The Countryside Alliance welcomes Jeremy Hunt’s recognition that the Hunting Act represents an ongoing injustice that should be addressed. The Hunting Act remains a source of massive resentment in the countryside and was passed for all the wrong reasons, unsupported by principle or evidence. The ban has done nothing for animal welfare and is a deeply flawed and prejudiced piece of legislation which harms wildlife management and rural communities.
The Chair of the Labour Government’s own independent inquiry into hunting, the Burns Inquiry, stated that there is insufficient evidence to show that hunting with dogs is worse in welfare terms than the alternatives. Every time there has been an independent inquiry or review into the issue the case for a ban has been rejected.
Whilst the case for getting rid of the ban is overwhelming the debate over hunting has become almost wholly political. Any change in the current situation will therefore only be possible when the parliamentary numbers allow, but this issue must be addressed when the time is right.