LETTER : Hunters are the messiest of our farmland crossers
Dear Editor, During the summer months, Oliver McDonnell, writing inthe Farming Independent , highlighted the problem of modern farming: people walking across farm land, making gaps in ditches, leaving gates open, trampling through fields of corn, then passing through fields of livestock, sometimes with dogs, exciting and terrifying sheep and putting themselves at risk of attack by a suckler cow (protecting her calf) or a bull.
These people have no idea of the damage they do, and couldn't care less. When they have gone, there are cattle in neighbours' corn, or sheep have had become excitable and could ultimately lose lambs.
The farmer discovers that all this activity could cost him days of putting everything right. If he says anything to the intruders, he gets 'the finger'.
I can well sympathise with Mr McDonnell and support him in his article. But I was surprised that he didn't mention the fox hunting people. Maybe they didn't bother him at all. If he had over 90 horses tearing up his winter corn, leaving gaps in ditches; a hunt terrorising his livestock in fields, yards and sheds with their horses, hounds, and hooters, then he would really have something to complain about.
The hunters are the most arrogant and tribal people one could meet. Generally, they never ask permission to enter lands. If a farmer asks them to leave, or tries to prevent them from encroaching on his land, he gets bad mannered abuse, even from so-called ladies with gutter mouths. If the farmer sends a bill to the hunters, they generally do not pay because there are solicitors and members of the judiciary riding with them. They are a law unto themselves.
In this compensation-ridden society of ours, even a farmer who succeeded in winning a court action against a hunt could be ruined by the excessive cost of the proceedings. So the best and easiest way forward for the farmer is to refuse everybody access to his farm.
Lock all gates, especially on roadsides, due to the ever-present danger and consequences of animals straying onto our new, busy 'Motor Racing Tracks'.
People who leave gates open can cause serious accidents. In today's world, the right of access of another age is just not possible anymore. Everywhere one goes, there are charges for car parking, for example, or to use another person's property in any way. But no one is paying the farmer for the recreational use of his land.