Hunting campaigners remain defiant

PRO-HUNT campaigners have reacted defiantly after ministers hinted that fox hunting could be banned within the next year.Despite no mention of the Hunting Bill in the Queen's Speech yesterday Peter Hain, the leader of the House of Commons, insisted the government still intends to "resolve" the fox hunting issue.

PRO-HUNT campaigners have reacted defiantly after ministers hinted that fox hunting could be banned within the next year.

Despite no mention of the Hunting Bill in the Queen's Speech yesterday Peter Hain, the leader of the House of Commons, insisted the government still intends to "resolve" the fox hunting issue.

Proposals for a ban on hunting with dogs, agreed in the House of Commons, were blocked in the House of Lords but the measure could still be re-introduced by ministers as a Private Member's Bill.

Downing Street yesterday refused to offer any guidance on the issue but many Labour MPs want the Parliament Act to be used to force the measure into law.


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Roger Clark, a farrier and joint master of the East Anglian Bloodhounds, said: "We will be losing another part of our heritage. People will be defiant. The bill in this form is unfair and against the Burn's Report, which no one has taken notice of.

"People will go hunting despite a ban and a lot more people will anyway who probably would not think about breaking the law."

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He said his business would feel the effects of any ban especially in the winter when about 60% of his custom is for hunters.

He added: "When you think of how many other things are wrong in this country I don't know how the government can spend so much time on such a trivial issue."

James Buckle, master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, said: "I am sure a group of people will carry on hunting whether its banned or not, which will be a complete waste of time for the police.

"I am not surprised by Peter Hain's announcement. It is quite amazing that the government's Queen's Speech, which is meant to include the government legislation for the next session, made no mention of the bill but they announced it afterwards. It is a staggering abuse of parliamentary convention."

He added: "It would be a lot harder for us to defend if it had been included in the Queen's Speech as it would then take on the mantle of genuine government legislation."

Liz Mort, from the Countryside Alliance, said: "The government has said that it wants to resolve the issue but that doesn't mean to say they are going to ban it. It could be a system of licensing, which we have always wanted.

"There was relief that it was not in the Queen's Speech but we are very aware that does not mean it has gone away. We will still be campaigning to keep the pressure up as much as possible."

Doreen Brand, from Ipswich Animal Rights, said: "This is good news. I am in favour of an outright ban. If fox hunting was licensed it would be like licensing cruelty.

"Whatever way they do it I am favour of a ban and I do not care whether it is in the Queen's Speech or not. This is a political move to get the bill through untouched."

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