Hunting with Dogs - No Return to Cruelty Campaign
Introduction of the Hunting Act 2004
After 80 years of campaigning, the UK finally introduced the Hunting Act in 2004. The act banned hunting foxes, stags, hare and mink with dogs.
Hunting with dogs was a traditional country "sport" and was a social event held at local hunts through the hunting seasons. The Hunts provided local employment for many hard hit rural areas.
Pro-hunt campaigners alleged that the hunting ban would result in loss of employment, packs of dogs and horses being put down and a rise in the population of "pests" that they hunted.
In the five years since the ban, none of that has happened.
When the hunting ban was introduced, I had horses. Many people in the horse community then supported the Hunts. People who would never go hunting before the ban now spent their time travelling to local hunts to take part in the chase.
What were they chasing?
Pre-laid scent. A hunt is a thrilling day. The social aspect of the hunt; meeting and mingling with other horse owners, dressing up and galloping through the countryside.
The outcome on a traditional hunt is not thrilling. In fact the cruelty of watching dogs tear apart their quarry in a slow painful death is sickening.
What I saw locally, people who would normally avoid the hunt now taking part, has been backed by statistics in a survey carried out in October 2009 by the Countryside Alliance.
- 93% of Hunts say they have the same number if not more members than before the hunting ban
- 10% of Hunts have more hounds than before the hunting ban
- 10% say they have more employees than before the hunting ban
So, given that the hunting ban has had no ill effect on the countryside, why the new interest in hunting with dogs?
No Return To Cruelty Campaign Poster
Hunting with Dogs - No Return to Cruelty
There will be a General Election later this year and hunting with dogs is back on the agenda. Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged to allow MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act if he becomes Prime Minister.
This is not about shooting a pest on your land.
It isn't about controlling populations of animals that may be a nuisance.
It isn't about hunting for food.
It is a blood sport; hunting with dogs is done for fun.
A recent MORI poll showed that 75% of the British public did not want a return to hunting with dogs as a sport.
As the General Election approaches, please contact your local candidates and ask that they vote to keep the Hunting Act, should there be a free vote on it.
The following video from IFAW in Action depicts scenes before the hunting ban came into force. It is pretty horrific and shows the cruelty of hunting with dogs. You may find the images distressing.