The Countryside Allianced vows to continue its fight against a ban on hunting

Following widely differing votes over a ban on hunting by the House of Commons and the House of Lords last week, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has announced a six-month period of consultation with pro- and anti-hunting groups before drafting a new bill.

He added that if the Lords rejected that bill, then the government woulduse the Parliament Act to force the legislation through.

“We recognise that there are legitimate concerns in the countryside about pest control, land management and other practicalities, and we want to address those issues inthe bill,” he said.

Mr Michael stated that the bill would be based on the principles of “cruelty and utility” as examined by the Burns report, and added that the government would deliver on its manifesto commitment to “resolve the issue” during this Parliament.

The Countryside Alliance welcomed the opportunity for consultation rather than an immediate ban, but promised “determined and implacable resistance” if MPs try to spin the resulting legislation to outlaw hunting.

Campaign for Hunting chairman Sam Butler said: “We now have to ensure that we drive our own agenda on this. Our position has not changed. No aspect of hunting is for sale – we still believe that our existing controls underpinned by statute are the way forward.

“While we are in no better position than we have been before, I don’t believe that the situation is any worse. We need to keep the pressure on. Now is the time to stand shoulder to shoulder – they will have to ban us all or not at all.”

  • The Countryside Alliance has announced that it would be putting pressure on the government to make the consultation public. This is to be supported by a public demonstration this summer and reinforced by a major march as the process reaches its conclusion later in the year.

    Don’t miss today’s issue of Horse & Hound (28 March) for features on the way forward for hunting, or click here to subscribe at a special online rate.

    Read more about the hunting bill: