RSPCA: “Plan to bring back fox hunting on a technicality is tantamount to an abuse of power”

The RSPCA has condemned the UK Government’s attempts to dupe the public and  controversially reintroduce fox hunting through the back door.

If given the go-ahead the use of a statutory instrument to diminish the Hunting Act would most likely result in the reintroduction of fox hunting across both England and Wales – which the RSPCA strongly opposes.

The move by the Government is an undemocratic procedure that goes against the will of both the House of Commons and the majority of the British public.

While pest control is cited as the reason for the amendments to the Act there is no evidence to show that fox numbers have increased since the ban was introduced 10 years ago.

Now the Society is urging members of the public make their voices heard on the matter and contact their MP to ensure they stand up to this threat and vote against the move to dilute the Act.

David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director for public affairs, said: “The RSPCA believes any attempts to weaken the Act would not only give the green light to resuming hunting of foxes, and other animals, by dogs but would  also be a backward step for modern society.

"Fox hunting is not a quaint countryside pastime of old –  it is a barbaric and cruel practice that has no place in civilised society. The use of a statutory instrument to bring back this heartless activity is undemocratic when you consider it goes against the will of the House of Commons and the majority of the public. The British public – 80% of whom are against a reintroduction of hunting – deserve better.

“The Hunting Act was enacted to end the cruelty caused to wild animals by chasing and killing them with a pack of hounds. Over the ten years it has been in force the Act has already proven to be a useful piece of the legislative framework protecting wildlife in England and Wales.

"Recent footage released by the League Against Cruel Sports showing fox cubs being reared in a barn close to the Middleton Hunt  kennels explodes the excuse that hunters need to control the fox population by using packs of hounds.

“This attempt to reintroduce this brutal practice, that has rightly been consigned to the history books, would be a disaster for British wildlife and society as a whole.”

Members of the public who oppose the changes to the Hunting Act are being urged to visit to make their voice heard.

Notes to editors

In a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI in 2013 for animal welfare charities, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA, shows that:

•      80% of people in Great Britain think that fox hunting should remain illegal;

•      85% think deer hunting should not be made legal again; and

•      87% think hare hunting/coursing should also remain illegal.