Debating the Banning of Fox Hunting


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Fox Hunting has become a big issue in recent years. With the imminent
ban of fox hunting the nation has seen many demonstrations including
The Countryside March and the more recent Liberty and Livelihood
March. In this assignment I am not aiming to persuade you to change
your personal view on fox hunting; the majority of people have already
formed strong personal views on the subject. After the bitter argument
over fox hunting, a new question has emerged: could a ban on hunting
be made to work? In this essay I hope to outline the loopholes in the
proposed ban and it's effect to our countryside and economy, and the
cost of a ban to the goverment.

Many people think that the Hunting Bill is just about banning people
from riding across the countryside with a pack of hounds chasing a
fox. It is in fact a great deal more than that. The years of argument
over the pros and cons are over. Hunting has been shown to be as
humane as other methods of wildlife management both in the
Government's independent inquiry, the Burns Report, and in the three
days of public hearings at Portcullis House.

Recently in the House of Lords a Government Bill was defeated by a
majority of 250. The Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Deputy Leader of
the House of Lords Baroness Symons and Minister Lord Rooker among
many, all voted against a ban on hunting; but the result will not
change the inevitable ban. Tony Blair is expected to rely upon the
Government's use of the Parliament Act which enables the Commons to
ignore decisions taken in the House of Lords.

When a hunt ban is put in place many problems are expected to arise.
Conservative MP James Gray one of the leading voices of the
pro-hunting lobby in Parliament, highlighted one of the potential
problems for police - hunts simply carrying on. With the Royal family,
especially Prince Charles vowing to continue hunting to the very
moment it becomes illegal, the pro hunting world have all the

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"Debating the Banning of Fox Hunting." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Jan 2018
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encouragement they need to continue hunting, as James Gray also said,

There are a million people involved in hunting - and to them it is as
important, if not more important than football.

Loopholes exist within many laws of the English justice system, and it
is guaranteed people are going to look for loopholes for ways in which
hunts can continue. Association of Chief Police Officers spokesman Jim
Hollis said "Ultimately it will be down to local police forces as to
how they manage it." With the large number of hunt participators
loopholes will be just the start of the problems. Alan Stewart a
police wildlife protection expert claims,

It is not like dealing with a disturbance in the middle of town on a
Saturday night. Officers would need specialist training, expertise and
- very probably - specialist equipment, which would be of great
expense.

This expense is only one in a long list. The Bill currently on the
table is contrary to the Human Rights Act in that it does not offer
compensation. This is not legal, so the Bill itself is illegal, if
they amend it, they will have to pay compensation to farmers and
others because it removes a legitimate means of pest control and that
means the compensation will cost millions. This will not be the only
cost.

Whatever the moral issues surrounding the 'sport' of fox hunting,
there have been arguments put forward by the pro hunters with regard
to the extent of the economic impact of a ban on hunting. The key
aspects of the debate on the effect on the rural economy centre on
jobs, the impact on farmers, the destiny of the landscape and the
effects on businesses associated with hunting - either directly or
indirectly involved.

Within hunting itself there are several main areas of employment:
those directly employed by the hunts themselves, direct imployment by
those who follow the hunt, those employed in work related to
supporting the hunt, and those whose employment is in part dependent
on the expenditure of those involved in hunting. The Burns Report
estimated that there were between 6,000 and 15,00 jobs dependent to
some extent on hunting, this employment as a direct result of hunting
is valued at around £15.6 million. Hunt followers also spent
considerable sums of money on horses which gets fed into the local
economy in some way. This can be in vets bills, farriers, feed,
stabling, transport and so on, therfore the total sum could amount to
over £70 million.

A ban on hunting would also have a great impact on farmers. The threat
to livestock is an obvious argument, chickens, sheep, calves and other
animals are attacked or killed by foxes every year. The greatest worry
to farmers, should the ban be put into place, is the cost of the
disposal of nearly 0.4 million carcasses. The enviroment and our
landscape could also be greatly effected by a ban on fox hunting. Fox
hunting encourages conservation and habitat, woods, fields, tracks and
bridle ways are all well kept for the hunting season.

In conclusion the proposed ban will cost the goverment millions. Jobs
will be lost, the police will require special training to control
hunts and tens of thousands of horses and dogs will be made redundant
and most will have to be put down. With the sole aim to reduce cruelty
to the fox, the Hunting Bill will still allow hunts to use hounds to
flush foxes into open fields where they will then be shot.

Britain's population of foxes has soared during the foot and mouth
crisis,

and a massive hunting campaign is needed to control them.

(www.guardian.co.uk: 2004)

The need to control the fox population will still be an issue, and it
is very

doubtfull that the proposed ban will be made to work. It will be far
to

difficult to prove someone was hunting when they can simply say "we
were out

riding and found ourselves in the middle of an illegal hunt." If
police cannot

moniter and control gypsy lurching groups which is already illegal,
how are they to

control sixty to a hundred people upon horseback and the large number
of

'followers' a hunt contains.

If the Hunting Bill is passed, hunts will turn to drag hunting. If
hounds were to kill a

fox while in 'covers' and nothing could be done to stop this, would
this be illegal if

there was honestly no intent. Therfore is the Hunting Bill not a
minefield of misinterpretation and opinion? Hunting is a traditional sport and as
such people will go to any lenghts to preserve it.


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