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Column 1305My Bill does not include such a ban, but it will not help the case of those involved in shooting if they resist legislation to restrict the use of snares. After all, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has found that, in order to protect isolated colonies of their nesting birds on a couple of its reserves, some fox control is necessary. Where deterrents such as electric fencing are not practical, the control method is shooting, not snares or dogs. The Forestry Commission rangers who sometimes have to control foxes because of complaints from neighbours also use shooting, not dogs or snares.
The snaring of rabbits can be safely prohibited. The thin brass wire snares used for taking rabbits are lethal for domestic cats or any other hunting animal, which may itself be hunting for rabbits. There are other ways of dealing with rabbits which are far more efficient and humane, such as cyanide gas, ferreting or shooting. Under clause 6 of the Bill, it would not be an offence to use dogs to kill rabbits or rodents, unless the people concerned were trespassing. The reason for this exemption is that, with 35 million rabbits in the countryside, it would be unreasonable to expect farmers to keep their dogs on leads to avoid the possibility of prosecution.
It is a fact that almost any dog which happens to catch a rabbit or a rodent, such as a rat, can usually kill it quickly and with the minimum suffering. [Hon. Members:-- "What about fox hunting?"] The evidence for hare coursing shows that animals larger than rabbits suffer considerably when caught by dogs. Some hon. Members shouted, "Fox hunting." Just tell me what happens when terriers are put down a hole. Hares that have been mauled and wounded by powerful greyhounds have still been alive when they have been recovered.
Clause 5 would allow a farmer to use his dogs for the immediate protection of livestock--for example, to chase off or attack a wild mammal, such as a fox, which has gained access to a chicken run and is chasing hens around the yard. This and the other exemption clauses show, as I hope hon. Members will appreciate, that I have striven to produce a reasonable Bill that reaches a compromise between the two extremes.
Many people object to the killing of any wild creature on the ground of animal rights. There are those who could not care less what suffering they inflict on any wild creature that they find on their land or, indeed, on any land.
My Bill would provide long overdue protection for wild mammals against those who abuse them without just cause, while ensuring that reasonable methods of pest control remain available to those who need them. If a good case for amendments can be made in Committee, hon. Members will find that I have an open mind.
Cruelties such as fox hunting with hounds have nothing to do with fox control. Indeed, one reason why there is such a high fox population is an encouragement of artificially high numbers by fox hunters. On the one hand, they say that there are too many foxes and that they must be controlled by hunting; on the other, the same people create cosy breeding conditions and supply extra food to keep up the numbers.
Column 1306It has been claimed that, if hunting with hounds is banned, some 25,000 hounds will have to be destroyed. That is nonsense. It reminds me of an intervention by a former Member, Sir John Farr, in a similar debate in February 1992, when he said that 1 million horses would have to be destroyed. He had to be told that there were only 600,000 horses in the country.
There is nothing to prevent existing hunts from switching to drag hunting, where the hounds and riders follow an artificial trail. Drag hunts and bloodhound packs have doubled in number over the past 20 years, while the number of fox hunts has declined. Drag hunts can operate in much smaller territories than can wild mammal hunts. It has been predicted that a ban on fox hunting could lead to the setting up of many more drag hunts, thus ensuring more rural employment, with the retention of horses, hounds and tradition and an end to hunt saboteurs and hunt trespass--
Sir Nicholas Bonsor (Upminster) rose --
Every season, scores of hounds are killed on roads and railway lines in the pursuit of foxes. Hounds out of control, following a fox on its desperate flight, frequently invade private land, stampede livestock, kill sheep and poultry, attack and kill pet cats and dogs, invade gardens, damage crops and disrupt the lives of rural people. By contrast, in the entire history of drag hunting--which goes back to the 1800s--there has not been one recorded case of drag hounds being involved in any such incident while out hunting.
Drag hunting is the obvious acceptable replacement to fox hunting. The only thing that hunters would lose would be the kill--which, strangely, they tell us is the one thing that does not attract them. According to an article on drag hunting in this January's "Kennel Gazette", drag hunts obtain their hounds from existing fox hunt packs, and the hounds start drag hunting after one season's fox hunting. That proves that fox hounds can easily be trained to switch from foxes to drag hunting, so let us hear no more nonsense about 25,000 hounds having to be destroyed or shipped out of the country if fox hunting is banned.
