Friday, 28th April 2000. (10.30 am).
THE CHAIRMAN: Good morning everyone, and welcome to this seminar on drag and bloodhound hunting. This is another seminar in this stage of the Inquiry. To a degree we have been developing the process as we go along, although I think the format has generally worked well. We are very grateful for the draft report from the Royal Agricultural College Enterprise. In our agenda note, we suggested that the opening speakers should take maybe 20 minutes. We would then have an opportunity for questions on a point of fact or a clarification. Then I would like to invite other members of the seminar to make the points that they wish to make. And then hopefully, out of that, we should identify the main topics for further discussion. It is my plan for the morning session to go through until about 12 30, depending on how the discussion goes, without a break. We will then break for lunch. Then, in the afternoon, we will hopefully deal with the topics that we have identified in the morning session as being those that are of most interest. So I would like to ask Mr Manley if you would introduce your paper.
MR MANLEY: Thank you very much. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Will Manley from the Royal Agricultural College, and I am here together with my colleagues Julia Hallett and Graham Cox from the University of Bath. To try and get through the 20 minutes, what we will do is I will introduce the study; what we were asked to do; what we did and how we did it. I will do that by myself, but obviously there are critical areas within this study which are the domain more of my colleagues; and obviously we will pick up the relevant bits in the following discussions. Now, we were asked not all that long ago of course, following basic objectives, to review the existing evidence relating to the practice of drag and bloodhound hunting. We were asked to survey key aspects in which we included the following: To profile and also to explore the attitudes to drag and bloodhound hunting participants; the involvement of participants with hunting with dogs; comparative attitudes and resource allocations of hunting participants -- and I use this in the broadest sense. Here, we are talking about hunting participants involving both live animals and drag and bloodhounds, unless specifically stated to the contrary -- we looked at farm attitudes to allowing hunting activities; and drag and bloodhound hunting impacts on wildlife landscape and habitats; we were also asked to explore the possible scope for making drag or bloodhound hunting more attractive; and, lastly, to summarise the findings. I am working on the basis that certainly the people around the table here perhaps have a full copy of the report, but most, if not many of you, have at least the executive summary. What I will be following through here -- which obviously has been available in the public domain for the last two weeks -- is really picking up the points within that executive summary. Our approach to this was obviously within the parameters that we were operating within. We know some of the limitations of that. Obviously, we are very happy to carry those forward. But we had to go through this fairly swiftly and speedily. First of all, a literature review of drag and bloodhound hunting; what it actually entailed, and what was going on; and indeed looking at some of the literature, some of the survey work and research work which looked at this issue of drag and bloodhound hunting specifically as a substitution driving this whole agenda here. Secondly, we looked at the survey of the drag and bloodhound Masters themselves, i.e. they were part of the providers, secondary to the farmers. We looked again at drag and bloodhound participants, , and also a survey of foxhound and harrier participants. We did not look at staghounds, or any other hunting with wild animals participants, and that will become clear when I talk about that later; a survey also of farmers, a key component there of the providers. I will not dwell too much on this because I really want to explain exactly how we went about doing this because it really is quite important to grasp the approach we took, and obviously the limitations that are inevitably thrown up. This slide is to give a little highlight to the actual drag and bloodhound hunt countries, i.e. the territories in which they operate. We selected three drag and/or bloodhound countries with which to target our survey. This next slide is purely diagramatic, to represent how we went about doing it. What we did is selected two draghound packs and one bloodhound pack, and we used those as the parameters at which to operate our survey. They were the North Cheshire Draghounds, the Isle of Wedmore Draghounds and East Anglian Bloodhounds. What we wanted to do is to pick up a bloodhound as well as a draghound pack. We also wanted to get a cross-section of the different landscape farming types. So, inevitably, the East Anglian Bloodhounds picking up essentially arable areas, North Cheshire draghounds covering moorland and the more pasture areas and Isle of Wedmore more mixed farming. It is not perfect, but it was essentially what we were trying to do. We did it on that basis. We also deliberately picked those that had been very recently formed, the Isle of Wedmore, and those that have been long established, North Cheshire. Within those boundaries, within those parameters of those set countries, we looked to target some mounted participants of foxhounds and/or harriers. We picked two hunts within that overlapped those respective countries. As you can see, we picked here the Holcombe and Cheshire Forest in the North Cheshire area, (inaudible) Mendip farmers and Taunton Vale with the Isle of Wedmore and the Easton Harriers and East Sussex harriers with the East Anglian Bloodhounds. They are certainly not all mounted participants. From the mounted hunts that overlap those countries we selected a manageable number from which we could get the required number of respondents to our interviews. Now, the third component of this was the farmers themselves. How we went about selecting those, again we wanted them to overlap , and we wanted to try and pick up the farmers who were operating within the core of the survey areas. So, for instance, the Isle of Wedmore, we picked up the farmers within the areas and we did that by picking up the relevant postal districts, and picking up names from the electronic Yellow Pages, and using a randomly selected process, which is reasonably well established. That is how we went about doing that, within the time constraints that we had. So it is an overlapping sort of methodology. What do we actually get, what do we actually draw from our work on this in the survey, and indeed from the literature review element of this, which preceded the survey element of the report? We were fairly confident in coming to these broad two sentences, really that pick out, I suppose, the relevant aspects and the relevant conclusions from it. It is often this whole business about looking at seeing whether blood and draghound hunting can be a substitute, the work that has been done, which has not been a great deal, although there has been some more recently in the last few years, in most places not much in evidence when one looks behind it, and looks behind how this has been arrived at. They have not been based on empirical evidence. The familiarity with the subject is a little bit suspect. Looking at some of the results that we have from our own surveys, let us put this in context, first of all, the current provision of drag and bloodhound hunting in mainland England and Wales -- bearing in mind there is nothing in Scotland, we were looking at England and Wales. We did not actually pick up on this survey -- one of the study areas did not come from Wales, but was because that did not meet our criteria. There is no particular slur on Wales !. There are 12 active draghounds hunts, 13 bloodhound hunts. Generally, they have large countries than mounted animal hunts, keep fewer hounds, hunt fewer days, do not collect fallen stock, and provide little direct employment generally. I really must emphasise -- this is one of the things I think we will reiterate throughout this -- there is a lot more disparity than we imagined when we went into this,- there is a lot more variation. Now, the actual participants. Again, we are looking at the survey results from asking fox and harrier participants, and we are asking drag and bloodhound participants. I did not mention in the methodology, and I must do so. This was all done -- because of the speed of this research -- on the telephone. In some respects, it is not necessarily always ideal, but please appreciate some of the limitations. . We are doing this in a fairly swift period, over a telephone interview, sometimes with quite a complex subject areas; some are not quite so complex. Average age of participants was greater in foxhounds, harriers and bloodhounds than for draghounds. Occupation: Obvious things that came out - occupations amongst both drag and bloodhound hunts; relatively large numbers of people who work professionally with horses; fewer farmers, that is one of the things did come out; professionals with horses amongst the drag and bloodhounds and far fewer farmers. Days hunted, average of 23 days per season, but the two newer drag and bloodhound hunts, that would be the Wedmore and the East Anglian Bloodhounds, went out almost as much with the foxhounds and the harriers; there was a lot more overlap between the participants than we originally anticipated. Very few respondents had no experience of hunting wild animals. Expenditure: Drag and bloodhound participant households tended to have fewer dedicated hunting horses than the foxhound harriers households. Overall, the bloodhound participant households spent least on hunting with higher expenditure being associated with foxhound harriers, and with the North-East Cheshire draghounds. Farmers. The survey of farmers was again done by telephone survey. We asked -- we are looking to see obviously some background information on the farmers themselves and so on and so forth, but, critically, the critical aspect was obviously whether or not they allowed access, or would allow access, on to their farms for drag hunts, and indeed whether they currently allow, or would allow, access to foxhounds and harriers. A large number of farmers had never been asked for access by a drag and bloodhound pack. Of those that had been, 20 per cent allowed access to the drag and bloodhounds, but not many, that is from a relatively small sample size. 64 per cent of those did allow foxhound harriers. So there is that obvious disparity nonetheless. What we had to do here was to ask farmers for their opinions about drag hunting, allowing access to drag hunting, looking at attitudes and so on, but many, many, many of those have never been asked. So we really had no alternative but to go into the sort of realms of hypothetical situations saying, "Look, if you were asked, what would you do?" In the processes of amalgamating figures into something a little bit more useful, we have in most cases amalgamated the real answers given to real situations with the hypothetical situations given to the question, "If you were asked by the draghounds for access, would you give it?", and the answer would be, "Yes, we would", or, "We would not". So, please, bear that in mind. Drag and bloodhounds would be allowed on 55 per cent of the grass farms and 40 per cent of the arable farms. Foxhound harriers, a comparable figure there would be 68 per cent on grass farms and 83 per cent on arable farms. One of the reasons for allowing access given by farmers -- not all of them actually answered this question; for reasons I will come to later. Please bear in mind not all of the people necessarily answered specific questions on this. Some of the sample sizes are relatively and inevitably smaller but where they are big enough to make some reasonable statements and judgements we have included those. Reasons fo allowing Drag and bloodhounds - First of all, traditional country sports and, secondly, there was this attitude of live and let live; if they want to do it, that is okay, that type of category, with quite a few remarks or comments into that category. Foxhound harriers. Those farmers who allow Foxhound and harriers who were asked, "Why do you allow Foxhound and harriers?" Firstly, traditions, support of country sports and, secondly, pest control. Now the issue of payment. We did explore this. It was actually something myself and Julia in a previous project down in the West Country tentatively explored in a small sample size. We really felt we ought to address this, even though inevitably there are the hypothetical elements surrounding it. We asked those farmers who said, "No, we would not allow access", or if they were asked they would still say no, "Would you reconsider? Would