Hunting wild animals with dogs for sport was banned in Scotland in 2002 and England and Wales in 2004, these are fantastic achievements, however, the war to stamp out hunting in the UK is not yet won.
The Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002 which banned hunting with dogs in Scotland is not being enforced at present, and suspected breaches go unreported. In England and Wales the threat of repeal is real, as the Coalition Government has promised a free vote on the issue.
More recently a new threat to the hunting ban presented itself. At the beginning of March there were worrying reports in the media and rumours in parliament regarding a proposal to amend the Hunting Act 2004 which could have dramatically affected the hunting ban in England and Wales. The proposed Statutory Instrument (SI) would have amended a key clause of the Act which would allow a full pack of hounds to flush to guns, essentially lifting the hunting ban by allowing hunts to carry on hunting by simply having a firearm and claiming when questioned, to be flushing to guns.
The League quickly alerted our supporters, politicians and the media to the realty of the situation, exposing this move as nothing but a devious way to stop the Act working, as the pro-bloodsports lobby attempted sneakily repeal the Hunting Act by the back door. We believe that this threat to the Hunting Act has now been quashed, following Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 26th March, when David Cameron was forced to admit that a proposal was indeed being considered, but that he regretted that it wouldn’t get support from both sides of the Coalition. This means an amendment has no chance of proceeding as things stand.
We have won the battle, but know full well that the war is not yet won. We need David Cameron to state categorically that he either:
- Accepts the Hunting Act is an important and successful piece of legislation, and removes the promise of full repeal
- That he will try to dismantle it in an open and transparent way by holding a repeal vote
As a key player in the hard-fought to get hunting with dogs banned, the League Against Cruel Sports is working hard to ensure the law is enforced, and that any attempts to amend or repeal the legislation are successfully exposed and blocked.
Rest assured, after 90 years of campaigning to both bring about and enforce a ban on hunting with hounds for sport, we remain ever vigilant in defence of the Act. For now though the foxes, hares, deer and more that the legislation protects remain safe from the full horrors of traditional hunting.