Farmer who is glad to see the last of the hunt
Not all country people support blood sports
Sunday 13 April 1997
He might as well have handed the heart of the lioness Elsa to Joy Adamson in Born Free. Although Mrs White was the epitome of politeness - she told him her family didn't like meat - she later wrote in her autobiography about the red deer "sitting under the trees in the woods, peacefully chewing the cud and watching me ... it was a privilege to have them living where we could watch their natural behaviour".
Last week, Mrs White was "quietly jubilant" about another hunting gesture, this time by the National Trust, when it announced it would ban deer hunting on its land from the end of this season after a study it commissioned revealed "unambiguous" evidence that hunting caused deer "extreme stress" and "great suffering".
The decision will affect all four English deer hunts, but none more so than the Quantock Staghounds in Somerset who hunt almost exclusively on Trust land, much of it around Mrs White's 250-acre sheep farm on the Quantock Hills.
Mrs White runs her farm with wildlife conservation in mind and has long excluded the hunt, which has not made her popular with some of her neighbours. She is determined not to sound triumphant. She is aware hunting doesn't turn a neighbour into a barbarian.
Nonetheless it's difficult for this 67-year-old farmer (or shepherd, as she prefers to be known) to conceal her relief at the Trust's decision. She now knows she will never again have to watch a deer salivating at the mouth as it tries to get away from a pack of hounds baying their way down the hill past her farmhouse.
Now the 90-year-old Quantock Staghounds concede they will probably have to fold. "The last thing I want to do is crow over their defeat," Mrs White said. "People who enjoy hunting as a sport will be extremely upset, and I can understand that. However, I'm delighted for the sake of the deer."
Mrs White's opposition to hunting is based on her conviction the sport is cruel. She knows deer numbers need to be controlled - more than 100 local deer are culled each year, compared with fewer than 40 as a result of hunting - and she is the first to point out the damage the deer do to her banks and trees.
She chose to keep hunting off her land, but not everyone respected this. "There have been incidents over the years that have made me very angry," she said. She recalled seeing a stag killed on her land and receiving an apology from the Master. As part of the apology, she was given its antlers mounted on a board with an inscription saying where it was killed. She smiles as she looks at it - already a relic, she hopes, of a bygone age.
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...