Ten years on and still the hunting debate goes on

The Berwickshire Hunt gather in Duns Market Square before their New Years Day ride
The Berwickshire Hunt gather in Duns Market Square before their New Years Day ride

It has been ten years since the Hunting Act 2004 came into law on February 18, and still the hunting community see it as an “illogical, badly drafted and unfair law”.

Far from being the end of hunts across the country in 2015 practically every one of the 300 plus hunts operating when the ban was passed, including the Berwickshire, are still going strong.

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said: “The law has proved just as unworkable, pointless and wasteful as we predicted.

“A law which was passed because of MPs’ obsession with fox hunting has been used almost exclusively to prosecute poachers – 97% of cases brought under the Act do not involve registered hunts.

“Anti-hunt groups spent around £30 million to put the Hunting Act on the Statute Book– since then they have not spent a penny to show the impact it has had on animal welfare.

“Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money and thousands of hours of police time continue to be wasted on spurious allegations under the Hunting Act.

“We call on the next Government to ensure that the ban is repealed. This issue will never be resolved until we have legislation based on evidence and principle, rather than prejudice and political point scoring.”

The League Against Cruel Sport, however, see the law as a success, a spokesperson said: “In the ten years since the Act was passed, it has proven to be the most successful wild animal welfare legislation.

“While public support for the prohibition of hunting has always been high, it has increased substantially in the past ten years. The latest polling from Ipsos MORI, conducted in 2014 on behalf of the League, shows 80% of people think fox hunting should remain illegal.