As the 10th anniversary of the passing of the Hunting Act approaches — on 18 November — Vote-OK is warning hunting people not to be complacent about the current survival of virtually all hunts in England and Wales.
George Bowyer, Director of Vote-OK, says a new anti organisation, “Campaign to Strengthen the Hunting Act”, is a compelling reason why hunting people should work for a Conservative victory at the impending general election. David Cameron is the only party leader offering a vote on repeal of the Act.
“Under Labour, the current status quo is the ceiling from which we would be precariously hanging by our fingertips,” said Mr Bowyer.
Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance added: “As we approach the general election, hunting remains an unresolved political issue that still needs to be solved.
“The Hunting Act has failed at every level. There has been no attempt by any anti-hunting organisation to show improvement in the welfare of the quarry species since the Act came in.”
After 22 attempts to ban hunting with hounds through private members’ bills, Labour introduced the first government bill to abolish the sport in England and Wales in 2001, but it ran out of time due to the Iraq war. Despite two major protest marches, and numerous other pro-hunting demonstrations, Labour reintroduced its Hunting Bill in 2004.
It was only passed on 18 November after the Blair government controversially used the Parliament Act to overcome objections from the House of Lords. It was enforced three months later on 18 February 2005. Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has since said he believed it was a mistake.
Scotland’s anti-hunting bill was passed in 2002, but the Northern Ireland Assembly firmly rejected an attempted bill to ban hunting in the province in 2010, and is currently the only UK area where traditional hunting with hounds is legal.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 November 2014).