The Support Hunting Association is one
of the UK's most prominent pro-hunting organisations, now incorporating
issues related to Game Shooting, Fox Hunting and Angling.
menus below contain the full contents of the site.
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of a hunting ban - Two chief constables voice their concern on
a ban on hunting.
Timelines -On the current Hunting
Bill, the attempts to ban hunting, and on the ban in Scotland.
Hunting vs. Human
Rights - Parliament has advised that the Hunting Bill is incompatible
with the Human Rights Act.
The ban has guaranteed that the time and money invested by the League
Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA has increased animal suffering.
We told them this would happen. This rise in suffering since the ban
is the cost of ignoring that warning!
3 May 2005.
Numerous police officers accompanied the more than 250 hunts which
took place yesterday, the first day that the sport became illegal.
Despite the friendly exchanges between officers and huntsmen and women,
the presence of the police posed a question: what public good were
they trying to uphold?
20 February 2005.
|The Hunting Bill 2003-2004
|This page was frozen on 31st December 2005
and is no longer updated, some of the information may be outdated
and some links may no longer work.
Update - 24 July 2004
All newspapers are now speculating widely about the re-introduction
of the Hunting Bill - now expected just after summer to allow the
Parliament Act to be used if the House of Lords again reject a total
ban on hunting.
On Thursday 22nd July, Peter Hain, who is in charge of Commons business
did not announce the Bill's reintroduction but did not give full details
of the business for the week when MP's return after summer - allowing
the bill to be 'sneaked' in at the last minute by the Government.
It is widely expected that a bill will be re-introduced - what it
contains, whether the Government decide to use the Parliament Act,
and whether it becomes law are to be seen - any ban on hunting will
be fought all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, as its
compatibility with the Human Rights Act has been put into doubt by
the Governments own advisors.
Writing to hunt supporters amid reports that the Hunting Bill will
soon be back on the agenda - Simon Hart - the Chief Executive of the
Countryside Alliance said: "We must... remind the Government
that the notion of a hunting ban is deeply unpopular with the police
and the magistrates service, and despite what Mr Peter Hain may have
said, has received comprehensive opposition from Labour members of
the House of Lords. Furthermore, the Government knows that further
movement on the Hunting Bill will spark a significant legal challenge
of the use of the Parliament Act as well as dropping it straight into
controversy surrounding the Human Rights Act.
For the related
newspaper stories, see The View of the Press.
Time for quiet consideration?
Since the last bill was dropped in the Lords - the hunting issue has
gone quiet. However, Peter Hain has continued to argue that because
Conservative peers 'abandoned' the bill it must be brought back.
Several newspapers have reported the imminent introduction of a bill
totally banning hunting, but that it would not be sent to the Lords
until after the hereditary peers have been removed.
The fact that even if no Conservative or hereditary peers had voted,
the bill would still have fallen, seems to have missed Peter Hain
- he continues to lie unreservedly.
One major obstacle to a Hunting Act is its incompatibility with the
Human Rights Act - to comply with it, hunting could effectively only
be banned in public places and taxpayers money would have to be paid
in compensation to those affected when an bill came into force.
The Queens Speech
The Queen's Speech omitted the government's future plans on Hunting,
their main options are:
What the Government is saying
- Drop the Hunting Bill - the bill ran out of time in the House
of Lords, the government has not specifically announced it's re-introduction
in the Queen's Speech, so it could attempt to ignore it, however
Labour backbenchers are likely to make this very hard.
- Introduce the bill - claiming it was under the 'other legislation'
section at the end of the speech. It's reintroduction could be
when backbench Labour MPs are threatening to revolt over a key
policy, such as tuition fees.
- The government may back the introduction of a 'private members
bill' - effectively washing their hands of the issue, but at the
same time supporting its passage through parliament.
The official response - given by Peter Hain to both the BBC and Sky
- just after the speech is that 'the issue of hunting will be resolved
at a later stage, it was not mentioned in the speech because there
was no need for it to be.'
The Prime Minister was asked by one of his MPs whether 'it will be
banned by the next election' - Tony Blair referred to Peter Hain's
comments, adding it would be 'resolved this session'.
