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Repeal the Hunting Act

Comment 9th July 2010

Ideally, repeal the Hunting Act outright, and trust members of hunts and their supporting organisations to behave responsibly and humanely towards the animals they hunt.

If this is deemed too controversial, make hunting legal with certain restrictions, though I should add that these would probably be as impossible to enforce as the Hunting Act itself, and the majority of hunts and their members would be acting within them anyway.

Why does this matter?

The Hunting Act was introduced as a result of political prejudice and ignorance and without evidence pertaining to animal welfare. Since its introduction, many foxes have suffered. Foxes are compulsive killers, and have no natural predators. Their numbers need to be managed, and people will always go out and kill them. Since the ban was introduced, I have seen foxes trapped and snared around the countryside – something I had never witnessed before. The animals had died slowly and miserably. If brought down by a pack of hounds, a fox dies within seconds. It is an all or none phenomenon – the fox is either killed or runs free; there is no wounding. Hunts impose a season on themselves, to avoid killing a nursing vixen, and if the fox is not caught (which is actually what happens most of the time) it is at least dispersed, which makes their behaviour less brazen. What happened recently in London may well have been the result of dense populatioons of foxes converging in urban areas, where they compete for food and living space, and become increasingly defiant.

A secondary benefit of hunting is that it provides a focus of activity for cummunities who have often lost their church, school, post office and other aspects of shared living. It is inclusive, involving children (including disabled ones) and the older generation alike.

Of course the stereotypical toff with unpleasant behaviour, who rides through the country shouting tallyho! exists, but in my experience this is a tiny minority, and usually a marginalised one at that. Most members of our hunt are ordinary people, without much in the way of money and assetts. We are devastated by the previous government's contempt and disregard for rural communities (including the rural poor), customs and traditions, and the Hunting Act is another deliberate assault on this way of life. Most members of hunts have a deep love of the countryside and respect its wildlife.

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