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Hunting Hearings: Day One

Both sides of the hunting debate are claiming initial victory after yesterday’s hearing into the future of hunting with dogs

The first day of the public hearings into hunting with dogs at London’s Portcullis House began yesterday (9 September) with Lord Burns, who wrote the government’s official report into hunting, presenting the findings of his committee.

The hearing concentrated on the principle of utility, looking into the impact of hunting on wildlife, including the quarry species and its natural habitat, and saw both sides giving evidence to support their arguments.

Richard BurgeM, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, saidno evidence had been presented that hunting should not continue on utility grounds:

“In a hearing meant to focus on evidence, the most common phrase we have heard today has been ‘there is no evidence’, he said.”

However, John Rolls, director of communications for the RSPCA, told BBC’s Today programme that evidence produced by the Countryside Alliance in favour of hunting was “anecdotal at best and whimsy at worst”.

Among others appearing before the hearing yesterday was Dr Stephen Tapper from the Game Conservancy Trust.

” Our difficulty is that we clearly think that hunting is a perfectly legitimate field sport, but the public thinks otherwise,” he said.

Lord Burns concluded yesterday: “Parliament has got to decide whether it wishes to carry as many people with it as possible. My personal view is that there is unlikely to be, in a short time, a meeting of minds on this.”

The hearings are webcast live on UK Online.

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