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  The options for fox hunting's future
Updated 18 March 2002, 11.46
Fox hunting
So what are the options on the future of hunting being voted on by MPs?

1) A total ban

This would end the 300 year old tradition of fox hunting and would mean all kinds of hunting with hounds would be scrapped.

2) A compromise or "middle way" where hunting has to be licensed

This is the compromise on fox hunting.

It would mean hunts could still go on, but under strict conditions.

These conditions would mean:

  • Hare-coursing and stag-hunting would be illegal
  • Children under 16 could be banned from hunting and numbers of riders or hounds could be restricted
  • Every hunt would have to prove they were needed to control the fox population, and would be given licenses for three years
  • There would be strict controls against cruelty, including a ban on the "digging out" of foxes. This is when hounds are sent down holes to chase the animals out
  • Licences would be given every two or three years and would say whether the hunting is for foxes, deer, minx or hare and where the hunt would be
  • Hunts and individuals could be fined up to 5,000 or suspended if there are complaints of cruelty
  • A special body, the Independent Supervisory Authority on Hunting, would make sure they don't go near residential areas and that roads and lanes were kept safe
  • Hunts would have to have insurance in case of accidents
  • Every person in the hunt would have an individual licence to allow them to take part
  • Hunts could get on the spot inspections by the Authority
  • Hunt supporters could be given training and have to take exams on hunting

3) Keep things as they are

This means fox hunting would carry on with no changes.

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