A new system of self-regulation for hunting was announced at the AGM of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) last Tuesday (5 June, ’07).

Stephen Lambert, MFHA chairman, said hunting’s political allies in Westminster had stated that each of Britain’s diverse hunting associations must have an open and effective system of self-regulation, underpinned by proper training of masters and staff, thus ensuring their competency.

Under the new system — which should be in place before the next general election — all the associations, including the MFHA, would remain responsible for their own rules and codes of conduct, and for enforcing them in a more systematic manner than at present.

Each would hold its own initial enquiries and disciplinary hearings when required. Once completed, the findings would be forwarded to an independent regulator, or small panel of regulators, who would review each case, with the power to increase or reduce penalties, suspend individuals or hunts or hear appeals.

The regulator would have the power to require a hunting association to hold an enquiry if there were reasonable evidence of wrongdoing from a third party.

The MFHA has already started structured seminars and teaching days for masters and hunt staff (news, 5 April), and Mr Lambert stressed that education was vital to hunting’s survival.

Read this news story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (14 June, ’07)