There is massive public support for the Bill. The MORI poll in the Mail on Sunday showed that 70 per cent. want a ban on fox hunting and hare coursing, and 82 per cent. want a ban on deer hunting. A national opinion poll conducted by the RSPCA shows that 75 per cent. favour a ban on fox hunting, 83 per cent. a ban on stag hunting and 80 per cent. a ban on hare coursing. That poll, and another commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, found that well over 90 per cent. of British people support the principle of the Bill.
Some 80 per cent. of county councils have voted against hunting with hounds. Again, 80 per cent. of county wildlife trusts have adopted anti- hunt policies, as has--and I am proud to say this--the Scottish National Trust. The National Federation of Badger Groups supports the Bill, not only because it will outlaw the terrier men who start on foxes and move on to badgers, but because it will end the illegal blocking of badger setts by hunts--some of whose servants and
Column 1307officials have been convicted of such offences. The Bill would drastically cut the number of badgers that suffer horribly in snares.
I have received letters from many individuals on the issue, including from country folk and farmers. One individual, writing from Hampshire, said:
"I cannot deny that days spent in the countryside with friends were some of the happiest and most fulfilling of that time. But in the end it was impossible to justify my personal enjoyment when it depended on the infliction of pain and death on the defenceless fellow-creatures which I cherished so much and which I didn't even need to eat."
That letter comes from an ex-hunter.
It is clear that the country is crying out for wild animals to be protected. I have received honourable support from Conservative Members. I want to read out a couple of letters from Conservative councils. One comes from a Conservative councillor on Swanage town council, who writes:
"On behalf of our mayor, Cllr Julie Wheeldon (Conservative), our Deputy Mayor Cllr Keith Marlow (Conservative) and of course myself, I send you very best wishes for the success of this measure." Hotfoot from Glasgow, by first-class post, comes a letter from Bailie John H. Young, OBE, JP, DL, saying:
"Just to let you know that you have the full support of myself and my family. If I had been elected an M.P. three years ago"-- sadly, not many Tories are elected in Scotland--
"I would have supported your Bill. I am against blood sports, bull fighting and all abuse of animals. I hold these views above all political dogma ... If you wish you can quote that you have some Tory support as outlined above."
I am delighted to quote that letter.
It is clear that the country is crying out for wild mammals to be treated with respect and compassion. In a memorable intervention during our last debate on these matters, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) mentioned the book "The Road to Ruin" by E. S. Turner, which catalogues the history of social reform and how hard it was to achieve in this country. He made an eloquent speech on that issue. He mentioned all the reforms that had been advocated in the House and listed the arguments against them. A book was issued in favour of torture and was dedicated to the Chief of the General Staff. We have moved on since then.
We are debating an issue of social reform. We can call ourselves a truly civilised nation only if we ban this outrageously anti-social activity that uses foxes and other innocent animals for a contrived sport and entertainment.
A letter published in the Glasgow Herald in December said: "I am out for a good day's fox hunting. What happens to the fox is incidental."
It is not incidental to hon. Members on both sides of the House or to the mass of public support--
It is time for wild animals to be granted the same basic protection as that provided 84 years ago to their domestic kin. My Bill would provide such a law, and I commend it to the House.
Column 130810.18 am
Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater): I congratulate the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) on his speech. He has mastered his brief, and he clearly presented his arguments, which are well known to many of us. He finished his speech with a barrage of statistics. In quoting the letter from the lady from Glasgow, he rightly brought out the point, which appeared to be a surprise to him, that the views of all political parties are divided on this controversial issue. Although some fun was made of the Liberal Democrats, some fun could be made of the Labour party and of the Conservative party.
I respect something that the hon. Gentleman said. In some respects, he may be somewhat new to this subject, but he has understood one thing clearly: it is all too easy for passions to be inflamed and for sensible argument to be rapidly buried in the heat of discussion on the issue. I therefore appreciate his comment about the way in which he and my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Dr. Goodson-Wickes), who hold entirely different positions on the argument, have approached it.
