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Support Hunting Association

The Support Hunting Association is one of the UK's most prominent pro-hunting organisations, now incorporating issues related to Game Shooting, Fox Hunting and Angling.
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Police View of a hunting ban - Two chief constables voice their concern on a ban on hunting.
Timelines -On the current Hunting Bill, the attempts to ban hunting, and on the ban in Scotland.
Hunting vs. Human Rights - Parliament has advised that the Hunting Bill is incompatible with the Human Rights Act.


The ban has guaranteed that the time and money invested by the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA has increased animal suffering. We told them this would happen. This rise in suffering since the ban is the cost of ignoring that warning!
Daily Telegraph
3 May 2005.

Numerous police officers accompanied the more than 250 hunts which took place yesterday, the first day that the sport became illegal. Despite the friendly exchanges between officers and huntsmen and women, the presence of the police posed a question: what public good were they trying to uphold?
Daily Telegraph
20 February 2005.
News Archive (Page 1/2)

This section has archived news on fox hunting from December 2002 up to June 2003.

The Stories

Cottesmore hunt under investigation - 30 June 2003

The Times newspaper has reported that an investigation has been ordered into the running of the 337-year-old Cottesmore Hunt after a member of staff admitted moving a vixen and two cubs from an earth, in breach of hunting rules.

External Links
The Times Online
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
The hunt’s four joint masters, its huntsman and the employee responsible have been suspended pending a hearing by the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

Investigators for the International Fund for Animal Welfare filmed Dean Jones, who carries out general labouring duties for the hunt, in the Midlands, moving foxes to an artificial earth at Cheseldyne Spinney in Leicestershire.

Hunting rules ban the moving of any fox or litter of cubs under any circumstances.

Hunting chiefs were told about the film this week. Mr Jones admitted that he had moved the foxes and was suspended, as was his boss, Neil Coleman. The four suspended joint masters are David Manning, a businessman, Charles Gordon-Watson, a bloodstock agent, and Nicholas Wright and Roger Dungworth, both farmers. A formal hearing is to take place on Wednesday.

The text is directly from a report on The Times newspaper website: "Fox ‘bait’ boost to anti-hunt campaign" ; use the link above to access it.

Blair warns of 'all or nothing' - 27 June 2003

In the second report in two days regarding the Prime Ministers stance on the upcoming report stage of the Hunting Bill, the Guardian has reported that the Prime Minister has warned backbencher MPs not to push for a total ban, because they risk losing the whole Bill if they do.

External Links
The Guardian
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
As reported in the article below, at the private meeting with Labour MPs, the prime minister said that he was prepared to make an appearence in the Commons divisions lobby on Monday night to vote against any amendment, forcing a ban on Hunting, by the former minister Tony Banks.

Strong Anti-hunter Tony Banks, former sports minister, is hoping to overturn the governments so called "middle way" option, and introduce an amendment forcing a total ban.

Mr Blair made it clear that, if Labour MPs voted for the Banks amendment, the hunting bill might have to undergo a second round of line-by-line examination in a standing committee, because it would be deemed to have been significantly altered.

The bill would then lose its slot in the House of Lords next month, jeopardising its future altogether, because a bill must be presented to the Lords at least one month before the end of the current parliamentary session in November to allow the government to invoke the Parliament Act - the procedure for forcing through a bill if it is rejected or substantially altered by the upper house.

The government's new thinking was outlined yesterday by Peter Hain, the new leader of the Commons. He told MPs: "I have been advised by parliamentary counsel that the bill may need to be recommitted [to a standing committee] for the purpose of making technical consequential amendments without which the bill as amended may not be effective law.

"That amended bill would obviously then have to go to report and third reading. Whether it's possible to get it into the Lords before the recess remains doubtful because of that."

His remarks came after Gerald Kaufman, the veteran Labour MP and opponent of fox hunting, demanded a categorical assurance that the government would live up to its commitment to allow the bill to move to the Lords in whatever form it was agreed by MPs. Sending the bill back to a standing committee would "be an underhand device which would arouse intense anger in this house and elsewhere", he warned.

The text is directly from a report on the Guardian newspaper website; use the link above to access it.

Blair will not block ban on Hunting - 26 June 2003

The Independent newspaper has reported that Tony Blair has told his MPs that he will not block a ban on Fox Hunting on condition that it does not ruin the Governments legislative programme.

External Links
The Independent
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
The Independent reports that "The Prime Minister's intervention came as Labour MPs said they would push for a ban next week when the Hunting Bill returns to the House of Commons.

Some Labour MPs want to harden up a government Bill that would license fox hunting if it was judged necessary for pest control and was the least cruel option. But scores of other MPs are planning to back an amendment that would introduce a ban on all forms of fox hunting in England and Wales."

Yesterday, Alun Michael the Environment minister in charge of the Bill was rapped by irresponsible Labour MPs who said that they wanted a ban and would not settle for a "compromise", making clear the Government's Bill was unacceptable.

In a final meeting before the Bill returns to the Commons next week, Mr Blair told MPs on the committee responsible for examining it that he would not push a muddled version through Parliament. But he did not try to persuade MPs to scrap plans to push for a ban and said all Labour MPs would be allowed to vote according to their conscience - The Independent.

Mr Blair, who has voted for a ban before, will vote for Mr Michael's Bill, which will allow limited hunting to continue if it is licensed.

"The Prime Minister seemed quite relaxed about the amendment," Mr Michael said. "He just doesn't want the Bill to go to the Lords and see it dragged out and his legislative programme ripped apart."

The Bill will provoke a battle with the Lords, which is opposed to a ban. Pro-hunting peers are also preparing to oppose the Government's compromise Bill.

The fight continues.

The text is directly from a report on the anti-hunting Independent newspaper website; use the link above to access it.

Hunting no longer for sport - Michael - 26 June 2003

In a press release out yesterday, the minister in charge of the Hunting Bill, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael, has announced that Government amendments just tabled for Monday's report stage of the Hunting Bill will ensure strong and enforceable law to outlaw the cruelty associated with the sport of hunting with dogs.

External Links
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
The related press release

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
He continued "this Bill will eliminate cruelty in hunting with dogs. It means the end of the prolonged chase and killing of wild mammals just for sport.

"As the Bill stands, deer and hare hunting and hare coursing are banned outright, as is using a dog below ground.

"Anyone who wants to use dogs to hunt other mammals for the specific purpose of pest control will have to prove in advance not only that it is necessary but also that it is the least cruel means of controlling pests. If they can't prove this, they can't hunt - and enforcement will be simple. Police can check whether or not they are registered; if not, enforcement powers include fines and confiscation of dogs and equipment.

"The Bill makes only limited exceptions, such as using dogs as a means of pest control of rats, where alternative methods like poisoning would be more cruel and put other animals and humans at risk."

Just going to show that a fair and unbiased Bill was never going to be the outcome, and that the Labour party has again let down the countryside.

The Countryside Alliance has yet to comment.

The text is from a DEFRA Press Release; use the link above to access it.

Campaign for Hunting by a nurse? - 24 June 2003

The Countryside Alliance have launched their latest campaign for hunting, and the face of it is...      ... a nurse.

External Links
Sky News
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
Sarah Bell said she wanted to show two different sides of the controversial sport.

The blonde 25-year-old, from Warwickshire, is the face of the latest Countryside Alliance poster campaign.

She has been a qualified children's nurse for three and a half years but has ridden since the age of 12.

She now rides for the Worcestershire hunt and in the poster is shown wearing her full hunting garb, with a slogan beneath reading: "Now they hate her?"

In an adjacent photograph, she is dressed in her NHS nursing uniform, with a slogan saying: "Now they don't?".

As a nurse, she said: "I just see the other side of what I feel should be Government priorities - the NHS, education and so on. "I cannot understand why the Government should spend so much time on hunting when there are so many more important areas."

The posters of Miss Bell will be put up this weekend at 400 sites across the country.

The Report was featured on the Sky News website: "Two Faces of Hunting", the text above is directly from it; use the link above to access it.

Challenge to Scottish Hunting Ban fails - 21 June 2003

The challenge to overturn the Scottish ban on hunting has failed. We reported that on June 5th, two members of the Union of Country Sports Workers had challenged the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act at the Court of Session.

