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The Hunting Bill

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 10 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Hunting Bill Hunting Act Hunting Ban Ban

The Hunting Bill was a source of much controversy back in 2004 and resulted in a total ban on hunting with hounds. Read on for more information about the Hunting Bill and the Hunting Act that followed on from it.

What Did the Hunting Bill Involve?

Under the Hunting With Dogs Bill, Parliament wanted to ban all hunting involving dogs. The original proposals laid out in 2003 included a total ban on hunting stags and hares, with licensed hunters being allowed to continue fox hunting. Parliament hoped that this proposal would serve as a compromise between the House of Lords (who were in favour of hunting) and House of Commons (who wanted a ban on hunting), but this was not the case. MPs who didn’t agree with hunting called for a total ban on hunting with dogs. This was rejected by the House of Lords, leading to a stalemate.

The same Bill was reintroduced in 2004, complete with exactly the same wording as before, and the Parliament Act (which isn’t used very often) could be brought in to make sure that the House of Lords couldn’t stop it from being pushed through. It was only the fourth time since 1949 that the Parliament Act had been used. If you’re not clued-up on politics, the Parliament Act means that a venture that is supported by the House of Commons can be pushed through as legislation - even if the House of Lords strongly opposes it. Because of this, the House of Lords voted for a compromise on the outright ban involving licensing instead.

What Happened Next?

In February 2005, the Hunting Act was passed. This meant a total ban on hunting with dogs came into force in England and Wales (it was already banned in Scotland). It is now illegal for a hound to chase a fox during a hunt, but this hasn’t stopped people from trying to bend the rules. Estimates suggest that around 900 foxes were killed in the twelve month period following the ban. There were also 200 allegations of illegal hunting, but no hunters were found guilty.

Hunting deer and hares is also illegal under the same Act.

How Was the Ban Received?

Large sections of the British press were highly critical of the ban, implying that Tony Blair had pandered to the anti-hunting MPs in the House of Commons. The ban was at least partly based on public opinion though. In September 2002, a Daily Telegraph survey had found that 57% of respondents agreed with the statement that “hunting with dogs is never acceptable”. An MORI survey commissioned by the BBC when the ban came into effect indicated that 47% (which was a majority as only 26% were in opposition) agreed with the legislation.

What Does This Mean for Hunting?

Many hunters claim that their enjoyment has been destroyed now that the thrill of the chase has been removed. Some have even gone as far as to say that it has effectively killed the countryside as they know it.

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"In February 2005, the Hunting Act was passed. This meant a total ban on hunting with dogs came into force in England and Wales (it was already banned in Scotland). It is now illegal for a hound to chase a fox during a hunt, but this hasn’t stopped people from trying to bend the rules. Estimates suggest that around 900 foxes were killed in the twelve month period following the ban. There were also 200 allegations of illegal hunting, but no hunters were found guilty. " WELL DONE TO THOSE WHO TOOK PART, 900 FOXES EH! I CAN SEE YOU WHERE VERY PLEASED WITH THIS OUTCOME. I LIKE THE WAY YOU USE 'BENDING THE RULES' IN DIRECT RELATION TO HOW MANY FOXES WHERE ACTUALLY KILLED! WHAT A BUNCH OF ABSOLUTELY NIT WITS!
Basil - 1-Jan-13 @ 1:37 AM
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