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Celebrating a decade of the hunt ban

3653145_sToday, February 18, marks ten years since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force. This important legislation was introduced to stop hunting with dogs for sport due to the profound suffering caused by the prolonged chase and violent death. Ten years on, the Act has outperformed all other wild mammal legislation and is now the most successful piece of wild animal welfare legislation in England and Wales.

The Hunting Act prohibited the hunting of wild mammals, including foxes, deer, hares and mink with dogs, something which the vast majority of the British public ten years on do not want to see a return to.Latest opinion polling carried out by Ipsos MORI at the end of 2014 shows that 80 per cent of people in Great Britain think that fox hunting should remain illegal, 86 per cent for deer hunting and 88 per cent for hare hunting/coursing. These figures are about the same in both rural and urban areas.

On average, one person every week is prosecuted under the Hunting Act. Of these over two-thirds are found guilty rendering any argument that the ban is not enforceable redundant. It is a mark of our civilisation as a society that we protect animal welfare and I am delighted that the Act has been so successful. I look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries of this important legislation.

Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: 

Hunting wild animals with dogs for sport was banned ten years ago on animal welfare grounds. A decade on, this important and popular legislation has both the highest number of convictions and highest conviction rate above all other wild mammal legislation. Many more people have been deterred from chasing and killing animals for pleasure – something worth celebrating. The problem is not with the law.  It’s with those that flout it.”

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said:

This landmark piece of legislation was brought in because the British public found it abhorrent that British wildlife was being chased or killed for so-called sport and it is right that we celebrate 10 years on from this important victory for animals. However, illegal hunting is a reality that we cannot ignore with trail hunting too often providing a false alibi for hunters to avoid prosecution. A decade on, we need better enforcement of the Hunting Act.”

David Bowles, RSPCA Head of Public Affairs said:

The RSPCA firmly believes that the cruel practice of chasing and killing live animals with dogs is a barbaric and outdated pastime and has no place in modern Britain. This is a sentiment echoed by the vast majority of the British public. A decade on, public feeling towards the hunting ban is still strong. The fact remains that it is only a tiny minority of people who, seek a return to cruelty. The RSPCA also believes that the Hunting Act is a workable, enforceable piece of legislation – since it came into force in 2004, 344 defendants have been found guilty of offences.”

Image copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. James Martin says:

    Of course the toffs and those pathetic individuals who think cruelty to animals is some kind of sport are still a big problem, which is why we need to continue to support those like the hunt sabs who risk their own safety week in, week out to oppose the scum.

  2. Chris says:

    I dunno. I think fox hunting was a pretty big part of our rural heritage. Maybe banning it was the wrong thing to do.

    1. James Martin says:

      Why stop there Chris when you could also have cock fighting and bull and bear baiting back (you’d have to import the bears these days mind)? And do you want to allow the lord of the manor to have his pick of local peasant virgins too, given all that was a big part of ‘rural heritage; at one time?

      Or was the reason we banned this barbaric ‘sport’ because we – unlike the Tories – wanted to be a little more… civilised?

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