Overview Submission of The Countryside Alliance

 


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C O N T E N T S

To jump straight to a particular question/section click on the question/section number

 

Page

Letter from John Jackson  

Introduction

1

 

 

Facts about hunting with dogs

Q1 What factual information do you have about hunting with dogs, including the organisation of hunting activities and the way those activities are carried out?

 

5

 

 

Rural Economy

Q2 What evidence is there as to the importance or otherwise of hunting with dogs to the rural economy in general and /or to particular areas of England and Wales?

 

7

 

 

Q3 What evidence is there about the likely impact on the rural economy if hunting with dogs was banned completely?

18

 

 

Q4 To what extent could any detrimental consequences of a ban be offset by greater participation in drag or bloodhound hunting or other activities or by other measures?

25

 

 

Agriculture and Pest Control

Q5 What evidence is there about the need to control the population of foxes, deer, hares and mink?

 

39

 

 

Q6 What evidence is there about the advantages and disadvantages of hunting with dogs in terms of agriculture and pest control, compared with other possible forms of control?

47

 

 

Q7 What evidence is there about the consequences for agriculture and pest control if hunting with dogs was banned completely?

57

 

 

Q8 What other measures, if any, would need to be taken to protect agricultural interests and to control foxes, deer, mink and hares?

61

 

 

Social and Cultural Life of the Countryside

Q9 In what ways, and to what extent, does the existence of hunting with dogs contribute to or impair the social and cultural life of the countryside?

 

62

 

 

Q10 What evidence is there as to its importance generally or in particular areas?

77

 

 

Management and Conservation of Wildlife

Q11 What evidence is there about the present effect of hunting with dogs on preserving or damaging habitats and on the management and conservation of wildlife, including the quarry species?

 

86

 

 

Q12 What would be the impact on these matters of a ban?

93

 

 

Animal Welfare

Q13 What evidence is there at present about the effect of hunting with dogs on the welfare of the quarry species or on the welfare of other animals, including those used in hunting activities and domestic pets and farm animals which may be affected accidentally?

 

95

 

 

Q14 What evidence is there about the impact on the welfare of animals of other means of control which might be used if hunting with dogs was banned?

114

 

 

Implementing a Ban

Q15 What form(s) might a ban take and what would be the implications?

 

119

 

 

Q16 How might such a ban be applied and enforced?

125

 

 

Q17 Would a ban need to be supported by any other action?

127

 

 

18 Conclusion

129

 

 

19 Definitions

130

 

 

20 Bibliography

133

 


21st February 2000

Lord Burns
Chairman
Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs

Dear Lord Burns,

One of the matters your Committee has been asked to inquire into is the consequence of any ban on hunting with dogs for the social and cultural life of the countryside.

I submit that the Committee cannot avoid finding that one direct and immediate social consequence would be a significant reduction in the personal freedom of many people. There would be a loss of freedom to be employed by hunts, a loss of freedom for owners and tenants (including in particular farming tenants) to choose what activities they will allow on "their" land and how to manage wildlife and control pests and a loss of freedom for those in the country (and towns as well) who wish to hunt with dogs or to follow hunts on horse. or foot or by car.

Personal freedom is a core element of the foundation on which any civilised society, such as ours, rests. There is a presumption in favour of that personal freedom which should only be overturned if it is plainly in the interest of that society to do so. This is the basis of the right of all minorities in a pluralist society to enjoy tolerance, both by the majority and by other minorities, within agreed norms.

There are proper restraints on personal freedom: for example, exercise of that freedom should not cause a public nuisance. Such restraints are imposed by the law. Whilst all restraining laws are underpinned by moral precepts, it does not follow that all moral precepts should give rise to restraining laws. Adultery, in our country, is not unlawful. However, and of particular relevance to this inquiry, it has long been accepted by us that the right to personal freedom does not give the right to inflict cruelty on animals. Cruelty to animals is wrong: that is an agreed norm and must be upheld. I believe, therefore, that the question of cruelty, both absolute and relative, is the central issue for the inquiry on which it should try to make a finding. For that reason, although I have no direct experience of hunting with dogs. I say something on the matter.

Killing any animal for any purpose (even for food) is not kind to that animal. Death in the wild can be preceded by prolonged suffering and therefore it is sometimes less unkind to kill than to leave alive. If good wildlife management, including pest control, requires selective killing (culling) of animals which are not suffering, it is impossible to reconcile the interests of the animal to be killed with those of the animals to be deliberately left unkilled. This presents a moral dilemma for all of us. That dilemma falls outside your Committee's terms of reference. But if the need for culling is accepted, then clearly methods should be used which, having regard to the availability of other methods, do not involve the infliction of avoidable suffering. On the basis of the information available to me, including the report of the Scott Henderson inquiry, I believe that killing resulting from hunting with dogs, properly conducted, does not involve avoidable suffering. No more suffering is imposed than would be by other available methods of killing and there is, therefore, no cruelty in a relative sense.

One feature which distinguishes hunting with dogs is the pursuit of the quarry. It is difficult to "know" what sensations are experienced by a hunted animal as a result of physiological changes which occur in the course of that pursuit. I am not aware of any scientific research in this area. Nor am I aware of any scientific evidence that hunting with dogs subjects the hunted animal to physiological stress out of keeping with that for which its biology and evolution have prepared it.

It is even more difficult to "know" what is going on in the "mind" of an animal being pursued. I have observed, husbanded and lived with, wild, farmed and domesticated animals on various occasions throughout my life. I have schooled my own horse. I believe that animals, for which I have deep respect, lack prescience and cognitive foresight. I am told that this view is also held by zoologists who believe that animals cannot contemplate death in the way that humans do and cannot contemplate pain either. Although, as Pavlov demonstrated, it is possible for humans to teach animals to behave as if they can and do contemplate pain., I believe that the flight of a wild quarry (untaught by humans) from dogs is instinctive in origin and derived from its genetic inheritance and is not fearful in a human sense. Therefore I do not believe that hunting with dogs results in the eventual killing (or escape) of an animal which has been reduced to a state of terror.

It may be that on these two aspects of the cruelty question, the killing and the chasing, the evidence of scientists and reliable observers will be such that your Committee will not wish to do more (having regard to the time available to it) than set out the available evidence and arguments. In that event, I hold strongly that the presumptions in favour of personal freedom and respect for the rights of minorities must prevail and be upheld. Further. I submit that it would be entirely proper for your Committee to find that a ban on hunting in such circumstances would result in the social consequence of a significant reduction in personal freedom for no clear reason.

There is a third aspect of the cruelty question. There may be a small number of aberrant individuals within society as a whole and, therefore, also amongst those who hunt with dogs, or who follow hunts, who enjoy killing or who enjoy chasing in the belief that they are causing terror. They are people who are cruel by nature and, to the extent they exist-at all, probably give expression to their thoughts and emotions in unregulated circumstances and out of the public eye. The best way of dealing with such people is to encourage their peers to detect them, to exclude them and to discipline them. It would not be right to attempt to deal with them by "carpet bombing" everyone involved in hunting. The hunting community, as I encounter it, consists of decent people from all walks of life who respect animals. They are not cruel or prone to blood lust. Your Committee will have an opportunity to form a view of and to comment on the nature of those members of the hunting community it meets in the course of its inquiries.

I have emphasised the importance of personal freedom and respect for minorities. They are fundamentally important in all circumstances but are, I believe, particularly important in the case of those sections of any society in difficulty and seeking understanding from others. That is the present position for much of the rural population.

In March 1998, the Countryside Alliance, with alarming ease, brought more than 300,000 people into London on a Sunday to march in support of the countryside. This was one of the biggest expressions of protest our nation has ever seen. It was the proposal before Parliament to ban hunting with dogs which lit the fuse but the root cause lay far deeper.

The structure of the countryside is characterised by and is dependent on a large number of small communities. Their existence and role in the management of the countryside is of value and benefit to all of us. It is of benefit to all of us because the countryside belongs to all us. Because of change, particularly change affecting farmers. some of which is inevitable and, at the national level, even "good", those small communities are disintegrating. And that disintegration is threatening the stability of the countryside which comprises a fragile and dynamic balance between social, economic and environmental interests and pressures.

But some of that change is not inevitable. For many years there has been growing resentment amongst rural people who are trying to change and adapt in a way which will preserve their communities and, therefore, the structure and stability of the countryside. They resent particularly and deeply that their efforts have been frustrated by successive, fundamentally urban, administrations which appear ignorant of the nature of the countryside and indifferent to the consequences for the countryside of their decisions.

Further, communities are deeply important to their members. They "anchor" them, they help to "root" family structures and the experience of gradual and inexorable disintegration causes great distress and apprehension. This disintegration has consequences which eventually affect all of us. There is increasingly reported growth in rural poverty and deprivation and, unsurprisingly, there is anecdotal evidence of an increase in young people of rural origin found sleeping rough on city streets. Charities concerned with drug abuse are alarmed that the highest rate of increase now appears to occur amongst young people in rural areas. These are matters which cannot be ignored. The lack of sufficient understanding of or interest in the problems caused by the disintegration of the mining communities following the collapse of their industry also caused deep resentment. The consequences of that mistake live with us still. We cannot afford another and similar mistake and on a larger scale.

These are matters which touch closely on the Committee's terms of reference. The integrity of a community is woven out of many threads and threads of many kinds. Pull out a thread and the process of unravelling starts or is accelerated. In many parts of the countryside hunting with dogs and everything connected with it is one of those threads. The findings of the Committee will be of great importance to many people and many more than those whose personal freedom would be reduced by a ban.

I have written this both in my personal capacity and as Chairman of the Countryside Alliance. My views are shared in their entirety by all my colleagues on the Board of the Alliance.

Yours sincerely,

John Jackson


 

INTRODUCTION

The Countryside Alliance (the "Alliance") is grateful to the Committee for the opportunity to submit evidence to the Inquiry in its investigations into Hunting with Dogs.

The Alliance has existed as a mass movement since the time of the Countryside March in London on 1st March, 1998. It was formally created in June 1998 by the merger of three organisations: the British Field Sports Society, the Countryside Movement, and the Countryside Business Group. The Alliance is an unincorporated association run by its members with its own constitution and rules. It has 87,000 full members and in excess of 300,000 affiliated members. The Alliance is represented throughout the United Kingdom by a network of volunteers, committees and professional staff. It employs 75 full time personnel. The board of the Alliance consists of unpaid members who are elected for a three year term by postal ballot of all full members and of a paid chief executive appointed by the board. The board elects its chairman.

The Alliance is a campaigning organisation, defending and promoting livelihood in rural Britain. In this context, livelihood means an individual's job, the community of which they are a member, the environment in which they live, and the way of life they choose to adopt. The Alliance's principal conviction is that the health and stability of the British countryside are totally dependent upon its people and their communities, and that there is an urgent need to address problems of sustainability, and even the viability, of rural life and culture.

A copy of the Alliance's Policy booklet dated Autumn 1999 is attached as Annex 1. It will be seen from this that the Alliance has a broad remit. It is evolving rapidly as an organisation so as to be best able to identify and address issues on rural livelihood issues. The history of the Alliance's predecessor organisations means that it has a close connection with rural field sports; it sees them as one of the core elements of rural life. Agriculture, another core element of rural life, generates in the United Kingdom a turnover of £12 billion of which £5 billion is public subsidy. Rural field sports generate expenditure of approximately £3.8 billion with no public subsidy.

While quarry shooting, game and coarse fishing, terrier work, lurchers and coursing have their own individual membership and national organisations, as well as their governing bodies, most other forms of hunting with dogs have only local groups to represent them - their governing bodies do not provide for individual membership. Apart from local associations, the British Field Sports Society traditionally acted as their national "base". This is the reason why the Alliance probably has the most comprehensive understanding of the contribution of hunting with dogs to the economic, social and cultural life of rural Britain and its conservation, management and welfare implications.

The Alliance is in the process of conducting a review of the livelihoods and interests of its members, and the Alliance will make the results of that review known to the Inquiry as soon as possible.

The Alliance was the organiser of the Countryside March in 1998, and of the regional demonstrations that took place in response to remarks made by the Prime Minister in the summer of 1999. The Alliance believes it has an intimate knowledge and understanding of the communities and individuals involved in hunting with dogs. Alongside other properly regulated country pursuits - particularly quarry shooting and fishing - the Alliance believes hunting is a legitimate and beneficial activity which inflicts no unnecessary suffering on animals and is a major contributor towards the sustainable management of a diverse countryside which the whole nation can be proud of and enjoy.

