Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 12°C

Search

Hunting with dogs could end

PUBLISHED: 09:40 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

A VOTE on banning hunting with dogs could be put to Parliament within a month, it was reported today.

Leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook is today expected to announce the timetable for the vote to ban the bloodsport in England and Wales.

A VOTE on banning hunting with dogs could be put to Parliament within a month, it was reported today.

Leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook is today expected to announce the timetable for the vote to ban the bloodsport in England and Wales.

MPs and peers will be given "indicative" votes - to test the water on the controversial issue - in two weeks, the Times reported.

Both the Commons and the House of Lords will hold all-day debates and vote on three options - an outright ban, regulation of hunting or no change - on the Bill that was blocked by peers in the run-up to last year's election.

It follows an announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair at Question Time that the Government will announce "shortly' when it intends to allow MPs to vote.

Mr Blair was urged to act to put a stop to the "atrocity' by an angry Labour MP as the annual Waterloo Cup hare coursing event took place in Altcar, Lancashire.

Colin Pickthall told MPs: "In my constituency, as we speak, wild hares are being torn to pieces by dogs in that great spectator event, the Waterloo Cup.

"Do you (Mr Blair) share the disgust of the 81% of people surveyed in the most recent poll with this activity, who want to see hare coursing banned and therefore put an end to the annual atrocity at Altcar?

"When will the will of the House, which has been expressed by overwhelming majorities in recent years, be implemented?

"When will we follow the example of Scotland and ban the hunting of our wild mammals by a minorities dogs?' the West Lancashire MP asked.

Mr Blair told him: "There will be an announcement made on the timing of the vote we have promised, both in the manifesto and the Queen's Speech, and that will be made shortly.'

end Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu, the president of the Countryside Alliance and a leading defender of hunting, said the forthcoming vote would not result in a ban.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The Government is merely fulfilling the promise it made in its manifesto and in the Queen's Speech to let both Houses express an opinion.'

An indicative vote in this session would lead to the incorporation of hunting in an animal welfare bill in the next session, she predicted.

And she indicated that the House of Lords — which rejected state regulation of hunting in the last Parliament — might be willing to accept some legal controls, possibly including licensing of hunts.

Lady Mallalieu said: "I totally accept, as I think most people who support hunting do, that public confidence in hunting has to be restored and maintained. That means the public has got to know there are strict rules strictly observed.

"Last time round, the House of Lords said we thought self-regulation was satisfactory. It may be that this time round it is accepted that there may have to be some statutory underpinning for that regulation and possibly some form of licensing.'

But Labour MP Mike Foster, whose private member's bill won overwhelming support in the Commons in the last Parliament but failed to pass for lack of parliamentary time, said licensing would not be acceptable.

He said he was confident the Commons would once again vote to ban "a cruel and unnecessary activity which doesn't have a place in 21st-century Britain'.

But he suggested the legislation should be framed in terms of promoting animal welfare, rather than banning an activity.

He told Today: "I think we do have to look carefully at any legislation which follows on from indicative votes that take place in both Houses.

"If the focus is on the suffering of animals and animal welfare issues, I believe it is not beyond the wit of man to come up with a piece of legislation that tackles what are serious animal welfare concerns.

"If we focus on that during the debate, I do believe we can have an intelligent debate so that at the end of the day we can get a resolution that people actually want to see in place.'

Phyllis Campbell-McRae, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said campaigners would not accept any dilution in the provisions of a bill.

She told the programme: "We believe that anything other than the reintroduction of the existing hunting bill would not fulfil the Government's commitment to resolve this issue. It would simply prolong the campaign and not satisfy anybody."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists