Adverts: 0161 709 4576 - Editorial: 0161 709 4571
Mail Order: 0161 709 4578 - Subs: 0161 709 4575 - Webteam: 0161 709 4567
Government set to compromise on hunting with dogs

FOX HUNTING will still be allowed in England and Wales under compromise proposals announced in the House of Commons last Tuesday.

Rural affairs Minister Alun Michael told assembled MPs said that in areas where hunting with dogs had general usefulness and there was no less cruel method available, it would be allowed.

An independent process will be set up to individually judge cases where the evidence is less certain. Local tribunals will settle the issue of licensing for individual hunts.

Unveiling the government's new hunting bill, Mr Michael also recommended a total ban on both stag hunting and hare coursing.

The bill is aimed at ending a five-year debate on hunting, which has enraged both those for and against, polarising opinion and taking up hundreds of hours of Parliamentary time. The Government have been criticised for devoting so much energy to this issue instead on concentrating on other areas of genuine national importance, such as crime, the NHS and the economy.

But both sides have already expressed doubts about the compromise, which had been widely expected. Only last week, 160 rebel Labour MPs led by left winger Tony Banks signed a motion urging the Government to impose a total ban on all hunting with hounds.

However, the total hunting ban in Scotland is already showing signs of failure, so Westminster is playing safe hoping the compromise motion will satisfy all sides, whilst still reducing the number of active foxhunts.