It is undoubtedly the case that hunting with dogs has over the years been widely (and sometimes deliberately) misunderstood. The popular impression of hunting participants has been of the arrogant and idle rich riding to hounds in order to witness the cruel destruction of an exhausted fox, torn apart in front of them by hounds. The hunting community has traditionally been reluctant to confront the prejudice and ignorance (often innocent) regarding hunting with dogs, not believing that it could seriously be thought that they were indulging in a cruel, barbaric and pointless pastime. In retrospect, it was a mistake to have confidence that people would appreciate the facts in the face of the deliberate manipulation of the truth.

The Alliance, and it believes the hunting community, welcomes the establishment of this Inquiry. That community is ready to explain its activities openly and honestly. Contrary to popular misconception, hunting participants are committed to the welfare of both their quarry species and their working animals. They can demonstrate that hunting with dogs is not cruel in that it does not cause avoidable suffering. If it did, they would not do it. The reason they wish to spend time with their horses, dogs and friends, is because they enjoy the company of their animals, whose welfare concerns them greatly. This is a rich and diverse community. Hunting with dogs is a socially and economically inclusive activity.

There is not one dominant reason why hunting exists or why any particular individual decides to go hunting with dogs. Like all human activity, hunting provides a complex of benefits to the individual, the community, and ultimately the living environment, including the long-term welfare of the quarry species. The Alliance is confident that these points will emerge in the course of the Inquiry. The Alliance believes that hunting is a measure of the vitality of the quarry species' populations. It is the expression of the social and cultural life of many rural people. It also provides a thread uniting local communities and contributes to employment in some of the most depressed rural areas of the country.

The Alliance manages its hunting policies through its Campaign for Hunting; a structure which is paralleled by the Alliance's Campaign for Shooting, Falconry, Fishing and Independent Food. This structure gives operational autonomy for these key issues under the overall policy direction of the Alliance.

The Inquiry process offers all interested parties the opportunity of submitting evidence on hunting with dogs and of participating in a discussion and debate which will hopefully help inform the Inquiry Committee before it reports to the Home Secretary. This overview submission by the Alliance outlines the issues which the Alliance believes are important to any consideration of hunting with dogs. It does so by responding to the questions posed in the Inquiry's letter calling for evidence (as revised on 28th January, 2000) and identifies credible organisations, individuals, and evidence which the Alliance believes will assist the Inquiry.

Annexed to this overview submission are a number of documents referred to in the submission. Also, this overview submission is accompanied by a letter from John Jackson, the present Chairman of the Alliance, which addresses what the Alliance believes to be the key issues of civil liberty (in which context he discusses the question of cruelty) and the disintegration of rural communities. Finally, a submission by the Alliance's Campaign for Shooting also accompanies this overview submission.

The Alliance intends, following the Inquiry's publication of interested parties' initial submissions, to review all of the available evidence and to submit a more detailed submission to the Inquiry on the basis of that evidence.

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Question 1: What factual information do you have about hunting with dogs, including the organisation of hunting activities and the way those activities are carried out?

Introduction

1.1 The Alliance understands that the Inquiry will be receiving detailed descriptions of the organisation and activities of hunting with dogs from the hunting organisations themselves. The Alliance does not propose to repeat those descriptions here but instead refers the Inquiry to the submissions, rule books and codes of conduct from the following organisations:

1.2 The Phelps (1997) report contains a good description of hunting with hounds.

Summary

1.3 Hunting under the auspices of the organisations listed at 1.1 above is a very wide spread activity. There are 302 registered hound packs in England and Wales, (including foxhounds, deerhounds, minkhounds, bassets, beagles and harriers, but excluding greyhounds, lurchers and terriers) and 56,000 horses used predominantly for hunting. The total annual attendance at all meets is 1,289,000 of which 42% are riders and 58% are foot followers.

1.4 Fox, deer, hare and mink hunting, under the auspices of the associations listed at 1.1 above, are well organised and accountable. Fox, deer, mink and hare hunting packs are organised with a management structure to ensure that specified individuals are responsible for the conduct of the hunt and its relationships with the wider non-hunting community. Hunts are constituted so that legal liability may attach to them, and they take out insurance so that they fulfil their responsibilities to the community in which they exist and practice.

1.5 Organised hunting with dogs is regulated by rules and codes of conduct (see 1.1 above), all of which are overseen and applied by the relevant governing body. Further, an Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting ("ISAH") has recently been formed to examine and approve the rules and disciplinary procedures of all forms of hunting. This was a key recommendation of the Phelps (1997) report. Hunting organisations become affiliated through membership to the ISAH and become bound by its decisions. Apart from one ex officio commissioner, the chairman and all five commissioners of the ISAH have to be totally independent of hunting. The chairman of the ISAH is Sir Ronald Waterhouse, a retired High Court Judge.

1.6 There are procedures under the rules of the organisations for the investigation of any hunting misconduct and penalties for any breaches of rules. Organised hunting takes place within a strong ethos of good conduct, respect for animals, and in the knowledge that any transgression by an individual is likely to reflect badly on the whole hunting community.

1.7 The fundamental principle of all hunting practice is that hunting engages a wild quarry species in its natural environment, employing culling methods that resemble natural predation and that are as humane as other available methods. Other than in the case of mink hunting (to which special considerations apply), hunting maintains a sustainable healthy population of the quarry species appropriate to local conditions.

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Question 2: What evidence is there as to the importance or otherwise of hunting with dogs to the rural economy in general and /or to particular areas of England and Wales?

Introduction

2.1 The contribution that hunting with dogs makes to the rural economy is fourfold:

2.2 Direct expenditure on hunting with dogs (for example, on leather goods, transport, clothing, animal feeds and medicines and equipment) sustains employment for those providing the goods or services.

2.3 Expenditure by participants in hunting stimulates the rural economy because there are many who benefit from expenditure by those who hunt with dogs, even if they do not receive money from them directly. For example, the purchase of a horse-box generates income not only for the retailer, but also the manufacturer. The manufacturer needs to buy raw materials. Each might consult accountants or other professional advisers. Foot followers might travel to the hunt by car. This can provide income for local garages. There will be expenditure on transport, accommodation and food associated with a day's hunting.

2.4 Hunting with dogs therefore provides income and sustains diverse categories of employment. Those who benefit include grooms, farriers, vets, saddlers, livery yards, horse dealers and breeders, sellers of straw, hay and feedstuff, other agricultural suppliers, inns, hotels, bed and breakfast businesses, pubs, horsebox manufacturers and dealers, bootmakers, clothiers, garages, artists and publishers as well as those who supply goods or services to those people. Hunting provides a significant contribution to the rural economy.

2.5 The extent of this contribution has been verified by professional, independent research. It has been estimated that the total expenditure (direct and indirect) specific to fox hunting only is in excess of £243 million per annum and generates the equivalent of nearly 23,000 full-time jobs.

The major national studies

2.6 There have been three recent major surveys of the economic significance of hunting with dogs:

2.7 The Inquiry will no doubt wish to refer to the reports of these studies themselves in order to judge their integrity. However, the Alliance draws the Inquiry's attention to the following points contained in the reports:

Cobham Resource Consultants, 1997

Countryside Sports - Their Economic, Social and Conservation Significance

2.8 This report was commissioned for the Standing Conference on Countryside Sports to report on all country sports, not just hunting with dogs. However, the report contains discrete sections dealing with hunting. Often, those sections are themselves broken down by reference to the different quarry species, namely foxes, deer, hares and mink. However, other data (for example, relating to expenditure by hunts and their members) are not broken down by reference to species. The report included the following:

Produce Studies Ltd, September 1997

PSL9187/DJC

The Economic Contribution of Hunting

2.9 The survey was restricted to 179 fox hound packs with riding followers, and therefore

excluded deer, hare and mink hunts. It found that:

Produce Studies Ltd, February 1998

PSL9546/DJC

Employment Generated by Fox Hunting in Great Britain

2.10 This survey, also restricted to fox hunting, estimated that:

2.11 The figures contained in these reports compare with the estimated employment figures for particular trades or professions published following the Labour Force Survey by the Office of National Statistics:

The integrity of the national studies

2.12 The opponents of hunting have made energetic attempts to undermine the significance of these studies. One criticism levelled at the studies by opponents of hunting is that some of the reports were commissioned by organisations that support hunting. If this were a disqualification to any research or similar work, much of the material relied on by the opponents of hunting would be discredited on this ground alone (for example, many of the opinion polls conducted on the subject and some of the analysis by Dr Neil Ward referred to below). The Alliance believes that all research should be assessed on its merits. While acknowledging the inherent imprecision involved in calculating the economic benefit derived from activities such as hunting, the Alliance believes that the integrity of the reports of Cobham Resource Consultants and Produce Studies Limited will be confirmed by independent scrutiny.

The regional studies

2.13 As regards particular areas of England and Wales, the Alliance refers to three surveys and reports on the economic impact of hunting with dogs on particular areas:

2.14 In addition, the Alliance understands that Cobham Resource Consultants are producing a report for the Borders Foundation for Rural Sustainability on the economic contribution of hunting in the Borders. The report is due to be completed at the end of March 2000.

2.15 The Alliance respectfully suggests that the Inquiry might wish to review these reports in full to assist the Inquiry's investigations. However, the Alliance draws the Inquiry's attention to the following points contained in the reports:

Produce Studies Ltd, November 1997

PSL9435/DJC

The Economic Contribution of Leicestershire Hunts

2.16 This report estimated that:

Produce Studies Ltd, February 1998

PSL 9513/DJC

The Economic Contribution of Hunting within the Scottish and Northumberland Borders

2.17 This report estimated that:

The report concluded that the abolition of hunting would have an economic and social impact way beyond the jobs that it generates.

Centre for Rural Studies, Royal Agricultural College, February 1999

Economic, Social and Environmental Aspects of Hunting with Hounds in West Somerset and Exmoor

2.18 This report was commissioned by the Rural Economy Working Group of West Somerset District Council in order to assess aspects of the local economy, society and the environment which are affected or influenced, directly or indirectly, by hunting with hounds. The authors of the study stated that different members of the team had "differing views and knowledge of hunting itself" and had "focused only upon relevant and measurable economic, social and environmental issues". The Alliance respectfully suggests that the Inquiry should request a copy of the report from West Somerset District Council, if it has not already been submitted by the Council.

2.19 The authors of the study estimated that:

The figures for direct employment attributable to hunting and for total employment attributable to hunting were broadly equivalent to 2% each or 4% in total of all employment in the area.

2.20 A case study of the civil parish of Exford found that:

Other economic considerations

2.21 Hunting makes a contribution to the tourism industry. By contrast, there is no evidence that tourists do not visit areas simply because they might object to hunting with dogs taking place in that area. In a letter to the Alliance dated 2nd February, 2000, attached as Annex 6, the Head of Policy of the British Tourist Authority stated:

"I can find no record of my Department ever having received any complaints about foxhunting."

2.22 A further economic consideration is the capital value vested in vehicles, premises and land whose value is determined wholly or partly by the existence of hunting. For example, demand for horseboxes maintains their value, and country houses may sell at a premium because of their location in prime hunt country.

2.23 Hunting also provides an economic catalyst in rural areas due to its value in maintaining social connections. Economic activity grows from exchange of information, trust and mutuality within social groups. Hunting can generate economic benefit in this way, although its value is very difficult to quantify.

2.24 One further contribution that hunting makes to the British economy arises from its close association with point-to-point and National Hunt racing. Point-to-point meetings are organised by local hunts. Only horses that have hunted in the current season are qualified to race, and all jockeys must be a member of, or subscriber to, a recognised hunt. Many jockeys, horses and trainers graduate to National Hunt racing from point-to-points, helping to maintain the health of a sport that generates thousands of jobs, income and tax revenues. Hunts and racehorse trainers and training establishments use the same services (feed merchants, vets, transport, etc). It is the presence of hunts that enables racehorse training establishments, particularly the smaller operations, to flourish. The Alliance understands that several horse racing bodies will be submitting evidence to the Inquiry.

Alleged negative economic impact

2.25 Dr Neil Ward, in a report on the economic impact of hunting, refers to the "missing figures" and the "costs that hunting imposes on rural communities and on others". Opponents of hunting often rely on these reports (as there appear to be few others) as evidence that hunting with dogs makes an insignificant contribution to the rural economy. However, the Alliance has serious reservations about the methodology used and a number of propositions contained in the reports. Much of the reports is highly speculative and makes unsubstantiated presumptions as to what unavailable data might show.

2.26 Dr Ward refers to two particular costs, namely the cost of disruption of people and property, and the cost of the effects on other rural industries, in particular, the knacker industry. The issue of the collection of fallen stock is dealt with under Questions 6 and 7 below. However, it is right to address the issue of disruption here in answering Question 2.

2.27 In considering the cost of disruption to people and property, Dr Ward referred to data collated by the League Against Cruel Sports ("LACS"). He suggested that:

"Information collected by the LACS on reported incidences of disruption to roads and railways and trespass or damage to private property suggests such disruption to be endemic in parts of the country".

The table identifies the South West as the area with the biggest apparent incidence of invasion or trespass, citing 69 incidents. However, this covers a period of 12 years, giving an average of a little over five complaints per year in the whole of the South West of England. The Alliance questions whether this level of alleged disruption can properly be described as "endemic".

2.28 The total number of such complaints over the 12 year period for the whole of Great Britain was 255. There are about 18,000 hunting occasions per year. This is equivalent to about 216,000 meetings over 12 years. Just over 0.1% of meets gave rise to any complaint of invasion of property or trespass (that is, one meet in every thousand). In comparison, there were over 30,000 thefts of vehicles from farms and country homes in 1998 alone. This shows that hunt incidents have an almost negligible effect.

2.29 In a similar vein, Dr Ward stated that a delay to Eurostar and other rail services on 20th January, 1998 served as a "good example" of the scale of disruption that could occur through hunting. Hunts regret any disruption to road or rail services. However, even the data that Dr Ward relied upon suggest that such incidents are extremely rare. There were only 176 reported instances of road and rail disruption over 12 years, that is, an average of less than 15 incidents per year, the equivalent of less than one in a thousand meets. In order to place the matter in perspective, it has been reported 437,000 trains ran late in the twelve months to March 1999, an average of 1,200 per day. Again, hunts have an almost negligible effect on the road and railways.

2.30 Further, if hunts inadvertently cause some loss or damage, it is important to realise that they make every effort to compensate such loss. A report commissioned by Wiltshire County Council, found that compensation for damage to farmers normally took the form of provision and maintenance of gates and fencing. The fact that only 4.8% of farmers refused to allow the hunt access to their land suggests that farmers in Wiltshire did not regard the level of damage caused by the hunt itself as significant.

2.31 It might also be claimed that hunting with dogs imposes an additional burden on rural police forces, by reason of the need to police hunting. However, such a claim would be without merit. Hunting is a lawful activity. Police only need to attend meets if there is a threat of disruption by opponents. Hunting itself does not impose a burden on police resources. Opposition to hunting does. For example, at the Boxing Day meets in 1999, a number of protestors attended the Essex Farmers' Hunt meet, necessitating a large police presence. By contrast, when approximately 1,000 supporters of the Wynnstay Hunt met in the main square in Malpas, Cheshire, but no protestors were present, volunteer stewards marshalled traffic and police attendance was unnecessary.

Conclusion

2.32 Hunting with dogs is self-financing and does not rely on Government subsidies. It is financed by those who participate in hunting with dogs or related activities.

2.33 Cobham (1997) estimates direct expenditure on hunting with hounds of £176 million per annum. This shows the substantial contribution that hunting makes to the rural economy. The figures compare favourably to the claim by Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. John Prescott MP that:

"Government spending on countryside conservation, rural development and recreation is increasing by one third over three years, from £128 million in 1998 to £174 million in 2001".

2.34 Measurement of the economic contribution of any activity can never by wholly precise. However, in whatever way its contribution is measured, hunting with dogs provides a significant economic benefit to rural communities. The contribution will be proportionately more significant in some rural areas. Any negative economic impact is minimal compared to the benefits.

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Question 3: What evidence is there about the likely impact on the rural economy if hunting with dogs was banned completely?

Introduction

3.1 Dr Ward has argued that the economic significance of hunting to rural economies is small compared to other factors, such as developments in the Common Agricultural Policy, the effects of the BSE crisis, and the long term trends in agriculture that have resulted in a reduction in the farm workforce by 60,000 between 1986 and 1996. Dr Ward has stated that:

"If our starting point is a concern for the fortunes of the rural economy, it is more appropriate to first consider questions other than the hunting one".

3.2 The Alliance does not claim and has never claimed that hunting with dogs is the most significant factor affecting the economy of rural communities. Neither does the Alliance claim that hunting is the most important factor to be considered in reviewing the future of rural communities. It recognises that some other factors have a greater influence. However, the Alliance suggests that the starting point for this debate is not how the fortunes of the rural economy could or should be improved. It is whether a lawful activity that provides jobs for thousands of people and stimulates rural economies should be criminalised, and what the effect of a ban on hunting is likely to be. Such a question must be considered in the wider context of growing rural economic difficulties. The more fragile an economy, the greater will be the impact of any change, however small.

3.3 Each member of the Inquiry Committee will be familiar with the relatively poor availability of public services in rural areas, and the current crisis for farm incomes. Both factors are relevant in assessing the likely real cost of banning hunting with dogs. They directly concern the extent to which people affected by a hunting ban would be able to repair their businesses and incomes.

3.4 Most rural parishes do not contain a Job Centre or Benefits Agency. In 1997, 75% of rural parishes in England had no daily bus service in the form of either public or community run services. Roughly one in five rural households have no car. Research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 1999 demonstrates how transport-poverty seriously impairs job mobility in rural areas. Unemployment figures such as those published in "Sharing the Nation's Prosperity" (Cabinet Office 2000), which figures perhaps paint too a rosy picture of rural employment prospects, have ignored years of work by the Rural Development Commission ("RDC") on the caveats that have to be applied in estimating rural unemployment. RDC research shows that unemployment in rural development areas is the same as in urban areas when figures for both are adjusted for hidden unemployment.

Immediate and longer-term consequences of a ban

3.5 It is extremely difficult to predict the long-term effect of a ban on hunting with dogs. It is impossible to predict accurately to what extent owners of horses which are primarily kept for hunting, will use their horses for other activities that will provide income for support businesses. However, the effect will be deleterious. As a starting point about 835 individuals directly employed by hunts will lose their jobs.

3.6 Any attempt to quantify the further economic impact of a ban on hunting will be highly speculative, and the Alliance cannot predict how many jobs might be lost by reason of the cessation of expenditure on hunting activities. However, the following matters appear to be clear:

3.7 Local farmers would also lose the benefit of the hunt fallen stock service in the event of a ban. Dr Ward suggests that this might provide an opportunity for the revival of local knacker industries. The Alliance disputes this and considers that loss of the fallen stock service would impose a heavier burden on farmers. This issue is considered further under Question 7 below.

3.8 The Government has recently suggested that diversification can ease rural economic ills. It might therefore be argued that those who lose employment formerly sustained by hunting with dogs could find new employment with farmers who branch out into other areas. However, this diversification of business is not easy to achieve. Farmers require planning permission for changes of use to their land and buildings. A 1999 Agriculture Development Advisory Service survey of 7,000 farmers found that this caused the greatest difficulty for farmers seeking to diversify. Official advice to "get on your website" to develop new rural business has some merit, but is limited in its application to remote rural areas: ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is only available up to 3km from a digital exchange, and next-generation data modes such as ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) are not covered by a universal service arrangement. Indeed they are only undergoing trials in densely-populated urban areas.

3.9 It is difficult to conceive of any significant economic benefit that might arise from the imposition of a ban on hunting. There can be no guarantee that hunt members and followers would transfer their spending to other beneficiaries in the locality, or even in the United Kingdom. The few who are wealthy enough might hunt in Ireland or France, and keep their horses at livery there. The majority might give up equestrian activities altogether.

3.10 It might be argued that the alleged economic "costs" of hunting (referred to in paragraphs 2.25 to 2.31 above) might be saved. However, these "costs" are minimal. Further, even if other forms of recreational horse use such as draghunting or bloodhound hunting increase as a result of a ban on hunting with dogs, there is no guarantee that such activities would not cause similar levels of collateral damage to third parties.

3.11 It is therefore very likely that a ban on hunting would have a detrimental effect on the rural economy. If only 25% of jobs supported by hunting were lost as a result of a ban, that would still amount to, on the basis of the Cobham (1997) figures, a loss of over 5,000 jobs. Many of those employed in jobs supported by hunting are self-employed. They would not therefore have the cushion of a redundancy payment.

National trade survey of the Alliance

3.12 In order to try to assess the consequences of a ban on hunting with dogs, the Alliance provided a questionnaire to members of various trade associations. The results of the survey were analysed by David Corbett and Produce Studies Group Ltd, demonstrate the potentially grave consequences of a ban. The replies of 1,000 businesses were analysed. They employed over 8,300 full time employees and 3,200 part time employees. The replies gave rise to the following data:

The results of the survey and the analysis of the Produce Studies Group Ltd will be made available to the Inquiry.

Comparison with other industries

3.13 Dr Ward has also suggested in that the number of jobs associated with hunting should be put into the context "of the 221,800 jobs lost from Britain's coal mining industries between 1984 and 1995". The Alliance would simply point out that the Inquiry is not concerned with whether the impact of a ban on hunting with dogs would be more or less severe than a loss of jobs in the mining industry.

3.14 Nevertheless, if comparisons are to be drawn, it might be argued that recent history shows that mining communities have recovered to varying degrees, and that the majority of unemployed former miners have found alternative employment, at least for some period of time. However, this argument discounts the cost of any such recovery. The cost of recovery includes protracted periods of unemployment for some, and an oversupplied labour market is likely to force down incomes and decrease job security for all. The observation that some former miners have found jobs does not in itself mean that replacement jobs have sprung up. Some former miners will have escaped unemployment by displacing other job applicants as vacancies are turned over in the natural course of the labour market. The experience of the way in which the mining communities have disintegrated must not be repeated and the lessons of that experience must be learnt.

Conclusion

3.15 A ban on hunting with dogs would damage the rural economy. Those directly employed by hunts will lose their jobs if a ban is implemented. So will others who are employed directly as a result of hunting. It is not possible to estimate accurately how many jobs will be lost, but the number could be substantial. The loss of hunting related expenditure will have a knock-on effect on other businesses which derive their income from hunting. The loss of revenue will increase financial pressures and could lead to further job losses. In small economies, job losses have a disproportionately negative impact.

3.16 Comparisons with job losses in other industries are unhelpful. It is insensitive to the individuals whose livelihoods are threatened to seek to justify suffering on the basis that others have suffered financial hardship in the past. In any event, communities which have suffered serious disintegration have not recovered, and still require EU and government aid to help their regeneration. The severity of the blow to those employed as a result of hunting would be increased by the fact that the hardship would have been caused not by economic realities, but by deliberate implementation of legislation that takes away long established personal freedoms.

3.17 The Alliance submits that a ban on hunting cannot be justified on economic grounds and the consequences of a ban cannot be ignored.

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Question 4. To what extent could any detrimental consequences of a ban be offset by greater participation in drag or bloodhound hunting or other activities or by other measures?

Introduction

4.1 The Alliance is aware that The Masters of Drag and Bloodhounds Association ("MDBA") will be forwarding their own submission to the Inquiry. The Alliance will not repeat here points likely to appear in a submission by the MDBA, who are in any event best able to deal with many of the issues raised by this Question.

The activity of drag and bloodhound hunting

4.2 As far as the Alliance is aware, there is no disagreement about what drag or bloodhound hunting involves:

Draghunting - an artificial trail is laid across the countryside for the hounds and riders to follow. The trail is laid by a rider or a runner who will set off some time before the hunt commences, say, half an hour.

Bloodhound hunting - instead of an artificial scent trail being laid by a rider or a runner, the hounds follow the scent of a runner - or the "clean boot".

4.3 The Alliance regards the draghunting community as an equal amongst other country pursuits. Indeed, the MDBA is represented on the Alliance's Campaign for Hunting Committee. Drag and bloodhound hunting have an enthusiastic following and they are sports that give much excitement to their followers. However, the activity is of a completely different nature to hunting quarry. The excitement comes largely from the thrill of the ride and the jumps. With many dragpacks, the horsemanship and the horses are of a higher standard than that of some quarry hunts. The Inquiry will, no doubt, receive submissions from draghunters who emphasize the number of fences they jump in a half-day hunting or the speed of the hunt if the scent is laid correctly. In the Alliance's experience, the horses used for draghunting tend to be thoroughbred.