I have a duty to the House to declare an interest, not just because of my activities elsewhere, but because I am deeply sensitive to declaring an interest on all occasions and to setting an example to more errant hon. Members, who might occasionally omit such declarations.
For 25 years, I have been the Member of Parliament for one of the most wonderful parts of the country. I represent a part of Somerset, which is an urban as well as a rural area. The majority of people live either in towns or in dormitory villages, which are said to be in the countryside, but which are obviously under the influence of urban areas. In my constituency, we find farming, tourism, industry, wildlife and all the wonderful attractions of the country. There is also enormous pressure on what remains of the wonderful countryside of Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Somerset levels.
In my constituency, I have the Devon and Somerset staghounds, the Quantocks staghounds and three packs of fox hounds. It contains many deeply sincere Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat citizens, who deeply resent the hunting that takes place there. I have lived with that for 25 years. As some hon. Members will know, the League Against Cruel Sports is active in my constituency. Sanctuaries have been established for deer. That has led to pressures and problems for Exmoor in particular, and for the Quantocks.
I understand how easily this issue can sometimes be turned, as it has recently, into a party political football, yet members of all parties hold different views on the subject. I remind hon. Members that I took through the House the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which, after close consultation, outlawed self-locking snares, and in which we dealt with the use of snares. I was pleased that the letter from the National Farmers Union paid tribute to the consultation that took place, which sought to get the Act right before it was became law.
I hope that hon. Members will understand that I have lived with these issues all my parliamentary life and before. To declare another interest, I am a farmer. My
Column 1309family have a small farm, so at weekends I live with these issues directly. We have foxes and badgers, we conserve the countryside and we do not normally shoot any foxes. We try to maintain a balance with nature. That is right.
I have never spoken in a hunting debate, but I thought that I should explain the background. Last night, I saw the hon. Member for Dumbarton on "Newsnight". I took him to say, and I think he repeated again today, that he had never witnessed--I do not expect him to have taken part in--the hunting activities with which the Bill deals. This is the first occasion I can remember of a Bill being presented by a sponsor who takes pride in announcing to the House that he has never seen those activities that he is proposing to criminalise and to make illegal. As the issue involves a country sport in which perhaps as many as 500,000 people take part, I should have thought that that would have been the right approach.
I believe that I am right in thinking--the hon. Gentleman must intervene if I am incorrect, as I do not want to misrepresent him--that the Bill was originally prepared by someone else. I do not believe that he wrote it: I think that it was written by the League Against Cruel Sports, in conjunction perhaps with other organisations. He has said that he genuinely does not intend the Bill to deal with the banning of shooting and fishing.
I suspect that the hon. Gentleman is beginning to understand that many of the people who support the Bill have a different agenda from him. Some of them--I think he recognises this--have a much more comprehensive agenda, leading to an entirely different relationship between animal rights and human rights. Many people hold such views. I do not disrespect them--they are entitled to hold those views, but the House should know about that.
It is never easy to get a private Member's Bill through the House. Hon. Members know of the time limits and restraints that may be placed on them. As the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) made clear, the hon. Member for Dumbarton has the opportunity to strike an important blow against cruelty to animals. I would guess that he could get the Bill through today if he were determined to tackle clause 1.
The hon. Gentleman made an interesting comment in his speech on snares. Having taken the Wildlife and Countryside Act through the House, I am sympathetic to some of his comments about clause 3. If genuine causes for concern exist, and if there is a need to alter the Bill, I should be ready to consider that. He has an opportunity today to tackle cruelty to animals and snaring, which is of great concern to many people.
Of course, we know that that issue is not the whole Bill. By moving into the much more vexed ground of country sports and hunting, the Bill takes on a much more controversial issue. I consider first the attitude of farmers.
Column 1310I did not quite get the answer about how much consultation there had been with outside bodies. The Government undertook such consultation during passage of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, to which the National Farmers Union pays tribute. However, in this case, the hon. Gentleman will know that the NFU feels that his Bill "severely restricts the choice of pest control measures available to farmers. It is imperative that a range of lawful options are retained".
The Farmers Union of Wales also supports
"the right of farmers and landowners to hunt and kill foxes in order to control the fox population and reduce the risk of predation on livestock especially lambs".
