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The BBC's John Pienaar
"This debate has a long way to run"
 real 56k

Llin Golding MP, Chairwoman, Middle Way Group
"Fanatics in the Lords have effectively voted to ban hunting"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Lords foxhunting vote attacked
Fox hunt
Peers have refused to compromise over hunting.
Peers have come under fire from animal rights campaigners for "ignoring the will of the people" in voting against a ban on foxhunting.


We hoped the Lords would listen to the people, but instead they voted for cruelty

Douglas Batchelor
MPs had earlier overwhelmingly backed a ban on hunting with dogs, but on Monday night peers voted by 317 to 68 against a ban.

Instead they voted to allow the sport to continue and also rejected a "middle way" option that would have allowed regulated hunting.

The Hunting Bill's future is now uncertain as it is highly unlikely there will be enough parliamentary time remaining if the government calls a May election.

Labour has so far declined to say if it intends to include a free vote on the matter in its next manifesto, though animal welfare groups will be hoping that a second term for the government will see a new bill coming before parliament.

Fox
MPs passed the Hunting Bill last month by a large majority.
Douglas Batchelor, chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals, said he was "dismayed" by the outcome of the Lords' first vote on the issue.

"We hoped the Lords would listen to the people, but instead they voted for cruelty.

No surprise

A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said the vote was a disappointment but not a surprise.

"Only two weeks ago a MORI poll suggested that 65% of voters wanted a ban and in February MPs voted by more than 2-1 in favour of a ban on hunting.

Hunting options
Outright ban
Self-regulation
Licensing scheme
"By voting against it the Lords has ignored the will of the people," he said.

On Wednesday, anti-hunt campaigners plan to step up their protest against the sport.

TV astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who fronts the BBC's Sky At Night programme, is to present a petition at 10 Downing Street signed by 82,251 people demanding a ban as soon as possible.

Simon Hart, director of the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Hunting said the Lords had voted for common sense.

"We have had all-party support with a bigger margin than we had hoped for," he said.

"There are serious hard core opponents in the Commons that will vote against hunting as an act of social revenge no matter what."

Downing Street refused to comment on Monday's vote.

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See also:

13 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Hunting Bill clears first hurdle
28 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Anger as hunt bill clears Commons
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