Investigate. Educate. Protect. That's the motto of the League Against Cruel Sports. When it comes to animal welfare and wildlife, we'd like to think that those are some fairly uncontroversial things to do.
Our campaigners and supporters educate the public about wildlife and animal abuse. Our public affairs team work with MPs to improve regulation and legislation around animal welfare, and our investigations team, made up partly of former police officers, monitor hunts for illegal activity. We'd like to think we work with dedication and professionalism, driven by a passion for helping animals.
Which is why it is a little bemusing to be continually referred to by our opponents as "extremists".
Why are we considered 'extremists' by some? Well, it's apparently because we oppose the use of snares, which cause terrible suffering to animals across the UK. It's also because we don't think it's right that wild mammals are chased across the British countryside and killed for 'sport'. Perhaps it's even because we think a maximum of six months imprisonment isn't enough for the worst forms of animal abuse.
And here's the thing: the British people share those views. 84% of people believe that fox hunting should be banned. 77% of people that the use of snares should be banned. 99% of people believe that dog fighting should be illegal. The League and its supporters are speaking up for voiceless animals, but we are joined in that by a chorus from the great British public. If you are representing the opinion of a vast majority, well, it is hard to make sense of the suggestion that you are at the extreme end of that opinion.
We're not alone. Chris Packham, yes that nice bloke from the telly, has also been called an extremist (because he dared suggest killing birds of prey to protect grouse - which would then be shot - was a bad idea).
Recently, the organisation called Conservatives Against Fox Hunting have also been attacked because they are working with MPs to increase support for animal welfare. Outrageous. (I mean, seriously, if you can tell an organisation from their name, Conservatives Against Fox Hunting is hardly one to make the blood run cold).
Nonetheless, it is important to be up front, open, and honest about the League. We assume those who consider us extremists have reported us to the authorities - surely to not do so would be irresponsible.
So, to save MI5 from having to bug us, we can confirm that last week we met with known radical firebrand Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Last week, we also published what is clearly some extremist literature about war on our website (it's actually about the battle of the seasons raging on our wildlife sanctuary, Baronsdown).
We also had Bill Oddie visiting our office, speaking to staff. To the best of our knowledge, the Goodies were not a proscribed organisation, but we will double check.
To be serious for a moment, we know the reason behind these slurs. It's because we are doing something right. Time and time again, our opponents will attack us as an organisation and others who share our views because they know that they are defending the indefensible, so it's the only line of attack available to them. The British people value and treasure wildlife, they want to see it protected. We will keep working towards that, regardless of what gets thrown at us.