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Mark Hinge, Countryside Alliance
"I hunt and I enjoy it but it is also part of a very necessary management of the countryside"
 real 28k

Sunday, 11 June, 2000, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
Warning over ban on hunting
A hunt
Hunting with dogs could be banned under the bill
Welsh hunt supporters have warned that the control of vermin in the countryside could be put at risk by the Government's plans to ban the activity.

On Monday, Home Secretary Jack Straw is to outline the government's position on hunting with hounds as he publishes the independent Burns Inquiry report into the potential impact a ban would have on rural life in England and Wales.

He is also expected to announce a bill on the issue which will offer MPs a free vote on a range of options from maintaining the status quo to an outright ban.


Fox in field
Hunt supporters say foxes are vermin
But Mark Hinge of the Countryside Alliance said plans to ban both highland and lowland hunts would be a mistake.

He said the Government should be careful of removing a valuable asset from the Welsh countryside.

"There is a very necessary management tool for the countryside and hunting is a part of that," said Mr Hinge.

"At the end of the day, you're still controlling a pest and vermin species.

"The Government, at the minute, seems to be putting vermin before its own people."

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik - chairman of the Middle Way Group cross-party body of MPs who are seeking a compromise solution to the foxhunting debate - said the risk was that the Burns Report would be brushed aside while emotion took over.

"We don't know what Lord Burns is proposing and it is quite possible that the emotions that have characterised the pro-ban lobby will be carried right through into legislation," he said.

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See also:

11 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Minister voices hunt bill fears
10 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Inquiry into fox breeding claims
09 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Labour MPs welcome hunting pledge
09 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Hunting the popular vote
23 Feb 00 | UK Politics
Hunting lobby urges rethink
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