you permit access if there was a payment involved?" As you see from the slide, 37 per cent of farmers would permit access if it offered a direct payment. The other thing we looked at here is the knowledge of draghound and bloodhound hunting of farmers themselves. The majority of farmers had experience of foxhound and/or harriers, either directly participating themselves or a member of their household or close family. This was not true of the drag and bloodhounds. Indeed, one of the things that I think you must bear in mind with the farmers survey, which inevitably was within a fairly small framework, is that there was actually a degree of disinterest -- I think that is probably the best way of putting it -- in the farmers generally about answering this question at all in many cases. In fact, we were also a little bit suspect; in many cases there was a degree of confusion creeping in between the difference between some of the hunting types and time did not allow us to explore this further. But we cannot really go any further than that, other than to just state the fact that was certainly the case that we felt. Factors bearing on substitution. Again, what we were doing here is essentially following the main factors within the main report, and that heading suitably describes the material we then had. The most important factors in enjoying a day's hunting, what it is that people enjoy about hunting. Riding across country and watching hounds work figure amongst the top two for foxhounds, for harriers, for bloodhounds; it did not for the draghounds. In fact, the draghounds essentially swap the watching hounds work with the challenging jumps So watching hounds work is not so important for the draghounds. Unpredictability of the day and meeting friends was also an important aspect, particularly amongst the harriers and the foxhounds participants respectively. Again, the hypothetical question that had to be asked, it was an obvious one to ask: "Would you participate in drag and bloodhound hunting if there was a ban on hunting wild animals with dogs?" This question was asked of the foxhounds and harrier participants. 72 per cent of foxhound harrier participants would not substitute with draghounds and bloodhounds. Scent and simulation. This was a chapter in its own right within the report. It is not based upon the empirical survey material. It is the main element, main core of the report which deals with that. It was specifically reviewing and exploring this issue about scents, scent and simulation. Really, the key element that can wrap that up to a certain extent is best summarised in those two sentences there. Drag/bloodhound hunting is an exercise in simulation. If scent was given the priority it warrants, then drag and bloodhound hunting must be seen as having serious limitations from a dog work point of view. There we are. We are back to the beginning on that one. What I have done is just highlight some of the critical elements of what we think are important, or certainly in most cases raise particular aspects of further discussion. There is no doubt that we all feel that we have actually uncovered a lot more complex picture than I think was probably imagined by most people in this particular area of study. The whole thing is not quite so simple as it might at first glance appear. Consequently, of course, please, bearing in mind that because of the relatively small dip into the water here with this primary research, and the surveys that went with it, we obviously have opened up areas which, as researchers, we would like to take further. So it has opened up a lot of possibilities and options in that direction. I, equally, think it has opened up some areas for further clarification and also discussion about these various aspects that we have raised. I think I will leave it there.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Thank you also for staying close to the timetable. The next step is that I would like to give other members of the seminar an opportunity to ask questions of detai. This is not to give your own views on the subject, or to expand more generally on the report. But, first of all, just to identify whether there are things about the report you do not understand; whether you would like to receive some further information, or whether there are any of the particular pieces of data that you wish to challenge.
MR SWANN: Thank you, Lord Burns. Good morning, Members of the Committee. The first point of clarification which I would like to raise involves the North-East Cheshire hunt. One of the things that occurs to me in reading your report in detail is that North Cheshire is quite different in many respects from other drag hunts. You made in your opening statements the point that generally drag hunts do not have flesh houses, which this one does. You make the point they have fewer hounds. This one has 52, which is a respectable number. There are many other points -- you bring these out in your report -- that this hunt duplicates a fox hunt in many respects in terms of the number of followers and number of days of meets. In presenting the data, you said you had chosen areas where there was an overlap of drag and fox hunting. The North Cheshire area is one that I have a lot of person knowledge of, and believe there is virtually no overlap between the fox hunts and the North Cheshire hunt. The North Cheshire hunt is based in Charlesworth, which is some 30 miles distant from where the Holcombe hunt is based. On speaking to the huntsman from the North-east Cheshire hunt, he says that they do not overlap territories at all. In respect of the West Cheshire hunt, he believes that overlap is so rare as to be almost a non-event. So that was the information given by the North-East Cheshire drag hunt. One of the reasons why the North-East Cheshire hunt has been so successful is a point that I would like you to clarify as well maybe, but could it well be that this is an area where there traditionally has not been fox hunting, and the drag hunt has evolved on territories where it has developed in this particularly unusual way. Perhaps if I could ask you to clarify that point first, please.
MR MANLEY: Yes. Obviously we had to go from not having the personal experience that you have. On this basis, we went on the information available to us to arrive at this. So that was on that basis, that we had that overlap that we were looking for. On the second point, you raise this issue about whether or not there might be a lot more hunting and drag hunting because there is no fox hunting. Is that correct?
MR SWANN: Chairman, I have made the point that the statistics for the North-East Cheshire hunt in your report indicate its similarity to a fox hunt in terms of its popularity and in the other parameters which I mentioned.
MR MANLEY: That is one thing that certainly arose from this. I think I made that point; that a lot of questions have been raised by this, and maybe that is one that would need to be explored. The other one may be the length, the very factor and one of the reasons why we picked it also is because of the length of establishment. That might well be a key factor as well. There could be a whole range of factors. Quite honestly, this is only skirting the surface in some respects. I think it would be foolish for me to try going any further than that.
MR SWANN: Chairman, could I just come back briefly on that point, and say then that you do accept that this lack of overlap occurs in this respect; that the Holcombe hunt and the West Cheshire hunt do not overlap to a considerable degree with the drag hunting territory.
MR MANLEY: Only from what you have said.
MR COX: Can I add to that. You are raising a question really about typicality. We found out that in certain key respects that the Cheshire was rather distinctive. I think there are all kinds of reasons to suppose that, amongst what is a small group of hunts anyway, namely 12, because of the circumstances of the formation, the influence of personalities and the histories and so forth, I suspect that, whichever one we picked we might have come up with quite a distinctive picture. It was very much driven by the need to find hunts in different agricultural areas, with distinct agriculture characteristics, and make sure we got a coverage in that respect too. So I think those points ought to be borne in mind.
MR SWANN: Chairman, sorry, could I just ask for a further point of clarification on this issue, just to come back to Mr Manley's point. It is not just my own opinion; this was based on questions that I asked the huntsman at the North-East Cheshire. I would like to record that point, which of course you are at liberty to do yourselves. I also asked him what his views would be on why the North-East Cheshire hunt was so successful, and why it did so successfully duplicate the parameters that would apply to a fox hunt. His views were the one you made, the length of establishment, but he also made the point that there is no fox hunting in that area. It is why I am labouring the point. You have implied in the report that these areas are hunted by fox hunts, live quarry hunts as well as drag hunts. I am making the point that this is not the case. This has a very important bearing on why the North-East Cheshire hunt is such an important hunt.
MR MANLEY: Can I come back on that. I did not say that. This is one of the areas we could certainly investigate. We do not know -- the survey as such does not tell us so I did not say that.
MR SWANN: Thank you.
THE CHAIRMAN: The submission of the Masters of Draghounds and Bloodhounds Association under North-East Cheshire does say "that part of the country hunting the Cheshire Forest Hunt and the Holcombe Harriers". There obviously is an issue here about what "part" means, but I think this has to be something we need to follow up at the next stage.
MR MANLEY: To be honest, hopefully, like any good researchers, we talk about how we could have done things better, and within the time constraints. What we would have done is talk to the Master of Draghounds, and so on and so forth, well before we got the interviews and surveys going on to check the information within such things as (inaudible). We were not able to have the luxury of doing that. To be honest, I suppose, if we had found that there was not an overlap we presumably would not have picked North-East Cheshire, because it would not have fitted our criteria.
MR SWANN: Thank you. Chairman, if I could just clarify that point that you made. The junction of territories is by mutual agreement with the Holcombe and the West Cheshire. It is now only the West Cheshire which borders, and by mutual agreement we do have what is in effect an agreed boundary.
SIR RICHARD BODY: Thank you, Chairman. I represent an International Association of Masters of Bloodhounds. We are not in the Countryside Alliance. The Association takes a neutral view on this, although individual members may have a point, but we are neutral because we have members in Germany and elsewhere. I would like to take up, if I may, a very important point you did make; that one of the reasons why drag hunting -- using that as a general term -- was accepted by farmers was for tradition and general support of country sports. I would like to endorse that; that has been our experience. All our Masters would agree wholeheartedly with that. The farmers who are most willing to allow us to go over their farms are those who are supporters of hunting. Almost always, more often than not, we have our meet at a farm where the farmer is an active foxhunter. We find that he is a good host, and does a great deal to arrange for other farmers to go over his land. What we have detected in the last few months, especially following what Mr Swann has been saying, is that these farmers who have encouraged us and welcomed us are getting edgy towards us, because the more the RSPCA make the point that drag hunting is the alternative, and that it should take the place of fox hunting, and if fox hunting were then made illegal, I have no doubt there is going to be resentment and anger, and that will rub off on us, I can see it, but it is quite certain in my mind, and the view is shared by members, that if fox hunting were abolished, one of the arguments advanced for the abolition is that drag hunting is the alternative, then we will not have the sympathetic reception that we are getting at the moment, and we will not have the invitation that we have now. I have no doubt that as a result -- and I say this with great regret -- drag hunting will be seriously disadvantaged if fox hunting is abolished for that reason.
THE CHAIRMAN: I think this does not fall under my heading of clarification and fact. I think it falls more into the next part of the discussion. The point is perfectly legitimate, but if I can just put that to one side for the moment and see if there are any other points. Then we will come back to it in the more general discussion.