Reasons why drag and bloodhound hunting will not offset a ban

4.4 It is estimated that 700 riders follow draghounds and bloodhounds regularly, at present in 29 registered or provisionally registered hunts. In contrast, there are 302 registered quarry hound packs in England and Wales. About one third of the 302 hunts are foot packs and two thirds mounted hunts. 273 of these hunts have a total of 28,300 subscribers. This figure does not, of course, include those who participate regularly in quarry hunting but who are not subscribers. In addition, traditional quarry hunts have many hunt supporter clubs. For example, 205 quarry hunts have a total of 39,000 supporters club members. Many other supporters of hunts do not belong to a club and are not therefore easily counted. The Alliance believes that the MDBA would recognise that drag and bloodhound hunts have a much smaller percentage of this type of support. Draghunting has existed for 150 years, and if it were a viable substitute for quarry hunting, more crossover would surely have taken place already.

4.5 The Alliance believes that there are three important questions that require consideration under this Question 4:

4.6 In the view of the Alliance, for the reasons explained below, drag and bloodhound hunting, as they exist today, do not substitute for live quarry hunting and could not be a substitute if live quarry hunting was banned. Drag and bloodhound hunting are not substitutes for hunting with dogs any more than clay pigeon shooting is an alternative to quarry shooting. The Alliance recognises, however, that for some, draghunting is an additional alternative pursuit enjoyed in a different way.

4.7 It follows that since drag and bloodhound hunting will not be a substitute for live quarry hunting, the detrimental consequences of a ban on quarry hunting with dogs in terms of both economics and social importance will not be offset by drag or bloodhound hunting. For example:

4.8 Set out below are the principal reasons why, in the Alliance's view, drag and bloodhound hunting do not and could not be a substitute for live quarry hunting.

Reason 1 - there is too little suitable land to accommodate an expansion of draghunting.

4.9 Drag and bloodhound hunting require larger areas than quarry hunts. For this reason, even if all other problems could be overcome, the numbers of drag and bloodhound packs would not match the existing numbers of quarry hunts.

4.10 A normal foxhunt country might measure 10 by 15 miles. A draghunt needs a much larger territory. For example, the Berks and Bucks Draghounds hunt over five shire counties whilst the Cambridge University Draghunt covers country hunted by no less than ten foxhound packs. The fact that no time is spent locating the quarry means that almost the entire hunt is carried out at a gallop, and a lot of ground is therefore covered. Furthermore, each line requires continuous country open to it and each day's draghunting requires joined-up segments of country so that the hunters can easily move from one line to another. In order to avoid the same country being repeatedly covered on each day's hunting, and also to accommodate the landowners' reluctance that their estates are not hunted over more than once or twice a season, large draghunt territories are required.

4.11 However, it is not only the size of the available land that matters, but also the type of land. Ideally, a draghunt country will consist of grassland which will ease the laying of the drag and provide good riding for the horses.

4.12 In fact, drags can be laid, and draghounds can hunt, over most types of landscape. The problem is whether the terrain is suitable for horses. For example, with quarry hunting in the West Country and Wales where pasture predominates, because of the bank systems and the small farms, road-work for the horses is common. However, road-work negates the very purpose of draghunting, that is a ride across country.

4.13 The accommodation of new packs of draghounds and bloodhounds on available land will clearly be a very important issue for the Inquiry to consider. If the number of drag and bloodhound packs were limited for reason of lack of land, it would greatly reduce the numbers of people involved in the hunting community, particularly since drag and bloodhound packs restrict their numbers in a way which quarry hunts do not.

Reason 2 - permission from farmers

4.14 The problem of the accommodation of new packs of draghounds and bloodhounds would be exacerbated by the fact that many farmers only agree to hunting over their land because of the tradition of quarry hunting over their land and because of pest control, fallen stock and conservation services provided by the hunt.

4.15 Many farmers have informally indicated to the Alliance that they would not allow drag or bloodhound hunting over their land. This is confirmed by a regional study of West Somerset and Exmoor carried out by the Centre for Rural Studies:

"Of equal importance in the draghunting equation is the present and likely attitudes of farmers in allowing access onto their land…It was evident that a larger majority, 74% (n=31) of farmers within the surveys gave an effective or resounding no to permitting draghunting. Various reasons were given for refusal, the commonest reflected by the following:

- I would refuse as it serves no useful purpose i.e. controlling foxes

- Not interested. Damage to land would not be tolerated

An additional smaller number (3) did raise the issue of access permitted by direct payment.

In the event of a ban on hunting live quarry with hounds, the proportion of farmers who thought they would refuse access decreased only slightly, down to 64%"

4.16 The Alliance is aware that the LACS has also carried out a survey of farmers on this issue. This is covered in 4.46 below.

4.17 Dr Ward has suggested that payments could be made to farmers to encourage them to allow draghunting on their land. He noted:

"The potential for growth in expenditure and employment related to drag hunting and bloodhounds accords with current trends in rural land use, demand for countryside leisure and government incentives through land use and economic development grants…If farmers were paid a fee, we might expect more farmers to agree…"

However, the Alliance submits that to provide an appropriate incentive, such payments would have to be substantial. Many farmers now hosting equestrian events on their land frequently charge between £500 and £2,000 per day. Such charges may lead to an increased cost of participation in drag and bloodhound hunting and therefore make draghunting financially unviable in some areas. Draghunting may become socially and economically exclusive.

4.18 An additional factor to consider when assessing payment to the farmer is the value they place on the likely loss of the fallen stock collection service (see 6.4-6.9). The Alliance does not believe that the same degree of service is offered by draghunts. The MDBA might be able to provide the Inquiry with the current fallen stock collection service offered by their members, and an estimate of what service they might offer in the future.

4.19 It might be asked how draghunting currently takes place if so many farmers do not presently allow it on their land. This is explained by the fact that many draghunts (because of their current limited numbers) at present take place on public land or on large private estates: e.g. Highclere Park owned by Lord Caernavon or the Manton Estate owned by Robert Sangster. The Inquiry will, no doubt, receive evidence on this subject from the MDBA.

Reason 3 - legal, financial and logistical problems

4.20 To the knowledge of the Alliance, there are only eight packs of family-owned foxhounds which might be in a position to transfer their whole establishments to draghunting. However, the kennels, supporting buildings and accommodation of these establishments are extensive and might be beyond the requirements of draghounds. Equally, the new draghunt may not have the financial means to maintain them.

4.21 In any event, the Alliance believes that the majority of foxhound kennels are likely to be owned by trustees for the benefit of their members and for the stated purpose of foxhunting. The trustees would therefore be obliged to sell the premises at the best possible price and distribute the proceeds among their members.

4.22 Some foxhound kennels are owned and leased to the hunts by landowners who may or may not be actively involved in hunting. With present day property values, and bearing in mind the substantial upkeep costs of these usually large establishments, the Alliance expects that the landowners will tend to take the properties back under their control, or sell them.

4.23 If a disbanded foxhunt decided to reform as a draghunt, but could not use the same kennels, it would have to fund the purchase of new kennel buildings. Costs for such kennels could range from £40,000 (the cost of the new Jersey Draghunt kennels) to approximately £250,000 per hunt (as an estimate) if it was necessary to build housing for staff, knacker yards and other ancillary buildings. In addition to building or adapting new kennels, hunts will have to equip the kennels and find working capital to fund expenditure pending receipt of (unquantifiable) subscriptions.

4.24 The Alliance believes that it would be difficult for new draghunts to find this financing, particularly since working capital would be required to finance the new hunt between 1st May (when the foxhunt contracts expire) until hunting starts in the autumn (when the subscriptions would expect to be received).

4.25 Each new pack of draghunts would require one or more entrepreneurs to get it started. Unless an outgoing Master were keen to become involved in draghunting, difficulty might be experienced in finding sufficient new leaders for draghunting from foxhunting ranks, especially if the handovers were to take place without interruption.

4.26 The Alliance will be interested to see evidence from those who advocate drag and bloodhound hunting as a substitute for quarry hunting on how the above legal, financial and logistical problems of a move to draghunting could be overcome before the detrimental consequences cause, for example, the destruction of hounds and horses or the disintegration of social communities.

Reason 4 - drag hunting does not appeal to more than a small proportion of those who participate in quarry hunting

4.27 Even if the problems outlined in 4.9 to 4.26 could be overcome, the Alliance is aware that many of those who currently participate in hunting with dogs could not participate or would not wish to participate in drag or bloodhound hunting.

4.28 In February 1999, specific research on the likely take-up of drag or bloodhound hunting by quarry hunters was undertaken in the West Somerset and Exmoor Report. A large proportion of those questioned by the Centre for Rural Studies had never been draghunting before. The Report therefore paid particular attention to what was said by the 17 respondents who had been draghunting: 2 described the experience as less enjoyable than hunting and 15 described the experience as much less enjoyable. Only one person described the experience as enjoyable.

4.29 In answer to the question whether draghunting would substitute for hunting live quarry, The Centre for Rural Studies concluded as follows:

"Although several respondents indicated that if there were a ban they would expect to go draghunting, we found that the majority of these had never tried the sport. Amongst the few that had some experience of draghunting, only a minority said they would take it up in the event of a banAlthough draghunting could substitute for hunting for some hunt followers, it would be unlikely to contribute as much to the local economy. The evidence from the literature suggests that numbers of horses and hounds would almost certainly not be as high as for traditional hunting and that the hunting country required would be much larger due to the particular requirements of the drag lines"

4.30 Why does draghunting not appeal to those who hunt live quarry? The Alliance expects that the Inquiry will receive on this subject many personal submissions from those who hunt quarry and from those who follow these hunts.

Riders

4.31 Some personal submissions from riders will, no doubt, note that the removal of the uncertainty makes the hunt artificial and therefore does not appeal to them. Draghunting is very certain. The number of hunts or "lines" (uninterrupted hunts) are known beforehand, as are where the lines will start and finish. Particularly with draghounds, the detailed line is often known. It is known at approximately what time the day will end and where. This is all built into the activity and there is little scope for variables. Furthermore, quarry animals can cover many types of ground that humans cannot - thick cover, marshes, wetlands, bogs and rocky ground. With quarry hunting, nothing is known by anybody at the beginning of the day, except for the proposed area where the hunt will search for its quarry. It is not known if, when and where they will find the quarry, in what direction it will run and for how long, or even if there will be sufficient scent to hunt for more than a few yards.

4.32 Furthermore, a drag or a bloodhound pack following artificial lines does not usually maintain a full day’s hunting. Indeed, draghunting was initiated as an equestrian sport specifically to challenge the riding skills of army officers and undergraduates who might only be able to spend a few hours riding rather than a whole day hunting quarry. Many riders prefer a full day's hunting.

4.33 Some personal submissions from riders who participate in quarry hunting may note that even if they wanted to participate in drag or bloodhound hunting, they could not because of the speed and danger involved to them and their horses. Draghunting over fenced country, because of the pace and the particular physical demands, is not suitable for all the groups of horses that currently follow traditional quarry packs. Those participating in drag and bloodhound hunting go at one pace over a fixed line and obstacles at a fixed pace. In contrast, traditional hunts have to spend time locating quarry and will hunt at a speed determined by the scent of the quarry. Those participating in quarry hunting can choose at what pace they (and their horse) will proceed, and over what ground. Some will gallop and jump and others will go through gates or along tracks and public highways.

4.34 If draghunts were to attempt to accommodate the wider community (including the old, the very young and people who are not such able riders) they would have to lower their existing high standards of horses and horsemanship. This is unlikely to be popular with the present supporters. The Alliance will be interested to see any evidence that the Inquiry receives about how the pace of drag and bloodhound hunting could be slowed down while maintaining the interest it has for its followers.

4.35 In brief, it is the Alliance's experience that drag and bloodhound hunting does not meet the interests of many hunters who are accustomed to live quarry hunts. This does not in any way imply that it is the death of the quarry that is enjoyable to the participants of quarry hunting, any more than it is the death of, or injury, to a fish that makes anglers cherish their battle of wits against a live creature in its own habitat. The hunters are interested in the behaviour of the quarry in its habitat and this element is entirely missing with drag and bloodhound hunting. In this respect, the Inquiry will no doubt refer to the submissions to the Inquiry by the hunting associations which describe the reasons why people go quarry hunting.

4.36 There are of course special considerations in relation to harriers and beagles and the Alliance refer the Inquiry to the joint submission by the Association of Masters of Beagles and Harriers and the Masters of Basset Hounds Association. These organisations make the point that there has never been draghunting on foot with beagles because the followers would not be able to keep up; particularly as many beaglers are elderly. The Associations say that they cannot foresee any demand for draghunting among beaglers, on foot.