The Devon farmer that the hon. Gentleman quoted is the luckiest farmer I have ever heard of. With my wife, I tend a flock of sheep. That farmer has been remarkably lucky to avoid damage and loss of life because of foxes. Good luck to him, but he is not
The hon. Gentleman took some pride in quoting Scottish sources, but, as he knows, the National Farmers Union for Scotland believes that the measures would
"seriously compromise the ability of farmers to control pests, and foxes in particular, in the interest of the welfare of their livestock".
I recognise the sincerity in which these issues are debated by people on both sides. People who hunt and who support country sports are not evil. Some of the most admirable people in my constituency, those on whom one would rely most in times of need and distress and those who care for animals, are the very people involved in the hunting world. I am also aware of the sincerity of many--some, I am proud to say, vote for me--who hold an entirely different view and are unable to accept the concept of hunting.
I try to understand the views of people who are really involved with the countryside--I do not mean those who simply think they are--and I accept that they perhaps have different standards and experiences. They live much closer to the life and death cycle.
We are suddenly experiencing a very sharp spell of weather. How many farmers in my constituency were out on the hills last night, finding stillborn or twinned lambs, or even triplets, which they brought back to the farm to feed with a bottle and tried to warm in the oven? They will nurture those lambs and treat them with love and care, but in the knowledge that, within six months, they will be taking them to market to be slaughtered. That is often very difficult for people to understand if they do not accept the concepts of death and slaughter.
Dr. Spink: Is my right hon. Friend aware of the 1984 Hewson and Leitch study entitled "Scavenging and Predation upon Sheep and Lambs in West Scotland"? It found that, between 1976 and 1979, foxes killed a minimum of 1.3 per cent., 1.8 per cent., 0.8 per cent. and 0.6 per cent. of lambs estimated to have been born
Column 1311in each of those years respectively. That is not a large number of lambs, especially when one considers that eagles and other predators take lambs, too.
Mr. King: Like the hon. Member for Dumbarton, my hon. Friend has a barrage of statistics. I could show him what could happen on certain farms in certain circumstances. One can take all the averages one likes, but such figures can mean the difference between viability and disaster for a farmer, and can affect his very ability to survive. Anyone who has the relevant experience, and some who take an interest in agriculture, will know of the problems caused by the weather last year. Some farmers lost 40 per cent. or more of their lambs on the hills, which was a tragedy. It might be said to have been an act of God, but nevertheless it means that farmers often have to struggle even to make a living, and no losses are easily accepted.
I said that I have lived with these arguments for 25 years. In the main, there was tolerance and understanding of the different points of view, but now things have changed. Undoubtedly, there have been outside influences at work, and undoubtedly some very nasty elements have crept in. It is no secret that farmers are now not happy to appear on television, and will not give their address. Some hon. Members know that that is because of fear and the threats that they have received. I know that no hon. Member regards such threats as acceptable.
There are now enormous sums of money available to fund huge campaigns. I do not know where the money goes, and it is not entirely clear how well it is accounted for, but there is no question but that huge sums are involved.
Mr. Tony Banks rose --
Mr. King: If the hon. Gentleman will excuse me, I must continue. Tolerance is an essential ingredient, and I shall cite a classic example to illustrate that fact. I mentioned the Quantock hills. This morning, I made a quick list of all the people and groups who have an interest in that especially beautiful part of the country over which one pack of stag hounds and a pack of fox hounds hunt.
They include the county council, which owns some of the land, as do various landowners such as the National Trust; they also include farmers, commoners, a very active and successful wildlife trust, two hunts, wardens who offer guided tours for the study of geology and the flora and fauna, riders, walkers, school expeditions that study the hills, bird watchers, botanists, a 4x4 motor club, mountain bikers and those involved in orienteering, cross-country runners, sponsored walkers, children working for their Duke of Edinburgh awards, and, I am glad to say, the whortleberry pickers.
Anyone who is familiar with Wordsworth and Coleridge will know that even poets take pleasure in those hills. All those I have mentioned value and love the hills, and formed the Quantock joint committee. All its members try to co-exist to protect the deer and ensure that they thrive--and they do.