MR SWANN: Thank you, Lord Burns. Could I ask your guidance please, Chairman. The researchers did not enter into discussion about those economic arguments which they presented in the paper. Do you wish that we make comments on that, or is this to be put off to the next seminar?
THE CHAIRMAN: This depends on scale, I think. We probably should have some discussion of that issue. But whether you wish to raise it now, or whether you want to deal with it in what I describe as the next stage of opinion and presentation of views, I leave to you.
MR SWANN: Thank you, Lord Burns. I take the point, and this is a point of clarification. In the derivation of many of your economic opinions, you have used a concept where you have described Hunter equivalents. I am given to understand this might be referring to a similar analysis that was carried out by Professor Winter in his paper some years before. I have deep concerns about extrapolation of that method to two different types of hunting. I wonder if you could clarify for me, therefore, why you have chosen to use that method, and how you justify its use where there are two different categories of horse used, because I personally do not believe it is applicable.
MS HALLETT: In the earlier work to which you refer we did in fact use a personal questionnaire which included a very detailed table, which asked respondents to fill in exactly how much time all their different horses spent on a number of different occupations, and from that we actually derived the weighting, both from the 1993 report and also for the later 1999, I think it was, on Exmoor. Unfortunately, with the telephone questionnaire, that was going to be too detailed for us to do that much. It would have asked the respondent to hold too much in their brains at once. So we asked them for a category -- it is on page 39 in fact -- of the various categories of horse. They gave us those. We allocated the total number of horses into those categories. Indeed, we have then put in a hunter equivalent: Retired young breeding stock at zero; point-to-pointers at zero; used solely or mainly for hunting at 1; used about equally for hunting and other purposes, a half; used only occasionally for hunting 0.1; other ridden horses never used for hunting, zero. When we used that weighting and multiplied up, it was interesting that in fact the figure we got of about 53 per cent for the fox hunting and harrier participants agreed extremely well with the earlier figures we had from the Winter 1993 and the later 1999 studies. In fact, it was slightly lower than those. That did, I must say, give us some confidence. Certainly, you can argue that it is, I suppose, slightly arbitrary, but then, on the other hand, you can say retired young and breeding stock to some extent possibly should be attributed to hunting, which we have not done; the same with the point-to-pointers, because I am not quite sure where they are going to stand; they are primarily race horses, and we have explained that we actually left those out, though, on the other hand, we did for those which were used solely or mainly for hunting (inaudible) we did count those as one. I am happy to discuss it further. We did it exactly like that.
MR SWANN: Chairman, if I may come back on that. I do not believe you have answered my point, with respect. The point was: attributing the significance of hunting to horses in the two categories? I do not wish to make this too technical, but let us just say we have horse 1 and horse 2. Horse 1 drag hunts. Horse 2 fox hunts. Horse 1, the drag hunter, puts X amount of effort into hunting. Horse 2 puts in X amount of contribution. The amount of contribution is identical. The cost in this arbitrary example is identical as well. The fox hunting horse, let us say, that is used more for hunting than other purposes, and let us say that the drag hunting horse does have more extensive use as well, although the input into hunting might be identical. You could compare within the two categories, you could compare a drag hunting horse with a drag hunting horse doing different levels of input, but I do not believe you can compare across the categories. I do not think it is a valid comparison. I am afraid to say it is one I would argue quite strongly.
MS HALLETT: If a horse is used solely or mainly for hunting, I suppose one could argue that because it is kept for hunting there is a greater chance of its use no longer being required were there to be a ban. I can see that could be one argument put forward. Certainly, we have relied upon people who talked to us to tell us whether it was solely, or mainly, or if it was about equally in terms of their use; and that is the foundation of it.
MR SWANN: Thank you, Chairman. If I could just make the point that I do believe this is an arbitrary comparison. As all the rest of the economic data are derived from it, I have considerable reservations about the accuracy of those data. Thank you.
MR COX: Could I ask what sort of scale of error you are presuming. Are we talking about something marginal here, or something which completely wrecks all of the data and renders it unsatisfactory?
MR SWANN: Chairman, if I could respond to that and say I put all this data to the economic adviser, and I will answer that question when I have his opinion.
THE CHAIRMAN: Maybe we can come back to some of this later in the day. My experience of a lot of these things is that the way one uses these numbers very much depends upon the question that you are asking. Sometimes the way the numbers are constructed varies. Their relevance depends upon the question they are seeking to answer. Whether one is trying to answer what the current effect is, as opposed to what might happen in the event of a ban, could produce some quite different figures. Are there any other points?
MR HART: Lord Burns, thank you. Three questions for the contractors. The first, have you assessed the reason why the Islands of Anglesey and Man have large and vibrant equestrian populations, and no distraction in the form of quarry hunting, and yet drag hunting there struggles to survive at all? Secondly, we have been surprised in certain bits of evidence to see a suggestion that payment to landowners may be the answer to the perceived problem with land access. Do you believe that there is a risk that this may generate, or possibly generate, some competition and possibly dispute between land holders; and asking them may possibly have the effect that it can crank up the prices that we are possibly talking about; and might lead -- might, I emphasise -- to the loss of the essential ingredient of all forms of hunting, which is the relationship based upon goodwill? Thirdly, your report on page 99 -- the Report acknowledges that "the human quarry or person laying the line, whether mounted or not, is unlikely to be able to mimic the movements of an animal which, for instance, might well pass through an impenetrable hedge and then double back" -- your quote. Given that the report survey showed that the unpredictability of the day was much more important to the foxhound participants than any of the others, is it unrealistic to hope that the unpredictability of the day would ever be created in drag hunting if this is not an important element to drag and bloodhound hunters?
MR MANLEY: Julia, do you want to deal with the first issue, please?
MS HALLETT: As regards the choice of the hunts that we looked at, no, we chose the overlapping countries. Because there were no foxhounds or harriers in those islands, they were not chosen as part of the study. I think that is something, yes, that we did not address because our rationale was slightly different.
MR MANLEY: The issue of payment to farmers; it was something that we explored. I, equally, take on board some of the points that you raised. If you look in the issue of further work, which I have not highlighted in the presentation, that is a key area that would lead to further exploration. There is no sensitivity analysis being done to see whether or not charging for access, what the repercussions that is going to have to subscriptions, to caps, to participation rates, and so on and so forth. So it is an obvious area that would need further exploration. Could you clarify for me, please, the other element of that question?
THE CHAIRMAN: The third part was getting quite near to opinion rather than --
MR COX: If he did indeed say what I took him to be saying I would just want to answer 'no'.
MR HART: Thank you.
THE CHAIRMAN: Could I ask a couple of questions about table 4.11, which is on--
MR MANLEY: Can I say, I have the tables which I can flick up on to the screen, which could be useful if it works.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, please, if you would. (Pause) Table 4.11.
THE CHAIRMAN: I have three questions. One was that the figures for stable building and repairs are very different between the two columns. I am wondering, how is that being calculated? Is that depreciation, or is there some element of capital cost? Because it looks to me a very big difference. There is a similar difference in the opposite direction in terms of horse boxes and trailers, where we have 3,000 on one side and 1,328 on the other, which has already been quoted. And then the third is when I divide 16,014 by 5.3 I do not get 2,883. And if I divide 17,150 by 4.7 I do not get 4,033. Unless I am doing the wrong calculation. I do not want to make too much of it, but my concern is more about the first two points.
MS HALLETT: I will take that one, if I may. Yes, there is capital expenditure in that. We discovered, again this was building on earlier work that we had done, that people tended generally to underestimate. We found it necessary to actually get total expenditures from hunt participants, and in fact needed to look at capital expenditure. Our assumption has been that although a small number of people will have capital expenditures in any one year, each year there will be some, and, therefore, that presents an average for the expenditure going into the local economy in that year. The numbers are, as they were asked on the questionnaires, which is in the appendix. Those are the answers given by the participants. Yes, there was one person up in the north who did spend a lot, who happened to mention that he had set up a new yard and had spent a lot, and in some of the calculations he has been taken out because he had a particularly high expenditure.
THE CHAIRMAN: Is it out of this one?
MS HALLETT: No, it is in --
THE CHAIRMAN: Once one starts having both capital figures and current figures, it becomes quite difficult to make sense, does it not? The numbers can be quite arbitrary, whether or not in one particular year or not one has this expenditure, and how it should be measured. Presumably, it is the same in the other direction with horse boxes.
MS HALLETT: And, of course, there is an element that approximately --
THE CHAIRMAN: Most of the numbers turn out to be quite the same between the two columns. I am just looking at the numbers which look very different between the two.
MR MANLEY: This issue has been raised in the previous studies that we have done. Even if one or two of them might be particularly high, I think the point of the matter is okay, that is what is happening this year. The vast majority of them not having very big capital expenditures, but I think it would be a mistake not to raise one or two of them because the humps and bumps overall of expenditure is going to even out. In fact, some of the previous studies -- Julia, would you like to comment? This is something that has been previously left out.
MS HALLETT: Going right back to 1993, we actually did a check because we were unsure how accurate the figures were given in the questionnaires we hade been given. In fact, I had travelled and done face-to-face interviews with people, a stratified sample in terms of their expenditure, and actually prompted them through a more finely detailed list than we had been able to do on the postal questionnaire. It was surprising the degree to which they had underestimated their spending, which is why the later studies have attempted to take that into account, and to prompt some of that forgotten expenditure which sometimes they would rather not acknowledge.
THE CHAIRMAN: My third question, it appears that 2,883 is supposed to be 16,014 divided by 5.3. Is it? As long as I have the concept right.
MS HALLETT: That is what it says.
