Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Final Bad Hare Day Ends in the Hole

Snobs and yobs shiver with joy in Waterloo mud

Cheering crowd swaps insults with 'antis' under police escort, as 158-year-old event is staged for what may be last time

John Vidal
Tuesday February 15, 2005
The Guardian

Of all the blood sports the British ever thought to invent - or to ban - hare coursing ranks as one of the more lunatic.

In its most sophisticated form, seen yesterday near Formby in Lancashire at the 158th and probably the last Waterloo Cup, thousands turn out to watch two greyhounds at a time pursue a brown hare across a vast field.

In the deep black mud, with a freezing gale whistling in off the sea, among the litter of hamburger wrappers and beer cans, with burly men in camouflage suits urinating in the surrounding cabbage field and 64 dogs queuing to rip hares apart, the Waterloo would seem to be one of the least attractive and most senseless events in the world.

But almost everyone at Withins Field yesterday loved it to distraction, swearing that they would continue their sport, ban or no ban, legally or not.

"That were bloody great," said Jimmy from Manchester, drinking Glenfiddich whiskey.

He and 10,000 others on the public bank, a huge mound of earth, had just seen Cashel's Evening and Paddy's Toy fly flat-out for 900 metres across the field behind the hare.

They jinked once to the left, twice to the right, and then raced back across another 800 metres at full, thrilling stretch.

At no point did it seem possible that the hare could escape, but it did, time and time again, easily outrunning the dogs by the end.

"Good lad," cried Jimmy's friend Jack. Like the rest of the crowd, he had not been applauding the dogs but the hare.

This week is, theoretically, the last that hunting with dogs like this will be seen in England and Wales, and the crowd was swollen yesterday by people keen to see it - and show it to their children - for the first and last time.

It's a shame, but I just do not accept that it will not carry on," said Frank, who had taken the day off from his local authority job. "It may not be legal, but its not the end."

The spectators for the Waterloo Cup are traditionally divided between the "snobs" and the "yobs". But yesterday there was little to tell between them as both types shivered in the wind, raucous and thoroughly enjoying the side event, known as "insulting the antis."

Two hundred of these braved the march into what they called the killing fields with a police escort, a helicopter, and it must be said, a gloating expression on their faces.

This year's ritual exchanges were, it was widely agreed, some of the fruitiest, least class ridden and most brutal in years, both sides firing salvos across a hedge next to the snobs' car park.

"This is a complete disgrace," said Gus Johnston, from the nearby village of Aintree. "I am totally ashamed of all of them. These people are absolute scum. The hare is the most beautiful animal in the world. Isn't there enough to appreciate without killing it?

"I can't think how anybody could possibly protest about anything as natural as this," said Johnny Bates, of Chafcombe Manor in Devon.

He added the worst insult he could think of: "These people are nothing but supermarket-food-eating-daytime-TV-soap-watchers. Ugh!"

"Just fuck off home," said a well-dressed woman, as young Arabella Arkwright, riding on the back of a friend, yelled "Kiss my arse" at the crowd of antis. "This is about people's rights to freedom," she said.

"Scum, scum, scum," yelled back the antis.

"Won't we miss them! Life is so wonderful with them," said a woman getting out the family silver and the salmon from the back of a Mercedes.

The side-show over, the crowd proceeded to enjoy the racing and each other.

"It's a real get-together. Every poacher in England is here," said Darren, who goes out with his lurcher to places which the police will want to know about next week.

"Tony Blair just doesn't get it. Ask these people and you will find most are from council estates. They don't live in the country. This is an urban thing," he said.

But he was interrupted.

"Goooo-oo-oo-on, goooo-oo-oo-on," yelled the crowd, as first a streaker plunged into a puddle and then another pair of dogs raced after a hare and caught him in less than 30 seconds. The end was quick, and the body put in a white carrier bag.

"Bad hare day," said Darren's friend James.

"We come for the sport. If the hare gets away then we cheer it," said Darren.

Yesterday three hares were caught and killed in the first 17 races. If the meeting is like last year, 11 will die in the three days.

"Yes, there is a certain amount of cruelty, but its not as bad as factory farming," the Tory countryside spokesman, James Gray, said.

"Thank God it's almost over. It really is a vile event," said Paul Timpson, a local hunt saboteur. "I hope I never have to come back here again."


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