The League Against Cruel Sports has today written to all party leaders, ministers and shadow ministers in DEFRA to expose the reality behind recent calls to amend the Hunting Act .
Fundamentally questioned from the start, the call from the Federation of Welsh Farmers Pack (FWFP) to widen an existing exemption in the Act, and the accompanying research, was branded ‘flawed’ by the leading animal welfare charity, and has led to the new report released today and which has been sent to key parliamentarians.
Widely reported calls for a ‘weakening’ or relaxing’ of the Hunting Act last month were based on research which aimed to show that more foxes could be shot if more dogs were used to flush them out. However this call ignored any justification of the need to kill more foxes, and the League commissioned a report to look at the key assumptions made it in – namely that the fox population had increased since the hunt ban; that fox predation on lambs is a major problem for upland farmers, and that killing foxes helps control numbers. All of the assumptions, none of which were examined by the FWFP research, were proved to be unfounded on examination.
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, stated: “The report clearly debunks the rural myths peddled by the pro-hunt lobby when it comes to the need for fox control. Existing independent research and studies, brought together here, clearly shows that there is no real case for a change to the Hunting Act in terms of allowing farmers to kill more foxes. This is, and was always, nothing other than an attempt to open up an amendment process to the Act, and we have written to key parliamentarians to expose this move for exactly what it is – repeal by the back door.”
He continued: “The pro-hunt lobby are getting desperate in their attempts to push for amendment of the Act. They know that as time passes, and more convictions for illegal hunting stack up, that the likelihood of repeal reduces, and so amendment is the best they can hope for. Even key government figures talk about not broaching a repeal vote that they would not win, or dedicating any more parliamentary time to it. What we’ve done here is what we always seek to do – expose the reality of hunting, and today’s report goes back to basics by examining fox behaviour, and the corresponding need for control. In short, there is no need for change, as once again the pro-hunt arguments don’t stack up.”
The League Against Cruel Sports’ Response to Flushing Exemption Amend can be viewed and downloaded here http://www.league.org.uk/uploads/media/17/11619.pdf
Key findings of report
o Fox numbers in the UK are stable
o Fox predation does not have a significant impact on farming incomes
o Killing does not control fox numbers
Please contact the League’s Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries or comment requests.
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