MR BROUGHTON: Lord Burns, I can help you with the horse boxes in this. The survey has shown that drag hunters travel further and take part in different events, and so need much better forms of transport. I cannot explain the stable difference, but I can explain the horse box one.
MR COX: Can I just underline the point made earlier, because I was involved in the 1993 study. It was so politically sensitive, what we were doing, that the presumption one had as a social scientist was that the participants in the activity that we were examining would round up and exaggerate their expenditure in order to accentuate the economic case for its continuation. What we found out, as has been explained, was precisely the opposite. There was routine neglect to mention key items, particularly of capital expenditure and all kind of other things too; and that is why we have been particularly careful about these subsequent studies.
THE CHAIRMAN: But I suppose there is another way of looking at it. We have had an intuitive reason as to why the horse box and trailers might be higher in one case than the other. Do these numbers make sense? That one should be double the other when it comes to stable building and repairs? Or is it possible that this is just something that comes out of the particular sampling error?
SIR RICHARD BODY: Lord Burns, I think many fox hunters have to go on their horse for the meet -- they do where I live because it is quite a compact area. We hunt, our own pack hunt, over eight foxhound countries. The meets for the foxhounds in the areas that I hunt are pretty near to where the horses are kept. The livery stables are near those particular hunting stables.
MR SWANN: Sorry, Lord Burns, could I also -- while the team are thinking about that one -- add a further point of clarification because one of the questions that we have down to ask on those tables is the actual numbers of horses kept as well, whether they should be seen as representative of your average foxhunter or drag hunter. The household expenditure in each section is roughly between 16 and 17,000 pounds. Is this just a feature of these particular hunts you looked at, or are you presenting these figures so that we should accept this is the average amount that a householder will expend on their hunting activities?
MR MANLEY: You must bear in mind the obvious limitations of doing that, not a national survey in this respect. It is indications and pointers, but I always caution about extrapolating up.
DR VICTORIA EDWARDS: I wonder if I might stick to the same table and ask for clarification of the lower part. We have had some discussion about the hunter equivalents. What I would like explanation on is the proportion of expenditure allocated to hunting, where that figure comes from, and then also the total expenditure on hunting horses, how that is calculated from the figures above it?
MS HALLETT: The proportion of expenditure allocated to hunting is the hunter equivalent, as a proportion of the total horses.
MR MANLEY: Table 4.1O.
THE CHAIRMAN: That is 37 and 53.
MS HALLETT: And the total expenditure on hunting horses is a proportion of the total using 37 per cent. So it would be 37 per cent of the total.
MR MANLEY: Essentially, I think one has to remind you that we are asking what they are spending on horses, and then working out what their hunter equivalents are, and then working out the horse expenditure, rather than asking the question, "How much money do you actually spend on hunting?", and go back or come back to it because it is a safer way of doing it.
MS HALLETT: Just to add to that, I think it is felt that it would be almost impossible for a respondent to have his store of hay for the winter, and say how much he could give to hunting and how much not, which is why that data is not available.
THE CHAIRMAN: Any other points?
MR POLAND: Mr Chairman, I have one point. If I can refer to table 6.5 on page 71. Can the contractors give any explanation as to why, of the hypothetical farmers who allow draghounds on their land, only two participated in drag hunting, whereas a much higher percentage, 27 participants, part of 108, allowed the foxhounds? From the question of the farmers, did they get a reason as to why so few farmers who allowed draghounds on their land actually participated in it?
MR MANLEY: We did not specifically ask that question, no. As I said, this is the sort of thing, if we were doing postal or face-to-face we would have explored further. We did quite well with a lot of the farmers to get what we did, to be honest, so no.
MR BROUGHTON: Do I detect you were unhappy with the results you got from the farmers survey then? Do you feel their answers were probably what they should have been?
MR MANLEY: No, not unhappy with the answers they gave, but I am just saying it is perhaps something worth bearing in mind; there was not this interest in this subject, talking to interviewers, and indeed we also did some of them ourselves.
MR BROUGHTON: Did you get a feeling as to why there was a disinterest?
MR MANLEY: No, I think what we could do is only speculate on that, to be honest.
THE CHAIRMAN: Okay, shall we move on to the next stage. I would like to give everybody the opportunity of making some general points about the subject and about the report. I think Sir Richard has already made some general points. I would be inclined to start at this side of the table, if you are ready, Mr Broughton. You do not have to join in at this stage if you do not wish. But it is to give you the chance to make any points you wish.
MR BROUGHTON: You state that draghound hunting with clean boot is an exercise in simulation. I find that quite offensive, being a Master of Bloodhounds. We do not seek to simulate anything. I wonder can I ask, first of all, have you experienced of our sport? There seems to be a very severe lack of understanding.
MR COX: Well, the word "simulation" was used simply to indicate that you are working the dogs on a line which has been placed, which would be different from the police, let us say, using a bloodhound to try to resolve the whereabouts of a criminal. I am only making a distinction between a situation which is entirely natural as against one which you have, to a degree, set up, even though what then happens obviously is entirely natural. Nobody is -- I would hate to think you were offended by the term. That worries me slightly.
MR BROUGHTON: We are very serious about our sport. I would take exception to you drawing that distinction between those two. When we hunt, our hounds, most of us have no idea where we are going. We rely entirely on the hound. I think probably you missed that point.
MR COX: No, I just explained it. You have no idea where you are going. You are following the hounds, but the day and the hunt for that day has been set up. In that sense, it is similar. I am not implying any negative assessment of what you do when I use that term.
MR BROUGHTON: You have implied that you feel that from a dog work point of view our sport is nowhere near the sport of hunting a wild animal. I can boast over 1000 days fox hunting. I can boast 500 days hunting my own pack of bloodhounds. I see an awful lot of hunting with my pack. Again, I just wonder how you based that opinion?
MR COX: I should say, first of all, that anybody who claims to know very much about scent is probably not being very sensible. So a key element which was already brought out by the comment earlier about working a dog on scent, and crucially the relationship between the dog and the human beings working the dogs, the human being or human beings, is the essential unpredictability of the situation; and the requirement, therefore, that the person working with the dogs has to literally read the actions of the dog and try to discern what is going on, whether to intervene or not, or whether to let things take their natural course, and so on and so forth. So, again, I was simply stating what seemed to me -- on the basis of talking to various people, and my own experience of this matters -- what I thought was a relatively uncontentious statement; namely that, at the end of the day, the bottom line is that it is impossible to simulate, set up a situation with, however imaginative a line layer, a runner or whatever, the sorts of things that one routinely sees, and you no doubt have seen in the hunting field when you are dealing with a quarry animal, I think, which can go places that humans cannot go, et cetera, et cetera. I will not spell it all out in great detail. So, in that sense, I hoped you would find that sort of thing uncontentious, because, again, this is in no way detracting from the quality of the work which you do with your dogs. Far from it; that would be the last thing that I would want to do.
THE CHAIRMAN: Can I ask for clarification? Are you suggesting that with the bloodhounds the line is not set for the hunt, and you do not know where it is going? Because it comes out in the report, I think, that there is some difference between the bloodhound and the drag hunting in relation to this.
MR BROUGHTON: Yes, Lord Burns. More often than not the actual huntsman has no idea where he is going to go. We have what is known as a quarry Master; that is another man who does not ride, who actually organises the whole day. Only in very difficult terrain, main roads and railway lines, does the huntsman normally know that the quarry is not going to go in that direction. We put great emphasis on hunting with live hounds, hunting the natural scent. We feel that it is one of the finest hunts of venery that we actually see. We put an awful lot into our sport. I did find some of the remarks there quite disrespectful, but that is a personal opinion.
MR COX: I think you just made my point. You mentioned, you know, for instance, your line would not be able to cross a road. Foxes cross roads. That is all I was saying.
THE CHAIRMAN: Therein lies some of the problems!
MR COX: I should say, also, the degree of simulation, or I appreciate the bloodhounds tracking is not the same as -- and trialling. But, for instance, in that sport, as I mentioned in the chapter, as I understand it, the person handling a dog knows that for the first 100 metres the line will be directly in the straight line ahead of the dog, and the person working the dog also knows that the line will never take a right-angled turn.
MR DAVIES: Your experts are telling you know!
MR BROUGHTON: Surely that is irrelevant anyway. We are talking about hunting with dogs; we are not talking about using one single animal to track.
MR COX: No, but I am talking about scent and what one knows and the uncertainties and all the rest of it. I was given that on great authority at Crufts by someone who was manning the stand where this activity was being promoted--
A MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE: The information should have come from me; the person who organises the trials. That was incorrect. We will send you a proper description which would help you. MR COX: I would love to get one, thank you very much.
THE CHAIRMAN: If I can make a general point, I cannot actually deal with questions from the floor. I will be as tolerant as possible, but I would ask the discussion to be restricted, please, to the people around the table. Do you have any other points, Mr Broughton?
MR BROUGHTON: I would agree; drag hunting and bloodhound hunting are two different sports; and that drag hunting is a contrived sport.
THE CHAIRMAN: You may find yourself being offensive to some other people!
MR BROUGHTON: And possibly can be used to mimic other forms of quarry hunting. One would ask themselves who would want to participate in that? Who would want to have a blank day with a pack of draghounds? How would one emulate a blank day with a pack of bloodhounds? It would be absolutely ridiculous. So those are the points I would wish to make at this time.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: I would like to go back, if I can, to the situation with the North-East Cheshire for two minutes, because a certain amount was made by Bill Swann with regard to the way this particular pack emulated the statistics of the certain live quarry packs; and then comments were made with regard to whether or not that was because there was an absence of live quarry hunting possibly in parts of the country where they participated in it. I think what is important to get across here though is that, despite this, there is no evidence to indicate that the different practices of the different draghound packs impacts on the number of people who participate and follow that pack. In South Wales where I operate, for example, we would have come across as a very distinct pack. The statistics that would have been churned out through a detailed inquiry through our pack, I think, would have quite clearly shown possibly equal similarities. But it does not alter the fact that when we started, and we were getting fields of 100, for example, they have fallen away. They have fallen away primarily because of the distinct difference between both, with respect, draghound hunting and bloodhound hunting and with respect to live quarry hunting. That distinct difference, fundamentally, whether you are drag hunting or bloodhound hunting, is that you are in essence following a predetermined route; and that impacts on the sports in a way that I think is wholly unappreciated.
