New website launched to assist police with Hunting Act

Monday, 22 December, 2008
(22 December 2008) A new website has been launched today by leading animal welfare groups to help police and Crown Prosecution Service officers with the enforcement of the Hunting Act. is a factual resource created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA. The specialist site was set up to assist relevant enforcement officials by providing clear information on the Hunting Act and the distinction between legal and illegal hunting.

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “The Hunting Act is a recent piece of legislation and not surprisingly, many police wildlife crime officers and CPS prosecutors have limited experience in dealing with illegal hunting. However, the professional hunt monitors employed by animal welfare organisations have built up a wealth of experience on monitoring hunts and enforcement of the Act. We are delighted to use this opportunity to collaborate with officials to help ensure the law protecting wild animals is upheld.”

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker, speaking at an ACPO conference in October, said: "The Government is absolutely clear that the Hunting Act must be complied with. We cannot pick and choose which laws we obey in a democratic society.

“I am committed to working with Ministerial colleagues and with the police to ensure that public and parliamentary concerns on enforcement of the Hunting Act are recognised, understood and addressed; ensure that appropriate links are made across the Criminal Justice System; communicate that visible enforcement is important in terms of effective community policing in rural areas; and ensure that wider public disorder is not generated which would place a greater burden on local forces.”

The Hunting Act 2004 makes it illegal to chase a wild mammal with a pack of dogs, unless that hunting is exempt. Since the Hunting Act has come into force there have been 31 people prosecuted in cases successfully brought by public and private bodies and 15 individuals are awaiting trial.

Hunting enforcement packages are available as downloads from the site. The pack includes information on the legislation, an overview of hunting practices, terminology and current legal issues including court cases and judgements.

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