Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner writes: You may have seen reports this week that the Government was ‘pushing’ for a vote on the Hunting Act. Whilst I am sure that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Environment and most of the cabinet would happily see the back of the ban, I am equally certain that it is not at the top of their agenda.
The Government was elected on a manifesto commitment to hold a vote and that will remain its position, but unfortunately, as we saw again last year when the SNP intervened on amendments to the law in England and Wales, the hunting debate is rarely straightforward, nor does it have much to do with foxes or hounds. Whilst hunting retains incredibly strong support within the Conservative party and from nearly all rural MPs there is an ingrained political prejudice which means that resolving this issue will remain difficult. We will, however, work with the Government to achieve just that.
Meanwhile new figures from the Government show that whilst 48 people were convicted or cautioned under the Hunting Act in 2015 not a single one of them had anything to do with a hunt. Ten hunting people were prosecuted by the CPS, or privately by the League Against Cruel Sports and RSPCA, but not a single one of them was found guilty. Just as we predicted the ban has achieved absolutely nothing other than to waste hundreds of hours of police and court time, and thousands of pounds of taxpayers money as animal rights activists pursue pointless vendettas.
As hounds are out again autumn hunting we can be proud of the resilience and determination which has seen hunts through the dark days of uncertainty when the ban came into force, to the relative calm of another new season. We will never rest until the ban on hunting is overturned, and we can be absolutely confident that hunting will survive for as long as that takes.
Read the article ‘Ministers push ahead with plan for vote on scrapping fox hunting ban’ published 17 September 2016 in the Telegraph.
Follow Tim on Twitter @CA_TimB