External Links
The Telegraph
The related article
The Scottish Countryside Alliance

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
However yesterday, a written judgment by Lord Brodie at the Court of Session in Edinburgh endorsed the law introduced by Lord Watson of Invergowrie and passed by MSPs last year.

Brian Friend, a foot follower of the Berwickshire Hunt, and Jeremy Whalley, the Master of the hunt, argued in January that the act was not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. Yesterday, Mr Friend, of Membury, Devon, said he was "furious" and vowed to appeal against the decision

The two men had claimed that the law was incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights or the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was not necessary in a democratic society and would result in more cruelty towards animals.

A similar legal challenge has been launched in the Court of Session by the Scottish Countryside Alliance but a judgment has yet to be delivered on that attempt to prove that the ban contravenes human rights.

In his judgment, Lord Brodie rejected the two men's arguments. He said: "Cruelty . . . involves a moral judgment. If a democratic parliament takes the view that a practice is cruel then it can be said that in banning or restricting that practice parliament is acting to protect public morals."

Related Story:

The Report was featured on The Telegraph newspaper website: "Challenge to ban on foxhunting is rejected"; use the link above to access it.

Hain warns Lords not to block Hunting Bill - 19 June 2003

In the second development in two days, the new Leader of the Commons, Peter Hain, who yesterday announced a vote on a total Hunting ban, has warned the House of Lords not to block the Hunting Bill.

External Links
The Telegraph
The related article
The Countryside Alliance

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
The House of Lords is expected to overwhelmingly block the Bill, which will result in the government using the Parliament Act to force it through, however there may not be enough time for this to take place before the summer recess.

The Telegraph has reported "the reappearance of the Bill, which bans hare coursing and stag hunting and effectively outlaws lowland foxhunting, has put Parliament and countryside campaigners on course for a summer of confrontation."

Hain, a known supporter of the ban, is seen as a crucial ally for opponents of Hunting, compared to Robin Cook, who resigned over the Iraq war, who was opposed to a ban.

The Bill is certain to run into stiff opposition in the Lords and there are serious doubts whether there is sufficient time for it to pass through all its stages. If the Bill is stuck in the Lords, it will not qualify for the carry-over provision.

Mr Hain told peers not to "frustrate the overwhelming view" of the Commons that hunting should be curbed.

The Telegraph "Legislation had been introduced to meet a Labour manifesto commitment. If the Bill was blocked, the Government could use the Parliament Act, enabling the Commons to override objections from the Lords and forcing a contested Bill on to the statute book.

"However, some MPs doubt whether Tony Blair will want to use the Parliament Act because it could result in a complete ban on hunting.

"When the Bill returns to the Commons, Labour opponents of hunting plan to amend it to impose an outright ban on all hunting with dogs."

Related Story:

The Report was featured on The Telegraph newspaper website: "Yesterday in Parliament: Hain warns peers not to block anti-hunting Bill"; use the link above to access it.

Hunting to be banned as MPs get vote on total ban - 19 June 2003

It's happened, MPs are to get to vote on a total ban on Hunting, resulting in the much feared ban. Click on the image below for the full story.

Click Here for the full story...

Poll shows just 2% consider hunting should be a priority - 17 June 2003

External Links
The Guardian
The related article
The Countryside Alliance
The associated poll & response

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
An NOP poll for the Countryside Alliance has shown that only 2% of the public believe that Commons time should be used to pass the Hunting Bill, suggesting that Downing Street would not pay a high political price if it dropped the bill.

The Bill completed the Commons stage earlier this year and is awaiting the report stage, where urban Labour party MPs will attempt to strengthen it to ban Hunting outright, enraging the countryside.

The countryside minister, Alun Michael, is in talks with the RSPCA to make small concessions in a bid to prevent a total ban.

Advocates of a ban are frustrated at the apparent unwillingness of Downing Street to put the bill before MPs again, fearing that ministers do not want to risk a confrontation with rural interests.

Although the new leader of the house, Peter Hain, is an advocate of a hunting ban, the decision is likely to be taken inside Downing Street.

The Report was featured on The Guardian newspaper website: "Hunting 'not key issue' "; use the link above to access it.

