Comment and analysis by Leicester Green Party, and its fellow-travellers
After their crushing defeat in July when the Tories tried to disable the Hunting Act 2004, however much the bloodsport enthusiasts bleated about it being to help farmers, it’s been uncertain what the next step would be. Tomorrow, however, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare are meeting to discuss the Hunting Act. The meeting will be attended by the League Against Cruel Sports, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Countryside Alliance & Masters of Fox Hounds Association. The review will focus on whether the Act has been successful. It has (527 people have been prosecuted for bloodsports under the Hunting Act as of 03/07/2014) but it is still regularly flouted by registered hunts who are ‘cubbing’ (illegally digging out fox cubs to train new hounds) across the country as I type this. The Conservatives have put forward their proposed amendment and it failed spectacularly; now let the more compassionate members of society talk about their own proposition.
The campaigners behind the keeptheban page have just started a government e-petition calling for the Hunting Act to be strengthened. There are some solid ideas for this; campaigners who have monitored registered hunts for years have seen the ways that the hunts break the law and they know how to close the loopholes. See the Campaign to Strengthen the Hunting Act for the proposals. Some of the key suggestions – to insert a reckless clause, prohibit the use of dogs below ground, increase the potential jail time and other suggestions – are supported by the League Against Cruel Sports, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Hare Preservation Trust. I fully support all these efforts and urge all opponents of blood-sports to do the same.