The vote to make changes to the 2004 Hunting Act – which was due to take place tomorrow (Wednesday) – has been delayed.
The delay comes after the Scottish National Party said they’ll vote against the changes. The national campaign against the changes has attracted support from many well-known Brits such as Brian May, Ricky Gervais, Paul McCartney and Morrissey.
Taylor: “Hunting Act should be strengthened, not weakened”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, said:
“The Tory Government’s postponement of this vote is a cynical manipulation of our democracy, when they are simply scared of losing the vote.
“Foxhunting is needless and causes tremendous suffering. We must continue to protect our British wildlife by ensuring this barbaric practice remains illegal.
“I am strongly opposed to hunting and this amendment would be a disaster for our beautiful foxes, stags and hares. The Hunting Act should be strengthened, not weakened.”
Strong anti-hunting Island campaign
Here on the Isle of Wight over the last four weeks Islanders have been campaigning against the changes to the Act, which they say could make it easier for illegal fox hunting to take place following the ban over ten years ago.
The campaign on Facebook and Twitter has gathered enormous support, with Islanders continuing to lobby the Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Andrew Turner. He’s told residents he intends to vote for the changes when the vote takes place.
Campaigners say they will continue to lobby the MP and urge Islanders who do not want to see a return to foxhunting with hounds to do the same.
Real threat of the return of killing foxes by hounds
Before the delay was announced, a spokesperson for Island-based protest group called, Islanders Against Fox Hunting (IAFH), told OnTheWight,
“Last week, the Government announced that it would seek to introduce amendments to the Hunting Act via a statutory instrument (SI) and will be debated by MPs this Wednesday, 15 July.
“Islanders Against Fox Hunting believe that this SI will make it much easier for illegal hunts to take place by providing hunters the ability to use increased numbers of hounds to flush out wild mammals.
“If this Statutory Instrument is approved, we face a real threat of seeing the return of the pursuit and killing of foxes by hounds. This is an unnecessary and cruel activity, and we feel we have a duty to protect our wildlife by expressing our absolute objection to even the suggestion of the amendment.”
Lobby the MP says protest group
The IAFH spokesperson went on to say,
“If Island residents do not wish to see a return of fox hunting it is imperative they contact the Island’s MP, Andrew Turner now and tell him their views.
“We are particularly concerned that the Conservatives are going against their party manifesto of promising a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act, with ‘a government bill on government time.’
“We call on Andrew Turner MP to vote against the statutory instrument being debated and instead press the Government to put forward a new bill which can be properly considered by both Houses of Parliament. This is an important issue for which there is no quick fix.”
The Island Petition calling on Andrew Turner to keeo the ban has gathered over 3,300 signatures.
Green Party lobbying MP
Vix Lowthion from the Isle of Wight Green party wrote to Andrew Turner this week, saying,
“I call upon Andrew Turner, the MP elected to represent the whole of the Isle of Wight, to not vote for any changes to the Fox Hunting Ban – which will be debated this week in Parliament. At present there’s a limit on the number of dogs that can be used to flush out a fox to face waiting guns. A positive vote in Wednesday’s debate would remove this limit, which would effectively reintroduce hunting with packs of hounds.
“Three thousand people have signed the petition to ask him not to remove the limit on the number of dogs. Concerned constituents who are appalled that hunting with packs of dogs could be reintroduced to our countryside have received a reply from Mr Turner. This states that he would vote to repeal the Hunting Act – because currently it is ‘unworkable’ and ‘detrimental to animal welfare’.
Attack on wildlife is “only to be expected”
She went on to say,
“I am sure that there are many laws on our statute books- welfare and taxation – which could be argued are ‘difficult to enforce’ and can result in some harm to our most vulnerable people in society. I do not see Mr Turner and his Conservative Party dealing appropriately with these, through pursuing unpaid tax from big businesses and doing away with unfair Bedroom Tax. Therefore, perhaps his support for another set of rules which attack our wildlife is only to be expected.
“I am proud that the UK has laws protecting animals from abuse and neglect. We must stand firm against animal cruelty – and so to repeal this Fox Hunting Act in all but name is surrendering to further attacks on our natural world.
“I remain disappointed that Andrew Turner is choosing not to listen to the many alarmed Islanders who have written to him. I appeal to him to not to vote to extend the number of dogs to be used in hunting.
“To relax the law is nothing to do with animal welfare. It’s all to do with privilege.”