London, UK -(AmmoLand.com)- February 18th marked 11 years since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force. You’d have thought it would be old news by now.
But, ask your local MP which issue appears most often in their inbox and there is a fair bet that he or she will say, not the NHS nor Syria and not the EU, but hunting.
The reason for the extraordinary priority given to this largely irrelevant issue is that the debate was never really about foxes, hounds or managing wildlife. It has always been, as the late Tony Banks put it, a totemic issue for the Labour Party; and particularly that part of it which still wants to fight class war.
The prejudice and bigotry behind the ban on hunting is the main reason it has been opposed so determinedly by hunts and why tens of thousands of people across the country will be supporting their local hunts this week, as they have ever since the Act came in.
Last year the Government brought forward proposals to amend the law in England and Wales to allow hunts to use hounds to find and flush foxes so they can be shot, just as they are currently allowed to do in Scotland. That proposal was withdrawn, not because there was any logical argument against it but because the SNP MPs decided that political opportunism was preferable to refraining from voting on issues that do not affect Scotland. Once again hunting was used as a political football.
A free vote on hunting was one of the Government’s manifesto promises and it continues to be committed to this end. The arguments for scrapping the Hunting Act have not gone away. Hunts will keep meeting, and until this issue is resolved on the basis of principle and evidence, rather than prejudice and bigotry, this law will remain a stain on our democracy.
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About Countryside Alliance:
The Countryside Alliance is known for its work on wildlife and management, but its agenda is far broader than that incorporating food & farming, local businesses and services and the injustices of poor mobile phone signal and broadband in the countryside. We are anything but a single issue organisation and represent the interests of country people from all backgrounds and geographical locations. With around 100,000 members the Countryside Alliance promotes and protects rural life at Parliament, in the media and on the ground. Our vision is a future for the countryside which both preserves its traditional values and promotes a thriving rural community and economy; a countryside sustainably managed and sustainably enjoyed; a countryside where rural communities have equal access to the facilities and services enjoyed in urban communities; a countryside where people can pursue their businesses, activities and lives in a society that appreciates and understands their way of life.
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