This week hunting was mentioned in Parliamen as Shadow Defra Minister asked the Environment Secretary “if she will make it her policy to establish a commission to examine the issue of hunting foxes with dogs before bringing forward proposals for a vote in the House on that issue.”

In response, Defra Minister Rory Stewart said: “The Government has no plans to establish a commission to examine the issue of hunting foxes with dogs. However, the Government continues to stand by its manifesto commitment to give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the Hunting Act on a free vote, with a government bill in government time.

Further, Mr Cunningham asked the Environment Secretary “whether her Department plans to make an assessment of the humaneness of hunting with dogs.”

Rory Stewart answered: “The Government has no plans to make an assessment of the humaneness of hunting with dogs. However, in 1999 a Government Committee (the Burns Inquiry) was set up to examine the facts in the debate about hunting with dogs, including whether hunting with dogs is cruel. The findings of the inquiry were published on 9 June 2000. On 12 March 2001 Lord Burns stated: “… There was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to reach views about cruelty. It is a complex area …”.