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EDITIONS
Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 11:30 GMT
Head-to-head: Hunting with dogs
Members of the Derwent Hunt
Ministers are set to name the day for a hunting vote
Government plans to name the date for a vote on banning hunting with dogs have reignited the controversial debate.

Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu, president of the Countryside Alliance, and Labour MP Mike Foster, who introduced his own bill to ban hunting, gave their views to BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


Baroness Mallalieu, pro-hunting campaigner

I don't think a ban will result from what is about to happen. The government is merely fulfilling the promise in its manifesto and in the Queen's Speech to let both Houses express an opinion.

In any event, I think there's going to be substantial animal welfare legislation, that's on the cards already.

There may be some incorporation of some aspects of hunting into that, we wait to see, but at this stage what the government is simply doing is letting both houses of the new Parliament express their views.


Public confidence in hunting has to be restored and maintained

The government said it wanted to find a resolution and so frankly does everybody. We are all tired of going round this particular course of obstacles - it's very divisive, it's wasting time and money and (causing) unpleasantless.

I totally accept, as I think most people who support hunting do, that public confidence in hunting has to be restored and maintained. That means the public has got to know there are strict rules strictly observed.

Compromise hints

Last time round, the House of Lords said we thought self-regulation was satisfactory.

It may be that this time round, after it has come back yet again and there's been a lot more thinking, it is accepted that there may have to be some statutory underpinning for that regulation and possibly some form of licensing.

I think the government must be looking in absolute horror at what's going on in Scotland.

They have managed to turn what started as a proposal to improve animal welfare into an attack on people.

It's unworkable, it's almost certainly going to fall foul of the European courts. Far from a resolution being achieved by the passing of legislation in Scotland, we are just about to see some years of serious and much less pleasant fighting.


Mike Foster, anti-hunt MP

I believe the House of Commons will once again, when it's given a chance, vote to have an outright ban on hunting with dogs because it believes it to be a cruel activity, an unnecessary activity and one that really does not have a place in a 21st century.

We do have to look carefully at any legislation that will follow from indicative votes that take place in both Houses.

But if the focus is on the suffering of animals and the animal welfare issues, then I do believe it's not beyond the wit of man to come up with a piece of legislation that tackles what are serious animal welfare concerns that people have.


One has to question whether it is right that dogs should tear apart a wild mammal in the name of sport

If we focus on that during the debate - I do think we can have an intelligent debate over the next weeks, months - then we can get a resolution that the end of the day people actually want to see in place.

If you look at the Waterloo Cup for hare coursing - that's an activity that could be regulated.

This is where dogs are set upon a wild hare and the evidence of the Burns Report which was commissioned in the last Parliament suggested that when the dogs catch the hare they crush the rib cage, tear open the stomach and these could be pregnant hares as well.

Unnecessary suffering

I cannot believe that anybody can seriously believe that this is not unnecessary suffering.

In many ways it's not that different from fox hunting.

With a fox you have a different animal and different types of dogs but the manner in which a fox is killed is after a prolonged chase where clearly the fox is going to suffer.

Hounds are bred for stamina, foxes naturally have short bursts of speed but do not have the stamina of fox hounds and then the fox is caught, it is quite frankly killed alive.

One has to question whether it is right that dogs should tear apart a wild mammal in the name of sport, causing unnecessary suffering.

And if it's not right, we should legislation against it.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ann Mallalieu, Labour
"I don't think that a ban will result from what is about to happen"
Mike Foster, Labour MP
"I do believe that the House of Commons will vote to have an outright ban on hunting"
Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

Latest stories

The Scottish ban

Analysis

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

26 Feb 02 | England
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
15 Feb 02 | Scotland
14 Feb 02 | Scotland
13 Feb 02 | UK Politics
28 Feb 02 | Scotland
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