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Last Updated: Friday, 24 December, 2004, 17:43 GMT
Should the hunting ban be delayed?
Master of the hunt calls his hounds
Hunting with dogs in England and Wales looks likely to continue beyond February, when it was to have been outlawed.

The sport is due to become illegal by the middle of February, but the Countryside Alliance is preparing a legal challenge, which will be heard in January.

If the government loses the case, the Alliance will apply for an injunction to postpone the legislation which ministers say they won't oppose.

It's being viewed as a means for Tony Blair to avoid the ban becoming a major political issue so close to a possible election.

Should the ban come into effect in February? When do you think the ban will actually be brought in?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your e-mails. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:

Hang on. Doesn't anyone remember that the government was moving to introduce the ban after the next election anyway? Why is anyone surprised that they're not going to challenge a delaying tactic? It only does what they were planning in the first place!
Gareth, London, UK

The ban on hunting with dogs is an un-enforceable law anyway and should not have had so much time wasted on it in Parliament. There are far more important issues to consider, such as pensions and the Iraq situation.
Derek C, Rickmansworth, UK

This government truly is pathetic. When they finally have an issue with widespread public support, they lack the backbone to see it through.
Phil, Newcastle, UK

The legislation is unworkable
Simon Mansell, Penzance
This shows what many people including those who are opposed to hunting already know that the legislation is unworkable and illegal. The courts will no doubt decide this, the ban will be overturned with the government left smelling of roses by saying we did our bit!
Simon Mansell, Penzance

Typical "try and please everyone" Labour. At least the Tories always carried their ideas through.
Bob Hotson, Minchester, Lancs

Why is it easier to invade another sovereign country than it is to get this barbaric practice stopped.
Derek, Bolton, England

I am disgusted that the ban on hunting with dogs is to be delayed yet again. I would like to ask what is the point of voting in General Elections if unelected people, whether in the House of Lords or in the law courts can thwart the efforts of elected representatives to act on the wishes of the people?
Frederick Copley, Newcastle upon Tyne

Having fought this long for freedom, I am all for causing the maximum embarrassment to this government of control freaks. Ban it now and let the protests commence.
Graham Shelton, Oxford, England

If the ban is truly what the people want then let the government stand by their decision in the run-up to the election. If it is not what the people wanted, it should not be introduced. Either way the government appears to be running scared that they have sold the people the proverbial pig-in-a-poke.
John B, UK

I have lost all respect for a government which has completely forgotten what its job is
Graeme Hendry, Gillingham, Kent
Hunting will be illegal in February. Full stop. Go hunting, get arrested. That should be the stance of the Government. Instead we get a wishy washy, woolly, weak, yeah-but-no-but statement like this. I have lost all respect for a government which has completely forgotten what its job is.
Graeme Hendry, Gillingham, Kent

I notice that before the ban the pro fox hunting group argued that there were more important issues to sort out first - Iraq or Terrorism for example - A claim dismissed by the antis. Now that it has been banned the antis have suddenly decided that it's not an important issue after all and we should be sorting out Iraq or Terrorism instead of arguing the legality of the ban! Hypocrisy all round.
Steve, Surrey

It's very astute of Labour to not oppose this in the run up to the election. Yes it means the very public protests will be avoided, which, politically is a good thing for them; but more importantly for the rest of us, it means the electioneering can focus on real issues that matter to everyone, including those who don't live in cities and towns. We need education, hospitals, transport and security as much as anyone else.
Mike, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Born and raised in the country, I've seen more foxes since coming to London than I ever saw before. They're often regarded as pests because they interfere with bags of rubbish left out by thoughtless people. And yet, I see no hunt offering to come and clear them. Hunting should have been banned years ago, and although they claim otherwise, pro-hunters do not speak "for the countryside".
Alex, London, UK

It really doesn't matter if it is delayed. The writing is on the wall
Malcolm, Wirral, UK
It really doesn't matter if it is delayed. The writing is on the wall. The point that Britain has moved on from hunting has been made and hunting people can reflect, learn and move on with the rest of us. I suppose they need a little time to feel comfortable with a new, less violent, hobby.
Malcolm, Wirral, UK

Yes, I think the hunting ban should be delayed. FOREVER.
Michael McIver, Hastings Sussex

I don't really care one way or the other about fox hunting, but what I do care about is the way in which our Government and authorities now appear to be reacting when faced with violent protests from minority groups. We had violence at pro-hunt demos and we get this government reaction. We had violence only last week at a play and government ministers agree that the play should be censored for "safety reasons". It seems to me that all you have to do if you don't like something is to cause some trouble for the government and it will back down and give in to what you want. It's a far cry from the way Mrs Thatcher handled things in the 80s.
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK

Absolutely not, the ban is long overdue as it is. The torture and killing of animals for fun must stop now. The government should stand up to them and make an example of all who try to defy the ban.
Melanie, Reading, UK

