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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 12:57 GMT
Head to Head: Hunting 'compromise'
A fox during a hunt
Both sides say a compromise will not work
The government looks set to offer a compromise to pro-hunters and their anti-hunt counterparts with a licensing system banning some hunts but allowing others.

The expected proposal has already been greeted with some scepticism on both sides. Here Lib Dem MP Norman Baker and Tory MP Michael Fabricant put their opposing views.


Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker

There's a clear majority in the House of Commons that has been expressed again and again in favour of a complete ban - that's what this bill should be supporting.

But I can understand why the government has taken the line that it has - it is trying to settle this issue once and for all.


This compromise deal will create a huge amount of bureaucracy and endless bickering

However, there is no way both sides can be reconciled. The government is on a loser in trying to achieve that.

There is a danger this compromise deal will create a huge amount of bureaucracy and endless bickering as doubtless, hunts will exercise their right to appeal for their particular area to be allowed to continue hunting.

There will be resentment towards areas where hunting is permitted.

What the government is doing now is what they should have done five years ago. It was perfectly legitimate to try this way at the start.

I am sure that many members of the House of Commons, including me, will personally try to amend the bill to ensure that hunting is banned.


Conservative MP Michael Fabricant

Although I have long been an advocate of stricter controls on fox hunting, I am very conscious of the damage that can be done to livestock and wildlife by foxes.

Gassing and shooting is no humane substitute, so the banning of all fox hunts in non upland areas will not result in there being less cruelty to foxes. It could result in greater cruelty.


Alun Michael's solution is a typical third way, New Labour, let's please the 'luvvies' solution

I have seen a fox bleed to death from an off target rifle shot.

I do welcome, however, the total ban on stag hunting and hare coursing.

I have heard no convincing argument that those activities help conserve wildlife.

Alun Michael's solution is a typical third way, New Labour, let's please the 'luvvies' solution.

People like Norman Baker will be dissatisfied, while those who believe that fox hunting not only has a conservation role, but also believe that it's part of countryside tradition, will not be satisfied either.

This compromise is ill-thought through, but I suppose is better than an outright ban.

Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

Latest stories

The Scottish ban

Analysis

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

03 Dec 02 | Politics
14 Nov 02 | Politics
01 Nov 02 | England
31 Oct 02 | Politics
11 Sep 02 | Politics
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