Foot followers

4.37 In the Alliance's view, quarry hunting and drag and bloodhound hunting appeal to a totally different type of foot follower (to the extent that drag and bloodhound hunting have "followers" other than their friends). Those supporters who enjoy draghunting will be attracted by watching the horses gallop and jump fences. Supporters are usually friends and relatives of the riders - they are not interested in the objective of the chase, but in the horsemanship of the riders. In contrast, the traditional quarry hunt supporter enjoys watching the hounds work in following the scent of the quarry. The hounds and the quarry are key features of their interest and enjoyment.

4.38 A survey of hunt supporters clubs in February 2000, to which 124 clubs responded, shows clearly that drag and bloodhound hunting did not appeal to those hunt followers. Were there to be a ban on hunting with dogs, 260 hunt supporter club members (1.2%) said that they might follow bloodhounds and 466 members (2.2%) might follow draghounds.

4.39 The Alliance is aware that a separate survey has been carried out between 5th and 16th February, 2000 of the car and foot followers of the Beaufort, Berkeley, Cotswold, Cotswold Vale Farmers, Heythrop, North Cotswold, V.W.H. and Warwickshire hunts. 91% of the followers said that they would not be interested in following bloodhounds or draghounds.

Reason 5 - animal welfare considerations

4.40 If hunting was banned, it might be assumed that there could be at best an increase in drag and bloodhound packs of between 30 and 90, (it could of course be more or less). A reasonable assumption might also be that there will be a demand for only 20 hounds for each new pack. Consequently, the number of hounds required will be between 600 and 1,800. This would leave over 17,300 to be placed elsewhere or destroyed. Quarry hounds cannot be trained to follow human scent like bloodhounds and it would be very difficult to place quarry hounds in dragpacks. There are considerable problems in retraining hounds to follow a drag and not to be distracted by quarry scent trails. Drag hunters will usually acknowledge that even after drag and bloodhounds have been trained, they may still chase quarry. Hounds cannot normally be domesticated. This only leaves the option of their being put down (see 13.45-13.46 below).

4.41 Drag and bloodhound packs would, in the Alliance's view, also require fewer horses. As to the ongoing difficulty this would create for horse welfare and breeding, see 13.49 below.

4.42 The view that drag or bloodhound hunting may be as popular as quarry hunting for both hunters and followers is not supported, for example, by the position in Jersey and Anglesey where there is no quarry hunting. Both islands are equestrian orientated and have a pack of draghounds, but both packs find support difficult. The Inquiry might find it helpful to make contact with these draghound packs so as to receive a first hand explanation of their activities. The Alliance has been told by those draghunts that both of them would be happy to assist the Inquiry.

A brief review of the literature suggesting that drag and bloodhound hunting could replace quarry hunting

4.43 Summarised below are the problems with the reports which promote the substitution of drag and bloodhound hunting for quarry hunting.

The Macdonald and Johnson Report

4.44 The Macdonald and Johnson Report suggests that:

"with the opportunities offered by modern odour chemistry to synthesise scents of particular qualities, the opportunities for farmers to profit by diversifying the use of their land, and the great desire of ever-more people to participate in benign country pursuits, there would seem to be very strong incentives, both cultural and economic, to explore with the greatest zeal and ingenuity ways of making draghunting attractive".

4.45 The Report by Macdonald and Johnson was concerned primarily with conservation issues and the comment above is not supported by any direct evidence. Although it has been repeated in other reports (see 4.46 and 4.48 below), it simply remains the opinion of the authors. Indeed, it is a matter for argument (for which Macdonald and Johnson offer no evidence) as to whether there is "the great desire of ever-more people to participate in benign country pursuits."

The League Against Cruel Sports Report - "Drag Hunting - a Family Sport".

4.46 The LACS published in 1996 a report on draghunting based on the results of a survey carried out by NOP. The report claimed that one in six farmers who do not currently allow the hunting of wild animals on their farms, would permit access to drag hunts. The Alliance is aware that the Inquiry may receive from other bodies submissions on what those bodies consider to be the shortcomings of the LACS report and the Alliance will not therefore repeat these here. The Alliance is concerned, however, that the report does not deal with the issue of whether (even if a farmer would be prepared to permit draghunting on his land), the farmer's land would, in fact, be suitable for draghunting. For example, the land could be too isolated or not adjoining any other appropriate land.

The Ward Report

4.47 One of the aims of Dr Ward's 1999 report was to assess the economic potential for alternative horse-related country pastimes (such as draghunting and bloodhounds) as replacements for hunting wild animals with hounds.

4.48 As the Inquiry will be aware, Dr Ward concluded that draghunting did have the potential to substitute for hunting live quarry. However, there were several provisos, the key one being that draghunting would have to change and adopt a more innovative, enterprising and commercially-orientated approach. In this case, the possibility of commercial opportunities for draghunting is merely an assumption. Equally, Dr Ward's reference to the potential opportunities of competitive draghunting and the exploitation of television are not supported by any first-hand evidence. Indeed, the Alliance feels that the opposite is likely to be true. Horse-racing is fully covered by television companies. There is not even room or interest in coverage of the current point-to-point season. It would be surprising if these companies had not already considered the possibility of covering draghunting, in television. If they have, they appear to have rejected the idea. The Alliance believes the Inquiry might be assisted by discussing this option with professional racing broadcasters and producers.

Conclusion

4.49 The assumptions and methodologies for projecting growth of drag and bloodhound hunting and the feasibility of planned expansion are not sustainable by the evidence. It would be very difficult even to estimate how many existing riding participants of quarry hunting would transfer to these activities if quarry hunting were to be banned. The Alliance does not believe that the numbers would be very high, particularly since drag and bloodhound hunting only caters for those with access to, and means of, purchasing and maintaining a suitable horse. The detrimental consequences of a ban on quarry hunting would therefore not be offset by participation in these activities.

4.50 The Alliance is struck by the fact that there appear to be no practical solutions to the problems outlined above. We will be interested to see whether in the course of the Inquiry suggestions are made as to how the problems listed in 4.9 to 4.42 can be overcome in order to make drag and bloodhound hunting more attractive to participants of quarry hunting, including foot followers.

 

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Question 5. What evidence is there about the need to control the population of foxes, deer, hares and mink?

Introduction

5.1 It is a basic biological tenet that no species regulates its own popluation size. All populations are controlled by the availability of food and/or by the effects of predators. Some species can respond directly to changes in food supply by stopping or accelerating breeding, or to the effects of predation by replacing lost young or mates. But the limiting factors on popluation size are completely outside the control of the species concerned.

5.2 Each of the four quarry species of concern to the Inquiry has a detrimental impact on resources produced, used, or valued by human beings. Foxes attack poultry and lambs. Deer and hares eat vegetation provided for livestock or being grown as cereal or forage crops. Mink eat fish, so conflicting with angling interests, and also eat water voles and ground nesting birds which are valued. Like foxes, mink also prey on domestic livestock. Mink have effectively prevented free range chicken farming in the Outer Hebrides). All farming and other rural livelihoods can sustain a certain degree of impact from these species. They become pests, and therefore in need of control, when their impact becomes unsustainable. The critical threshold of this impact reduces dramatically as the scale and industrialisation of the enterprise affected by the pest gets smaller. In other words, the smaller or more marginal the farm, the less damage by the pest species can be tolerated.

5.3 The population of hare in the UK is currently restricted in many areas by agricultural practice, rather than by pest control. Amongst the four quarry species, hare are unique in that some farmers change their agricultural practices to encourage hare population growth.

5.4 The assessment as to whether or not the species needs to be controlled is therefore primarily a matter for the owners of the resources that are depleted by the existence of foxes, deer, hares and mink. The position in relation to each species is set out below.

Foxes

5.5 Foxes can prey on poultry and livestock such as lambs and piglets, and wildlife such as game birds and hares. The greatest predation of piglets occurs with "outdoor" units when the fox so aggravates the farrowing sow that she lies on her piglets. Foxes will often prey on piglets on the night that they are born, but they also take them at any time that they are unprotected. It is widely acknowledged that foxes engage in surplus killing, killing more than it needs or is able to eat, which is an evolutionary consequence of behaviour adapted to searching for low densities of patchily distributed prey. It is the propensity of the fox to prey on agricultural stock that creates the biggest demand for fox control from farmers. The Alliance anticipates that submissions to the Inquiry from the National Farmers Union and the Farmers Union of Wales may deal with these issues further.

5.6 In addition, foxes can have a detrimental impact on shooting estates, by reason of predation on game and ground nesting birds such as partridges. The Alliance anticipates that the submission to the Inquiry from the National Gamekeepers Organisation may deal with this issue further.

5.7 An independent survey by Produce Studies Limited, commissioned by the British Field Sports Society, attached as Annex 7 demonstrates the scale of the problem perceived by farmers. In a survey of 831 farmers across Great Britain, 23% of farmers considered foxes to be a "serious problem". Only 21% did not regard the fox as a problem at all. The responses varied by region. Thus, 69% of farmers in Wales considered that foxes presented a serious or moderate problem to their farming systems, whereas 35% of farmers in East Anglia and the East Midlands considered that foxes presented no problem. This might reflect the arable nature of much of the farming in the latter regions. It probably also reflects the degree of fox control undertaken as part of the management of shooting estates, shooting being a major economic activity in these areas.

5.8 The Alliance submits that the perceived need to control foxes is reflected in the categorisation of the fox as a pest under the Agriculture Act 1947. It is also supported by existing independent data and studies. The Alliance refers, in particular, to three contemporary surveys into fox control:

5.9 Opponents of hunting sometimes rely on the chapter by Macdonald and Johnson, (1996) in support of their argument that the fox population does not need to be controlled. In addition, they have often sought to rely on the following papers:

5.10 Neither of these two papers was a piece of scientific research: they were both reviews of existing literature and both provide personal interpretations of that literature. The Alliance is not aware whether either of these studies went through the normal process for scientific publication.

5.11 The most authoritative research undertaken has been that by the Game Conservancy Trust. The Inquiry may find it helpful to contact the Game Conservancy Trust in order to obtain comprehensive details of this research if the Game Conservancy Trust does not itself submit its research to the Inquiry.

5.12 As part of its Rural Fox Management Project, the Game Conservancy Trust carried out research in three diverse areas, Powys, East Leicestershire and Norfolk. Over three-quarters of farmers in Leicestershire stated that they had suffered poultry losses to foxes during the last year, over half of respondents in Wales indicated that they had suffered losses, and nearly half (49%) of respondents in East Anglia reported that they had suffered such losses.

5.13 The Game Conservancy Trust has concluded that predation by foxes can have a significant impact on game bird populations. The survey also concluded that the fox was the chief predator of incubating female partridges. It must be remembered that this survey took place against the background that foxes are controlled.

5.14 Other evidence as to predation on lambs, piglets and poultry includes the following:

"foxes are also increasingly cited as a significant pest of sow farming, but this has not yet been quantified".

5.15 Macdonald and Johnson, (1996) considered that:

"existing evidence is that the general economic impact of fox predation on lambs and piglets is small".

However, their research was largely concentrated on lowland areas where there is generally less of a problem than on upland areas. Nor did Macdonald and Johnson take account of the size of the farm or smallholding. Even so, they acknowledged that "particular cases can doubtless be severe". Macdonald and Johnson also acknowledged the dearth of research into the impact of fox predation in the absence of control methods being used by farmers. In other words, what they were witnessing could simply have been a result of heavy control of foxes. In this regard, the Alliance notes the research by the Game Conservancy Trust indicating that reduction in control led to a significant decrease in the number of grey partridges in the research area.

5.16 MAFF also acknowledge that foxes can cause serious damage in local areas. In December 1998 MAFF reported to the Alliance that:

"On the basis of this evidence, the Ministry does not consider foxes to be a significant factor in lamb mortality nationally. However, foxes can cause serious local problems to farmers and landowners; as a result, many take measures to control local fox populations, as well as responding to individual incidents of fox predation."

5.17 The Alliance suggests the Inquiry may be assisted by the research prepared by the Game Conservancy Trust, in order to assess whether there is a need to control the population of foxes or whether such control is effective. However, the true test of whether a fox is a pest is in the attitude of the human victims of fox predation.

5.18 The Inquiry may find it helpful to seek opinions from agricultural organisations on the necessary extent of fox control in livestock and arable areas respectively. Welsh and Cumbrian packs and fox destruction clubs would be likely to give evidence on how seriously fox control is taken in those regions.