The Telegraph reported, 'A succession of Labour backbenchers expressed
dismay during a heated meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party attended
by Peter Hain, the Leader of the House, and John Prescott, the Deputy
The Guardian has reported, 'Gordon Prentice, one of the most vociferous
campaigners against fox hunting, accused Mr Blair of allowing himself
"wriggle room" by only committing himself to deal with the
issue by the next election rather than in the new session of parliament.
If the government fails to act within the next year it will be unable
to use the Parliament Act to force through a bill against the will
of the House of Lords.'
Rightfully, the Countryside Alliance warned that it would oppose any
attempt to use the Parliament Act to impose a ban by applying for
a judicial review.
The Human Rights Act
The Hunting Bill and Human Rights
The current bill has failed to pass the parliamentary Joint Committee
on Human Rights because of two key areas of the draft Bill that would
put it at risk of claims under the Human Rights Act, they are:
DEFRA were asked to respond to the issues and their response has failed
to satisfy the committee. This issue will need resolving if the government
introduces the bill.
- The failure to provide compensation to those
who will be affected - including all those who will lose their
jobs, farriers, kennel owners and stable owners.
- The right to stop hunting on private land,
and whether ministers have that right. The Times reported “Members
want to know whether it is justifiable to restrict what people
do on private property in the public interest. It is a question
Links to stories related to
the House of Lords debate on the Hunting Bill (October 2003)
transcript of the Second day of the Committee Stage in the House of
UK Parliament | 28th October 2003
transcript of the First day of the Committee Stage in the House of
UK Parliament | 28th October 2003
"Hunting Bill Timed out in the House of
Countryside Alliance Factsheet | 28th October
from Baroness Mallalieu and others in the House of Lords: "How
Hunt bill died"
Guardian (Letters) | 6th November 2003
"80% of labour peers fail to support Governments
Countryside Alliance Press Release | 23rd October
"Lords 'un-wreck' Hunting Bill"
Countryside Alliance Press Release | October
Minister Official Spokesman: Press Briefing"
pm.gov.uk | 29th October 2003
Minister Official Spokesman: Press Briefing"
pm.gov.uk | 21st October 2003
of the 2003 Hunting Bill
Possible introduction of a Hunting Bill, leading to challenge under
the Human Rights Act, and another 'last boxing day hunt' this year?
1st November 2003
On Saturday 1st November, as the hunt season began, thousands of hunt
supporters turned out to show their support for hunting. There was
also 36,000 signatures added to the Hunting Declaration. However,
on Sunday the 2nd, Leader of the House of Commons, Peter Hain - a
known total-ban supporter, pledged to re-introduce the bill in the
Here for the full report.
28th October 2003
- Committee Stage continued
Peers voted by a majority of 70 (129 vs. 59) to delete the ban on
hare coursing, they also introduced an amendment allowing fox hunting
to continue for the protection of sheep in National Parks. Environment
Minister Lord Whitty accused peers of "destroying the basis"
of the bill - a bill which is a prejudiced waste of parliamentary
They then voted to adjourn the debate because of a lack of time to
continue debating it. The Hunting Bill therefore did not complete
the passage through the House of Lords and did not become law.
21st October 2003 - Committee Stage
Peers voted by a majority of 212 to re-instate the registration of
fox hunts, led by Baroness Mallalieu, 80% of Labour peers failed to
back the bill that left the Commons (a total ban on hunting).
16th September 2003 - Second Reading
The Hunting Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords, where
it was clear that they would reinstate the original text of the bill
- the registration of hunting.
9th July 2003
The Hunting Bill had its second committee stage, third reading (317
votes to 145) and was sent to the House of Lords.
Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael said he believed hunting would
be banned by 2005.
30th June 2003 - Third
In an extraordinary move, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael withdrew
the government amendment, which was intended to strengthen the bill
in order to satisfy Labour MPs. This lead the way for Labour backbencher
Tony Banks to table his amendment calling for a total ban on hunting.
It was passed by 362 votes to 154, a majority of 208. MPs also voted
against allowing dogs to hunt underground and to ban mink hunts. The
bill was recommitted to its standing committee.
