Build on the Ban - Strengthen the Act

6th February 2009 - Statement from Protect Our Wild Animals regarding the High Court Ruling on the Hunting Act 2004 POWA's lawyers have advised that the High Court Ruling confirms that hunting is an 'intentional' act.

The court ruled that 'intention' has to be proven in order to achieve a conviction for hunting a wild mammal with a dog. The hunters claim that all incidents of hunting are 'accidental'. Therefore, POWA's campaign to amend the Act and include a reckless behaviour clause is a sensible way forward to securing more prosecutions. POWA's campaign will continue to encourage MP's to Build on the Ban & Strengthen the Act.

Comment from John Bryant, Animal Welfare & Wildlife Consultant to POWA "The assertion from the hunting lobby that the Hunting Act should be repealed because it is 'flawed', is a nonsense. The Badgers Act 1973, which was enacted to outlaw the gruesome 'sport' of badger digging with dogs, had to be amended by three further Acts of Parliament over a period of nineteen years before all its loop-holes were plugged. If every law found not to be as effective as legislators intended was scrapped, the result would be a criminals' paradise.

The reason the Hunting Act contains loopholes big enough to drive a pack hounds through, is firstly because of Tony Blair's seven year prevarication over his 1997 manifesto commitment, secondly the refusal to agree to the inclusion of a proper definition of 'hunting with dogs', thirdly the failure to adequately consult those who best knew and understood the hunters and how they were likely to behave in response to the proposed legislation, and finally the House of Lord's abdication of its role of scrutiny and improvement of the Bill because the majority of its members objected to the principle of banning the hunting of wild animals for sport. The Hunting Act now needs strengthening so that it does exactly what it says on the can."

Build on the Ban – Strengthen the Act POWA has collated many hours of video footage taken by hunt monitors since the ban. This comprehensive record of reckless and rebellious behaviour by the hunters plainly illustrates the devices being used by them to circumvent the intent of the legislation and provides the most compelling basis for the Hunting Act to be strengthened.

POWA believes that a small number of straightforward amendments can be made to the Hunting Act which will have a significant effect on the manner in which the hunts are behaving and will severely curtail their efforts to make a mockery of the law.

Our grateful thanks go to John McDonnell MP for tabling Early Day Motion 122 in the last Parliament, calling for amendments to strengthen the Hunting Act and to the MP’s who signed that EDM, and to the more then two hundred that have endorsed the current EDM116

Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) is a long-established and reputable organisation supported by highly experienced wildlife campaigners who have an in-depth knowledge of all the issues surrounding the activity of hunting with dogs. POWA has campaigned over many years in support of a ban on hunting with dogs and now strives to build on the ban and strengthen the Hunting Act to ensure that the legislation succeeds in protecting our wild animals.