The ban on hunting with dogs has no scientific grounds, according to a recent report from the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group and the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management (VAWM).
The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Science, released on 27 July, claims that the government, media and public were “duped by fake and twisted science” provided by anti-hunting groups in the run up to the ban in February 2005.
According to the report, “the large body of scientific evidence” cited by the RSPCA simply does not exist.
The government-commissioned Burns Report, published in June 2000, comes under scrutiny for seeking to justify the ban on grounds of cruelty, although in a 2004 speech in the Lords, its author Lord Burns admitted “there is insufficient verifiable evidence to reach views about cruelty”.
This report further discredits the Burns Report because it does not allow for the animal escaping with a fatal wound.
The report also claims some items of research such as A Veterinary Opinion on Hunting with Hounds by Thomas and Allen were ignored. This document represented 300 vets and concluded that hunting constituted the most humane method of control.
Dr Lewis Thomas of the VAWM said: “I understand this was ignored because it was based on opinion instead of fact. But why, when they were listening to the opinion of anti-hunting professors?”
The new report also points out that the only peer-reviewed scientific study into wounding in shot foxes (published in the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare in its journal Animal Welfare, in May 2005) was largely ignored by MPs.
Dr Thomas said he hoped the report would allow politicians motivated to repeal the ban “to have sound information to support their cause”.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (16 August, ’07)