In the second report in two days regarding the Prime Ministers stance
on the upcoming report stage of the Hunting Bill, the Guardian reported
that the Prime Minister warned backbencher MPs not to push for a total
ban, because they risk losing the whole Bill if they do.
26th June 2003
In a press release out yesterday, the minister in charge of the Hunting
Bill, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael, announced that Government
amendments just tabled for Monday's report stage of the Hunting Bill
will ensure strong and enforceable law to outlaw the cruelty associated
with the sport of hunting with dogs. He said, "this Bill will
eliminate cruelty in hunting with dogs. It means the end of the prolonged
chase and killing of wild mammals just for sport. As the Bill stands,
deer and hare hunting and hare coursing are banned outright, as is
using a dog below ground."
Meanwhile, The Independent newspaper reported that Tony Blair has
told his MPs that he will not block a ban on Fox Hunting on condition
that it does not ruin the Governments legislative programme.
21st June 2003
A challenge to overturn the Scottish ban on hunting failed. We reported
that on June 5th, two members of the Union of Country Sports Workers
had challenged the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act at the
Court of Session.
In his judgment, Lord Brodie rejected the two men's arguments. He
said: "Cruelty . . . involves a moral judgment. If a democratic
parliament takes the view that a practice is cruel then it can be
said that in banning or restricting that practice parliament is acting
to protect public morals."
19th June 2003
Labour's chief whip, Hilary Armstrong, delighted MPs by saying the
much delayed report stage on the hunting bill would be held on Monday
June 30. The bill completed its committee stages more than two months
ago, but the government has delayed the report stage, the final stage
in the Commons procedure.
Also, in the second major development in two days, the new Leader
of the Commons, Peter Hain, who yesterday announced a vote on a total
Hunting ban, warned the House of Lords not to block the Hunting Bill.
17th June 2003
An NOP poll for the Countryside Alliance found that only 2% of the
public believe that Commons time should be used to pass the Hunting
Bill, suggesting that Downing Street would not pay a high political
price if it dropped the bill.
13th June 2003
The Times reported that a leaked letter from Alun Michael, the Minister
in charge of the Hunting Bill to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott,
contained a plan to introduce a closed season for fox hunting, ending
the vital autumn hunts. This amendment was introduced on 30th June
2003 but was rejected by MPs in favour of a total ban.
MPs published a new scientific report that shows that an impact of
the Hunting Bill may be an increased number of foxes wounded.
29th May 2003
A study carried out by the University of Kent, and published in the
journal 'Nature' found that landowners involved in both hunting and
shooting maintain their woodland and hedgegrows to a much better degree
than those who are not.
2nd April 2003
Ministers postponed further debating of the Hunting Bill because of
the war in Iraq. They believed that it would not be "appropriate"
for MPs to vote on whether to ban the sport at a time when British
servicemen are risking their lives.
17th January 2003
The Hunting Bill was amended to ensure hunting only takes place where
it is needed to control foxes as pests, meaning it will no longer
be able to take place as a traditional sport.
December 2003 - Second Reading
MPs voted by 368 to 155 in favour of the government's Hunting Bill
and the Tory bid to stop the Bill failed. Most MPs, from Prime Minister
Tony Blair's Labour Party, said they would press for a total ban later
as the bill passes through parliament.
3rd December 2003 - First Reading
Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael announced the government's latest
plans for hunting in parliament.
The plan included allowing Fox Hunting to continue in some areas of
England and Wales under licence, mink hunts would also be licensed,
however, Hare Coursing and stag hunts would be banned.
on the Hunting Bill
The Bill was published on 3 December 2002 by Rural Affairs Minister
Alun Michael, at the conclusion of the Committee Alun Michael said:
I published the Hunting Bill I said I would welcome constructive
debate and improvement, to help develop legislation that will stand
the test of time. I am pleased that the animal welfare provisions
of this Bill have been strengthened and its content clarified as
a result of debate in Committee.
Whilst, Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance,
Countryside Alliance welcomes political decisions based on principle
and evidence. It has, however, become ever clearer that the Minister
has thrown both principle and evidence aside in favour of a politically
expedient approach at the expense of animal welfare.
He has connived with other opponents of hunting to make this Bill
a total ban in all but name.