Deer

5.19 The need to control deer appears to be widely accepted. They have no natural predators remaining in the UK fauna and if not controlled are a serious pest to agriculture and woodland. Their grazing can do considerable damage to a single landholding in a single night. They therefore put themselves at risk of arbitrary control.

5.20 The increase in the deer population is such that numbers can only be kept constant by culling approximately 20-22% of the annual population after allowing for natural mortality. The Forestry Commission control deer in nearly all of their woods, and where local hunting bans have been implemented by the Forestry Commission and the National Trust, each has continued to attempt to manage the deer herds by shooting. The deer hunts play a large part in culling deer, not only in normal hunting but also for casualty call outs.

5.21 The toleration extended to deer by West Country farmers, despite the damage they can do, is a cultural artefact, and hunting is the mainstay of that cultural norm. The Inquiry may wish to pay particular attention to the effect of the National Trust ban on hunting deer on Exmoor where deer are causing serious damage to farming interests without hunt management.

Hares

5.22 In arable areas hares feeding on growing crops (such as winter corn, oilseed rape, turnip and some horticultural crops) are considered damaging by farmers, although their pest status is not as high as that of foxes and deer. They also 'bark' young trees causing considerable damage to saplings. The distribution of the brown hare is extremely uneven and this may account for the belief by some that they are not a problem. However, this is not true. Although in livestock areas hares are rarely considered as a pest, in arable areas high numbers of hares on winter corn are considered damaging by most cereal farmers and regular winter culls are undertaken in these areas. The brown hare amply demonstrates the ability of hunting to conserve as well as cull, as discussed under Question 11 below.

Mink

5.23 The American mink is alien to the United Kingdom. It was imported from America in the 1920s for fur farming but some escaped and others were released by militant animal rights activists allowing the species to establish itself on British waterways. It breeds readily in the wild.

5.24 As an alien predator, mink upset the natural environmental balance where they are present. They prey on, for example, ground nesting birds, game and small mammals. In a recent report, the Vincent Wildlife Trust reported that the decline in the population of the British water vole "has accelerated in recent years due to predation by feral American mink," such that there has been a decline in the population of the British water vole of 88 % in the last 7 years. The Inquiry might find it helpful to refer to the further publications referred to in the Vincent Wildlife Trust's preliminary report in order to confirm the impact of American mink on native species such as the water vole.

5.25 The Alliance considers that, given its origins and the serious effects of its predation, there is no sound reason for maintaining the population of the American mink in Great Britain.

Conclusion

5.26 The Alliance is of the firm view that the populations of foxes, deer and hares all need to be controlled as part of the sustainable management of the British countryside. American mink should be eradicated from Great Britain.

 

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Question 6. What evidence is there about the advantages and disadvantages of hunting with dogs in terms of agriculture and pest control, compared with other possible forms of control?

Introduction

6.1 The contribution of hunting with dogs to pest control must be evaluated separately with regard to each pest species. However, fox, deer, hare and mink hunting have some things in common. The three main common benefits are:

The advantages common to hunting of all four quarry are considered at 6.2 to 6.12 below.

Free pest control

6.2 Hunting is a form of pest control which is free to those who benefit from it. By contrast, other forms of pest control, such as snaring, trapping or shooting all involve and impose financial cost on the party whose economic interest is intended to be protected. For example, in the cases of foxes:

A farmer might devote a night or several nights to lamping for foxes with a rifle. However, on top of a long day’s farming, the additional burden would be a heavy one.

Selectivity

6.3 Further, the selective nature of pest control by hunting is unique. The chase will tend to select weaker animals for culling, mimicking the effect of natural predation. Further, in relation to foxes, hunts can respond to call-outs and by following a line of scent from the scene of fox damage can selectively kill a problem fox. Shooting, trapping and quarrying can do neither of these things. For example, it is practically impossible to determine whether a lamped fox is a "problem" fox, or to determine its state of health, while traps and snares are even less selective.

Fallen stock service

6.4 Hunting with dogs provides a further agricultural benefit to farmers, in addition to that of pest control. The collection from farms of fallen stock, that is unsaleable dead farm animals, or the humane killing and collection of injured or sick animals (casualty stock), is an extremely important service. According to Cobham (1997), 179 hunts handled 352,004 carcases in 1995, being an average of 2,035 carcases per hunt. When the work of the harrier and beagle packs that also collected fallen stock was taken into account, Cobham estimated that the total number of carcases handled annually by all packs (fox, deer and hare) was 415,000. The National Survey of Hunts recorded that 200 of the packs surveyed currently provide a fallen stock service. These hunts handled a total of 366,000 carcases in the previous 12 months at an average cost to each hunt of £18,000 per annum.

6.5 This represents a significant proportion of fallen stock collected from farms. In 1998, the then Agriculture Minister, Mr Jeff Rooker MP, stated in a parliamentary written answer that:

"a small survey undertaken by the State Veterinary Service early this year indicate[d] that 55 % of calves, 35 % of adult bovines, 25 % of sheep and goats and 10 % of pigs and lambs, which have fallen, may be disposed of through hunt kennels".

6.6 The value of the service also appears to have been acknowledged by MAFF and other third parties:

6.7 Further, despite its ban on stag hunting on its land, it has been reported that the National Trust in Exmoor has continued to utilise the casualty stock service provided by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. The National Trust will no doubt be in position to verify this with the Inquiry.

6.8 The importance of the fallen stock service has also been emphasised by two local studies, namely the West Somerset District Council Report (1998-99), and the Wiltshire County Farms Report (1995):

"the hunt currently provides an important carcase disposal service to Council tenants, particularly those which are dairy farmers".

6.9 Although the service was traditionally provided without charge, a number of hunts now require a contribution to the cost of their fallen stock service. By way of example, the Quantock Hills Fallen Stock Service, operated by the Quantock Stag Hounds, charged the following sums as at September 1999:

It has been necessary to impose these costs because of the burden of regulation deriving from European directives on meat hygiene issues, and other restrictions and regulations imposed on the disposal of animal carcases, largely as a result of the BSE crisis. Nevertheless, the service rendered by hunts remains significantly cheaper than alternative options. According to the West Somerset District Council Report (1998-99):

"comments indicated that hunt kennels were considered efficient because they were local and also that as much as £80 per animal might have to be paid for alternative disposal".

Other benefits

6.10 The contribution of hunting with dogs to rural social life is considered under Questions 9 and 10 below. The opportunities offered by hunting can provide often isolated farmers with valuable recreational and social opportunities.

6.11 Although a more minor benefit, organised hunting also provides, to some degree, a ranger service for agricultural areas, reporting broken fences, loose animals, injured wildlife and suspicious human activity, as they perform a reconnaissance of the hunt country, as well as during hunting.

6.12 In addition, hunts provide an emergency call out service to deal with injured or terminally sick animals, where they are summoned to meet the needs of a particular farmer. This can be an important service. For example, the West Somerset District Council report study indicated that:

"most farmers with sheep enterprises within the Exford Case Study had called out the hunt at varying times within the preceding 5 years."

This service provided by staghound packs also covers humane disposal of deer injured in connection with road traffic accidents.

Foxes

6.13 Currently, there are four legal methods to control foxes:

6.14 No one method is suitable for all circumstances. Farmers, gamekeepers and conservationists need the range of choice at their disposal. Not all methods will always be suitable. For example, shooting may not be an option in areas to which the public may have access. If any one method is made illegal then pressure will be exerted on the remaining methods, and methods of control that are unreliable or currently illegal, such as poisoning and gassing, might become more prevalent. If hunting with dogs is banned, the only legal methods of fox control will be shooting and trapping (including snaring).

Shooting with rifles and shotguns, and trapping (including snaring)

6.15 The Alliance refers to the submission of Foresight, the Countryside Alliance Campaign for Shooting, with regard to the facts about these methods of control.

Digging using terriers

6.16 With regard to terriers, the Countryside Alliance refers to the independent submissions from the MFHA and the NWTF. In many parts of the country, terrier work is an essential part of fox control. It may be the only legal method available in areas where shooting, hunting or trapping are impractical or where the specific service is required. Although some terrier work is associated with hunting, most of it is practised by other associations (for example, the NWTF) or individuals, including game keepers.

6.17 Properly conducted and regulated terrier work provides an effective and humane method of targeted control of foxes in that it operates to kill a specific fox, a known rogue predator or a sick or injured fox. The amount of organised hunt terrier work varies enormously, between hunting countries and, indeed, locally within hunting countries themselves. Certain lowland hunts rarely dig out foxes that they run to ground (whereas many others do), whereas in hill countries, or on sheep farms, hunts may be asked to kill every such fox.

Hunting with dogs

6.18 Fox hunting is the only form of control that maintains accurate records of foxes killed. Returns to the National Survey of Hunts showed that 13,986 foxes were killed by the foxhound packs in the 1988-1999 season. There are no reliable ways of assessing numbers killed by other methods. In addition, there are many foxes killed by the harrier packs which hunt foxes, the Fell Packs, Gun Packs and other unregistered packs.

6.19 Research by the Game Conservancy Trust in three areas shows that of the methods of culling, fox hunting is the most used in two of their sample areas, Powys, and Leicestershire. In the third area, Norfolk, it ranked second.

6.20 Fox hunting is limited by:

6.21 Fox hunting has a number of features which distinguish it from other methods of control:

6.22 In any event, effectiveness of the different methods of hunting should not be judged solely on the number of kills. Fox hunting aims to achieve an even spread of healthy foxes throughout the area hunted at a level that is acceptable to the balance of wildlife and to livestock farmers and the managers of shoots.

Deer

6.23 There are only two legal methods of control of deer:

6.24 As to shooting with rifles, many of the limitations and advantages that apply to control of foxes apply equally to the control of deer. However, for deer there are some specific problems. For example, large areas of the West Country are unsuitable for shooting due to extensive free public access and the nature of the terrain. Further, where deer are culled by shooting, they become much more nervous of venturing into the open during the day, and therefore harder to manage.

6.25 The advantage and limitations as regards hunting of foxes without hounds apply equally for deer. On Exmoor, for example, hunting with hounds, as well as being used as a method of culling, is used to manage the distribution of deer and move local populations away from areas where they are causing damage. This is of obvious benefit to the farmers. It also means that the deer are less likely to be shot. The Inquiry may find it helpful to refer to the submission from the Masters of Deerhounds Association and the evidence the Inquiry receives from the Devon and Somerset Staghounds.

Hares

6.26 There are three legal methods of control of hares:

6.27 Hares are not normally shot with rifles as they present a moving target. Shotguns are more commonly used which has the adverse welfare implications dealt with under Question 14. The advantages and limitations of the above alternative methods of control of foxes apply equally to the control of hares, albeit the risk of wounding hares from shooting is slightly less because the hare is a smaller animal.

Mink

6.28 There are three legal methods of control of mink:

Shooting

6.29 Mink are rarely shot with rifles, as they only offer a small, moving target. Shotguns can provide a more effective means of control, usually in conjunction with dogs to despatch a wounded mink. Shotguns can also be used in conjunction with hunting with dogs. Under MMHA rules, the mink hunt should have access to a shotgun when hunting. This can, for example, enable a mink to be shot if it runs up a tree to evade hounds. Care must be taken when using shotguns to cull mink, in the same way as using shotguns to cull foxes.

Trapping

6.30 Trapping is the most common method of control. Mink will either be caught in a live cage trap, laid along riverbanks, or spring traps, which must be laid in tunnels. Traps must be checked at least once every twenty-four hours. Mink caught in cage traps are then despatched. Although it is sought to minimise the risk of trapping non-target species by careful laying of the traps, the risk cannot be eliminated.

Hunting with dogs

6.31 The Inquiry may be assisted by the submission of the MMHA for a fuller description of this form of control. Hunting with dogs can operate in conjunction with other forms of control, and as a means of control in its own right. For example, even if a mink hunt does not catch a mink, it can alert the landowner to the presence of mink on a stretch of river, thereby providing him with valuable information that he can utilise in implementing other methods of control. Hunting with dogs is also useful to catch "trap-shy" mink, when trapping methods have failed.

Conclusion

6.32 The different methods of quarry control complement each other. Some methods are suitable in particular areas, while others are not. Hunting with dogs is an important element of the system currently in place for control of the quarry species.

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Question 7. What evidence is there about the consequences for agriculture and pest control if hunting with dogs was banned completely?

