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WILDLIFE CRIMEWATCH LINE 01483 361 108

Lords Vote for Hunting to Continue

19 March 2002

House of Lords ignored public opinion and the will of the elected House tonight by voting to allow hunting to continue. Anti-hunt campaigners branded the result a ploy to save foxhunting. Peers voted by 366 to 59 in favour of licensed hunting.

John Rolls, RSPCA director of communications, said: "This was not a vote in favour of compromise, this was a vote in favour of hunting with added bureaucracy."
"Last night MPs voted overwhelmingly for a ban on hunting with dogs. The Upper Chamber has once more ignored the view of their elected colleagues. There are only two choices in this debate, to end this cruelty in the name of sport or to allow it to continue. By voting for the middle way, the House of Lords has come down in favour of licensing cruelty.

" When the government's Hunting Bill was debated last year MPs voted in favour of a ban and Peers voted to retain hunting under voluntary supervision. A MORI poll* carried out in 2001 showed that 65% of people believed the House of Lords should accept the Commons vote at that time.

A new poll**, released following last night's Commons debate, shows that 62% of the public believes that the government should now bring in a ban on hunting this year, irrespective of tonight's vote in the House of Lords. Campaigning to Protect Hunted Animals (CPHA) - the RSPCA, International Fund for Animal Welfare and League Against Cruel Sports - wants to see the reintroduction of the existing Hunting Bill. This clearly distinguishes between sporting hunting, which is banned, and the legitimate protection of livestock.

John Rolls said: "MPs clearly recognise that there can be no compromise as far as hunting with dogs is concerned. You cannot licence cruelty. The government must now see the matter through to its natural conclusion - a ban on hunting with dogs. The quickest way to do that is to reintroduce the Hunting Bill using the Parliament Act."

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Notes to editors

*MORI interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 1,918 adults aged 15+ face to face between 1-6 March 2001. Data were weighted to the known national population profile. **MORI interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 1,003 adults aged 16+ by telephone between 15-17 March 2002. Data were weighted to reflect the known population profile.