Anti-hunters fear end to Hunting Bill - 15 June 2003

External Links
The Observer
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
Senior MPs have warned that the Hunting Bill could be 'shelved' if it does not make its way through Parliament this session.

The Observer has reported that "[campaigners for a ban] fear that Downing Street lacks the stomach for confrontation with countryside lobbyists".

Peter Hain, made Leader of the Commons only three days ago, faces his first test of faith with Labour MPs left mutinous by a string of bitter tussles over Iraq, foundation hospitals and tuition fees.

Phyllis Campbell McCrae of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said "This Government has an uncanny knack with Bills on hunting of seeing them run out of time. The manifesto commitment was very clear that they would resolve the issue this time."

More than 100 MPs are ready to table an amendment that would turn the measure into a total ban on hunting. But they cannot do so until it reaches its report stage in the House of Commons.

Unless that happens by the end of June, there is unlikely to be enough time for it to go to the House of Lords - where it will face fierce resistance - before the summer recess.

The Report was featured on The Observer newspaper website: "Anti-hunt lobby fears ban will be shelved "; use the link above to access it.

Closed season suggested to end autumn hunts - 13 June 2003

External Links
The Times Online
The related article (Registration may be req'd)
The Countryside Alliance
The associated response

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
The Times has reported that a leaked letter from Alun Michael, the Minister in charge of the Hunting Bill to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, contains the plan to introduce a closed season for fox hunting, ending the vital autumn hunts.

If introduced, it will end the controversial practice of autumn hunting, which animal welfare groups campaign strongly for.

Simon Hart, chief executive designate of the Countryside Alliance, said: “This has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. It is utterly ridiculous to say that one form of pest control cannot be used during those months while others can.” He said it was “another example of Alun Michael showing blatant discrimination against foxhunting”.

He continued, saying "The proposed gamekeepers amendment would make 'keepers the first rural
profession outside the staff of emergency services to come under government
registration and is a clear breach of the Government's manifesto commitment
not to place restrictions on shooting.

Mr Michael wrote: “The further changes I am proposing would deal with the mischief of cub hunting by banning the hunting of foxes with dogs entirely during a closed season from August to November.”

He also suggested that there would be new conditions on minimising the length of the chase and requiring close control of dogs so that any killing is quick and humane.

Of the 12,000 foxes killed by hunts each year some 40 per cent are caught during the autumn cubbing period.

The letter was leaked to the Shooting Times magazine.

The Report was featured on The Times newspaper website: "Closed season planned to end autumn fox cub hunts"; use the link above to access it (registration is required to access this story).

MPs warn of more wounded foxes if hunting is banned - 5 June 2003

External Links
The related article
The Country Life site
The related article
The Telegraph
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
MPs have publised a new scientific report which shows that an impact of the Hunting Bill may be an increased number of foxes wounded.

If Hunting with dogs is banned, shooting will become the only way to control foxes, which are a form of pest. The study revealed that all types of ammmunition and at all distances, the wounding rate of foxes is greatly increased. Hunting with foxhounds, on the other hand, was found to have a 100%, 'all or nothing', kill rate.

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik said: "All the shooting regimes investigated in the study are legal. This means all methods investigated in the report could fill the pest control void caused by a ban on hunting with dogs.

"Shooting has been constantly cited as a better alternative, yet this research clearly shows the facts are very different.

"The report concludes that 'under common field conditions, for every fox shot dead with a shotgun, at least the same number of foxes are wounded and many of these are never found'."

Conservative MP Peter Luff, co-chairman of the group, said: "Frankly the Middle Way Group should not have had to commission this study. It is the responsibility of the Government if it is going to consider prohibiting an activity, to properly investigate the repercussions of its legislation.

"Those who have supported a ban on hunting with dogs now need to seriously consider what purpose is served, in animal welfare terms, of pursuing this line."

The findings come as the Hunting Bill awaits the report stage in the commons.

The report was featured on the Ananova, Country Life and The Telegraph newspaper websites, use the links above to go to these sites.

Attempt to lift Scottish Hunting Ban- 5 June 2003

External Links
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
A judicial review is to decide whether to overturn the ban on fox hunting in Scotland, the website has reported. The appeal stage for the action in relation to the Bill banning the sport - the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act was heard in the Inner Court of the session in Edinburgh on Thursday.

