Hunting convictions rise to highest level yet
Latest figures on prosecutions under the Hunting Act, released this week, reveal they are at their highest level yet, with convictions almost doubled in 2009 compared to 2008. This brings the total number of successful convictions under the Hunting Act to 145.
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “As the hunting season begins, these prosecution figures send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ride roughshod over the law that they can and will be prosecuted.
“IFAW is quite happy for hunters to go out with their dogs and horses and ride across the countryside. The ban doesn’t stop the spectacle and the excitement of hunting; it just outlaws the chasing and killing of wild animals.”
The Hunting Act has been used to obtain more convictions than other wildlife legislation such as the Badgers Act, the Deer Act and the Wild Mammals Protection Act.*
Mr Marsland added: “These mounting convictions show that this is a clear and enforceable piece of legislation which can be used effectively.”
The Hunting Act 2004 was introduced because the overwhelming majority of the UK public found it abhorrent that foxes, deer, hare and mink could be chased and killed for ‘sport’.
However, despite continued public support for the ban, the coalition Government has pledged to hold a parliamentary vote to reopen the debate on possible repeal of the Hunting Act.
IFAW believes those calling for a repeal of the Hunting Act are effectively calling for a return to cruelty. Members of the public are asked to urge their MPs to do all they can to protect the Hunting Act.
* In 2009 there were five convictions under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, compared to 57 under the Hunting Act 2004.