Hunting poll: Do you agree with the Government’s planned amendments to the 2004 hunting ban?
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In less than a week MPs will be voting whether or not to allow a pack of dogs to once again hunt foxes. Are you in favour or against the move? Cast your vote here
The Cotswolds is home to some of the most prestigious hunts in the country, including The Beaufort and The Heythrop.
Just over 10 years ago, in 2004, the hunting ban bill was passed by the Labour Government, making it illegal to hunt wild mammals in England and Wales with a pack of dogs.
Prime Minister David Cameron is now planning to relax that ban, which allows just two dogs to flush out foxes for pest control purposes, The Guardian has reported. If the vote (provisionally planned for Wednesday) goes in favour of his proposed changes hunters will be able to use a pack of dogs, rather than the two currently allowed, to flush out foxes before shooting them.
The move stops short of offering a vote to repeal the ban, which was promised in the Conservative manifesto, and would bring England’s law into line with the restrictions in Scotland. According to The Guardian pro-hunting MPs are understood to be happy with the proposed “middle way” but animal rights campaigners condemned the proposal.
In a statement on their website The Countryside Alliance said: “The amendments would remove the arbitrary two- dog limit in exempt hunting making it legal to flush and shoot foxes using packs of hounds. If the amendments are passed it would therefore be legal to manage foxes and some other wild mammals using packs of hounds. The requirement to take reasonable steps to shoot will, however, remain as it is. The changes would represent a significant improvement for many farmers and hunts, whilst moving the law into line with Scotland."
Tom Quinn, Campaigns Director for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “This is no simple amendment to the Hunting Act. The Government is trying to bring back hunting by deceit. Now we know what they are proposing, any pretence that the government was trying to amend the law to enable better fox control has been blown out of the water. We urge MPs to reject the government’s cynical proposal. It is nothing but repeal of the Hunting Act in disguise."
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What do you think? Should the Act be changed to allow the use of more than two dogs to flush out foxes?