SIR RICHARD BODY: Lord Burns, I would agree with what has just been said. I have been hunting bloodhounds for about 25 seasons, and longer than that. Rule one is not to make sweeping generalisations. I do deplore people who make these generalisations on hunting with bloodhounds. I think a lot does depend on where you are hunting those hounds. So far as we are concerned, we do have to, very largely, hunt a predetermined line. I think that Hugh would agree with me; farming has now become very intensive. There are areas where farmers just do not want bloodhounds or draghounds coming, and that would be known to the Master. If he is hunting the hounds as he normally is, then he will be avoiding that area of the countryside. Again, we will be avoiding all sorts of places where foxhounds will be going, that is woodlands, because of shooting interests. We will be avoiding the roads, of course, and building development. So we do hunt, very largely, a predetermined line, although it is not our wish to do so. I think that applies too with the bloodhound trials. It so happens this Sunday we have bloodhound trials on our own farm in Berkshire. I think it is going to be very largely predetermined because there are certain places where we cannot go. So, again, even with trials, I think one has to be very careful. I am not sure about the right-handed turns. I have, as the quarry, done many right-handed turns.
THE CHAIRMAN: We can keep the politics out of this!
MR POLAND: Lord Burns, when I started my discussions and investigations into this subject, I was very impressed by the number of those who followed draghounds and bloodhounds. Perhaps for simplicity let us lump them both under the term "drag hunting" in expression. I was very impressed by the number of drag hunters that told me that they were completely different sports, different activities. If you look at the table on page 79, which is table 72, which is all the priorities of those following the different activities, you will find that for the fox hunters two of the first three aspirations or attractions lie in the bottom three for those of drag hunters. Both people love their own sports. They are totally different. We have heard several similarities. What I have heard is comparing power boating to sailing. You get people who are great addicts to power boating and great addicts to sailing, and yet they recognise that theirs are totally different sports to the others. I think if one wants to come to a ban, and one was to come to a transfer, despite whatever attractions that drag hunting will have for some or even many, for a large number of animal quarry hunters they will provide no attractions. I think that comes through from table 72.
MR HART: Lord Burns, just to add really one sentence to that. Obviously, the whole purpose of this Inquiry, to some greater extent this seminar, is to look at to what extent drag hunting could be a replacement. But just to re-inject into this the fact that for a large proportion of the hunting community, even if there was a willingness, there is no practical possibility of drag hunting fulfilling that role. I am referring specifically to the people who follow hounds on foot; the people who operate in hostile parts of the country where the use of horses is frankly impossible; and those who perhaps follow on a bicycle or foot; or the elderly; and the large proportion of people who are unable to carry out the sort of sports that we have been talking about this morning. At the end of the day, this is all about human attitude to some extent, and also, and most importantly, the attitude of the agricultural hosts upon which all of these activities are dependent.
MR SWANN: Thank you, Chairman. I think the first point I wish to make referring to what Daryl said -- and I obviously agree with most of what you said, but I think I want to go back and look at the North Cheshire hunt again. In the statistics, 19.3 days by participants were spent drag hunting as opposed to an average of 3.4 days spent fox hunting. The average fields. I interviewed the hunt yesterday. The average field is between 70 and 100, and on some days can approach 170, which is a fantastic field for a drag hunt. So I have to ask why so many people there choose to drag hunt, and why so many people choose to spend so little of their time in fox hunting. We have made the point that fox hunting is not easily available on site, but there are some other pointers. The huntsman made the point about the way they conduct the drag hunting to add interest -- I know that Peter Davies will wish to speak on this as well -- in terms of adding interest such as doubling-back, cross-overs, and also having quite a number of stops in the hunt. They seem to have progressed a long way in adding interest to that hunt. I know you are aware of this, and aware of it in other hunts as well. So I want to return to this point. I think there was an enormously lost opportunity here in that, looking at the performance statistics of the North-East Cheshire hunt compared to hunts where there is a greater decree of overlap, I think it is an enormous pity that the research team were not able to carry out a research study to look at a thriving, popular drag hunt, providing interesting sport. To confirm, what Phil Broughton said does add an enormous amount of unpredictability, in that the huntsman or the hunt do not know where the field is going to go for the most part. I think it is an enormous pity this comparison was not done with the drag hunt with an area where there are also fox hunts. What we are trying to do, we are not trying to make the point that a drag hunt is identical to a fox hunt. What we are saying is: This is an activity that people might choose to join if it was made perhaps more interesting, or if it was perhaps made available to them, or if they had more experience of it. I think in many cases previous experience of it is a critical point. Thank you, Chairman.
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: Could I respond to that. There are two things. The first is that I think it may have been wiser in the circumstances to have sought an interview with the Master of the Hunt as opposed to the huntsman. I am not aware of any drag hunt this season who have 170. That is absolutely news to me. Is that including 100 foot followers?
MR SWANN: Chairman, if I could respond to that, that was one particular day where they had organised additional activities and shows and that was an exceptional day. I did make the point when I made the statement, Chairman, if I may repeat it, that the average field of the quote was between 70 and 100. Do you argue with that figure as a possibility.
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: Anything is possible. My telephone survey that I did with that pack about a month earlier where I spoke to the Master, that was not the figure returned to me. Quite seriously, when I get back I will get to the bottom of it and find out. I think you are more likely to get a very reasonable response and accurate response if you seek clarification from a Master as opposed to the huntsman. I cannot explain why, but I think you'll get to the bottom of it if you do that. The other point that I would like to reiterate is I think the point which maybe I failed to get across originally; that I totally accept that when you get a Master who is putting in 15 or 20,000 at the end of a season to make up a financial deficit, that that Master will necessarily impose on that pack his own personal views and his own preferences. That may be that he goes out on the top of a hill and watches hounds hunt without moving. When he is paying the bill, that is his right - to run the pack in the way he chooses. The question though, is in what way does the different practices of drag hunting impact on the people who participate in it? I think that is the central issue. Because sooner or later if drag hunting, as you argue, were to try and somehow offset the detrimental economic effect, it has to be supporting itself. The truth is they are not supporting themselves. All drag hunt and bloodhounds packs - or the majority of them - certainly, are relying very, very heavily on the donations of the senior and associate Masters. So while you can pick this pack out and say they are doing certain things that you liked the look of, the question is: is that advantaging them in any way? I do not think it is.
MR SWANN: May I respond just briefly?
THE CHAIRMAN: Before you do, could I say the submission we had from the Masters' Association gives a figure, an average field number of 60 for the North Cheshire. It is still pretty high by comparison to the others. But I am just, in point of fact--
MR SWANN: I accept that, Chairman. I spoke to the huntsman, and I also spoke to others involved with the hunt to try and get some sort of a handle on the figures. 70 to 100 was a figure that was bought up more than once for recent hunts on this current season. I am aware that the figures are around about 60 were those submitted to the Inquiry. We will check those out. Daryl obviously will pass those figures as well. We will try and confirm those and tighten them up, but we accept that it is a high number.
MR DAVIES: Lord Burns, thank you very much. Sir Richard referred to the RSPCA at the beginning so perhaps I ought to state the RSPCA's policy, which is to oppose all live quarry hunting but also to accept totally that drag or bloodhound hunting is totally acceptable to us as an alternative. For whatever reason, legislation based on morality or ethics, or for conservation reasons, or perhaps for other reasons such as endemic rabies, there has been a ban on hunting with horse and hounds of live quarry, non-live quarry hunting has replaced it either with drag or bloodhound; maybe not totally, but certainly in significant part. A change from live to non-live quarry hunting brings with it difficulties. I do not ignore those. A change of land use, of being unable quite to replicate the thrill of the live quarry hunt, and the control of a natural tendency because of the lesser unpredictability to speed up the activity, but all these issues can be managed out. Where needs or the law dictate, solutions will and can be found. It is our view that perceptions of morality change, and so consequentially does legislation. Sport involving live quarry is increasingly unacceptable to the public, particularly amongst the younger generations. This is not new. This whole trend is not new. Shooting of live pigeons in the last part of this century was banned and clay pigeon shooting was brought in. At the time, people said that is the end of shooting as we know it. Now, we have clay pigeon shooting as an Olympic sport. But the RSPCA does not seek to deny people the pleasure of riding in the countryside, or working with hounds, or enjoying the social aspects. We see that all of this can be in part replaced by drag hunting. Finally, and incidentally, my wife comes from the Isle of Man. It is a small island, very hilly. It is lived in by a lot of people of the older generation who have gone there for tax reasons. There are no foxes. In spite of that, a drag hunt has existed for many years and still exists today. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
MR COX: Mr Chairman, could I --
THE CHAIRMAN: I was going to say that I think the next stage is really to invite the panel to say whether they have any comments on any of the things that have been said?
MR COX: Could I just respond. Regarding one word used in that last statement, where it was stated that you cannot replicate the "thrill of the live quarry hunt". The use of the word "thrill" I think has all the wrong connotations of speed and so forth. I am sure if Mr Broughton was to talk about these sorts of things one would say that the most exciting thing when you are watching dogs work is watching dogs that work in a controlled manner in a poor scenting situation, and where almost nothing is happening perhaps. But for the purist, that is what is very hard to replicate; and that is what matters most because that is what we are talking about when we are talking about quality dog work. It has nothing to do with the thrill of the chase.
