John Baron MP supports amendment to Hunting Act

July 14, 2015

MP says amendment is fair and proportionate

On Wednesday, MPs were going to be offered a free vote on an amendment to the Hunting Act 2004. However, this morning the Government decided to postpone the vote until a later date after the SNP overturned its self-imposed and longstanding moratorium on not voting on purely English, Welsh or Northern Irish matters – hunting being a devolved matter.

The amendment would not overturn or repeal the Hunting Act, but aims to bring the legislation in England and Wales more into line with the legislative situation in Scotland, by allowing farmers and gamekeepers, provided they have the landowner’s permission, to use more than two dogs – the maximum the law currently allows – to flush out a fox onto guns. In Scotland there is no limit to the numbers of dogs permitted to flush out foxes and other wild animals.

The amendment is in response to complaints from farmers, particularly in upland parts of England and Wales where cover can be dense, that the current legislative situation does not allow them to control fox numbers and protect their livestock.

John said,

“I am supportive of these changes. They will not legalise hunting, but will instead allow farmers in England and Wales to control foxes in the same way as their counterparts in Scotland. This is fair and proportionate, and I hope MPs vote to pass the amendment when it is next before Parliament.”

“Though it is not what MPs will be asked to vote on, I would favour removing the ban on hunting. Other means of controlling foxes – snares, shooting, gassing and poisoning – incur higher wounding rates and more suffering than using hounds, which is why 500 members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons opposed the Hunting Act when it was passed. Furthermore, the 2000 Burns Inquiry failed to conclude that hunting with hounds was crueller than other methods of controlling foxes.”

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