More comments sought on hunting with dogs

Government seeks consultation on Hunting Bill for England and Wales

source: Veterinary Record June 15 2002 p734

The House of Lords rejected a planned Hunting Bill banning hunting in England and Wales, in March 2002, and the government has issued a consultation document, in order to draft a new Bill. The government is seeking facts on utility and cruelty, rather than opinions, according to Alun Michael, rural affairs minister. Michael also stresses that the June 2000 report of the Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs is the starting point for hunting debates. This report explains views of utility and cruelty, two key concepts for the government in formulating legislation on hunting, with cruelty seen as unnecessary suffering.

Some respondents argue that hunting should be divided into different categories, and claim that alternatives to some forms of hunting may involve more suffering. The debate on utility includes questions on how best to achieve pest control and conservation goals. Activities could be banned, regulated, or allowed with no changes made. There could also be exemptions for some activities.

Comments are invited by DFEFRA from interested parties, with a deadline of July 15 2002.