MR DAVIES: May I come back. Of course, all I am saying is that whilst all of those aspects which appeal now to live quarry hunters cannot totally be replaced, I accept that, but if there is a need by law to change, I believe by proper management and by thinking the thing through a lot of the current objections can be at least reduced significantly to provide a good, clean, and morally acceptable sport.
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: Could I just pick up on one point. First of all, I would like to say that I do not myself hunt the fox, or the hare, or anything live at all. I am a drag hunter. But I am concerned when I hear things that are untrue. I would like to pick you up on what you said, when you said that drag hunting had replaced fox hunting in other parts of world. In Germany, for example, which has the highest number of drag hunts, they still number fewer than the drag hunt/bloodhound combination that you have in this country, and that is, for a country covering the size of England and Wales, a little larger anyway. It is not true to say that since fox hunting was stopped in the thirties there has been any significant replacement of fox hunting with drag hunting. What dictates the sport in this country is the size, the country, the terrain, and is the approval of the farmers. Certainly if you look at Germany carefully, I think you draw the conclusion that that probably supports the opposite argument.
MR DAVIES: May I reply?
THE CHAIRMAN: Of course.
MR DAVIES: I spent something like 25 years of my military life in Germany, and have many German friends. We have just come back from visiting a drag hunt in Germany and talking about that sort of subject. The men who were riding that day, and for whom it is a life-long passion, and of course who have had no alternative since about 1934, said that the whole culture of riding in Germany is totally different from Britain. In Britain, every child's aspiration is to own a pony, or a female child anyway and quite a lot of the male children as well. They are encouraged from an early age in this country to be in stables, to muck out, to learn about saddlery, to be with their horses, take them to summer camps and do all those sort of things. None of that is true in Germany. It does not happen. According to them, and from my own observations, the German children, if they want to go on a horse, turn up in a car, get out of it, get on to a horse, ride it, get off it and disappear. There is no significant equivalent. So it is becoming, I accept this, that in Germany the drag hunting is a rather elitist sport; I agree with you. But I do not believe in 1934 when it was banned there were hundreds of live hunts going on. I do not believe it. I do not know the facts, but I do not believe it. I believe those people who came from a tradition of riding with hounds wanted to keep that expertise going with hounds, and the law denied them the live quarry hunting. All the Germans we spoke to earlier this week said, "Of course we would like to go after a live quarry." They were absolutely honest about it, but we have not been able to do it since 1934 and so we do this instead. That seems to me that is the answer.
SIR RICHARD BODY: Lord Burns, may I take up a point about Germany, because we have some of our members in Germany, as we have in Holland and Belgium. I can say for a certainty that there is a great deal of coming and going in packs of hounds there; that not all of them survive very long and some of them only survive for two or three years and pack up, and then perhaps another pack will start. They do not have this continuity as we have been able to have over here in this country, but even packs of draghounds and bloodhounds are not all that secure over here. We have lost, I think, two packs of draghounds. There is one of course which Mr Davies knows only too well, which registered in this country in last September and has not even had a meet yet because they have not been able to find anywhere to go. So I would not say Germany is a very good example to take, Lord Burns.
MR DAVIES: Could I come back on that last one. I am sorry, the two of us had a conversation -- although we did not meet -- on the radio the other morning. I recorded mine at quarter to 6 in the morning and I think you did yours live. This thing about the New Forest drag hunt came up. We have had every obstacle put in our path that could have been put in our paths to get that drag hunt going. We have had our problems, but by God we are going to do it.
SIR RICHARD BODY: You are taking our country from us.
MR SWANN: Could I make one point. I was just looking through the transcript with Simon to clarify this number on the North-East Cheshire, I have to say I may have misread my own writing. The exact reference on the transcript, Simon will confirm "we have between 50 and 100 followers in an average day. It averages about at 60 or 70". That fits in with your figure. I do apologise for that. It was not an intention to mislead; I just misread my handwriting. I will point out that the person who gave me the information was the same person who gave the information to the Committee's researchers. So I believe what is sauce for the goose is... Thank you.
MR POLAND: Mr Chairman, perhaps I might be able to enlighten you. In Germany, I believe in 1936 there were 50 packs of hounds. Now there are 29 listed of varying sizes, but also a feature that I believe your party saw on a visit earlier this week is that whenever they can a lot of the German drag hunters emigrate to Ireland, in particular, and to England to do their quarry hunting. That is still very important to them.
MR DAVIES: I absolutely accept that last bit. I did make the point they all said, "We would prefer to hunt a live quarry, it is more exciting." There is more -- I had better not use that word again. Anyway, they would rather do it, but the law in their country does not allow it so the majority of them do drag hunting. Some do go to Ireland and other places to do live quarry hunting; that is their privilege and right as individuals, but their country has banned it.
MR BROUGHTON: Lord Burns, you have heard from several individuals who seek to use our sport as a political pawn within the remit of your Inquiry. Whilst our sport may be the closest on offer, it certainly is not and must never ever be referred to as a substitute or an alternative for live quarry hunting. No more to put it in a different context than rugger would be a replacement for soccer if the latter were to be banned.
MR DAVIES: Not too much ethics in that!
MR OLIVER-BELLASIS: My Lord, Chairman, Hugh Oliver-Bellasis, representing the NFU. I think it appropriate at this moment, since we are talking about what land is used, to make three points. Firstly, there is no doubt that landholders and farmers see a benefit from having hounds, if they wish to have them, quarry hounds across their land. They accept to an extent the damage that comes with that -- and with the weather we have been having, there is attendant damage -- which is a small price to pay for the service that they get. The second point -- and the contractors have actually highlighted this -- is that there is an issue over payment which might or might not be made where another sport were to come, which was not perceived to have the same benefit that quarry hunting might have. I do not have a feel for the sensitivity of how much money would have to change hands, but I think that is an issue which needs addressing because it is certainly an issue over the ability to access that land. The third point to make is that I think it wrong to assume necessarily that there would be a switch on the basis of allowing country sports to continue if quarry hunting were banned; that it would be automatically a similar attitude of those individuals to allow drag hunting. Now, I cannot give you evidence to that; that is purely a personal judgment. Thank you.
MR HART: Lord Burns, may I just take to task one thing that Peter Davis just said. He implied, "the majority" was his words of those in Germany who we talked to carried out drag hunting. In fact, out of a horse population which is double that of the UK, a tiny proportion in fact do take part in drag hunting. Given that there have been 63 years with which to perfect the techniques which we have been talking about this morning, that is actually a tiny take-up out of a very large population of horses.
MR DAVIES: I do not want to start a dialogue on this. I did try to suggest that the equine attitude in Germany is very different from ours. In Germany, from my experience, blood lines are hugely important; dressage is hugely important; indoor show jumping is hugely important. When you get down to something like three-day eventing, they do not come into it or very little. In fact, one of them said to us, "We just do not get anybody to go to badminton. If they do, they do not come anywhere. We just do not have that sort of culture. Ours is much more a controlled business." So I think this is a natural progression from that.
THE CHAIRMAN: Maybe we could group together issues to do with comparisons with other countries. Could I as whether there are any other points that members of the seminar want to make about other countries; either about the experiences elsewhere; whether they do better elsewhere. Whether there is any evidence of what happens in other countries that would throw any more light on these issues. I have a number of questions which we can work through during the course of the day, but this is one of the comparisons which comes up quite a lot. Maybe before lunch we could see whether we could exhaust the various points that people wish to make about that.
MR BROUGHTON: Lord Burns, I have some experience in other countries. There are some small differences. As regards to the actual hunting, I believe there is very little difference, especially with drag hunting. There is very, very little difference indeed. In fact, I believe that you went to see a pack the other day which was probably very fast and furious and a very experienced pack. One can find them in this country as well. I could take you to a pack abroad that is quite slow, but I could take you to several packs here that are quite slow. I should take you to packs that do not jump at all. I can take you to packs that probably jump 60 or 70 fences in a day. Abroad, exactly the same. I think our sport really depends on the terrain that one is hunting. It depends on the requirements of the mounted field. Probably most of all it depends on the personal preference of the Master; and that is the same across the board. There is no difference wherever one goes. The differences can be seen in formation of clubs abroad, in America and in Germany. Hunt clubs are very successful because of a different culture of the horse. One would wonder whether in this country that could be emulated at all. But that really is the only difference that I can see.
THE CHAIRMAN: Which country has been most successful in putting in place drag and bloodhound hunting outside of the UK?
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: I was going to say the UK!
MR BROUGHTON: Certainly the UK is leagues in front.
THE CHAIRMAN: It is leagues in front.
MR BROUGHTON: It is leagues in front, but possibly Germany would come a close second and Holland.
