The Hunting Act was pushed through Parliament by Tony Blair after some 720 hours of debate in Westminster. It stirred up tensions and caused division in our rural communities, which was both regrettable and inevitable, given how strongly views are held on both sides.
I believe drag hunting, which is what happens lawfully now, provides an alternative to fox hunting. It offers a solution to address the concerns of both those who are unhappy with the use of their land for fox hunting, and those who oppose hunting on animal welfare grounds. Drag hunting can be undertaken with the same formal dress and social customs which took place at any Meet prior to the Hunting Act – the removal of the fox, or any other animal, from hunting does not mean the long-held traditions that many people hold so dear must also cease.
Nationally, support for the ban remains at an all-time high, with 8 out of 10 people opposed to making fox hunting legal again. An overwhelming majority of the letters and emails I receive urge me not to support efforts to repeal the ban.
Before the last election, I said I would not support a repeal of the ban. My position remains unchanged.
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