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“Minister for the Horse” visits RIHS

The group Families for Hunting has promised to hound Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael during his visit to Hickstead tomorrow (Thursday), to demonstrate their disappointment in his promise to fight for the rights of horses in rural areas.

Last September, Alun made a renewed commitment to the equine industry, and promised to “recognise and enhance the contribution made by the horse industry to the rural economy”.

However, according to evidence submitted to the independent inquiry into hunting, a ban on the sport would have a huge adverse affect on the equine industry. Families for Hunting are seeking to prove inconsistencies between Mr Michael’s promises and his behaviour.

Georgie Worsley, spokeswoman for the group says: “Alun Michael certainly has a nerve. To claim that he is committed to the long-term future of the equine industry, while promoting and supporting a Bill which would lead to the destruction of equine businesses, a collapse in market values and leave thousands of horses redundant is extreme hypocrisy, even by his standards.

“Neither evidence nor public opinion support a ban but the Minister still seems blind to the devastating consequences that the Hunting Bill would have on rural communities and animal welfare.”

This statement was supported by a poll conducted by ICM and released today by the Countryside Alliance, which found that a majority of the public believes that the Government should not allow hunting to be banned. This research will also be presented to Alun Michael on Thursday.

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