Today The Sunday Times broke the news that Prime Minister Theresa May is to announce that repeal of the Hunting Act 2004 is to be dropped from Conservative Party policy.

While this news is yet to be confirmed by Downing Street, Eduardo Goncalves, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports, had this to say:

“It’s nearly 2018, not 1818, so it’s a little strange we’re celebrating because a government has renounced fox hunting. But yet, this is still good news. There’s been a shift this year, as the government has realised quite how important it is to recognise the compassionate nature of the British public. Their election manifesto to hold a vote on repealing the hunting act was left in tatters. Then the suggestion that the government does not recognise that animals are sentient beings was met with ridicule.  Pro animal policies have followed, but if this is what it has taken to rid this country of a barbaric hobby which kills thousands of animals in the name of fun, then we welcome it.

“The cynical will say that this statement won’t hold in the future when the pro hunting lobby exerts its influence once more, so we shall have to see if an anti hunting stance is indeed the future of the Conservative party, or a tactical move at a politically sensitive time. For the sake of our animals we hope it’s the former.

“Whatever the policy of the government, the reality is that hunting is illegal but hunts still go out and kill foxes, stags and hares on almost a daily basis. They are fooling the public by pretending to be just following a trail, not animals, but the violent reality is clear to anyone who is paying attention. If the government is serious about ridding  this country of the abhorrent sport of hunting, then those who are breaking the law and still hunting must be caught and prosecuted, which frankly isn’t happening at the moment.  If we are to be a country united against blood sports, then let’s prove it by shutting down those who kill animals for fun once and for all.

“We want the government to give a clear signal that they want the law properly enforced by all police forces throughout the UK and part of the policing plans of all Police and Crime Commissioners. And we want to see sentences reflecting the seriousness of the crime. Other wildlife and animal cruelty crimes carry maximum custodial sentences yet illegal hunting doesn’t. And there are other ridiculous legal loopholes that need shutting down too, such as deer hunting and then claiming it’s for research like some countries claim when killing whales. If the government wants to be seen as credible on this issue, it’s got to go beyond what the electorate has been telling it in opinion polls for over a decade, and show it is committed to showing leadership by taking action to make cruel sports firmly part of our past.”