SIR RICHARD BODY: Lord Burns, I think New Zealand is quite an interesting example here, where attempts have been formed to have an alternative to hare hunting. One of the problems is that if you have drag hunts you have to have quite a lot of jumps, they have to be pretty safe and they have to be constructed. Now, if you have no live quarry hunting and no jumps there at all, you are on virtually land, as it were. You have to make perhaps 20, 30, or 40 jumps for a day's hunting. That requires a lot of physical help. If you only have volunteers, then it is a task that is virtually impossible. That was the experience in New Zealand, and it is an experience I think that we will find over here in our own country. Because one of the advantages of having an overlap with foxhounds is that they too are putting up jumps. So far as most packs of draghounds, there is a ratio of about 1 to 8. So 1 pack of draghounds to 8 foxhounds. So you have a large number of people in your draghound country willing to help put up jumps which primarily of course is for the foxhounds but will also be used for the drag hunters. Our members do feel that if fox hunting were to be abolished we would lose those jumps that were put up for the foxhounds. The task of putting up safe jumps for our followers is going to be virtually impossible after a period of years when those existing jumps have deteriorated or are no longer being maintained. If one takes an average day, at a minimum one needs 20 jumps and sometimes 30 to 40. You can only go over that country that has that meet twice in the year. It gets rather boring if you go more than that. So, if you have, say, 26 meets in the year, that means 13 lines you have to arrange, each one having at least 20 jumps, that runs into hundreds. I do not think any -- I think Phil Broughton would agree with me -- that it would be impossible for us to get sufficient labour for us to build 200 or 300 jumps in the winter months when time is short. All our followers, with very few exceptions, have jobs, they are working Mondays to Fridays. They may hunt one day a week; that means they have only one short day to desert their families to help in constructing the country. That is why I think an overlap is so important. If one takes the New Zealand case, that was proved to be so very much because of lots of barbed wire fences, obviously, which would have had to have had safe jumps. MR SWANN: Thank you, Chairman. Could I just make a point on that. One thing that Daryl is probably not aware of -- and he will want to comment on this as well -- going back to the North Cheshire hunt again, part of the land they run over belongs to my family. The construction of fences is quite a common event for drag hunts as well because you have things like moorland fences, and you have areas where the access would otherwise be difficult, barbed wire fences. It is quite a common practice with a drag hunt to go out and build these fences. So I cannot, with respect, see the point that you are making; that if there was a transfer -- if people did decide to take up drag hunting as an alternative then these practices would continue.
SIR RICHARD BODY: I am sorry, Lord Burns, I put my point very badly. If one has 250 jumps to create over a year, I do not think the number of people available to drag hunting would be able to construct them in the winter months. Of course, all our packs make their contribution. We do not just live parasitically off the fox hunt. We are making a large number of jumps, but I do not think we can make that total number. I think it is quite impossible with the resources we have.
MR BROUGHTON: I think, Lord Burns, Sir Richard is basing his assumption that everyone who goes drag hunting or hunting with bloodhounds wants to jump a large number of fences. Possibly, that is not the case all over the country, but it may well be with him or one or two others. I do take his point; there would be an awful lot more work involved.
DR VICTORIA EDWARDS: I wonder if I might follow up on some similar point to that. It strikes me that a lot of the research that has been done has been looking specifically at the alternative of drag and bloodhound hunting with respect to live quarry hunting, and questioning those people involved in both, of the substitutability of it. Has any work been done at all on latent demand, of people who have never been involve in either sport? Has there been any attempt on the part of the drag or bloodhound to devise a new form of the sport that might suit people that are not used to hunting in any way?
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: I think, to answer that question, the answer is quite simply yes. Every one of the packs I think up and down the country, have put in considerable efforts when they pick up the bill at the end of the year, to try and think of ways that they could generate a bit more money - and that directly comes from getting more participants. With respect to the question regarding any research into people who have not been live quarry hunting, I do not think there has been any. The only thing that I have been able to say -- and I think it was included in the submission to the Board of Inquiry -- was that our own statistics indicated that there was not a too dissimilar take-up between people who were introduced to the sport who had not gone hunting live quarry before, as those who had gone out in live quarry. But we actually found that, from the point of our inception, we converted as many new people unfortunately -- fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it -- to fox hunting. We actually found of the 300 we surveyed who had visited and come out with us and not returned, i.e. they were not drag hunting on the third year. 31 I believe of them, were still with our pack, and 34 of them were distributed amongst the other foxhound packs locally. So they would come hunting out into the countryside with us, then they decided that possibly it was not so much they wanted our sport but possibly that it was too much for them. They tried something else and remained with the something else. So there was approximately equal sort of take up there. MR POLAND: If I can help, Lord Burns, and I can help Dr Edwards, in my discussions with both the Jersey and the Anglesey drag hunts where they are desperate -- Jersey are desperate for finance and in Anglesey they are desperate for members. There is a high equestrian element to both islands, largely involving showjumping and dressage and what have you. They have tried to encourage them to go out with the draghounds in whatever way, but when it came down to the bottom line they did not want the rigours of a day's drag hunting. That was the unsolicited view given to me by both Jersey and Anglesey.
THE CHAIRMAN: I realise the report does not get into the question of what happens in other countries, but it is an issue that comes up a lot. I wanted to make sure that we had explored whatever there was to be said about other countries. The next point I wanted to move on to was an issue which has come up and which I think does come out quite clearly from the report, which is the issue of farmers. My reading of the report showed that this distinct group of people who had significantly different views between the two activities. And I think it also showed that people were more equestrian minded tended to be more associated with the drag and bloodhound hunting. Do you have any comments to make, for instance, on your results about this and particularly about the farmers? Because I think this obviously does become quite an important issue. Because not only do they participate but they also provide the land, and to an extent they are also in receipt of some of the services from hunts generally, but are there any other points that you would like to draw out about that, as well as any suggestions as to what it is that they might wish to be paid in order to change their attitudes?
MR MANLEY: The issue of payment -I know it is a sensitive issue and we dealt with it in the survey. As you are aware, this is one aspect I raised at the end of the conclusions, this is obviously an area which does need and involve a thorough look at for its implications. With respect to the other elements, can I just clarify what exactly you meant please?
THE CHAIRMAN: Well, it seems to me that one of the results that kept coming out of the survey was that the attitudes and needs of farmers were more distinct than they were with the other groups of people in terms of their appreciation of drag and bloodhound hunting and the likelihood that they would take it up in the event of a ban.
MR MANLEY: The farmers themselves would take it up, or they would allow access?
THE CHAIRMAN: No, that they themselves.
MR MANLEY: They themselves. That is an interesting one, once again, not specifically explored actually. I think it always surprises people to know farmers are an incredibly diverse group of people. They are not all the same. It is not surprising one is going to get the disparity that we had, particularly in a subject area which in most cases, or for most of them -- a great number of cases -- they did not really necessarily know or we could not say possibly they knew what they were talking about.
THE CHAIRMAN: I am raising it because my perception is that with quarry hunting farmers played an important part in this, both in respect of the fact they obviously hunt quite a lot themselves as well as the fact they are people who are providing the land. They are also the people who are receiving a lot of the services that the hunt has to offer. I observe they are a key figure in terms of normal quarry hunting. Therefore, their part in any replacement or any alternative could also be quite important.
MR MANLEY: Obviously one of the reasons we are trying to explore this, one has an understanding that one is going to perhaps be more inclined or interested in it and, again, I come back to this point of interest or disinterest . If you do not do it, do not know anyone else, or friend or colleague who does it, then perhaps it is a difficult starting point to actually start making a hypothetical judgment about what one would or would not do subsequent to any ban. We recognise there is a difficulty in trying to address this particular question, particularly in the sort of survey, particularly to farmers.
MR COX: It is probably worth reiterating points that were made in Will's introduction, because what one can squeeze out of evidence, it is important to be careful about it, and two very important points were made. One was for the most part disinterest was the word used on the part of the farmers answering questions about this subject, and then the other observation.
THE CHAIRMAN: By that you mean they are not interested?
MR COX: Yes. I used the words carefully, in the sense that the farmers seemded both to have a low level of interest and a degree of indifference and then the other point was the comment made by many of those conducting the interviews that they were becoming increasingly conscious of the fact that probably those who were speaking were confused in their own mind as to what they were talking about.
MR OLIVER-BELLASIS: Lord Burns, I think the confusion point is probably well made. My understanding is that many farmers would not necessarily understand drag hunting and bloodhound hunting and what it entails, and so on. The second point, perhaps, to try and help over this level of payment -- not to put a figure on it, but to compare it to an organisation called UK Chasers, who have been putting in or have been offering to farmers the opportunity to diversify by putting in a cross-country course which equates to a part of the three-day event cross-country discipline, and the scene is there that a number of jumps are constructed to a specific size and design and then payment is requested from individuals who wish to ride their horses around that course. The fact is that the setting up of that course is an expensive process and, therefore, the charge for those people to use that course is also an expensive, but the weather also comes into it, and in that although you could argue that you could do what Silverstone did not do and put in drainage into their car parks, the fact is there are large periods of the year when that course would not be safe. I suggest with no disrespect to fox hunters they find that that risk or lack of safety is one of the attractions, and that from a public liability point of view for farmers I think that we would have to be very careful in any course that we put in. My point is UK Chasers have not achieved the levels of take up of farmers using this as a farm diversification as they originally thought and, therefore, I suspect that the same might apply if drag hunts or bloodhound hunts wanted to use farm land and wanted jumps for that same reason. I suspect also that the point that was made by Simon about there being some competition between farmers as to how much they would charge is well made, because I am afraid farmers as a group of people we are more interested in trying to take 50p from each other rather than a pound out of the market.
MR SWANN: I think if I could add a comment on this, Lord Burns, I think in assessing farmer's attitudes, I feel qualified to speak because I am related to a considerable number of them. One of the things that tends to be a feature is that farmers are often sympathetic to people who come and stand on the ground and discuss things in person and are not terribly enthusiastic about taking part in telephone calls or answering letters, or questionnaires and such like, and that is just the nature of the beast. I have seen some of my relatives over the years take on things, well, of course drag hunting was a long time ago in that area. Helicopter rides, clay pigeon shoots, quad bike riding, these are all things that have come where there is a financial advantage, and very often it is a matter of somebody just coming along and saying, "Can we have a talk about this? We have an idea. Can we have land for it", and I think farmers are much more sympathetic to that sort of approach, and if it is not going to cause them any great hardship, and if there is a financial advantage then I think they will often go along with it with a live and let live attitude. But I think trying to assess farmers' attitudes is notoriously difficult unless you are in that position of being on the ground with a hard proposal.
