Liberal Democrats have never made a secret of the fact that we dislike hunting with hounds. When the Hunting Act of 2004 was passed, we were content to abide by the law of the land, on the assumption that the fox hunting community would also abide by the law. We also accepted, despite much evidence to the contrary, that fox hunters had some concern for animal welfare.
Recent events have proved that our suspicions about the ethics and practices of those who hunt with hounds are all too well founded.
Firstly, we now have video evidence of how hunters treat their own hounds. Many will have seen the video of the Duke of Beaufort hunt shooting dead 4 of their hounds. The video is distressing, containing graphic scenes of hounds being shot and killed. [Beaufort Hunt investigation - hound shooting exposé]. Huge appreciation should go to the organisation Keep The Ban for highlighting this.
Every year it is estimated that 7000 hounds are shot at the ages of 5 and 6 despite a live expectancy of 14 years. These dogs are bred for hunting wild animals then shot when they are not needed any more. This practice has to end and Lewes Lib Dems are calling for the government to ban this immoral practice.
The RSPCA says, “This is very distressing and shows the sad reality of what happens to hounds who don’t make the grade. It is not illegal so we cannot investigate however we are appalled by this footage and believe everything possible should be done to give hounds a second chance at life”.
Secondly, the conviction of Mark Hankinson, a director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, is a clear demonstration of the determination of too many fox hunters to flout the law in order to continue their cruel practices. These are not just a few individuals but an organised lobby prepared to break the law. We know there are many law abiding hunters. But there are far too many who are not. In our view it is time to end for good this cruel and unsustainable practice.
Please sign our petition below to help us end once and for all this cruel and reckless practice.
We, the undersigned, noting that cruelty to their own hounds as well as to wildlife is routinely practised by hunts, and noting that hunts often purposefully and wilfully break the law, call on the Prime Minister to lay amendments to the Hunting Act 2004 to end the practice of hunting with hounds.