However, something happened last year. Despite the very sensitive situation, the county council decided suddenly to ban hunting on a particularly small piece
Column 1312of land that runs like a neck across one part of the Quantocks. The most enraged comment that I received was from a non-Conservative voter, an anti-hunt conservationist, who said that this act of aggressive vandalism--as he saw it--would undermine the whole balance and spirit of co-operation in the hills.
People are not either members of a hunt or farmers; some farmers hunt, and some commoners who do not own the land also hunt. People of varying occupations saw the need for co-existence. I think that the hon. Member for Dumbarton might be beginning to understand that, by jumping in with jackboots, he may achieve exactly the opposite of the desired effect. [Hon. Members:-- "Jackboots?"] Hon. Members may laugh, but-- [Interruption.]
Mr. King: There used to be deer in many constituencies, but why are there now deer only in two parts of my constituency? One of the groups that cares most about them is the hunts. It is interesting to recall that someone who was very interested in nature--Henry Williamson who wrote "Tarka the Otter"--wrote:
"The world being as it is, the deer will vanish with the end of hunting and those who care for the deer know this to be true." I was a Member of Parliament when, in 1977, the Labour Government were concerned about Exmoor being ploughed up and the habitat destroyed. They set up an inquiry headed by Baron Porchester, now Lord Carnarvon, to examine the Exmoor habitat and decide how its ecology could be preserved.
The report said:
"It is undeniable that stag hunting on Exmoor operates as a force for conservation. In the normal run of things the deer do considerable damage to crops, and without the active participation of the farmers in the Hunts, their days would be numbered."
A number of farmers have come to my surgeries complain about the damage done by 30, 40 or 50 deer destroying their crops, but that would not be tolerated unless it was seen as part of the deers' way of life, a way of life in which the hunt plays a part.
I suppose that the strongest argument has been made by Richard Course, a man with whose activities I was familiar for many years. He was very active in my constituency. He was the executive director of the League against Cruel Sports and he played a part in establishing sanctuaries in the area. He said:
"The simple prohibition of stag hunting would destroy the survival prospects of wild Red Deer in the West Country." Why is it that Exmoor has deer, whereas Dartmoor has not? Hon. Members may like to reflect on that. Could the reason be that Dartmoor has no hunting? In Exmoor, there is organisation, and the people of the moor are actively concerned to see the maintenance of the deer, which have never been in better shape.
I have looked at the issues. I have talked especially about stag hunting, because it takes place in my constituency. I know that it worries many people, and that is why I wanted to address that point. I do not tolerate some of the incidents that have happened in stag hunting, which are well recorded. Everyone can remember them, as I do.
I remember the stag on the roof of the shed in Porlock. One can remember the stag at bay in the sea off Porlock. One can remember the recent incident,
Column 1313which was absolutely unacceptable, with the stag at bay and the shambles of the final kill. The kill was handled in a completely improper way, and prompt action was taken by the Masters of Deerhounds Association. I will not tolerate cruelty or any failure to observe the correct rules. I hope that the House sees, therefore, that I approach the matter in a balanced way. I am concerned that the arguments on the other side are often not considered.
I care about tolerance in this country; I now see an intolerant strain. It exists in other parts of our life, and I see it coming to play in this area as well. This strain of intolerance will do great damage to our country. I am under no illusions. The people for whom I advance the case today are a minority, because the majority of our country is urban or suburban. However, we are discussing the way of life of people in the countryside, which is dear to them. Hunting is part of the structure of the countryside in which those people live. My next point is not a party point. The right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) is one of the few here who has personal memory of one of the great sons of Exmoor. I refer to Ernest Bevin, from Winsford on Exmoor. Was it because he came from Exmoor that he voted as he did when hunting was discussed in the House?
One of the great Agriculture Ministers, certainly in the memories of farmers, was Tom Williams, who was a Labour Member. He said that he did not believe that one could justify banning hunting, because to do so would interfere with the liberties of the rural population and would criminalise a whole community. Hon. Members may say that standards have changed, and that those people lived long ago. I believe that they had stronger roots in the countryside, that they had a closer understanding, and that they were, in some senses, more tolerant.
