The House of Lords is to debate the committee stage of the Hunting Bill today, Monday 26 March.

Peers are set to vote three times on the legislation: once after taking out the clauses which ban hunting, again after inserting an amendment proposing a system of self-regulation, and, finally, after these latter amendments have been replaced with strict licensing laws.

Members of the House are expected, by both hunt supporters and welfare groups, to vote against a total ban.

The fact that the issue is being addressed during the foot-and-mouth epidemic has outraged many.

Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu said: “It’s almost obscene that while there is a national emergency involving all those who live in the country, that we in the Lords are going to be spending many hours again tonight debating this matter.”