First Anniversary of the Hunting Act 2004

“After decades of wrangling, was it really worth it?”

As the 18th November 2005 marks the first anniversary of the Hunting Act being passing into law via the controversial Parliament Act, Parliamentarians have questioned the extraordinary expense and time spent on this issue in the light of every hunt in England and Wales still operating. Concern has also been raised about the Prime Minister’s political legacy.

Lembit Öpik MP, co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “For some time there has been a suggestion that the hunting issue would simply go away once the ‘ban’ became law. In fact, the League Against Cruel Sports is on record as saying that two months after the ban everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about. Well, here we are a year after the so-called ban and very little seems to have changed. After decades of wrangling and not one animal’s life saved, was this really worth it?”

Peter Luff MP, co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “This ridiculous law will actually cause greater animal suffering because of the other methods used, but the public should be aware of another point - the cost of making the Hunting Act law. The various anti-hunting groups have spent some £30 million pounds of animal welfare money since 1997. In addition, 700 hours of Parliamentary time has been used debating the issue, with that enormous cost coming out of the public purse. The figure for ongoing Police time and legal costs can only be guessed, but it will not be insignificant.”

Baroness Golding, co-chair of the Middle Way Group said, “Thankfully, even those people morally opposed to hunting are now accepting that this is nothing short of an extremely costly farce. I am very sad that Tony Blair’s leadership of the Labour Party will have this sorry episode as part of its legacy, given that he and numerous other members of the Government did not vote for the Hunting Act. It is inevitable that this flawed law can only exist as a temporary measure. It is not a case of if it is changed, but when.”

Ends