14 JULY 2015
Celebrities rally to save wildlife from the hunt
Politicians in England & Wales urged to vote against attempt to bring back “despicable blood sport”
A host of celebrities have rallied to appeal for a ban on hunting to remain intact, joining Animal Defenders International (ADI) in a plea to politicians in England and Wales. Over 20 prominent individuals including Ricky Gervais, Jane Goodall, Morrissey and Stella McCartney called on politicians to block attempts by the Government to bring back what they describe as a “despicable blood sport”.
The letter from the celebrities states that, if passed, the amendment to the Hunting Act will render the legislation “toothless, allowing hunts to resume their cruel pastime with impunity.”
Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said, “The arguments for hunting were picked apart and defeated 10 years ago and to this day remain the same. This cruel blood sport must stay in the past where it belongs.”
Public opposition to hunting in the UK has remained consistently high for many years, since before the introduction of the Hunting Act over 10 years ago, and continues to rise. Latest figures state that 80% support a ban on fox hunting, 86% a ban on deer hunting and 88% a ban on hare hunting and ‘coursing’.
The Hunting Act prohibits hunts across England and Wales from using a pack of dogs to flush out and chase a wild animal across the countryside to the point of exhaustion and ultimately to their death, either by the bullet or the jaws of the hounds. It is the most successful legislation of its kind, with 378 convictions since it was introduced. Similar legislation was introduced in Scotland two years prior to the Act being passed.
The Conservative Government has long expressed its desire to repeal the Hunting Act, with a free vote on the issue pledged in its 2015 election manifesto. However, instead of a free vote of Members of Parliament, the Government last week announced plans to amend the legislation instead. A vote was due to take place tomorrow afternoon but has been postponed in the face of likely defeat for the Government.
Although it has been stated that the proposed changes were to bring the Act in line with Scottish law, it would amount to a weakening of the legislation in England and Wales, which has stricter welfare measures currently in place.
Celebrities urgently rallied to join ADI in calling on Members of Parliament to block the proposed changes. Regarded as a repeal of the law in all but name, the legislative amendments would allow the return of hunting with a pack of hounds.
Studies show that fox populations are unaffected by hunting and their predation of farmed animals has a minimal impact. The use of hunting with hounds for ‘wildlife management’ is considered inefficient and inhumane.
ADI is a member of the Team Fox coalition founded by Brian May and which is united in the campaign to keep the hunting ban.
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Lori De Waal 818-817-4444 [email protected]
Letter to Members of Parliament:
The safety and welfare of our wildlife is under threat. The Hunting Act prohibits animals from being terrorised and chased by packs of hounds across the countryside to the point of exhaustion and, ultimately, a savage death.
The government is attempting to weaken the Hunting Act through the back door, knowing full well that a free vote would maintain this effective, compassionate law. A hastily announced amendment will be put to the vote on Wednesday. If passed, this important legislation will become toothless, allowing hunts to resume their cruel pastime with impunity.
This cannot be allowed to happen. We must keep the ban in place.
The public have consistently and overwhelmingly supported a ban on hunting and do not want to see the return of this despicable bloodsport. It belongs in the past, and that is where it must remain.
We join Animal Defenders International’s call on you to block any attempt to dilute this vital animal protection law and urge you to vote against the Hunting Act amendment on Wednesday.
Dame Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace & Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute
The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey PhD, DD, HonDD
The Hon. Jonathon Porritt CBE
Ann Widdecombe, DSG
Draft statutory instrument: The Hunting Act 2004 (Exempt Hunting) (Amendment) Order 2015
Animal Defenders International: With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues. www.ad-international.org