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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 11:39 GMT
Is hunting ban enforceable?
Huntsmen on horses with dogs

Hunt supporters say more than 250 hunts will meet legally the day after the ban in England and Wales comes into force in February.

The Countryside Alliance announcement came after a Scottish court cleared a huntsman of wrongdoing. The court accepted that Trevor Adams used the hounds to "flush" out foxes and that they were under control.

Chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, Simon Hart, said the meets would be within the law, but he said policing and enforcing the ban would be "an absolute nightmare".

What do you think of the Countryside Alliance plan? Is the hunting ban enforceable in Scotland or England and Wales? Where should the line be drawn between "hunting" and "chasing"?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your comments:

It's probably about as enforceable as the laws against speeding and using a mobile phone while driving
Nigel, Coventry, UK
It's probably about as enforceable as the laws against speeding and using a mobile phone while driving.
Nigel, Coventry UK

This law is badly written, poorly thought out and basically unworkable - typical of laws written by legislators who don't know enough about their subject to block all the loopholes. Labour has fulfilled its promise to ban hunting... the fact that the lawyers are going to make lots of money arguing about it in court is typical of most modern British law. You would think a government with so many ex-barristers at its helm could formulate workable laws... but then again, it's jobs for fellow lawyers isn't it?
Graham, Oldham, UK

Anything is enforceable if enough money and resources are allocated to it. The problem is that we the public who yet again will pick up the bill. I have no opinion either way on fox-hunting but I think there are far more important issues in our world today that to worry about such small items. If the protesters feel the need to enforce a ban let them pay for it, I would prefer my money to go to children in need.
Piers Catton, Blandford Forum, UK

There should be a law against all this over-regulation.
Chris, Hastings, UK

Illegal hare coursing has been going on round here for years, what do the police do about it? Nothing. There is still illegal dog fighting and badger baiting, again they have proved almost impossible to enforce. I believe that this law will be worse as it is poorly thought out and just like the gun laws the people who are determined will carry on as before, only those who are worried about breaking the law will stop and then, as I understand it, they will be able to chase so long as they don't kill the fox. Does this make it lass stressful for the fox? Probably not - What a pointless waste of time!
Jan, Bedfordshire, UK

With the continued help of animal rights activists, I'm sure it will be.
John Hampton, West Norfolk

It will be interesting to see if this minority obey the law, or try to find a sneaky way around it
James Murphy, Dorset, UK
It will be interesting to see if this minority obey the law, or try to find a sneaky way around it. Shame on you guys - and to think that your fellow villagers used to look up to you!
James Murphy, Dorset, UK

Of course it is not enforceable; The criminal justice system in this Country is crumbling as we speak due to red tape and a lack of police - or are we going to get a hunt police? This whole issue is just another example of Mr Blair trying to say yes to everyone who asks loud enough. Leave the countryside alone.
David, Melksham UK

I have always said that you cannot stop using dogs to hunt foxes. Take away the pomp and ritual and you are faced with a simple problem - how do you find and kill these vermin? The law did not address this, it ignored the need for pest control - probably because it was rushed through - and the result is what you could expect. An unworkable farce.
Terry, Epsom, Surrey, England

Of course the ban should be enforced. If these people choose to break the law and hunt they should punished. They are no better than bear-baiters, badger-baiters and cockfight organisers. What makes them so superior to everyone else?
Stewart, Derby, UK

It must be enforced! We must curtail the activities of the kind of people who not only take pleasure at having foxes ripped apart by hounds but who are prepared to compromised the security of our democratic institutions, disrupt our power supplies and inconvenience the public generally. How? By systematically picking off organised hunts. In an organised way their activities can be observed, documented and photographed by undercover officers if necessary. With such evidence hunt organisers can be convicted, fined or jailed. If we can infiltrate and expose other kinds of organised crime then we can do so with these countryside delinquents.
Vince, Coventry, UK

It's frightening, the organisational power this minority group appear to have. I sincerely hope the law will prevail, the alternative would be anarchy. Let us hope they never turn their attention to other issues. Democracy would be dead. What a conceited blood letting bunch they are.
Barbara Potts, Wolverhampton UK

