In a couple of short days there has been a massive swell of support for the call to stop club hunting in Epping Forest and the buffer lands. I know the City of London is responding to complaints by the public and trying to justify their decision to endorse a London club being able to promote and market the management of the deer herd around Epping Forest and their buffer land that is not a private estate in the general understanding of that term.
To start with the term Epping Forest describes the ancient woodland we all know and love but also is the name of the district, the surrounding area and we do not want to see clubs killing for fun in the district as well as the forest. In a dismissive move to justify their actions they are forgetting the collections of surrounding towns are also known collectively as Epping Forest.The local MP is indeed elected to the Epping Forest seat.
The City of London once again is forgetting the impact on local residents who have their own rights of which the City does not control, it is not our local authority.
Apart from the fact that there has been enough “mistakes” to justify the claim that hunting has indeed taken place within the actual forest.
Epping Forest borders London and is an oasis within a heavily built up area. With the move by the local council to encourage heavy infill developments in the surrounding towns the forest itself is becoming an isolated strip of natural land that will become more used and have more pressure placed on it as being the main area of accessible natural green space for thousands upon thousands of people. More people combined with sport hunting means a recipe for disaster.
In what is seen as a progressive society that especially in London is struggling with knife and gun crime exactly what message is a central London authority sending out to millions when it endorses hunting for sport whilst neighbouring boroughs and police forces are doing their utmost to convince people, especially the young that carrying or using knives and guns are wrong?
Epping forest is not without its problems with knife and gun crime and exactly what can ruin the hard work done by others in educating people to turn away from carrying weapons say when the City of London has just allowed relatively inexperienced people to carry weapons? Dont forget hunters carry knives as well. Whilst being an oasis of natural land it is not the country neither is it a country estate. If this was happening another ten miles out where country life takes over from city life the message may somehow be more justifiable?
Epping Forest borders the capital. If in any area of the capital the public were to witness people wandering about with guns as has happened here there would be mass panic, the immediate assumptions are obvious. What makes Epping Forest any different to this? Nothing. Once again we are witnessing a failure between governance and local knowledge and the identity crisis that the City is having. Epping Forest is not a country estate it is the “people’s forest” and can not be managed in the same way that country estates are.
For a central London authority to advocate sport killing is wrong and a mistake within its wider role as being part of the governance structure of our capital city.
For a custodian of a beautiful natural asset such as the people’s forest to advocate sport killing is wrong especially when the emphasis in their main role is on conservation and preservation of what is seen as the symbol of the district.
And then to have the audacity of selling the kill back to the hunter for £2.75 per kilo or whatever the cost is is even worse, not quite as bad as allowing heads to be kept as trophies though?
The sooner the keepers are allowed to get back to the work they have previously done sensitively, professionally, and honourably the better in my opinion.