It is irrelevant - hunting will continue regardless
Matt, London, UK

It is irrelevant - hunting will continue regardless, as the ban is unenforceable. It's a few foxes, that's all - there are bigger issues to deal with. It should never have been banned in the first place - what a monumental waste of time and money!
Matt, London, UK

Should have been banned years ago! Delay pathetic governmental weakness.
Phil, UK

So when is the General Election due? This government will do anything to get elected and if it keeps the news of hounds and horses being put down off the TV screens on the run up to the election then they will take it.
Graeme, Wales

Why should it be delayed? I really don't get the idea that parliament passes laws... that then take years to come into effect. With that kind of 'efficiency' it's no wonder our country's infrastructure is crumbling - and as to the efficacy...
Matt, Chelmsford, UK

NO, make the government deal with their poorly worded and unenforceable laws before the elections. Maybe community support officer could be used to monitor the hunt, arrest them all for 30 minutes to give the fox a chance, ha-ha.
Mark, Sussex, UK

Yes, delayed until we get rid of these 'class warriors' and chippy Socialists masquerading as a government!
Hazel, Manchester, England

The people don't want fox hunting, the commons don't want fox hunting. Just accept it and move on.
Paul Swinfield, London

Since when has `should' had any bearing on what the government has actually done?
Steve, Bedford

Am I alone in saying I couldn't really care less? There are more important things to worry about than the cruel hobby of toffs.
Craig, Stirling

Why delay it further?
Mr T Knight, Cheltenham

Why delay it further? It's already been delayed since the last parliament. Let's finish this and go on to more important issues.
Mr T Knight, Cheltenham

For heaven's sake, how long is this going to drag on? Either the Government is going to deal with this or it isn't! Can we please have an end to this nonsensical issue as soon as possible? This Government could not organise a Christmas proverbial in a Bethlehem tavern.
Nigel Cubbage, UK

This is just another example of Blair not having the courage to stand by his convictions. The legislation has been passed so lets implement it instead of pandering to a minority for the sake of votes.
Joanne, Birmingham. UK

This decision by the government just shows them up for being the soft-soapers they are! Why can they not just make a stand for once? After everything it's taken to get this law through the time has now come to draw a line under it and move on. The more time and money being spent on this subject means fewer resources to get our boys out of Iraq. It's time to concentrate on more important issues.
Kiltie, Staffs, UK

Politics stinks! The will of the people must be upheld regardless of political fallout. The Alliance are a bunch of hooligans who cannot take no for an answer. Grow up and do what the miners, fishermen etc have done. CHANGE!
Jay Sutherland, London, UK

Is anyone surprised by Blair's reaction. He and his government have stood on the fence for far too long on this issue. He will do anything to get a few extra votes.
James D , Birmingham, UK

The countryside alliance has lost. Their barbaric and cruel sport has been made illegal as the majority of people in the UK wanted. It's going to happen so they might as well get used to it. Tony Blair is just using the delaying tactic to win a few votes at the next election.
Steve C, Birmingham, UK

Christmas has come at just the right time for the Government
Chris Parker, Buckingham

Christmas has come at just the right time for the Government. They no doubt hope that this will head off the large protests near the General Election. The Country Side Alliance is one of the few organisations capable of mobilising vast numbers of people and the Government does not want that at any cost. Once re-elected they will continue with their assault on rural people and their way of life.
Chris Parker, Buckingham

Unfortunately, the hunting ban is part of a much bigger question. Do we want more or less governmental control on our lives? Do we want the government to intervene only when absolutely necessary and should the law intervene on matters of morals? Why is it that this government is banning things all the time?
Mike, Brighton

This topic seems to arouse far more interest among the compilers of Have Your Say than any other topic you have ever asked questions about. Why? Let's just drop it, shall we? There are far more urgent problems in the world to talk about and tackle.
Graham Rodhouse, Helmond, The Netherlands

If the ban does not go ahead, I will boycott all British rural products including farm and dairy goods (and I will urge everyone else to do the same). I am tired of this bunch of people, they bleat on that rural life should have it's own rules - so let's see if they can manage without us townies.
James Murphy, Dorset, UK

James Murphy suggests boycotting rural products because of the hunters. The majority of us rural dwellers are also against hunting and want it to be banned. But that is evidently too complicated for some people to understand. I suppose using the same typecasting I should then demonise all townies (to use James Murphy's term) as drug-running, granny-bashing alcoholic pimps who should be locked-up. He might also be surprised to know how many hunt supporters are "townies" - just like him. I am particularly against hunting being a vegetarian - I do hope Mr Murphy is as well!

Hunting is about cruelty dressed up as tradition. It is not a town versus country issue, despite the manipulations of the government to portray it as such. Divide and rule helps to maintain power. And the only reason this ban will be delayed is the desperation of a government who want a few more tawdry votes. Please bring on the ban, apart from the foxes it'll stop smug townies from their hypocritical holier than thou posturing.
Mrs Cross, Drayton Beauchamp, Herts

Absolutely, it shouldn't have been enforced in the first place! However, it is only a cynical ploy by the Government to delay any protests etc until after an election!
Karl Grover, Wokingham, England, UK.


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