Throughout the Committee Stage he has failed to produce any evidence
which could possibly support what he has done. Mr. Michael cannot
expect any fair-minded person to accept this
The future of hunting summed
W F Deedes, writing in the Telegraph has summed up the future of hunting
in a single article:
"Has this Government ditched foxhunting,
or might the end of foxhunting ditch this Government? The next election
will be close, and I suspect the Prime Minister was right in supposing
that an outright ban could well turn out to be a minus rather than
a plus for Labour...
What does my MP think of hunting?
Click Here to find out
As mentioned, we are waiting to see if the Government is going to
re-introduce the bill in the Queens Speech.
After the House of Commons ignored the government's efforts at compromise
and voted Monday for a total ban, Prime Minister Tony Blair is again
struggling to settle the issue. And he dares not alienate voters on
either side of the passionate debate.
"The House of
Commons has spoken, and we have to respect the result of the free
vote,'' Blair's official spokesman said Tuesday, a day after a majority
of lawmakers called for an outright ban and overturned the government's
Hunting Bill, which proposed strict controls.
To overcome this, the Government can use the Parliament Act to 'force'
the bill through the House of Lords. It is unsure whether the Government
is willing to use this. Should it chose to, the earliest a ban could
be imposed is 2005, as Lord Donaldson of Lymington wrote in the Times:
"Under the Parliament Act 1911 a Bill can be presented to
the Queen for the Royal Assent if it has been passed by the House
of Commons in three successive sessions and is rejected by the House
of Lords in each of those sessions. If this is the law, the earliest
date upon which a ban [on hunting] could be achieved would be in 2005."
here for the full article).
The basics of the bill were...?
Hunts were required to pass two tests, in order for hunting to continue
- The 'Utility' test, which was to demonstrate that hunting was necessary
to control foxes as a pest, and the 'Cruelty' test was to ensure that
hunting was the least cruel method.
Working terriers underground has been banned, however the guardian
believe that "this an area the government may revisit after protests
from gamekeepers and animal welfare organisations which fear fox cubs
could be left to starve to death in their dens if their mothers have
The position has now changed, so that all hunting of wild mammals
has been banned, making the legislation stronger than the Scottish
Was the bill 'fair'...?
The Bill was designed as a compromise between the status quo and a
total ban on fox hunting which was called for by the majority of MPs
- Alun Michael called it "tough but fair" - it was never
that, and was put into a biased committee and has never been a fair
of the Committee stage
Below is the list of the MPs in Standing Committee F,
which debated the Hunting Bill.
PARTY: The Party to which each MP belongs in shown
on the far left
HOW THEY VOTED: If they voted for a total ban (in favour
of Tony Banks' amendment on 30th June), there is an 'X' next to their
*George, Andrew (St. Ives) did not vote on
30th June 2003, but voted for a total ban in all previous votes.
Mr. Nick (Carmarthen West & Pembrokeshire
South; Lord Commissioner to the Treasury)
Ms Candy (Falmouth and Cambourne)
Mr. Tony (West Ham)
Gregory (Bexhill and Battle)
Peter (The Wrekin)
Mr. Russell (Dumfries)
Mr. Ian (Brigg and Goole)
Mr. Adrian (Taunton)
Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Mr. Edward (Harborough)
Andrew (St. Ives)*
Mr. James (North Wiltshire; was Shadow minister
for rural affairs)
Mr. John (Suffolk, Coastal)
Mr. Mike (Weaver Vale con)
Paul (Chesterfield lib dem)
Mr. Peter (Mid-Worcestershire)
Judy (Amber Valley)
Rob (Wolverhampton, South-West)
Mr. Eric (Carlisle)
Alun (Cardiff South & Penarth; Minister
for Rural Affairs)
Mr. Elliot (Scunthorpe; Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)
Diana (Forest of Dean)
Albert (Ynys Mon)
Mr. Colin (West Lancashire)
Mr. Andy (Loughborough)
Mr. Nicholas (Mid-Sussex)
Mr. Hugo (East Devon)
Mark (Alyn and Deeside)
Dr. Alan (Southampton, Test)
Chairmen: Mrs. Marion Roe, Mr. George
Committee Clerk: Mr. A. Sandall