I was barely 20 years old when the fox hunting ban was finally approved by parliament.
At the time, I was fully in favour, but looking back I now realise my support wasn’t down to any great concern for the fox.
Rather, it had much more to do with my own inverted snobbery. To a lad who grew up in Southcourt, fox hunting seemed to involve a bunch of toffs partaking in this bloody upper class ritual.
Banning something they enjoyed doing seemed like a good idea. And there was the bonus that a fox wouldn’t be mauled to bits. It was a no-brainer.
I’ve now learnt that the issue, like most things in life, is not so simple.
Tony Blair, the prime minister who introduced the ban, also now admits it was a mistake and that he – like me – did not understand the complexities of the issue. My instinct is it would be regressive to now lift the ban, but I respect the opinions of those opposing that view.
And I believe history will judge our priorities as rather odd, that a law protecting countryside ‘pests’ was introduced many years before, for example, gay people were allowed to marry or women become bishops.
Working at The Bucks Herald has helped me understand the importance of our countryside and its traditions a lot more than I did 10 years ago.
Covering the Bucks County Show has played a big part in this. It is an incredible event, the gem in the Vale’s summer calendar, a place where townspeople like myself can learn all about rural life in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
From my experience of the show, the campaigners are seeking to ruin what is simply a fun aspect of it.
Visitors enjoy seeing a reminder of countryside traditions, youngsters thrill at meeting the hounds.
Of course, members of the hunt, who are still allowed to chase artificial scents, may talk about their desire to repeal the law, but that is their view and they are entitled to it.
At the end of the day, animal rights activists have been given what they wanted – a ban on hunting foxes.
Trying to cause trouble for our beloved county show just seems petty and uncalled for.