Momentous opportunity to consign hunting with dogs to history
The League Against Cruel Sports is a charity and does not support or endorse any political party or politician, but works with people from all parties in support of policies to advance the protection of animals from cruelty.
A ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs in Northern Ireland is long overdue. We are currently the only part of the United Kingdom without a ban on hunting with dogs, despite widespread local support to outlaw the practice.
I was pleased in December 2020, to announce my plans to bring before the Northern Ireland Assembly, a Private Members’ Bill to ban on hunting with dogs.
The proposed Bill will ban the hunting of wild mammals, including deer, foxes, rabbits, hares and mink with dogs. The legislation would also ban trail hunting. This is a pre-emptive measure to ensure mock hunting isn’t abused as a loopholes, to hunt, attack and kill wild mammals.
The legislation should reflect on the Scottish (Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act in 2002) and Westminster (The Hunting Act 2004) in England and Wales, where there has been great concern regarding loopholes and trail hunting has been exposed as a ‘smokescreen’.
Animal welfare remains a priority for the Alliance Party, with the Party being responsible for increasing the custodial sentences and fines available for those guilty of animal cruelty crimes. We want to see the elimination of all cruelty towards animals and part of that is the banning of hunting wild mammals with dogs.
Seeing animals ripped to shreds by dogs is nothing but cruel and that’s why I have launched a consultation into a proposed Bill. The barbaric past time of blood sports needs confined to the past and I am committed to help do so.
In order achieve this change, however, I need your help. I would encourage everyone to take part in the public consultation on the proposed Bill, which is available via the following link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7TSS3PF.
John Blair MLA