This law is just another move to appease the pink and fluffy brigade before an election
Darryl, Wales
This law is just another move to appease the pink and fluffy brigade before an election. Its similar to the gun law changes. Has it reduced illegal guns? No! Will it stop hunting? No!
Darryl, Wales

The main point is not whether the Police will enforce the law, it will be done, just as we protected the rights of hunters when legal. The problem will come at court, as so much of the legislation passed by Labour Governments over the years it is full of flaws. Words are used which can be interpreted several ways, leading to the farce of the Scottish ban. It took ten years to sort out the 1967 Road Safety Act because it was so badly written. I predict the law banning hunting will take at least as long.
Barry P, Havant England

England must enforce the new ban on hunting by arresting and fining those breaking the law. This is a critical and international humanitarian issue with all the world watching. Why don't the "hunts people" chase each other to the end. That's what they like.
Paige Anne Powell, Portland, Oregon USA

To be blunt, yes it is enforceable. Zero tolerance for crack dens in the cities and zero tolerance for people who enjoy torturing animals to death in the name of sport. Six months in Wormwood Scrubs will do them the world of good.
David Kitchen, Windsor, UK

Dog fighting and cock fighting, both popular working class "sports", were rightfully banned years ago. What makes these repugnant country toffs think they should be treated differently?
Chris, London, UK

In the days of the miners' strike and the Wapping dispute the Police had the resources to take the action that they did - now they don't: they can't even control anti-social behaviour and even more serious crime!! They are strangled by the need to fill in countless forms and be "politically correct".
Bob C, Surrey

Who do these people think they are? You can't pick and choose the laws you wish to follow! Perhaps I should do the same and visit their property...
Alfie Noakes, North of England, UK

Of course it's enforceable. Take the horses and packs of dogs off of the barbaric hunters. Make it illegal to own or assemble large packs of dogs. If the killers can't and don't obey the law lock them up - they're criminals after all.
Gary Jappy, Aberdeen, Scotland

Some police chiefs themselves have said that they don't know how they would enforce the ban. When they can't even protect our streets from violent criminals, why waste manpower trying to police vast tracts of countryside from hounds, horses and humans who have never harmed anyone ?
Jules, London, UK

You can't arrest half the British aristocracy!
Steve Waltham, Swindon, Wilts, UK

If a ban is ignored by the majority of people it affects, can you really say that this law is the will of the people?
Martin, England, UK

The ban is unenforceable and long may it be so. Like all bad laws borne out of prejudice it should be resisted. It is surprising to see many, particularly in the media, who espouse the need to be 'tolerant' in other areas bay wildly about the need to crush this countryside tradition.
Simon Walker, UK

I hope the Government make an example of this wealthy pigheaded band of elite who seem to think that they are above the laws of our country. If the government fails to act on this issue then they can forget to even think about winning the coming election.
Dave Harding,, Abingdon, England, U/K.

Yes it's enforceable. So is banning fishing. Ban catching butterflies, ban killing animals for food and clothing. Ban smoking. Ban swearing. Ban pornography. Ban smacking. Ban religion. Ban bad behaviour. Ban telling jokes that offend. Ban laughing at jokes that cause offence. Ban Banning. Ban, ban, ban. In a free country we should be allowed to ban everything. (And there are a few people on this message board who would!)
Roger, UK

If the police can't catch them then they should be sacked for incompetence
John Kelly, Cardiff
Let's think about this. A load of people dressed in bright red riding horses in the countryside chasing a fox with lots of dogs running in front of them. The police are saying it's going to be difficult to catch them. Are they really serious? These fox hunters are sitting targets. If the police can't catch them then they should be sacked for incompetence.
John Kelly, Cardiff, Wales

Have you ever seen a copper in the countryside? Most of them don't want to get their feet dirty. Never be enforced!!
Dave, Cheltenham

If the police really want to enforce the law on hunting then the way to do it is, to make a few examples of the organisers.
Thomas Lowry, Cirencester UK

Strange isn't it how the upper class elite feels that the law doesn't apply to them?
Mark , Derby

Please, please stop leading your headlines with hunting - it is really NOT important to the general public and is not an issue that matters to us. Ban it and then forget it. It affects a few thousand at most. Your reporting and importance you attach to it is disproportionate to the extreme.
David Tolliss, UK London

