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Monday, December 26, 2011

Fox hunting ban may prevail

As supporters of hunting gather for their little ride in the country today, the Telegraph signals that they may well be denied that final bloody kill for some time to come.

They say that the Prime Minister has effectively given up hope of lifting Labour’s ban on foxhunting. Senior figures have told the paper that the promised Commons vote on repealing the ban will not be held next year and is unlikely in 2013 either:

And even when a vote is eventually held, senior Conservatives are resigned to the Commons opting to maintain the ban.

Ministers privately accept that there is not a Commons majority in favour of repeal, since almost all Labour MPs, most Liberal Democrats and some Tories want the ban to remain.

The Prime Minister is also said to be unwilling to focus attention on the hunting issue at a time when most voters are more concerned with economic issues.

They also refer to a poll, which suggests that nearly half of people believe a vote to repeal the Hunting Act should not be a top animal welfare priority for the coalition Government.

What is most interesting about the arithmetic here is that not all Conservative MPs support a repeal of the ban. Although the more traditional Tories want to see it go a group of them who were first elected last year is fighting to keep it. The “Blue Foxes” group includes several women first elected last year as part of Mr Cameron's drive to update his party's image.

Has the modernisation of the Conservative Party ensured that the ban will remain in place indefinitely? We will see.
Whilst it's true that not all Tory MPs support a repeal of the ban, this was the case prior to the last Westminster election. I see not change in the 'arithmetic of pro or anti MPs in any party. During the last vote 26 LibDem MPs voted for a ban and 18 against. There was a manifesto pledge by the Tories that a 'free vote' will take place on the issue during the course of this parliament. I'm not sure if this pledge will be dropped along with the many other manifesto commitments. There are some prominent LibDem MPs who want a free vote and support a repeal of the ban, and it's replacement with licensing, which could have significant implications for the devolved administrations. Fox hunting remains legal in Northern Ireland, was banned in Scotland long before the Westminster vote and I suspect there is majority in favour of fox hunting amongst MPs in England. As with all other matters of rural affairs and environment, it's a decision which should rest with the Welsh Government. Don't you agree?
The Hunting Act also bans the disgusting 'sports' of hare coursing and stag hunting. That is something the Countryside Alliance and their allies do not mention much. Fact is most decent minded people of all political backgrounds and none think chasing a wild animal to exhaustion (whilst blocking any escape routes the night before) is disgusting cruelty that has no place in a modern society. Hunts can go out dressed up and stall have hunt balls etc, they can go out and do proper drag hunting. The fact that they are not satisfied with that shows that their real agenda is bloodlust. Thanks Peter for being a compassionate and decent voice on this.
Vidoo at link below shows pre-ban stag hunting (warning disturbing footage) This is why the Hunting Act must remain on the statute books and why so many of us will not rest to keep this barbarity banned.

I noticed that Huw Irranca Davies voted against a ban on "hunting mammals with dogs" when it was voted on in the House of Commons; I expect that the Aberbaiden hunt was out today, and having a few G&Ts in "The Tap" in Pyle at lunchtime.
The ban on hunting was the result of many years of hard work by MPs and the public from across party lines.
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