I’m proud of the part I played in getting The Hunting Act 2004 on to the statute book.
As well as being one of the Labour government’s best achievements, it is overwhelmingly supported across the country, in both urban and rural areas. I’m pleased at a big poll last year confirmed that a big majority of the British public are in favour of continuing to ban fox hunting (80%), deer hunting (86%), hare hunting and coursing (88%), dog fighting (98%) and badger baiting (95%).
It’s interesting to note that fox numbers haven’t increased since the hunting ban. Lamb loss due to fox predation is still evidenced to be less than 1% of all lamb deaths. And, contrary to the regular assertion, culling actually appears to increase fox numbers because it attracts foxes from surrounding areas and increases reproduction rates.
The Hunting Act 2004 is the most successful piece of animal welfare legislation. Recent Government figures reveal that a total of 590 prosecutions were made under the Act, with a success rate of 64%.
David Cameron – a huntsman himself - It appears to be one of the few manifesto promises he is trying to keep. The Conservative manifesto pledged to give ‘Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote government time’.
However, David Cameron recognises that he does not have the required numbers for a full repeal. So he’s trying to wreck the Act with some ‘technical’ amendments.These are designed to wreck the Hunting Act 2004 using a back-door device in order to appease his supporters in groups such as the Countryside Alliance.
If, like Oscar Wilde, you think that fox-hunting is a case of ‘the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable’, it’s time to ensure that you speak out now…..and do it loudly!