Preserve the Hunting Act intact

***Good news update – Will attended a march in London this morning where the assembled protestors learned the news that the amendment had been withdrawn (for now at least). Many thanks to everyone who contacted their MPs on this issue***

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

When the Hunting Act was passed in 2004, I and many others rejoiced.  It was not perfect but it addressed one fundamental principle, namely that we would no longer tolerate the pursuit of animals with a pack of hounds until their violent death for ‘fun’.

Of course, the Act still permitted the killing of various species for a number of reasons (the dispatch of injured animals, ‘pest control’ and more) but, in my view,  it rightly ended the grotesque concept that we should derive pleasure from so doing.

The proposed Amendments to the Statutory Instruments which govern the implementation of the Hunting Act, due to be debated in the House of Commons on 15th July, represent the start of a fundamental erosion to the principles underpinning the Hunting Act which may well lead, once more, to the pursuit and killing of foxes and other animals by a pack of hounds for ‘sport’.

Proponents of the Amendments claim that they bring legislation in England into line with legislation in Scotland.  I do not believe this to be the case.  Having looked at both, I conclude that the proposals for England will result in even weaker legislative provisions than currently exists in Scotland.

As I write, it is unclear to me whether the short 90 minute debate which will take place this coming Wednesday, the 15th July, will conclude with a ‘free vote’ allowing MPs to vote as their conscience dictates or whether it will be ‘whipped’.  I hope and expect that the Prime Minister’s previous commitment to a free vote will still stand.

MPs of all Parties can then search their consciousness; reflect upon the overwhelming view of the urban and rural public which is fundamentally against the hunting of foxes for sport; take into account the compelling evidence provided by organisations such as the RSPCA, The League Against Cruel Sports, Team Fox (www.save-me.org.uk) IFAW and others, which demonstrates that, despite the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2004,  fox populations have stabilized, not exploded out of control, and that hunting with hounds does not provide an effective or acceptable way of managing foxes; and reflect further on our hard-won national reputation as a compassionate nation. Having taken all this into account, I then hope they  do the right thing.

For all these reasons and more, I hope our elected representatives reject the proposed Amendments and preserve the Hunting Act intact.

Blogging off

Will

STOP PRESS: Scottish National Party MPs have announced that they will vote against Wednesday’s motion to amend the Hunting Act. Many thanks to all those who contacted their Scottish MPs asking them to do so; if your MP is an SNP Member you no longer need to contact them on this issue. However if your MP belongs to another Party, do please contact him or her urging them to vote against Wednesday’s motion.

One Response to “Preserve the Hunting Act intact”

  1. Gill Gilbey Says:

    Dear Will,
    I agree with all you say above.Like many others I contacted my MP.This whole issue has been done in an underhand,back-door manner.WHY? Is it being driven by the anachronistic “toffs” of Downton Abbey ? How can we be taken seriously regarding animal welfare worldwide when we inflict such cruelty on our own wild life.