SOUTH East Cambridgeshire MP James Paice reignited the debate over fox hunting this week by calling the current ban “unworkable”

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Speaking as thousands of people across the region turned out to support the traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings, the minister for agriculture and food admitted that legislation was not working and said he would be in favour of repealing the ban.

The League Against Cruel Sports claims support for the Hunting Act, which was introduced seven years ago by the previous government and bans hunting wild animals with dogs, remains consistently strong.

However Conservative MP Mr Paice, said: “The current law simply doesn’t work. I personally am in favour of hunting with dogs – and the Coalition Agreement clearly states that we will have a free vote on whether to repeal the Act when there is time in the Parliamentary calendar to do so.”

The comments were echoed by Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, who said hunting remained as popular as ever.

“It is a point of pride for rural communities across Britain that, despite the prejudice and ignorance of some, hunting remains as strong as ever,” she said.

“Added to this, the visit of the hunting minister to a hunt kennels is a very welcome and strong show of support from this Government. The Countryside Alliance is delighted to be in such a strong position to push for the repeal of the expensive and failed Hunting Act.”

But the League Against Cruel Sports claims that support for the Hunting Act remains consistently strong.

A poll carried out by YouGov on the group’s behalf showed that 69 per cent of people agree that the ban on hunting wild animals with dogs should remain, they said.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent of people surveyed said that a vote on repealing the Hunting Act was least important when compared to other reforms.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of LACS, said: “It comes as no surprise that the public has shown there is no appetite to waste parliamentary time on voting to repeal the Hunting Act.

“The figures speak for themselves and we have seen poll after poll show that the public support and belief in the Hunting Act is overwhelmingly high. The vast majority has absolutely no desire to see wild animals being chased and killed legally in our countryside”.

Boxing Day is one of the most popular fixtures on the hunting calendar and organisers across the region saw a strong turnout.

1 comment

  • The Hunting Act 2004 was progressive and well-meaning legislation passed with support from all parties. If it has fault, it is that it needs tightening up. I write as a farmer and as a countryman born and bred and I have no wish for our country to regress in its attitude to the so-called 'sports' of fox hunting, hare coursing and stag hunting. They have had their day, along with bear baiting and cock fighting. Mr James Paice, the 'Minister for Hunting,' is my MP. He wrote to me - somewhat illogically - saying that he disliked 'hare coursing intensely but would be reluctant to ban it because of my libertarian instincts.' By that logic, we would still have bear baiting and cock fighting as well as fox hunting and stag hunting. I like libertarianism to a point but not beyond the point where animals are chased to exhaustion and torn limb from limb for the amusement of man. Man - and Mr Paice - ought now to know and believe better than that.

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    Geoffrey Woollard

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

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