- Countryside Alliance figures show that over the past two years there have been no successful prosecutions involving hunts registered with the Council of Hunting Associations
- The figures also show that since the introduction of the Hunting Act in February 2005, 94 per cent of successful prosecutions under the Act have had nothing to do with registered hunts
Ahead of the Boxing Day meets that are again expected to attract over a quarter of a million supporters, the Countryside Alliance has reiterated its call for the Hunting Act to be scrapped.
Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner, said:
“Our figures demonstrate unequivocally that the Hunting Act lies in tatters. The problem with the Act is that over the past two years all those prosecuted under the Act have had nothing to do with ‘hunts’. No-one connected to any of the over 300 registered hunts in England and Wales has been convicted of a hunting offence over the past two years.
“Of those 423 people who have been convicted since 2005, 94 per cent were involved in casual hunting or poaching rather than anything that would be recognised as ‘hunting’ by those MPs who so obsessively pursued the ban. Most of those convicted would have been guilty of offences which pre-existed the Hunting Act anyway.”
Official figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that in 2015 there were 45 successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act. Overall, since the introduction of the Hunting Act there have been 423 prosecutions but only 24 have been associated with registered hunts. The rate of successful prosecutions associated with registered hunts is falling.
The Countryside Alliance has also raised concerns about the cost of the Hunting Act to the public purse. A large amount of this cost has come about via wasted police time. The Government figures for 2015 show that 92 people were prosecuted for Hunting Act offences.
Commenting on the cost of the Hunting Act to the public purse, Tim Bonner said:
“The last case against a registered hunt to reach court, in Devon, was an attempt by an anti-hunting group to bring a private prosecution. It took two years to get to trial, but ended in two days when the prosecutions ‘expert witness’ was found to have hidden close relationships with other witnesses. This is a classic example of the waste of resources and court time directly attributable to the Hunting Act.
“You may want your local police officers to spend their time investigating real crimes, but they have a legal obligation to investigate allegations, however spurious and however much police resources could be better used elsewhere.
“The law that was supposed to have got rid of hunts is now being used as little more than a vehicle to harass them.”
Last year over 250,000 people attended their local hunt to show their support. This year, that number is expected to grow as up to 300 hunts up and down the country plan their Boxing Day meets.
Notes to editors
- The Ministry of Justice statistics for prosecutions under the Hunting Act can be found here:https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-december-2015
- Please find: Police powers to unmask violent protestors eased
- Table: Within brackets (total number of successful prosecutions under Hunting Act, supplied by MOJ), Not in brackets (total number of prosecutions under Hunting Act involving Hunts recognised by Council of Hunting Associations, Countryside Alliance figures). Ministry of Justice statistics for 2016 scheduled to be published May 2017.
Persons Proceeded Against