This is a recent article written by Alan Tyer .
Alan is the Chairman of the AWL , some may of read a more streamlined version in the Countrymans Weekly.
The Association of Lurcher Clubs has been recognised as the governing body for lurcher/Longdog work since the mid-nineties.
Working closely with the Countryside Alliance, we have fought many battles, first to try to stop the hunting ban and since the ban, to repeal an unjust law. The ALC and the CA worked together with other hunting associations to fight for ALL types of hunting.
The Council of Hunting Associations (CHA) being the governing body to which all hunting associations are answerable. Every type of hunting is represented on the board of the CHA, be it mounted Foxhound packs, through the Masters of Foxhound Association (MFA) and all the other Hound packs that are represented by their respective associations. When I say all types of hunting I mean all types. On the Council of Hunting Associations, not only are the hound packs represented, but also the National Coursing Club (NCC), to represent Competitive Coursing under rules, the National Working Terrier Federation, (NWTF) who represent all types of terrier work, both working with hound packs and working alone as a valuable asset in pest control, and the Association of Lurcher Clubs (ALC) who represent all types of work with Lurchers and Longdogs, from Hare coursing (pre ban AND AFTER THE REPEAL), to Rabbiting, Ratting, working with bobbery packs etc.
As Chairman of the Association of Lurcher Clubs, I sit on the board of the CHA and the voice of the Lurcher/Longdog owner is as loud and as important as any other. To say that it is all about riding to hounds is totally wrong. Many hound packs are run by working farmers, miners. You have the farmers packs from wales and the Lake District where the fell packs were the main method of controlling foxes for hundreds of years. In the Pennines, you have the foot packs that have hunted the Hare, the Fox and the mink for many, many years.
Bring all these together and you have HUNTING in all its forms.
The Council of Hunting Associations and The Countryside Alliance make no distinction between the many diverse forms of hunting; they support and represent all forms through the governing body of each type of hunting.
The Association of Lurcher Clubs was formed in the nineties to bring together all Lurcher and Longdog owners, both to form clubs and therefore work under a code of Good practice and gain permission for working their dogs, and to unite together to fight the then increasing attacks by the uninformed.
One of the incentives to join the ALC was that it enabled each club champion to be put forward and enter to the Association competition The Forley Cup as well as to fight the anti-hunting fraternity.
The ALC was of its time, it was just what it said on the tin, an association of Clubs. However, after the ban, the number of Lurcher clubs formed grew less and less.
The many individual owners and workers of Lurchers and Longdog still needed and still need support and representation at the highest level. You still need an association to represent you and such an association still needs you. We, as always, work under the guidance of the CA and the CHA, I, as Chairman of the A.W.L.(formally the A.L.C.) represent all members to both.
I had a conversation with Tim Bonner (the new chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance) and he happily confirmed that the CA still accepts the ALC (now the A.W.L.) as the governing body for Lurcher work, that mean all types of work, from Coursing, (after the repeal) to all other types of hunting done by Lurchers/Longdogs. We must be part of the fight for repeal. If you are not a member of the A.W.L. and the CA, why not? We must work together.
This brings me to a major point, as I have already stated the Association of Lurcher Clubs means exactly that, an association of clubs. This was right and proper when we formed the Association, if an individual wanted to support the fight against a hunting ban; he/she had only to join a local club that was affiliated To the ALC.
We must now, as then, be seen to represent ALL owners of Lurchers and Longdogs, individuals and clubs. All individuals and clubs must be catered for and all individuals and clubs must join the fight! This means that the title the Association of Lurcher Clubs, could be misleading. We no longer represent just clubs or are just about coursing (that was never the case). We are an alliance of people that own and work many types of different sighthounds both purebred and cross bred hence the title Longdog. All types and forms of hunting with Lurchers and Longdogs come under the banner and needs the support and representation of the Governing body.
To this end it has been proposed that as part of the fight to bring about a repeal we must state exactly who we are and what we stand for. So the name of the ALC will be changed to the Association for the Working Longdog/Lurcher (AWL). There cannot now be any mistake, the A.W.L. represents all owners of sighthounds. The reason for using the term Longdog as well as Lurcher is that in keeping with the fight for a repeal we must include all the other working Longdogs, The working Whippet, the Working Lurcher, the Saluki Cross, the bull cross and the many other types of dog, purebred and crossbred that hunt by sight as well as scent. We owe it to you all to support and represent you at the highest level and in turn you owe it to yourselve, to join and fight for repeal.
All the contacts and experience that we have gained as the ALC are still there.
We must use them to fight for repeal.
For information and for membership details contact - firstname.lastname@example.org
Not only are we part of the hunting community, we must be seen to be part of the fight for repeal.