Thank you for contacting me about the Hunting Act 2004.
I appreciate the strong feelings many people have on this issue and I fully share your concern for ensuring the welfare of animals. You may be interested to know that I have recently been elected as the co-chairman of the All Party Group on Animal Welfare, and one of the first evidence sessions we will hold will be asking if the ban on hunting has been effective.
I was disappointed that the proposed amendments were postponed and in my view just reinforced the case for English Votes for English Laws. I believe that the SNP should not have decided to ‘play politics’ with such an important issue, when clarity and a timely conclusion on both sides of the argument would have been welcomed.
I believe that the amendments were an entirely sensible set of proposals that would have made the exemptions in the Hunting Act more workable, while maintaining the ban on the pursuit and killing of a wild animal by dogs. I would have voted in favour of the amendments, which would have brought us in link with the system operating in Scotland. However, I will now review any further changes if and when they are presented to the House.