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Policy Papers

Confused Antis Lose National Trust Battle

League Director argues against Hunting Act

A resolution to prevent the use of up to two hounds to locate and dispatch sick or injured deer on National Trust property on Exmoor was thwarted at the Trust’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 4th November. The proposer of the motion, League Against Cruel Sports Director Douglas Batchelor, argued that hounds from local hunts should be refused entry in all circumstances, even if to prevent unnecessary suffering to a wounded deer.

An overwhelming show of hands at the AGM and a large majority of postal votes * defeated the anti-hunt motion, following an almost unanimous chorus of speakers, including a former vet, who condemned the proposal as a disgrace for its detrimental animal welfare consequences. It was pointed out that Mr Batchelor was actually arguing against a welfare friendly exemption of the Hunting Act 2004, which allows for the use of two dogs for “the rescue of a wild mammal that is or may be injured”.**

Lembit Öpik MP, Co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “Since the banning of hunting with dogs, there have been numerous difficulties with wounded deer, a situation highlighted by the Trust’s own stalker, so the Trust felt it wise to revisit the issue and concluded that the limited use of hunts within the exemptions of the Hunting Act would be right. This prompted the motion from the League. The Trust has made the right move. We should not use the welfare of any animal, especially one that may be suffering, in our political battles. This failed motion will confirm suspicions that the anti hunt bodies are more about ideology than welfare.”

Peter Luff MP, Co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “We are told that the Hunting Act is a sound piece of legislation and yet here we see its own supporters in effect arguing against it. The use of scent dogs is vital in both wildlife management and welfare terms.”

Baroness Golding, Co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “It is obvious that the League’s Director totally misread the membership of the National Trust, who clearly have that welfare of the deer at heart, rather than flawed dogma.”


Notes for Editor:
*The AGM of the National Trust was held at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 4th November 2006. In relation to the Exempt Hunting of Deer motion, postal votes were 12768 in favour and against 20182.
** Hunting Act 2004 Schedule 1 paragraph 8 Rescue of wild mammal.

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