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Countryside Alliance

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Countryside Alliance

Countryside Alliance
The Countryside Alliance
Abbreviation CA
Formation 1997
Legal status Non-profit organisation
Purpose Protect Rural interests
Location
  • 367 Kennington Road, Kennington, London, SE11 4PT
Region served
UK
Membership
105,000
Main organ
Countryside Alliance Board
Website www.countryside-alliance.org.uk

The Countryside Alliance (CA) is a British organisation promoting issues relating to the countryside such as farming, rural services, small businesses and country sports, aiming to "Give Rural Britain a voice".[1] With over 100,000 members, the group was named the 'most inspiring political personality' of the last ten years by Channel 4 News in 2008.[2]

History

The Countryside Alliance was formed on 10 July 1997 from three organisations: the British Field Sports Society, the Countryside Business Group, and the Countryside Movement. The Alliance was formed to help promote and defend the British countryside and rural life, both in the media and in Parliament. Since then, the Alliance has campaigned on a number of issues which they believe are important to rural Britain, some of the most prominent of which are listed below:

  • Against the passing of the 2004 Hunting Ban, and lobbying for its repeal[3]
  • Against the closure of rural post offices[4]
  • Supporting shooting and deer stalking across the British Isles, by campaigning against additional regulations and negative press coverage[5]
  • Encouraging customers and supermarkets to stock food from British farms[6]
  • Calling for better broadband connections for homes and small businesses in the countryside[7]
  • Organising educational talks and trips to the countryside for schoolchildren[8]
  • A "Game-to-Eat" campaign aiming to popularise game as a meat of choice[9]
  • Fishing4Schools, an initiative aimed to help children with special educational needs by taking them angling[10]
  • Falconry for schools[11]
  • Supporting small rural businesses through the Countryside Alliance Awards scheme[12]

Administration

Hunting with hounds

The Alliance states 'the countryside is enriched by country pursuits, whose participants should be free from prejudice and discrimination.'

The Alliance has long defended hunting and shooting, especially hunting with hounds, opposing the legislation (the [14] The Countryside Alliance mounted a series of legal challenges to the Hunting Act 2004 which were not met with success.

Following the first conviction under the Act on 4 August 2006, the Alliance reaffirmed its belief that legislation was "illogical and unclear"[15] and vowed to support the appeal against the conviction, which was later successful.

Critics of the Alliance claim that this is the sole focus of the organisation, a claim it denies, saying that this campaigning is a response to the (previous) government's "preoccupation with the issue". On BBC Newsnight on 18 November 2014 Anne Mallalieu stated "What's actually happened to the foxes...because of the growth of commercial shooting...foxes are being shot at night by lampers...people with bright lights shooting them with guns.."[16]

Countryside March

In September 2002, the Countryside Alliance organised a march in central London to promote the interests of rural Britain.[17] The British National Party had called for its members to join the march and support the countryside; however, the Countryside Alliance issued the following statement: "Everything we stand for is the opposite of what they believe in."[18] 400,000 people were in attendance, including Iain Duncan Smith, Vinnie Jones, Edward Fox, Clarissa Dickson-Wright, Richard Foulds, Earl Spencer, and Michael Marsham, 7th Earl of Romney.[19][20]

Countryside Rocks

The organisation has held fundraising rock concerts under the banner "Countryside Rocks" which have attracted support from stars including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, The Who's Roger Daltrey, Procol Harum's Keith Reid, Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry, Eric Clapton and Genesis (band)|Genesis' Mike Rutherford.[21]

Conflict with the RSPCA

In a 2013 interview with [22]

See also

References

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External links

  • Countryside Alliance official site
  • Scottish Countryside Alliance
  • Countryside Alliance Ireland
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