Introduction

7.1 It has not been suggested, even by opponents of hunting, that foxes, deer, or mink should be made protected species. Accordingly, for so long as farmers and other individuals or organisations affected by these species continue to regard them as pests, or consider that their numbers need to be controlled for other reasons, the species will continue to be culled. There is no evidence to suggest that, if fox hunting was banned, the attitudes of those seeking to control their numbers would change. Indeed, other than for mink, if the resource value of the quarry species is lost, farmers will be less willing to tolerate these species.

7.2 Those to whom foxes, deer, hare and mink are a pest would suffer the following losses:

Fallen stock service

7.3 It has been suggested that the fallen stock service currently provided by hunts would be taken over by draghound packs, or that its loss would provide opportunities for the revival of local knacker businesses.

7.4 Dr Ward's suggestion that draghunting might provide an alternative stock collection service is founded upon the premise that there would be sufficient demand for draghunting for it to replace fox hunting if fox hunting was banned. Some of the factors relevant to this issue have been considered under Question 4 above. However, even if draghunting did replace fox hunting, the Alliance has serious doubts as to whether drag hunts would or could operate an adequate fallen stock service. Draghound packs probably would not have the resources to operate the service. Draghound packs are generally smaller than but cover much larger areas than live quarry packs. It is unlikely that they would be able to offer a service to all farmers in such a large area. Their service would have to be selective, meaning not only that farmers would receive a lesser service than that currently provided comprehensively by hunts, but also that the draghound packs by hunts would find it hard to maintain the goodwill of the farmers over whose land they required access.

7.5 If, as appears likely, draghound packs could not provide a comprehensive or reliable service, farmers would need to look to other means of disposal. The choices include burying or burning the carcases on their own land, or engaging the services of knacker men. Both would (and do) present practical difficulties.

7.6 The ability of farmers to bury dead livestock is limited by the key provisions of the Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water (published in 1991) which are designed to minimise the risk of causing water pollution. In brief, farmers should not bury dead livestock near water, as that poses a risk of contamination. Burial is also a time-consuming operation. Burning would require the operation of an incinerator. Purchase and installation of an incinerator is likely to cost over £5,000, and there will also be substantial installation charges. Installation and operation would require planning permission and a licence. Its subsequent operation requires significant expenditure of resources by the farmer, in terms of money (for fuel and maintenance) and time, for example, he must stoke the fire and insert the carcase into the incinerator. Neither burial nor burning will be realistic options for a great many farmers.

7.7 Use of a knacker man might also be problematic. The rural abattoir industry is currently in crisis. The knacker industry is unlikely to have the capacity to deal with even greater numbers of dead livestock. Further, the cost of any service provided by the knacker men would almost certainly be higher than the cost (if any) currently levied by hunts. If a service is not free it is likely to be subsidised. Knacker men could not do this as they must make a profit for their business to be viable. No doubt as a result of these and other factors, the West Somerset District Council Report (1998-99) suggested that each farmer currently using the fallen stock service would, on average, face an additional burden of over £200 per annum if forced to use the service of knacker men, rather than the hunt. This might be a burden that many farmers could ill afford, but if he did not dispose of the carcase in an approved manner, the farmer would commit a criminal offence.

7.8 The Inquiry may wish to carry out further research in order to quantify the full extent of the economic hardship that would arise from the loss of the fallen stock service provided by hunts. However, it would be reasonable to suggest that a knacker man would levy a charge of approximately £70 for collection of a cow or a horse but that hunts would charge perhaps £20 for the same service (that is, about £50 less per beast). The National Survey of Hunts found that hunts had collected 48,000 such animals in the last 12 months. At an average difference in price of £50 per beast, this would impose an additional burden on farmers of £2,400,000 per annum in respect of collection of cows and horses alone.

Mink

7.9 The consequences of a ban on hunting with dogs would be particularly acute in the case of mink. Mink hunts often alert riparian landowners that mink have arrived on the river bank. Following the discovery of mink by the hunt, the landowners can utilise every possible form of mink control. This opportunity to locate mink and then implement control methods would be lost if hunting with dogs was banned.

Deer

7.10 If hunting with dogs were to be banned, there would only be one legal method of control namely shooting, which would have to be employed regardless of local conditions such as the terrain and the presence of people. It would make culling more difficult and less selective. For areas unsuitable for shooting (for example, for safety considerations) the deer population will be uncontrolled. This will lead to the deer causing greater damage to crops, boundaries, hedgerows and woodland. This has already been shown to have happened in Exmoor after the National Trust ban of deer hunting on its land.

7.11 Where there are no other options for control there may be an increase in the use of illegal and dangerous methods, dangerous both to people and to livestock, for example by the amateur use of shotguns. Any deer that are wounded by shooting would suffer for longer because it is very difficult to locate and dispatch wounded deer without the use of hounds. Further welfare implications are considered in Question 14 below.

Conclusion

7.12 If hunting with dogs were to be banned completely, the consequences for agriculture and pest control would be severe. Farmers would lose not only the fallen stock service, but the other benefits of hunting, such as free pest control. Consequently, farmers would face increased costs and a valuable method of pest control would have been lost to them.

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Question 8. What other measures, if any, would need to be taken to protect agricultural interests and to control foxes, deer, mink and hares?

8.1 There are measures that would have to be taken by farmers, landowners and the government to protect agricultural interests if hunting with dogs were to be banned. However, whatever measures were taken, they would not compensate for the loss of the agricultural and pest control benefits provided by hunting.

8.2 For example, farmers would inevitably be forced to turn to the remaining means of pest control to replace the service provided by the hunts. They would have no choice but to spend their precious time and money on additional control equipment. and in some cases, learning how to use it properly. Many will not be able to afford to employ external pest control services, such as that of a marksman, and will have to spend more time on pest control themselves, and less time on farming. The disadvantages of the alternative methods are explained under Questions 6 and 14 of this submission.

8.3 Similarly, there will be pressure on the Government to ensure the provision of a cheap replacement service for the disposal of injured animals and carcases. As explained under 7.7 above, the rural abattoir industry is already in crisis. How could it possibly cope if the fallen stock services provided by the hunts were to cease? At current levels they almost certainly could not. Combined with the much increased costs of using an abattoir compared to a hunt, there is a real danger that farmers will resort to burying dead animals on their own land which may result in pollution.

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Question 9. In what ways, and to what extent, does the existence of hunting with dogs contribute to or impair the social and cultural life of the countryside?

Introduction

9.1 The Alliance responds to this Question by considering the following issues:

9.2 Before moving to these issues, the Alliance wishes to make the following general points:

What is the contribution of hunting with dogs to the social life of the countryside?

Hunts

9.3 The Alliance anticipates that the many personal submissions from hunt supporters to the Inquiry will explain much better than is possible in a formal submission how hunting with dogs contributes to social life in the countryside.

9.4 The culture of the hunting community involves people from widely differing income brackets and social backgrounds of a hugely varying age, and large numbers of both women and men. More than just a country pursuit, hunting gives participants a strong sense of belonging in following a shared activity. The Inquiry Committee will have been able to form its own view both from visits it has carried out and from the personal submissions it has seen.

9.5 The importance of the social network and sense of identity provided by hunting with dogs is, the Alliance believes, paramount in remote communities such as Exmoor, Cumbria and Wales where farm incomes are falling. Farmers occupy a unique place in the economic and social life of the countryside and the importance of hunting with dogs to this group is therefore especially important.

9.6 The Alliance understands that the organisation Endangered Exmoor is submitting evidence to the Inquiry. The Inquiry may find of particular assistance what is said by Endangered Exmoor about the importance of hunting in providing a social framework for communities. Also, the Alliance expects that the Inquiry will also receive submissions from Wales. The Alliance understands that, albeit in a small way, hunting with dogs has helped to alleviate the severe community disintegration experienced in ex-mining villages in South Wales.

Social events organised by hunts

9.7 It is not only the activity of hunting itself that provides a social focus for communities. The Inquiry will no doubt receive evidence from individual hunts about the social life surrounding hunting and the round of social events that hunts organise. This is at a time when the countryside is conspicuously under-served with the social venues and leisure activities that are very prevalent in urban areas for example, cinemas, restaurants, clubs and sports centres.

9.8 Around every hunt there exists a social life which matches the tastes and energies of the community. Annexed to this submission is a file containing the various materials produced by an example of 52 hunts attached as Annex 14. This may help the Inquiry Committee gain an insight into the diversity and importance of the hunt "socials" to countryside communities.

9.9 Listed below are a number of the social events organised by and around the hunts. Examples of all these events can be found in the materials attached at Annex 14. This is a very small sample of the social impact of hunts across Britain:

9.10 The National Survey of Hunts provides further information and statistics on the different types of social activities organised by Hunts.

9.11 Some of the social events organised around the hunts are intricately linked with the hunts themselves, for example, puppy shows. Puppy shows are important local events where all the young hounds of the hunts are shown as part of a social gathering. In many hunts, the same families have walked puppies for generations and the puppy show is an annual opportunity for them to come together. In some areas of England and Wales, puppy shows are major events in the social life of the community, for example, in the Fells.

9.12 The Alliance strongly believes that the consequences of a ban on hunting with dogs would mean the end of the activities listed above. Whilst individually the events listed in 9.9 above, and similar activities, on their own may seem relatively routine and not dependent on hunting, the fact is they are organised by the hunting community. It is hunting and its community which provides the dominant social focus, and the organisation of these events is so intimately bound up with the hunting community, it would be difficult for countryside communities to find rapidly another focus to provide the same bond and desire in people to meet. Once discontinued, the Alliance believes their recreation would be all but impossible. On a more tangible level, the need for some activities may quite simply disappear. For example, even if drag and bloodhound hunting offset the detrimental consequences of a ban on hunting with dogs to at least a minimal degree, the Alliance is certain that there would be less puppies and hounds for community members to walk.

Point-to-points

9.13 Point-to-point horse races are almost always run solely by hunts for hunts. There are 209 listed point-to-point race meetings, and 189 are organised by hunts. They are self-supporting, and require no public funding or support. Hunting communities are significant contributors to these events that vary in nature a great deal according to the area of England or Wales.

9.14 The Alliance is aware that many involved in point-to-point racing believe that a consequence of a ban on hunting would be the end of point-to-pointing. The Alliance understands that Hugh Condry (a writer, on point-to-pointing for The Daily Telegraph and Racing Post) is making a submission to the Inquiry and that the chairman of Weatherbys Group Limited is also making a submission. Copies of these submissions have been supplied to the Alliance. The Alliance refers the Inquiry to these submissions but also makes the following points in particular:

"These people - and an average meeting would require at least 70, with the figure rising to over 100 for the larger fixtures - all give their services entirely free; they are happy to do so because they know that they are working in aid of their local hunt. It is noticeable that at the few Area Club point-to-points which do exist - and where the link with an individual hunt may not be so strong - this voluntary labour is much more difficult to come by and often less reliable".

9.15 Indeed, the Alliance believes that hunting with dogs is important in sustaining horse riding and other equestrian activities at all levels. This is already touched on from an economic perspective earlier in this overview submission. The Alliance considers that from a social perspective also, hunting with dogs sustains many different types of equestrian activity.

9.16 The Alliance does not deal with these issues in detail here since independent organisations will no doubt submit evidence to the Inquiry on this subject. However, the Alliance would like to highlight two pieces of evidence that have been brought to its attention: the submissions of the British Horse Trials Association and those of a voluntary youth worker.

9.17 The British Horse Trials Association recognises in its submission that the majority of horse eventing is wholly reliant on volunteers, who are principally sourced from the local hunt. Another interesting aspect is the education provided by hunting with dogs:

"The sport has written into its charter to provide and aid the education of its participants. It actively encourages riders and horses to make greater use of hunting as the training-ground to provide both with a stronger and safer base from which to develop their eventing skills".

9.18 The Alliance recognises that the alternatives of drag or bloodhound hunting might also teach prospective professional riders skills of horsemanship, but the fact is that these options are available now and are not as popular as hunting quarry in this regard. Indeed, the British Horse Trials Association state:

"Draghunting is often considered a viable alternative to hunting. It is a completely different sport and unlike hunting it is rare to find a potential or current Event horse that can benefit from draghunting without becoming over-excited and reckless. The sport is conducted at a maintained and faster pace than hunting, over a pre-arranged route, eliminating the element of unpredictability that so embellishes the learning of a skill."

