Britain’s leading canine group The Kennel Club, has shifted from its normally neutral position on government legislation to one of overt opposition for the proposed Hunting Bill.

The Kennel Club’s general council has now agreed to “lend the Kennel Club’s support” to those opposing the bill.

In the club’s in-house publication, Kennel Gazette, a spokesman for the club stated that “the Kennel Club learned much from the Dangerous Dogs Act fiasco. It will do everything it can to prevent the UK, in future, from suffering from poorly drafted and increasingly draconian anti-dog legislation”.

The spokesman went on to say: “It is in the light of this that the general committee has decided that the Kennel Club should join the fray. Apart from being a huge problem for the field trial fraternity, the bill as currently drafted contains a number of clauses that, in relation to dogs generally, pose immense threats.

“The Kennel Club became increasingly aware that the direction in which the bill and its supporters appeared to be moving was becoming more and more dangerous to the future of dogs generally. When it became apparent that it was turning into a possible anti-dog issue, wesaw that it was necessary to react proactively.”

Simon Hart, director of the Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Hunting, said: “For Britain’s most influential dog ownership organisation to drop its neutrality and express opposition to the bill isa major development.

“Groups with an interest in owning and working sporting dogs have been flagging up the concern that this bill would affect far more than just hunting for some time. Despite lukewarm attempts by ministers responsible for this bill to reassure dog owners, it seems that they have been disbelieved. It is yet another reason why a bill to ban hunting is grossly unfair and unnecessary.”