Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes:
Yesterday Theresa May confirmed that a commitment to a vote on repealing the Hunting Act would remain in the Conservative manifesto for the General Election. When asked about the issue she replied:
“As it happens, personally, I’ve always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain our commitment – we had a commitment previously – as a Conservative Party to allow a free vote and that would allow Parliament to take a decision on this.”
As we all know the Hunting Act never really had anything to do with foxes. It was a misplaced and prejudiced attack on a group within the rural community by those on the left of politics who think class war is a legitimate aim. The hunting community has been extraordinarily resilient and stoic in the years since the Act was passed but we must be very clear that despite that resilience the Hunting Act continues to cause real problems.
Hunts are the subject of constant vindictive allegations by animal rights activists, and their employees and supporters are often investigated and sometimes prosecuted. Whilst very few hunts have been successfully prosecuted under the Act but the impact on hunt staff is unpleasant and in some cases intolerable. Meanwhile, vast amounts of police time is being wasted investigating spurious allegations, and when cases do reach court they can consume huge amounts of public resource.
Unsurprisingly the animal rights movement, which cares little for animals, has never even attempted to show that there has been any benefit for wild mammals as a result of the Act. They know that control continues using a number of legal methods and that the Hunting Act has not improved animal welfare, nor saved the life of a single fox.
The Prime Minister is therefore quite right to support overturning the ban and allowing properly conducted hunting with dogs to restart. This would correct an historic injustice and get rid of one of the most illiberal laws passed in modern times. At the same time it would relieve the police and courts of a substantial burden and allow hunt staff to carry out their jobs without the constant fear of prosecution.
Follow Tim @CA_TimB
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