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19th Feb 2024

Labour Party vows to fully ban fox hunting

Charlie Herbert

Labour vows fox hunting ban

The party has vowed to ‘close loopholes’ in the current hunting ban

Labour has promised to completely ban fox hunting in their first five years in government if they win the general election.

Shadow environment secretary Steve Reed said the party would close “loopholes” in the current ban which allow some types of hunts to take place.

The minister argued there is “not a majority in any part of the country” that wants to see fox hunting continue.

Labour has already committed to toughening the Hunting Act, which was introduced by Tony Blair’s government in 2004. This would include banning trail hunting, which allows dogs to follow a pre-laid scent instead of a wild animal. Critics argue this technique ends up being a disguise for real hunts to take place.

Reed said: “People have seen the images of packs of hounds getting into private back gardens, killing cats, ripping flocks apart. There’s not a majority in any part of the country that wants to see that continue.

“The hunting ban was passed under the last Labour government and it has been maintained under this Conservative government. So that seems fairly settled to me.

“But there are loopholes in it, drag hunting, for instance, that allow hunting to continue, and foxes – and indeed domestic cats and other mammals – are still getting killed as a result of those loopholes and we will close those loopholes.”

The 2004 Hunting Act banned the hunting of most wild animals with dogs in England and Wales (Getty)

Pro-hunting campaigner have warned the ban would continue Labour’s “running attack on rural communities.

The Countryside Alliance urged Labour to “end its strange obsession with hunting” in December last year.

The organisation’s chief executive Tim Bonner told the Telegraph: “It is utterly bizarre that Labour is still making hunting its priority in the countryside. Rural people are desperately concerned about affordable housing, access to services, agricultural transition and a thousand other more important issues. 

“Yet Labour wants to return to fight the culture war of 20 years ago. This shows that the party hasn’t progressed at all and that underneath Keir Starmer’s veneer it is still about the politics of misplaced envy and class war.”

He added that the countryside “doesn’t want to have to have a fight over hunting again.”

But Labour has insisted the eradication of fox hunting is something rural voters want to see.

Reed said: “This isn’t to do with urban people telling country people how to live their lives. This is something country people want brought in.”

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