There is no doubt that a General Election is looming. But what does that mean for foxhunting?
What we want is all the main parties to make a clear statement about what they propose to do about foxhunting. They have three options:
1) Pledge to overturn the ban
2) Pledge to maintain the ban
3) Pledge to strengthen the ban.
We want all parties (including the Conservatives) to pledge to strengthen the ban. Pledging to maintain the ban is not good enough.
With a General Election on the horizon, our job at AAF is to make sure that fox hunting is (once again) a hot topic. For some time now, we have been running petitions on our outreach stalls for local MPs asking them to support strengthening the ban. The minute a GE is announced, we’ll send the petitions in to show what the majority of people think.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Write to your own MP and let us know what they say. AAF will keep records of MP’s responses. So when you get a reply, forward it to us firstname.lastname@example.org If we all do that, they will understand how much this matters and we might just get them to listen. Ask them two simple questions:
1) What are their own personal views on foxhunting? and
2) Whether they would support a motion to strenghen the ban.
Find your MP here:
If you’d like to know what the current position is with regard to the three main parties, have a look below:
The Labour Party has set out its stall in this document https://labour.org.uk/issues/animal-welfare-manifesto/
In it, they say they are “exploring ways to enhance the Hunting Act”. This might sound a little vague to some – but if the ban is going to be strengthened, it needs to be done with much thought and research. We don’t want a new Hunting Act and then another decade or so of abuse.
The Conservative Party does not have a particularly good record when it comes to animal welfare. However, they have do have two animal welfare groups: Blue Fox and The Conservatives Animal Welfare Organisation. Both are independent. On 6th Sept 2019, the Conservative Animal Welfare Organisation made 30 recommendations to the party for their conference.
One of the recommendations was to strengthen the hunting ban. While the party has decided to take on some of the recommendations https://www.conservativeanimalwelfarefoundation.org/7842-2/ (all of which are very worthy), there is no mention of fox hunting. We can only assume (at this point anyway) that they still have no plans to strengthen the ban. As recently as March 2019, the Conservative Government said that they had no plans to strengthen the Hunting Act. Teresa Coffey (Minister for DEFRA at the time) confirmed this at the Westminster debate secured by Chris Matheson. However, things have changed in DEFRA. These are the new people in charge:
Theresa Villiers supports the Hunting Act but is, unfortunately, in favour of the badger cull. Her opposition to hunting is recent; she listened to her constituents and saw it for what it really is.
Rebecca Pow supports the badger cull. We are asking what her views are on foxhunting because we don’t know.
Zac Goldsmith supports the Hunting Act and opposes the badger cull. We know this because Pip emailed him on 1 October 2019 and asked. His reply was clear. This is despite what he says on his own website about foxhunting.
Lord Gardiner and George Eustice do not support the Hunting Act. They both think the badger cull is a good thing.
The Liberal Democrats are a mystery at the moment. Jo Swinson (the LibDem leader) has voted for the badger cull in the past – though that doesn’t necessarily mean that she opposes the ban on foxhunting. The Lib Dems last manifesto (2017) did not mention foxhunting. It did however, mention the badger cull and it seems at odds with the way Jo Swinson voted in that the manifesto wanted bTB to be tackled “humanely”.
AAF has written to Jo Swinson to ask for the Lib Dems’ policy.