MR HART: Lord Burns, I do not think anybody is going to deny, particularly the Alliance, that there is bound to be some cross-over if a ban on hunting was to take place. Nobody has ever suggested that there would be 100 per cent holdback from the hunting community from that. What we have attempted to say is that it has been sold slightly as a perfect transfer, a seemless transition from one to the other. I just re-emphasise the point I made earlier, which is even with a following wind there are an awful lot of reasons -- a lot of them topographical, some of them political -- why only a small proportion of what has been suggested could be actually possible in that event. One of them -- I have not touched on this -- whilst there would be individual farmers in places who would be willing, either for a payment as a matter of goodwill, one single farmer on his own or two single farmers on their own is not sufficient to run a day's drag hunting. You need contiguous land, and to actually get that to any degree to run hunting for 1, 2, 3 days a week, or a fortnight, whatever it might be, for a whole season, is something that -- I hope I am not stepping out of line -- something which has actually proved to be extremely difficult to find. So of course we can find individual specific examples, but to actually get them all fitting together like a jigsaw set is something which nobody has quite yet achieved.
MR MANLEY: Could I come in. Just to clarify to those people who do not perhaps have the full report, it is a clear issue, this issue of contiguity actually, something we were looking at last year when we were looking at this separately and independently, and we knew that is something would have to be looked at. There is no point in trying to assess the end figures, X percentage of farmers going to say yes or would say yes, if they are not in the right place or not together, and so on and so forth, then it is not -- you are only getting very, very much half of the answer, and that is again highlighted within the further work element of the report.
MR BROUGHTON: Lord Burns, for fear of harping back to the payment of farmers business on behalf of my association, I would like to say our association would be horrified to think that the sport would have to go down that road. Personally, I can organise a day's hunting where I cross 25 different farmers' land. Some of them I would be on for 2 or 3 minutes; some of them I might be on for a whole line. I could just imagine the mayhem when it comes to coughing out at the end of the day. My farmers expect to be respected, and they are respected in many different ways, and that is the form of payment that they get. They are all, without exception, supporters of all country sports, and I really do wish to make that point. Every farmer whose land I go on is a supporter of all country sports and they derive great satisfaction in seeing others enjoy their land. We do respect them. We cannot work without them.
THE CHAIRMAN: This actually raises a slightly tricky point which I am slightly hesitant about getting into it. But in the event that there was to be a ban on hunting, would this actually make it more difficult, or would it make it easier to get the general co-operation of the farming community in terms of trying to extend drag and bloodhound hunting?
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: I think, to answer that question, that the whole procedure would be fraught with some incredible problems, and the first problem I think, would be in agreeing a price with one group of farmers, and one farmer in the middle, for example, who is crucial to the line, figures in that he is worth 6 times as much. A follow-up problem would be where one farmer was - maybe his country, his farm was low lying. It gets wet and the other farmers want their money and you start getting involved in some serious contractual problems there. And the other problem of course is, and I think it has to date been misunderstood, because the only example where any money has ever changed hands that I am aware of of any significance is with the licence fees with the Forestry Commission. I think it is fair to say that my local Forestry Commission are rather upset that they ever bothered taking the 50 pound a year licence fee, because what they have let themselves open to is putting in access. They are now involved in a contract in which money has changed hands, and I think in fact you will find that there is not, if you were to look at what you are getting out of the farmers to pay them, it would be an horrific sum of money. If you took what it was actually worth financially to them to have groups of people cross their ground and cut it up it would start to become a very, very frightening figure, and of course there would be problems of quantifying what would be fair to one farmer. One farmer might allow you to cross 10 acres of scrubland; another farmer might regard your passage through a number of fields of his as being crucial to him. You could find one wanting 10 pounds and another wanting 500 pounds stirling, or something. So I think it is a route down which no existing pack that I know would really want to go down.
SIR RICHARD BODY: We balanced our budget, only just. We had subscribers. We asked them for 30 pounds cash. I think we would have to ask them for 40 pounds to make this a realistic proposition. We already have quite a number who say, "We cannot really afford it"; something to that effect. I think if we jacked it up to 40 or 50 I think they would be walking away from us.
MR BROUGHTON: Lord Burns, you asked us to speculate on the possibility of the event of a ban, and experience has taught me that that is most unwise and often dangerous to pass an opinion or answer questions upon the hypothetical. It is difficult for my association to place itself in the position which ultimately we do not want to see ever happen, and so I am sure you will appreciate to answer that question is very difficult for us.
THE CHAIRMAN: May I just say that I spent a good deal of the last 20 years trying to avoid answering hypothetical questions. Unfortunately, we have been given a remit here which actually contains quite a lot of hypothetical questions and there is little way out of it.
MR SWANN: Bearing in mind your comments and being suitably primed to them, farmers do permit an enormous number of country pursuits involving horses, and I do not think we want to get it out of perspective, the charging idea. I think the idea of farmers charging huge sums of money is probably unrealistic, and I think it is probably giving the farming population a bad name. I think a lot of assistance is given in kind; it is given with helping with fences and putting good damage if any damage is done, and I do not want to theorise, I do not want to become hypothetical, but I do not think that the likelihood of demands of huge payments is a realistic one.
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: Can I just answer that question directly. I think you are missing the point here. I think if you look at some packs; for example, the blood hounds and a number of other packs crossing of the order of about 20 or 25 farmers' land, if you go to a farmer who says, "No, I do not want you on my land", commonsense says that 10 pounds is not going to do the trick. A bottle of whisky often will not, and if you start getting into payments of 50 pounds, for example, to a farmer to let you go across, and you have 25 farmers, then you are talking about not having to just pay 10 pounds on the day, you are talking about orders of magnitude increasing the cost to the participant.
MR SWANN: I would like to make another point on that, thank you, Chairman, but would you not accept a lot of assistance given to farmers by drag hunts is done in kind and helping with things like putting good fences, and perhaps you mention the word "respect" for farmers, and in the broadest sense and I understand exactly what you mean. Would you not accept that that is the case at present?
DR HAMILTON-WALLIS: Yes, certainly, but I thought that in respect to the domain of this argument, that it was being argued on the basis of whether or not we could increase the land that was available - so yes, we have done our best with what there is and everybody who is willing. We have already got them. But to go any further one now has to convince the farmers who say no. They are the ones who know, quite frankly, the cup of coffee is not going to do the trick. I have farmers who will not shake my hands, for example, and 50 pounds will not do it, for example. I can assure you.
MR OLIVER-BELLASIS: Lord Burns, I am not sure that I can answer the hypothetical question, but I did raise in passing this business of public liability, and I do think that this is an issue which has to be taken into account with fox hunting, quarry hunting, that liability is with the hunt and the followers, and so on, and the farmer across whose land they come has no liability at all. I am concerned -- and I am not a lawyer and I do not know the answer -- that we need to understand what the liabilities would be where fences have been constructed and where special tracks, if I can put it that way, or paths are being used to lay the line, because with a hunt, as I know from my own farm, there are times when they have been asked to keep off wheat, but if the fox goes across it one is in some difficulty.
MR POLAND: Lord Burns, you asked about the hypothetical situation in the event of an unlikely ban on fox hunting. I think if a fox hunt disappears farmers would show great goodwill to a pack of draghounds taking their place and I think fox hunters would like to see that, and if there was to be a ban I think still fox hunters would like to see farmers welcome the draghounds for a variety of reasons, but I think undeniably such is the love of hunting, quarry hunting, that farmers have that there could be an enormous backlash against not only new packs of draghounds, but also existing ones. That is pure conjecture. I do not know if any of the drag hunters would like to answer that question.
SIR RICHARD BODY: Lord Burns, I most certainly can. We have had two farmers who have put it to us that they were not quite so keen on us coming because, as I said earlier on in putting that question -- perhaps I put it very badly -- the RSPCA and others are making such emphasis that this is the alternative and, therefore, we are as drag hunters, or hunting with blood hounds, contributing to the possible abolition of fox hunting, and as our best hopes and those who work with us most of all are in fact those who enjoy seeing hounds over that land and are fox hunters it would be very, very serious.
MR DAVIES: Just to pick up the challenge, when fox hunting is banned there are only two alternatives: One is that nobody goes out on a horse with hounds any more, other than the existing drag hunts and bloodhound hunts and nothing else changes, or a proportion of those who currently go for live quarry will transfer. It is as plain as your nose on your face, so what I am saying is let us identify the problems to all that, and I do not underestimate -- you have all covered them -- actually I mentioned it when I made my opening rather political speech, but let us manage those out. It is possible when needs must they will be managed out.
MR COX: You cannot manage out the dog work aspect of it.
MR MANLEY: I was just going to chip in on this issue about the reluctance perhaps to allow the hunt, allow draghounds, blood hounds if there was a ban. We have actually got -- we did try to address this specific question to the farmers -- and perhaps this is an example of the disinterest element -- and the responses to these questions were actually very limited. There is an element of a mixed messages there - a small proportion saying yes they would not allow them any more if in terms of a ban, but a smaller number also saying they perhaps they would reconsider if there was a ban. But that, again, mixes up with the survey of the providers with the masters,who were very consistent with what has been put across to us now. So really I suppose I am saying we tried to address this, but we have not really got anything concrete.
THE CHAIRMAN: I suggest that we break now for lunch and we will start again at 1.30. I would like to deal then with some of the issues that have been raised as to whether or not the sports can be made more varied. The issue about the speed of it, the issues about requirements for land and why indeed it takes so much land, and also I would like to just press a little bit more some of the differences between bloodhound hunting and drag hunting, and other people may have other things they wish to have, and with a bit of luck we might get away slightly earlier today than we have done from previous seminars. Thank you very much.
(Adjourned for lunch).
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