European Court Upholds Hunting Ban

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European Court Upholds Hunting Ban

From Associated Press

"The bans had been designed to eliminate the hunting and killing of animals for sport in a manner causing suffering and being morally objectionable," the court said, announcing its judgment.

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday dismissed a double challenge to the law against hunting with hounds, ruling the ban did not breach rights legislation.

The government outlawed many types of hunting in 2004 in the face of noisy opposition from some rural groups.

Judges in Strasbourg dismissed applications from the Countryside Alliance campaign group and an individual, Brian Friend, that the hunting ban breached their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

They had argued the law infringed their right to private and family life and their right to protection of property.

Friend -- of Axminster in southwest England -- also claimed a breach of his rights to freedom of assembly and protection from discrimination.

The court ruled unanimously that every one of the complaints was inadmissible.

The hunting bans did not restrict Friend's right to assemble with other huntsmen, the judges said, and he remained free to take part in alternatives to hunting which did not involve live quarry.

"The bans had been designed to eliminate the hunting and killing of animals for sport in a manner causing suffering and being morally objectionable," the court said, announcing its judgment.

Dismissing the claim under the right to private and family life, the court observed that "not every activity a person might seek to engage in together with others was protected" by the convention on rights.

The Countryside Alliance and Friend took their cases to Strasbourg after applying unsuccessfully to have the hunting law reviewed in Britain.

Hunting with hounds traditionally involves a pack of dogs, riders on horseback and others following the hunt on foot.

The main prey were foxes and hunts regularly took place across the country during the season, which usually lasted from autumn to spring.