This is Hunting UK (TiHUK) is a recently-formed group that promotes the positive aspects of hunting to the general public. It was created to proactively educate non-hunters about the varied benefits of our sport, including economic input, game management, community growth, and character development. Chairman Maurice James Barclay, ex-MFH, helped found TiHUK and hopes it can counteract the steady stream of anti-hunting publicity in British popular media.
Barclay was born into the fourth generation of a sporting family, who "thought of little else other than foxhunting." His great-grandfather, grandfather, father, mother, two brothers and sister have all been Masters of the Puckeridge Hounds, who hunt in the Home Counties, close to London. Barclay considered other occupations but ultimately returned to hunting and has served as Master at five different packs. "I often think about the huge amount of hard work we have to do if we are to preserve our way of life and our traditions," he said, "Not only for those that come after but those who have never been fortunate enough to partake in our activities." This perspective on the need to reach beyond the hunting community was his motivation to help TiHUK.
Burton Hunt (UK) huntsman, Neil Burton, helping children make new friends at their inaugural Families Day, when leaflets distributed around the village of Lincoln encouraged 180 people to visit; 145 had never been near a hunt kennels before. Maurice James Barclay photo.
Asked how TiHUK differs from the other groups defending hunting in Great Britain, Barclay said, "This is Hunting UK is totally dedicated to promoting the long term future of hunting," Barclay said. "It was set up in September of 2015 by a committed group of hunting enthusiasts, all of whom are volunteers." The group endeavors to demonstrate that hunting still has a valuable role to play, and that the Hunting Act (the Ban) should be replaced with more sensible legislation. TiHUK believes in the importance of spreading a positive, all-inclusive message to the British public as a whole.
The group's supporters include people from all different areas of the hunting world and various walks of life, from car followers to mounted subscribers to Masters, professionals, farmers and others. Barclay noted TiHUK has recently put in place a regional structure of representatives across the UK, "to actively support hunts in promoting our activities in any way they can. We have no boundaries as to whom we wish to reach - anyone who is willing to learn."
Asked how hunt supporters in North America can help, Barclay explained, "The uprising of the animal rights groups is something that is certainly not confined to the UK. We should never forget that we are a large family unit from across the globe and are proud of this fact. TiHUK would be more than prepared to help develop our outreach with colleagues from across the world. To create this type of unity surely is a must for future generations."
At present, volunteers are creating printed materials to distribute at countryside events and planning children's activities, open to the public, for the summer hound shows. "To make it work, we need two main ingredients; the first and most important, being goodwill, and the second being financial support," Barclay said. "Any ideas or volunteers from those who would like to see this succeed would be most welcome." To learn more at their website, please click here.