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The Hunting Act 2004 – to strengthen

Comment 3rd July 2010

To remove all the loopholes which are allowing illegal hunting to take place and to dispel all the myths surrounding the requirement to hunt with hounds. All the loopholes within the Act are being exploited and are just a facade for illegal hunting, and all the reasons that hunting with hounds is the best form of control have been scientifically disproved.

Why does this matter?

Hunting enthusiasts put forward many reasons for repealing the Hunting Act – none of them valid or justified. Some claim it's about pest control, others say it will stop wasting police time, while other say it's 'tradition' – and so the excuses go on. Of course, if hunters were not hunting illegally, police time would not be wasted! But what it's really all about is that hunters enjoy what they do and need to be able to continue without the stigma of being labelled 'criminal' as they are now, if caught while illegally hunting. It's perfectly natural for law breakers to want the freedom to do what they enjoy doing, and I'm sure wife and child beaters, and all the other law breakers including drivers using their mobile phones would want that, but that does not mean certain laws should be repealed for a minority that enjoy their particular 'pastime'. As a responsible and civilised society it is our duty to protect the weak, the vulnerable and those that have no voice.

 There are many myths and old wives tales regarding reasons to promote the hunting of foxes, however modern scientific evidence,pathology and research have proved otherwise:

Foxes do not kill for fun – given enough time and left undisturbed, they will carry off and store surplus prey in similar way to some other animals eg squirrels, big cats, and man himself. Our knowledge of this should make us aware that livestock needs safeguarding against the natural instincts of an animal.

Prolonged pursuit of an animal results in organ exhaustion and overload of adrenalin and other hormones etc leading to breakdown of the animal's organs. The fear and organ failure experienced by the fox causes it to defecate and urinate, and in the case of nursing vixens, her milk to seep from her teats.

It is a fallacy to believe that the death of the fox is quick and caused by a single bite to the neck. Pathology has shown this not to be true and generally the cause of death is serious damage to the vital organs.

If the fox is a verminous pest, why is it that some hunters deliberately encourage the fox into their hunting area by building false earths and leaving out animal carcasses for their food?

The Hunting Act was not a law to prevent the higher social class from hunting. It is a law to prevent unnecessary cruelty to wild animals.

The Burns Report established that hunting with hounds was the least cost-efficient form of control and also 'compromised the welfare' of the fox/stag etc.

The 'civil liberty' issue has been taken to the European Courts of Human Rights and was thrown out.

The 'unenforceable' issue was also thrown out by the High Court in this country.

It is incorrect to say that rural dwellers favour hunting. Many farmers and residents detest the hunt who arrogantly trespass across their property with uncontrollable hounds scattering the wildlife and sometimes killing pets and livestock. Many farmers welcome the fox to control the rabbit and rat population.

It is a nonsense to claim that there is an over population of foxes so they migrate to the towns. There have been urban foxes for many years due to their natural habitat shrinking and the easy pickings of food in urban areas. The urban fox has different characteristics from the rural fox.

Several polls taken have established that the vast majority of the electorate, including rural dwellers, do not want a return to legal hunting. 

To repeal the Hunting Act is not only undemocratic but also irresponsible.It is a good law that protects our wild life from cruelty and should be strengthened with loopholes closed.It should be borne in mind that this law protects not only foxes, but stags, hares and otter which have recently been re-introduced due to near extinction. If the Hunting Act is repealed, this also means that hare coursing will be practised again. There is absolutely no necessity for this cruel and dispicable pastime which culminates in two dogs playing tug of war and tearing apart a live hare.

 


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