Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Talks: Should we bring back fox hunting?

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With the possibility of fox hunting being back on the cards, Lincolnshire Reporter has looked into whether it should be brought back.

In recent reports, Prime Minister Theresa May has officially pledged a free vote revoking the ban on fox hunting implemented by the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair.

May revealed that the pledge to hold a vote on fox hunting is in the Tory manifesto and has suggested that it would be a way of keeping ‘fox numbers down’.

The history of fox hunting

The earliest account of fox hunting was in Norfolk in 1534, and was used as a way of pest control.

Fox hunting has since become a traditional sport across the country where packs of hounds and people on foot and horseback hunt a fox to kill it.

However, the Hunting Act was brought in in 2004 under the Labour government, led by Tony Blair.

This has been in place since and means it is illegal to hunt wild mammals, including foxes, deer, hares and mink with dogs in England and Wales.

In favour of the hunt

Although the current prime minister has allegedly never been fox hunting, she revealed that she has ‘always been in favour’ of the sport.

Theresa May said: “This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against.

“As it happens,  personally, I’ve always been in favour of fox hunting and we maintain our commitment, I mean we’ve had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote and that’s what it will allow – Parliament the opportunity to take a decision on this.”

New Year’s Eve meeting of the Belvoir Hunt. Photo: Simon Mortimer

Against fox hunting

There are many people around the country who are against fox hunting, describing it as a ‘barbaric’ and ‘evil’ act.

So much so, one man was arrested last week after protesting against fox hunting at Theresa May’s visit to Wrexham last week.

The man was filmed shouting, according to an eye witness he shouted: “Save our wildlife, kill May.”

He was then arrested for breach of the peace, and was then released without charge.

Anti-fox hunting protester arrested

This anti-fox hunting protester is arrested – and later released by police – for “breaching the peace” as Theresa May arrived at a Conservative Party event.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Monday, 22 May 2017

League Against Cruel Sports CEO, Eduardo Gonçalves, told Lincolnshire Reporter: “There are frustrations that once again we are discussing the return of a violent hobby when surely as a nation we are past this kind of cruel past-time? But lots of arguments will be made to try and justify the repeal of the Hunting Act.

“The pro-hunting arguments have been systematically destroyed over the last few years but they will continue to claim that the law isn’t fair and that hunting is needed. Neither of these are true.

“If the hunts simply said ‘we’re upset because you’re trying to take away our hobby’, then that would at least be honest. But that’s not good enough.

“In modern Britain we shouldn’t permit hobbies which are cruel – that seems like such an obvious thing to say but yet we’re still having to say it.”