Three judges heard the appeal on hunting, which is expected to last up to a week. A petition lodged says the law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, making it outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, Allan Murray, said: "We are fighting to overturn this legislation in the High Court because we believe that hunting is of vital social, environmental, economic and cultural importance to Scotland's rural communities.

"The act was passed for the wrong reasons, especially with respect to animal welfare.

"The Parliament passed the act over a year ago through prejudice and bigotry against the people who support hunting.

"We hope that the outcome of this will enable people to regain their liberty and livelihood."

The text is directly from the report on the website, use the link above to access it.

Hunting is 'good' for the countryside - 29 May 2003

External Links
The Guardian
The related article
The Times
The related article
The Telegraph
The related article
BBC News
The related article
The Study
The Countryside Alliance
Press Release

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
A study carried out by the University of Kent, and published in the journal 'Nature' has found that landowners involved in both hunting and shooting maintain their woodland and hedgegrows to a much better degree than those who are not.

The study found that landowners who are involved in such country sports conserved about 7.2 per cent of their land as woodland, compared with 0.6 per cent by landowners who are not. Farmers involved in country sports all planted new woodland, whilst only 37.5 per cent of those not involved did so.

New public funding and stronger enforcement as well as new legislation 'forcing' farmers to continue such trends may be required if such sports are banned. Farmers are known have a far greater concern for the environment than those living in urban areas, new legislation and enforcement are likely to cause more anger against an 'urban Labour party'.

Simon Hart, Director of the Campaign for Hunting, said: "This research supports what land managers have always argued - that country sports are beneficial to landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity. Now it is time for the Government to accept that hunting is about far more than its narrow definition of pest control."

The Report was featured in the journal 'Nature', and reported on by on The Times, The Guardian & The Telegraph newspaper websites; use the links above to access the story on these websites (registration may be required by certain sites). You can also access the Countryside Alliances official response.

Supporters of Hunt Ban fear more delays - 14 May 2003

External Links
The Times Online
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
Tony Blair may be preparing to defer the Hunting Bill once again, reports The Times. The newspaper reports that the Bill is unlikely to reach its next Commons stage before June, meaning it will not reach the Lords until July, which is very close to the summer recess.

As reported in the story "MPs told to accept Hunting Bill or lose it" (Below), the failure to become law before the recess no longer means the Bill is dropped, or it doesn't if the House of Commons and the House of Lords both agree to bring it back next session, the latter of which are unlikely to accept this.

The strengthening of the Bill is also under much focus and could also hamper the chances of an early debate. Many MPs against the Bill have attempted to strengthen it to outlaw Hunting altogether, Alun Michael - the minister in charge of the Bill says this will be fiercely resisted.

The Countryside Alliances' new chief executive - a strong hunt supporter said “This Bill is no longer a compromise or a middle way and is not a solution and I will not be afraid to stand up and say so”.

The Report was featured on The Times newspaper website: "Supporters of hunt ban fear more delays"; use the link above to access it (registration is required to access this story).

MPs told to accept Hunting Bill or lose it- 9 May 2003

External Links
The Guardian
The related article

We are not responsible for the content of external sites.
MPs who were hoping to strengthen the Hunting Bill to ban Fox Hunting completely have been told to either accept it as it is or lose it totally. Alun Michael - the minister in charge of finding the 'third way' option has reportedly told them this is the only chance they have to reach an agreement on the issue.

The Guardian reported that if Tony Blair believes that the Bill has been altered to much then he could refuse to use the parliament act to make it law.

"[The Parliament act] allows a bill of a party election manifesto to be passed against the Lords, in the session after it has been blocked - but only if the speaker certifies that it is essentially the same bill. Mr Blair's threat to maintain that the bill is no longer the same one is therefore real" - The Guardian.

The newspaper also reported that the Bill could be 'put off' until the autumn due to a 'crowded programme', under new rules this no longer means it will fail, but would be carried over to the new session if it is not settled by July.

The Bill was put off earlier this year due to the war on Iraq. MPs didn't want to "further antagonise hunting groups, which included many military families".

The Report was featured on the Guardian newspaper website: "MPs told to back hunt bill or lose it"; use the link above to access it.


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