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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 September, 2004, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
East: A foxy business
Deborah McGurran
Deborah McGurran
Editor, Politics Show East

It finally looks like the last hurrah for fox hunting, even though any new law will not be enforced for a couple of years.

Hunting scene
Hunting with hounds: the end is nigh?

In October 2003 the Lords ditched the complete ban already approved by MP's.

Instead peers voted for a system of regulated hunting.

But this did not wash with MPs, especially Labour backbenchers.

Now the gloves are coming off and it looks like the Government is finally ready to use the Parliament Act to force through a ban.

Huntsman stressed

Chronology of hunting with dogs legislation
April 1997 - Labour's election manifesto promises a free vote
November 1997 - Private Member's Bill killed off
April 2000 - Home Secretary looks at a multi-choice bill
February 2001 - Ministers suspend hunting after the foot-and-mouth outbreak
February 2002 - Scottish Parliament bans fox hunting
September 2002 - Pro-hunting march attracts more than 400,000 supporters
December 2002 - The Government unveils a bill to ban stag hunting and hare coursing
June 2003 - MPs vote for total ban on fox hunting with dogs in England and Wales
October 2003 - The Hunting Bill is blocked in the Lords
November 2003 - Supporters pledge a campaign of defiance
April 2004 - MPs sign a Commons motion urging the Government to ban hunting
September 8, 2004 - Free vote on fox hunting with dogs

Tim Taylor is a huntsman for the Woodland Pytchley Hunt in Northamptonshire.

He has kept a video diary for 2003/04 of how he earns a livelihood following the hounds.

Mr Taylor says that worry over the bill has made him ill, he calls it unnecessary and unjust legislation.

Tim Taylor said; "The pace of work is quite relentless, every day is a work day.

"It is not just work, it is a way of life, our social life also revolves around the hunt.

"The job also includes animal welfare and education, who's going to do that?

"And the loss of hunt horses could affect racing.

"The hunting community promises to break any new laws".

Countryside criminals?

Tim Taylor
Tim Taylor fears for his livelihood if ban imposed

But the Government seems determined to risk thousands of law abiding people being turned into criminals.

A Bill to ban hunting with dogs is set to be rushed through the Commons in the next two weeks.

That would leave the way open for the Parliament Act to be invoked if the Lords again block the move, ensuring the measure becomes law before the next election.

But the Bill may make any ban enforceable but only after two years, beyond the latest possible date of a future general election.

Anti campaigners delighted

Already Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, has commented: "We are absolutely delighted that the Hunting Bill is coming back to the House of Commons.

Mr Batchelor continued: "This heralds the high point of our 80 year campaign to expose fox hunting as a cruel sport and to get it banned.

"We are very concerned, however, at the suggestion that the Government might be asking MPs to vote to delay implementation of the ban by a further period.

"We simply cannot see any good reason for a delay.

"Hunts do not need a longer lead in period.

"They can carry on hunting as long as they take the fox out of the process."

Politics Show East wants your views. Let us know what you think.

That is the Politics Show Sunday 12 September at 12.30pm.

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Meet presenter Etholle George
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