The Hunting Bill
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.