Minor British Institutions: The League Against Cruel Sports

You might have thought the League Against Cruel Sports would have abolished itself back in 2005 when, after its 80-year-long campaign, the Commons finally voted to make hunting with hounds illegal in the UK.

But no, the League says its work is as vital as ever, owing to transgressions of law, and the supporters of hunting have not given up their own campaign to go after foxes and other small furry creatures once more. Indeed the list of animals hunted for sport over the years is extensive, including hares and stags, of course, but also otters. Otters? You get the impression the men and women in red coats would hunt gerbils if they happened to be native to the UK.

Anyway, the League boasts 300,000 members, making it one of the nation's more numerous as well as stubborn pressure groups. It represents a certain sort of English mindset – liberal, rational and shading into vegetarianism, atheism and crankiness – but is all the more magnificent for that.

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