MP calls for strengthening of hunting ban on anniversary of Hunting Act

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21 Feb 2019
Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has this week attended a reception in Parliament to celebrate the 14th anniversary of Labour’s 2004 Hunting Act, while pledging her support for strengthening the Act.

The Act received royal assent in November 2004 before coming into force on 18 February 2005.

The Labour Party is now campaigning for the eradication of loopholes which are currently open to exploitation and has announced that if in government it would consult on bringing forward the following amendments to the Hunting Act:

1. Review sentencing to ensure effective deterrence including the use of custodial sentences in line with other wildlife crimes

2. Strengthening the criteria on which research licences are issued

3. The removal of the exemption “use of dogs below ground to protect birds for shooting”, as it risks fights between dogs and wild mammals

4. The introduction of a ‘recklessness clause’ to prevent trail hunting from being used as a cover for the illegal hunting of live wild animals

A recent poll by Survation found that only 16% of those living in rural areas believe hunting with dogs is a reflection of countryside values, while 67% do not. It also showed that a mere 4% of people living in the countryside ever take part in hunting with hounds. By contrast, 91% said they thought observing nature was a greater reflection of countryside values.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I know from the number of letters and emails that I receive that people in Wirral West care very deeply about animal welfare.

“On the 14th anniversary of the introduction of Labour’s Hunting Act, we must look again to ensure that any loopholes currently open to exploitation through newly developed practices are closed.

“The next Labour Government will be committed not just to maintaining the hunting ban, but to strengthening it.”

“Under Labour, the strengthening of the Hunting Act would represent a new chapter on the improvement of animal welfare standards in the UK.”