The Countryside Alliance
|Legal status||Non-profit organisation|
|Purpose/focus||Protect Rural interests|
|Location||367 Kennington Road, Kennington, London, SE11 4PT|
|Main organ||Countryside Alliance Board|
The Countryside Alliance (CA) is a British organisation promoting issues relating to the countryside such as country sports including hunting, shooting and angling. In 2008, the group was named the 'most inspiring political personality' of the last ten years by Channel 4 News.
The Countryside Alliance was formed on 10 July 1997 from three organisations: the British Field Sports Society, and two other organisations (the Countryside Business Group and the Countryside Movement) which were formed with help from the British Field Sports Society.
- Vice President - Marcus Kimball, Baron Kimball, Conservative peer and former Conservative MP
- Chairman - Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall - the Alliance's head office is located in Kennington in Hoey's constituency.
- Deputy Chairman - Benjamin Mancroft, 3rd Baron Mancroft, Conservative peer
- Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Countryside Alliance Foundation - Lieutenant General Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB, CBE
- The Board of the Countryside Alliance:
- Johnnie Arkwright
- Nick Bannister
- Simon Hart, Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, was also the Chief Executive for the CA from 2004-2010
- Llin Golding, Baroness Golding, Labour Peer and former Labour MP
- Mark Firth
- Stephen Lambert
- Sally Merison
- David Reynolds
- David Seymour
- Bill Tyrwhitt-Drake
- Tim Vestey
- Charlie Wilson
- Lizzie Salmon
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 Hunting Act 2004) which came into effect (in England and Wales) in February 2005. Amongst other causes, the Scottish Countryside Alliance campaigns against the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, which prohibited hunting north of the border. 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" 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".
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' Mike Rutherford.
Conflict with the RSPCA
In a 2013 interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Alliance's Executive Chairman Lieutenant General Sir Barney White-Spunner called the RSPCA a "sinister and nasty" organisation and urged Alliance members to stop donating to it. The RSPCA responded by saying: "Sir Barney White-Spunner's interview shows once again how far out of touch he and his colleagues at the pro bloodsports Countryside Alliance are with the reality of public opinion in this country."
- "Rock legends fight hunt ban".