I hope that, on reflection, the hon. Member for Dumbarton will realise that there is a challenge. He can take a significant step forward in tackling the problems of cruelty to animals. In that, I would fully support him. If he seeks to widen the issue, he will not, I fear, succeed.
Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield): This is an interesting debate for reasons rather wider than might appear at first sight. I participated in a similar debate three years ago. One of the points that I find interesting about debates on animal welfare is that all the speeches from those who support the other side of the argument reinforce our argument. The more speeches we hear like the speech by the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King), the stronger becomes the case in favour of the Bill.
I declare an interest; I am a vegetarian. Like many people of my age, I was persuaded by my children to become a vegetarian. As a child, when I went for a walk every Sunday, I passed a little shop that was put up by the National Anti-Vivisection Society. As a child, I saw a display in which a stuffed animal was being tortured. All my life, I have been committed to the cause of anti-vivisection.
Column 1314The arguments put by those on the other side are interesting. First, my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) is accused of not having been on a hunt; secondly, he is accused of not having consulted people; and, thirdly, it is said that he did not draft the Bill. None of those arguments is credible.
This is not, strictly speaking, a party matter. There are members of the Labour party, such as Lady Mallalieu, who support hunting. There are Conservative Members who will vote with us in the Lobby. There are Liberal Democrats who support hunting. The right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), who is not now in the Chamber, is in favour of hunting. We must not make this into a strict party matter. The debate takes place against a background of changed public opinion.
Mr. Benn: I am trying to do credit to the argument. There is a real argument. There are those who get pleasure from hunting and those who think that it is wrong. What makes this debate different from the one in 1992--I understand that the British Field Sports Society does not seek to divide the House--is that public opinion has changed. In every generation, the House is a reflection of public opinion, although we are a bit slow to pick it up. I sometimes think of the House as a rusty weathercock that does not shift until the wind is very strong.
As anyone who visits primary schools today will know, young people are passionately interested in the environment and the planet. I enjoy my visits to primary schools more than any other visits; the same may be true of other hon. Members. Children in primary schools in my constituency are cheeky, intelligent and questioning. They always ask about badgers, elephants, the rain forest and the other environmental questions that may be not so interesting to the older generation. I know that we are not debating the export of live animals, but the recent campaign has helped substantially to change the tide of opinion.
It is not only young people who are interested in such issues. I have never forgotten a woman who came to my surgery when I represented Bristol, South- East many years ago. She was a very short lady with a bun and horn-rimmed spectacles. She had worked all her life in a wool shop. I had a talk about her problems and I then asked her what she did. She said, "My uncle left me a little money." I said, "How lovely! What did you do?" She said, "I left the wool shop and I joined the hunt saboteurs." That story is absolutely true; I have never forgotten it.
The House must face the fact that it is not a matter of people wanting to prevent the right hon. Member for Bridgwater from enjoying himself. He could take part in drag hunting. I have not seen that either so I hardly dare to mention it. It must be just as much fun. The reality is that cruelty for fun is no longer acceptable to an overwhelming majority of people in this country.
In the previous debate, the late Nicholas Ridley made a powerful speech in which he accused those who favoured the banning of hunting of being kill- joys. It was as if we were looking round for country pleasures
Column 1315and then trying to ban them. He simply did not understand. There are many people, of whom I am one, who think that to inflict cruelty for fun is wrong.
It is so long since moral questions were allowed to penetrate into political debate that it must be a bit of a puzzle for people who believe that enjoying oneself, at whatever cost to animals, is fine and who believe that making money out of cruelty to animals is also fine. When people say that it is wrong, it is a bit of a shock. Some people say, "What do you mean by saying that it is wrong? If it is fun, it must be right. If it is profitable, it must be right." That is the argument in our debate today.
The same point applies to the export of live animals. People believe that it is wrong that animals should be treated in that way for the profit of farmers. It is no good the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food telling us that we must allow the export of live animals because the European regulations require it. What does he think will happen? Will the German army be sent here to insist that we continue with the export of live animals? The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. When the Minister, who is also a farmer, says that we cannot do anything about the export of live animals because we have to build a new Europe, he is not credible at all. That is why the party in favour of hunting--I do not mean the Conservative party in any way--simply does not understand what it is up against and I want to help to explain.