Poll: Should there be a complete ban on hunts?

The Hunting Act is not fit for purpose and should be 'consigned to history', it has been claimed.


Eleven years on from the legislation coming into force, the Countryside Alliance said the hunting community is determined to continue, under the law, to help farmers and landowners manage the fox, hare and deer population.

It comes after the official start of the new hunting season yesterday.

Supporters hoped to secure some amendments to the act ahead of the new hunting season to ease some of the restrictions on packs and horsemen. But no changes have been made.

Under the terms of the act, hounds now follow trails rather than foxes. Many hunts still work with farmers to manage wildlife under exemptions to the legislation.

There are 289 registered packs of hounds across Britain. Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said the hunts can lawfully managed the population of foxes, hare and deer with the exemptions to the Hunting Act.

"We had hoped that the new season would have been marked by small amendments to the Hunting Act, which would have varied the number of hounds allowed to be used by hunts when flushing mammals out to be shot," he said. "There is no justification for the Hunting Act and it will be consigned to history."

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The pro-hunt lobby has an ardent supporter in the shape of North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.

The former Environment Secretary called for the Hunting Act to be repealed on its 10th anniversary last year, describing it as a badly-drawn piece of legislation. "It's a complete muddle that has been driven more by class warfare than animal welfare," he said at the time.

"Since the act came into force, it has been documented that there has been a significant increase in the shooting of foxes, which have died in great misery."

Hunts are still carried out in the Midlands. They include the Albrighton, Albrighton & Woodland, Ludlow, South Shropshire and Wheatland hunts.

Last weekend the Albrighton & Woodland hunt held its first meeting of the season at Enville Hall, near the Shropshire border.

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