Moves in the UK to begin repeal of Hunting Act by 'back door'
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

From League Against Cruel Sports
October 2013

Whilst foxes may take lambs in certain circumstances, lambs by no means make up the majority of their diet and we fundamentally question the need to control foxes in this way. The Federation cite large losses of lambs in spring this year, but that in the main was due to an unseasonably cold snap when lambs were in the fields. Yet again foxes are the fall animal, and hunting them the easy solution, when in fact we need to look at the wider reality of how animals and man interact.

fox hunt Hunting Act
Photo by Brett Terry

Research, and need for change, fundamentally questioned

Calls for an ‘easing’(1) of the restrictions of the hunt ban were today branded as ‘repeal by the back door’ by the League Against Cruel Sports, following reports of a proposal to increase the number of dogs allowed to flush out foxes to guns. The research underpinning the call was fundamentally questioned, as it is commissioned by hunting interests, has not yet been peer reviewed, and seemingly presents a problem for upland farmers were the proposed solution would be rolled out for all hunts.

At present the Hunting Act 2004 allows a maximum of two dogs to flush a fox to waiting guns. The Federation of Welsh Farmers Packs is now calling for a full pack (approx. 40 dogs) to be used, and for this to be achieved by an amendment to the Act. The Act itself was passed on a free vote, and the Coalition Government continue to promise a further free vote on repeal, although Owen Paterson, Secretary of State at DEFRA, was quoted last year as saying no move would be made until a vote could be won on the matter (3).

Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, stated ‘This is nothing but an attempt at repeal by the back door, as the pro-hunt lobby know they can’t get a majority to repeal the Act overall. This call for a return to the ways and means of hunting pre-ban comes from hunting interests, is for hunting interests – and is supported by clear pro-hunting MPs such as Kate Hoey (3), who just happens to be the Chairman of the Countryside Alliance. We will be writing to Owen Paterson in order to understand the conversations which already seem to have taken place on subject – and with a clear offer to join them.’

He continued ‘Whilst foxes may take lambs in certain circumstances, lambs by no means make up the majority of their diet and we fundamentally question the need to control foxes in this way. The Federation cite large losses of lambs in spring this year, but that in the main was due to an unseasonably cold snap when lambs were in the fields. Yet again foxes are the fall animal, and hunting them the easy solution, when in fact we need to look at the wider reality of how animals and man interact. Any attempts to move to weaken the Hunting Act will be resisted by both us, and the majority of the public who don’t want a return to hunting after a hard fought campaign to get a ban after some 80 years of campaigning.’


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