These people are not above the law. If they decide to break the law they will be the same as badger baiters, cock and dog fighters trying to satisfy their bloodlust. This has become unacceptable to society and they should accept it.
Eric Holmes, Coventry UK

Don't make a mockery of the law and of our elected government
Dale, Newcastl
If I was to suggest on this website that I was intending to commit a crime at a certain place and time, I'm sure the police would have the intelligence and power to stop me. I say enforce it! Don't make a mockery of the law and of our elected government who listened to the majority. The hunters have announced that they intend committing this crime, treat them as criminals!
Dale, Newcastle, England

Of course it is enforceable. If the UK can't set an example, how do we expect people in Africa to stop killing wildlife? The Japanese and Chinese also need to stop eating endangered species like sharks however traditional it has been. It's a shame killing animals for sport or as a "family outing". Democracy means right of living not only for the humans but also other beings in the surroundings.
Rahul, India

I am sure this government will find enough police to enforce the ban. It is a pity they cant find them to tackle real crimes.
Douglas Sinclair, Tring, England

Am I the only one in the country that can spot the middle way on this? Why not allow the hunts to continue but all the hounds wear a similar muzzle to racing greyhounds. Then the hunters can go on enjoying their 'sport' and the foxes don't get ripped apart by dogs, they get shot when they're driven into the open. It seems to me this is what has just happened in Scotland, so what's the problem?
Steve, Crewe UK

Are the police going to be on horseback complete with flashing blue light?
Rob, London, UK
I doubt we'll see policemen hurling themselves between a pack of hounds and a terrified fox, to actually prevent the fox's death. More likely, the fox's death (if witnessed at all) will be noted, and people prosecuted afterwards. That's not enforcing; merely mopping up afterwards. And how are police meant to accompany the hunt; police cars tearing up the fields? Or are the police going to have to be on horseback too (complete with flashing blue light)?
Rob, London, UK

Did the same MPs who sent an army to Iraq really vote to end fox hunting?
Robert M Wilkinson, Peterborough England

What makes hunters so special that they can pick and choose which laws they will obey? I have *limited* sympathy for the hunters at the moment - but if they just ignore the laws and do whatever they jolly well please, that sympathy will vanish completely! Hunters, grow up and take your medicine. Stop behaving like spoiled brats and throwing tantrums because you can't have your way.
Brenda, Maidenhead

Why are foxes hunted, aren't they part of the dog family? Just because foxes are a problem to farmers it's not a good reason to hunt them or wipe out another animal species. The fox has the right to life.
Keith Baxter, Edinburgh

As enforceable as stopping drivers using handheld mobiles whilst driving or car share lanes...
Caron, England

I wish someone would pass a law that actually reflects my feelings about hunting: to ban any further mention of the subject!
Chris, Oxford

Just leave the hunters alone
Derek S, UK

Of course it's unenforceable. Just leave the hunters alone.
Derek S, UK

If police can't keep urban areas clear of crime, how can they spare time and manpower to police millions of acres of farmland, just in case someone might commit the 'crime' of allowing a dog to kill vermin?
Samuel, Cambridge, UK

This ruling and the recent comments from the Government that drag hunts will not be prosecuted if they 'accidentally' kill a fox highlights how useless this government is at enforcing democracy and the majority will of the people. To avoid any confusion and to stop these barbaric people from continuing in their blood 'sports', simply ban all activities involving horses, dogs and wild animals being chased, flushed, hunted or otherwise.
Paul Brogan, Chelmsford, UK

It is enforceable; but, that does not mean it should be enforced!
Geoffrey Roberts, Colchester, England

Yes it is enforceable. During the miners' strike whole villages were sealed off, coach loads of people arrested etc. The police have within their powers whatever it takes to enforce the law. They can even stop people getting to the hunt - and so they should. Hunting is now against the law and I personally will join any hunt saboteur groups who seek to enforce the law of the land.
Jock, Blackwood, Gwent

If the police treat breaches of the law with the same zeal they showed during the 1984 miners' strike or the Wapping dispute, then the law can be enforced.
Neil Rogall, London UK

Man cleared of fox hunting charge
10 Dec 04 |  Scotland
First huntsman appears in court
26 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Huntsmen 'destroying more foxes'
20 Nov 04 |  Scotland
Hunt ban human rights challenge
21 Sep 04 |  Scotland

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