"Am I Safe Yet?"
Fox in Watercolour
"As an artist who adores painting wildlife, I feel it is my duty to speak up for the very creatures who have given me years of pleasure painting them. Not to mention the income from sales of these paintings. I owe them. Do you? "
Wildlife worldwide is under threat. We hear of poaching in Africa for the ivory trade. The horrific fight against bear bile farming is being fought amazingly by Animals Asia. We hear of the plight of whales and dolphins. And the traumatic Yulin Dog Festival which is so horrific in detail that to even consider discussing how these animals suffer makes your stomach churn. All these sickening acts are carried out in countries far from my home. I live in England. A civilised country with civilised standards. We care about wildlife here and wouldn't dream of allowing it to happen on our doorstep.
Not true. At least for a minority here.
My art has been effected this week. I have hidden my emotions well but I have found it really difficult to paint or wokr on writing my beautiful new book. I almost feel as though I am entitled to compensation from the UK government for stress created by making so many wildlife lovers, like me, in this country fear that a barbaric pastime is about to be made legal again. Due to our Prime Minister choosing to hold a debate and free vote on amendments to the current Hunting Act. Changes which would make it all but impossible to prosecute any illegal activity.
I am not usually one who falls into a political debate. But this is wrong on so many counts. Fox hunting in my view should have disappeared along with witch hunts , public hanging and cock fighting. They say its' tradition? So was sending children up chimneys to clean them.
We should have moved on as a society.
We should care about those who can't speak for themselves.
All the lies about why fox hunting should still exist from helping farmers to keeping fox numbers down can be dispelled by experts. It doesnt take much to imagine that you don't need a pack of dogs with an "audience" of hunting people to disperse of one fox. That is like village crowds standing around to watch and enjoy a hanging in the public square years ago. Isn't that an awful thought? A family day out to watch a murder. Recent features in the press highlight foxes and cubs being kept in a barn to be hunted. The cruelty behind the chocolate box scenes is never shown on TV . We see pretty riders looking stunning in their wonderful costumes. There is even a web site where someone asks casually what they should wear to go cubbing. That is when hounds are trained to kill foxes, on fox cubs. There are different outfits for different events to kill.
What kind of people need a different wardrobe to go out to kill a young or old fox ?
Far different from my what shall I wear to paint!
My heart sinks that there will be a vote in parliament tomorrow. A vote to change the Hunting Act. To appease the fox hunting community who helped our Prime Minister win the recent election. A Prime Minister who is keeping his promise but totally ignoring the many people he represents in this country.
So not only has wildlife no voice.
80% of the British public have no voice.
But surprisingly they have. Across England people are outraged that an act that works should be tampered with. People don't want to move backwards in history and animal welfare. They want to move forward. How shameful that in this day and age an educated man such as our prime Minister should wish to bring back the most cruelest sport of all. If people want to ride they can drag hunt. But for some that isn't fun because there is no kill at the end of the day. And that is all this is about.
So last night I sat quietly painting the subject that is emotionally tearing me to bits this week. It isn't just foxes that are effected by the Hunting Act. It is in place to protect all wildlife. Hare and stags are also in danger.
"Am I Safe Yet" is dedicated to everyone trying to prevent any changes to the Hunting Act.
Which in my view needs strengthening not relaxing.
Thank you to everyone who cares about wildlife as I do. I would normally apologise for my rant and my leap into a political debate. But the fox hunters claim they should have the freedom to hunt and kill. My counter claim is we have the right to protect our wildlife just as much. Only our claim takes the moral high ground in compassion and decency.
As an artist who adores painting wildlife, I feel it is my duty to speak up for the very creatures who have given me years of pleasure painting them. Not to mention the income from sales of these paintings. I owe them. Do you?
There are many petitions to sign on this subject. You can read more about the Hunting Act and why it is under threat via this link.