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Labour announces plans to 'eliminate' hunting

News that the Labour Party has vowed to “eliminate” hunting within its first five years in power comes as no surprise, but it should galvanise the hunting community to prove there is no justification to legislate further on an activity which has already taken up over 700 hours of parliamentary time.

In The Times, Steve Reed, the shadow environment secretary, made the announcement as part of a wider pitch to rural voters, saying that the Labour party will implement a “full ban on trail and drag hunting.”

Mr Reed does not seem to have any understanding of what either trail or drag hunting entail and that they are currently lawful pursuits which involve the laying of a scent across the countryside for hounds to follow, with hunt supporters – either mounted or on foot – watching and following as part of their leisure activities. Neither activity involves the pursuit of a wild mammal yet Mr Reed is calling for the activities to be banned, apparently to protect wildlife and domestic animals. 

Despite being slightly unclear on what Mr Reed is really calling for, it is a reminder that any debate on hunting could result in a variety of amendments to the Hunting Act, ranging from unnecessary and restrictive changes to the Hunting Act to those which could mean that taking any pack of hounds into the countryside is no longer permitted. History suggests that a Labour government will not be in control of where that legislation ends up. The Hunting Bill first introduced in 2002 to license hunting was turned into a draconian ban. Whatever it is Labour actually intends, the entire future of hunting with hounds is at stake.

There is a huge amount to play for. The Alliance will continue to take action to protect hunting’s future in the lead up to the general election and we need the help of everyone who cares about hunting and about hounds. 

You may be asked to take direct action, including signing e-lobbies, completing online petitions or lobbying candidates of all parties ahead of the most important election since before the Hunting Act became law.

To support our Action for Hunting campaign and help protect hunting for future generations, click here.

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