of the extent of Islamophobic hate crimes in Britain.
Charities say there has been a steady rise of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 9/11.
But after incidents such as the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in 2013 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, there are spikes in incidents in the UK, say experts.
Mrs May made her pledge in a speech on counter-extremism to the Foundation for Peace in London just before Parliament was dissolved.
She told the conference: ‘We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes.’
On the same day, Mrs May answered a question from Labour MP Kate Green in Parliament, who asked what steps the Government was taking to record anti-Muslim hate crimes.
Mrs May said: ‘A Conservative government would require the police to be recording Muslim hate crime, anti-Muslim incidents, as well as anti-Semitic incidents.’
The Home Office does not publish national statistics for Islamophobic offences.
But in 2013-14, police recorded 44,480 hate crimes, an increase of five per cent over the same period the previous year across England and Wales. The vast majority – 37,484 – were race-hate crimes.
Tell Mama, a Government-backed Islamic group, said that more than half of all the victims (54 per cent) of Islamophobic incidents are women, perhaps because they ‘appear more Islamic’, wearing the burka or headscarf.
Tell Mama figures show that in the ten months after the Lee Rigby attack, a total of 734 incidents were reported to the organisation – an increase of 20 per cent on the same period the previous year.
The most serious incident is believed to be the frenzied knife attack on Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea, 31, in Colchester, Essex, in June last year.
Detectives believe she was attacked because she was wearing Islamic clothes. So far no one has been arrested for the murder.
Mohammed Amin, a patron of Tell Mama, said of Mrs May’s speech: ‘This is a positive step forward.’ The Muslim Council of Britain has also welcomed the proposal. Iqbal Sacranie, the group’s former Secretary-General, said: ‘This change will bring parity between Muslim and Jewish groups.’
Australia: Perth hospital to have Muslim prayer room but no Christian chapel
OUTRAGED church leaders are lobbying the State Government for a Christian chapel to be built at the new Perth Children’s Hospital, warning “we need to stand up for our beliefs”.
Six religious leaders, including former tennis great Margaret Court, have written to Health Minister Kim Hames, demanding he “reverse the decision” not to have a dedicated area for Christians to pray at the $1.2 billion hospital, which opens next year.
And Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft has also written to Premier Colin Barnett about the need for a Christian chapel, likening a planned multi-faith centre to “an empty shell for people who are grasping for hope”.
Mrs Court, the senior pastor of the Victory Life Centre and the wife of former Liberal state president Barry Court, accused the State Government of “bowing” to the demands of minority groups by planning for a separate Muslim prayer area.
“It really saddened me when I found out. It’s not too late to change it,” she said. “We are a Judaeo Christian nation and I think we seem to always be bowing to minority groups and I think it’s very, very wrong.
“It’s very important that we do not lose our values or our standards and I think a lot of people, particularly in a children’s hospital... need somewhere to reach out to God.
“I think at all of our hospitals there need to be a Christian chapel or prayer room... if they want to have a prayer area for the Muslims that’s fine. But have one for the Christians.”
The latest WA report shows Christianity remains our most common religion (58 per cent), with other religions such as Buddhism (2.1 per cent), Islam (1.7 per cent) and Hinduism (0.9 per cent) on the rise.
A spokeswoman for the Child and Adolescent Health Service confirmed that there would be a dedicated Muslim prayer area within a “multi-faith centre” at the new hospital.
She said the same model operated at Princess Margaret Hospital, and a Christian chapel was located at nearby Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
“The multi-faith centre will incorporate a central worship area, featuring religious texts and/or iconology of significant faith traditions and a non-denominational book in which visitors can write their own prayers, surrounded by a private interview room, chaplaincy office and outdoor courtyard,” she said.
“There will also be also be a Muslim prayer area, separated from the central worship area by a fixed screen, and Islamic ablution facilities, within the PCH multi-faith centre.”
In their letter to the Government, church leaders said the multi-faith centre would “differ significantly to what is normally associated with a Christian chapel”.
“There will not be a cross or an open bible, paintings of other items that help create an atmosphere where people sense the presence of God and find comfort and strength,” they wrote.
Archbishop Herft said nurses and other medical staff from PMH had raised concerns with him that the new hospital would not have a dedicated Christian chapel.
He wrote to Mr Barnett in February but had not yet received a reply. “I do believe there needs to a chapel with symbols of the Christian faith that patients, their families and staff can turn to in moments of suffering and pain,” he said.
Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said “to simply provide an empty room which has no real beauty, comfort or dignity to it, and no flexibility, would not respect the needs of people at what will often be difficult and lonely times for them in a hospital setting”.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.