9.19 Giving a different perspective entirely, Mrs Dawn Wofford, a former professional rider and volunteer youth worker, has sent evidence to the Inquiry explaining how hunting with dogs provides fun and fulfilment for non-competitive children, many of whom have ponies which are not capable of competing. Hunting with dogs sustains Pony Clubs in this regard by offering a non-competitive equestrian activity for children. Equally, she notes that many children who attend Pony Clubs and hunt later go on to be Britain's international and Olympic representatives, leading race horse trainers and jockeys. Hunting provides a flexible recreation to children interested in horses:

"Children have the opportunity to hunt from the beginning of the season (after the harvest) until mid-March. Some children enjoy autumn hunting, others prefer winter hunting. Some hunt regularly every Saturday and during school holidays from September until March. Others hunt a few times each season. At present the opportunity and the choice is theirs."

Country fair and shows

9.20 Small country shows and large ones, from the Pembroke Farmers Club Annual Show to the Badminton Horse Trials, are the social glue of rural Britain. They attract large attendances from a wide range of people and provide a focus for countryside life. The most recent Country Landowners Association Game Fair attracted 101,000 visitors over three days, while the Royal Show saw 175,000 visitors over four days. Even smaller country shows, such as the Annual Shropshire Show in Shrewsbury, achieve visits at levels of approximately 50,000 in two days.

9.21 On 9th February, 2000, the Alliance wrote to 30 country show organisers to ask whether they agreed that country shows are a "social glue" which attract "large attendances from a wide mix of people". To date, 14 have replied: none have objected to this statement and some have endorsed it roundly. The letters are available to the Inquiry if it wishes to see them.

9.22 The Alliance understands that the Inquiry is likely to receive submissions direct from the organisers of some country shows, explaining the importance of hunting with dogs to these events. For example, the Alliance has seen a copy of a letter from the show director of Lowther Driving Trials and Country Fair which states:

" I think my Committee would find it extremely difficult to run the show if the hunting element was removed".

9.23 Equally, a letter from the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Society states that:

"without the attractions provided by hunting orientated activities, we would be hard pressed to fill our day's programme".

9.24 The long-term effect of a removal of the hunting element from these shows is hard to predict. The Alliance does not claim that the country shows could not operate without the hound shows or stalls on hunting in the year following any introduction of a ban on hunting with dogs. However, the loss of hunting to such country shows is well described by the Cotswold Show & Country Fair in their letter to the Inquiry, a copy of which has also been passed to the Alliance:

"There is no doubt that hunting does have its own position at the Fair as it is an integral part of rural life. This is also reflected through a considerable number of trade stands be they selling hunting equipment or hunting prints. The effect on demand for the latter may be debatable. The Country Fair could certainly be run without hunting although its absence I feel would be extremely detrimental as it is very much part of the countryside and in many ways responsible for the shaping of the landscape."

9.25 The Alliance believes that this list of social and cultural benefits of hunting is important and should not be under-estimated. However, as noted at the outset, this submission will always be unable to convey in words the spirit that pervades hunting and hunting people. It is the community of feeling that flows from a shared passion, a shared respect for skill with horse or hound and a shared love of the countryside, and ultimately, respect for the quarry species. It will be as difficult for the Inquiry to make findings about this community of feeling as it will be for hunting people to give evidence about it. But if hunting is criminalised, the Alliance has no doubt that the community of feeling will be lost forever.

Does hunting with dogs impair the social life of the countryside in any way?

9.26 The social activities described above are enjoyed by the young and old and those across all strata of society. The Alliance does not believe that hunting impairs the social life of the countryside. Indeed, for the reasons stated above, the Alliance believes the position is quite the reverse.

9.27 Nevertheless, the following arguments have been proposed as to why hunting with dogs may impair the social life of the countryside:

9.28 The first argument is that hunting with dogs is a repellent spectacle that is likely to deter visitors to rural areas and to harm tourist business. For example, on 28th November, 1997 Mrs Jackie Ballard told the House of Commons:

"There might be many more visitors [to Exmoor] if they did not fear the awful spectacle of an animal being chased to its death by a pack of hounds, people on horseback and distant, four-wheeled followers".

9.29 Correspondence with the British Tourist Authority does not support such an assertion. According to the British Tourist Authority policy office:

"We do not analyse complaints from tourists in such a way as to enable me to give a definitive answer to your enquiry. However, I can find no record of my Department ever having received any complaint about fox hunting."

9.30 The second argument is that hunting with dogs is resented by some and that this causes some kind of cultural strain.

9.31 The reality is that within countryside communities, there is almost no social friction as a result of hunts. An extensive survey carried out by Country Illustrated magazine (to which more than 15,000 responded) demonstrated that only 9% of the country dweller respondents considered fox-hunting harmful to the countryside. A mere 6% considered beagling harmful. Those who hunt and those who do not wish to take part will drink in the same village pubs. Indeed, hunting "arguments" are often a popular part of socialising in the village pub. It is, the Alliance submits, perfectly possible for members of a countryside community to have differences of opinion without a cultural strain. There is, for example, no evidence that the strong hunting themes of pubs in Exmoor have any deleterious effect on non-hunting business.

9.32 Cultural strain between town and country is over-stated. It should be remembered that the contribution of hunting with dogs to the social life of England and Wales extends beyond its importance in the countryside to the relationship between town and country. Hunting with dogs remains one of the few ways in which people who live in towns can participate actively in real rural life, and inject money into it. Within urban areas, hunting has its strongest and most long-standing roots in working class communities.

9.33 The Alliance is aware that those opposed to hunting, and to an extent, certain sections of the media, argue that hunting with dogs causes moral depravation in those who follow hunts. The Alliance believes that the argument is that hunting with dogs will over time encourage the participants of hunting, and especially children, to develop a propensity to violence.

9.34 The members of the Inquiry Committee are making field visits and will be able to judge for themselves whether hunting with dogs causes moral depravation in hunt followers. The Alliance would simply point out that very few members or followers of hunts witness the death of the quarry, and it is therefore difficult to see what it is that could corrupt the hunt followers. On the contrary, the hunting community cares deeply for animals, and the hunting process itself engenders great respect for the quarry species. There is no evidence that hunting causes violent or criminal behaviour among its participants.

What is the contribution of hunting with dogs to the cultural life of the countryside?

9.35 Hunting with dogs provides over 1,000 years of history through literature, art, music and architecture. Mention is made in passing of the art of Stubbs and Wootton and the fact that hunting was an integral part of some of the greatest early twentieth century literature, exemplified by Masefield and Sassoon.

9.36 The Alliance expects that experts on the historical contribution of hunting with dogs to the culture of England and Wales will be submitting their own evidence to the Inquiry. The Alliance would respectfully refer the Inquiry to the evidence of Gregory Way on literature, Julie Spencer on art, Andrew Sallis on music and Robin Bryer on architecture, each of whom have contacted the Alliance to say that they will be submitting evidence.

9.37 However, the cultural importance of hunting with dogs is not historical only. There is a contemporary importance of hunting with dogs to the culture of England and Wales. Culturally important late twentieth century books include "The Fox and the Orchid" and "The Hunting Gene" written by Robin Page and "On Hunting" by Roger Scruton. There is a wide range of cultural and literary materials available as a result of hunting with dogs. An illustrative example is the list of books and music advertised in the Hounds Magazine:

9.38 A further example is provided by Halsgrove Country Classics who have recently distributed a flyer advertising "a new series of books for those who love the countryside and the country way of life", and these include the following new titles/reprints:

9.39 Allens, the Horseman's Bookshop, holds 51 current titles on hunting in stock. A list is attached at Annex 15.

9.40 The above is just a small sample from the vast amount of material which the Alliance believes is of important continuing popularity and enduring significance to the history and tradition of England and Wales and their people.

9.41 Those who make their living by maintaining and expanding the culture relating to hunting, may not feature predominantly in any statistics relating to the rural economy, but their continuation in business is evidence of the ongoing contribution of hunting to culture.

9.42 Below is a small selection of artists currently advertising their skills to produce hunting art. Their advertisements appeared in Country Life, The Field and Country Illustrated magazines during last year and are attached as Annex 16.

9.43 It is possible that some of these artists will write to the Inquiry explaining their own views. The Alliance understands that to some of them, hunting art is by far the largest proportion of their work. The Inquiry has been sent a copy, for example, of a letter dated 4th February, 2000 to the Inquiry from a Mr Leslie Clark. Mr Clark wrote to say that he and his partner, Rosemary Park, paint hunting paintings and about 50% of their business this year is the production of a set of limited edition prints of five Scottish Borders/Northumberland Hunts for which they will be paid £27,000. Mr Clark has informed the Alliance that both he and his partner are likely to go out of business if hunting is banned.

9.44 An entirely different aspect of the contribution to culture to the countryside is the skill of breeding and training hounds and horses. Breeding lines go back for centuries evidenced by breeding records showing local diversity. The importance of this should not be forgotten, and has been recorded in the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book. An extract from the Foxhound Kennel Stud Book was, the Alliance understands, annexed to the MFHA's submission to the Inquiry.

9.45 Such is the importance of hunting to the culture of the countryside, hunting is frequently covered in education teaching schemes by bodies such as the Countryside Foundation For Education. The Alliance is aware that Dawn Goodfellow from the Countryside Foundation is writing to the Inquiry explaining views of the Countryside Foundation on this issue.

Does hunting with dogs impair the cultural life of the countryside?

9.46 All contributions from all walks of life and religions are valuable in creating the culture of our society. This is the very reason why they should not be obliterated for the reason of intolerance alone. The Alliance has seen no credible evidence of social or cultural impairment from hunting. On the contrary, the Alliance has witnessed many examples artificially generated to create that impression in urban magazines and groups.

Conclusion

9.47 The day of the squire hunting on his estate with a few friends, which is still often mistaken as the typical pattern of hunting, has gone forever. Hunting provides a very important social glue and ongoing culture that is extremely important to hundreds of thousands of people in England and Wales. It is diverse, socially and economically inclusive, and classless.

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Question 10. What evidence is there as to its importance generally or in particular areas?

Introduction

10.1 The response to Question 9 above contains evidence of the importance of hunting with dogs to the social and cultural life of the countryside. In answering this Question, the Alliance draws to the attention of the Inquiry the relevant surveys and reports which the Inquiry may find of interest.

Evidence of the importance of hunting with dogs to the social life of the countryside

10.2 In order to produce evidence of the importance of hunting with dogs to the social life of the countryside, the various Masters Associations carried out a survey of the 302 registered hound packs in England and Wales. 285 of these hunts completed the questionnaire in January 2000. The survey objectives stated as follows:

"Hunting with dogs is an integral part of much rural life. The objective of this survey is to indicate the breadth and scale of the involvement of local Hunts within the community not just on hunting days but throughout the year and at a social as well as sporting level."

10.3 The Alliance has commissioned the independent analyst, David Corbett (working with Produce Studies Limited) to provide a report on these results for the Inquiry. The Produce Studies' Report on the National Survey of Hunts will be submitted direct to the Inquiry.

10.4 The executive summary of the Report reads as follows:

10.5 The importance of this infrastructure and social life is not reserved to any one type of person. When John Scott Henderson K.C. reported in 1951 he said the following:

"We think it right to mention that one of the objections to field sports which, although not always expressed is obviously often assumed, is that they are the pursuits of the idle rich, and, as such, should not be tolerated."

Scott Henderson stated:

"Even if this was at any time true, it is by no means so now".

10.6 It is still less true now, even though the general public may not be aware of this fact. Indeed, some anti-hunting organisations deliberately attempt to maintain this myth. Such views are in any event discriminatory and socially exclusive. If an activity is legitimate, it is equally so whichever social group, and however small that group, is undertaking it.

10.7 The Occupation Survey carried out by the MFHA demonstrates the range of occupations of those who participate in hunting with dogs. 30 hunts were asked to complete a basic questionnaire. 20 of these have completed the task already. The remaining returns will, the Alliance understands, be delivered to the Inquiry when received. The pilot hunts were drawn to represent foxhound, staghound and beagle packs and to represent different regions around the country. The purpose of the survey, as a pilot, was not evidently to try to draw a comprehensive picture but to try to obtain some reasonable representation of the very wide range of occupations undertaken by riders and foot and car followers of hunts.

10.8 By way of example, Mr Corbett says the following about the Warwickshire Hunt, a typical Midlands hunt:

"They have listed 224 mounted followers who between them have 113 different jobs or occupations. Their 335 regular foot and car followers list 127 different occupations. Agricultural work, of some sort, accounts for 22% and 23% respectively of mounted and foot followers "

10.9 The Alliance understands that the completed returns have been submitted to the Inquiry separately by Mr Corbett.

10.10 Similarly, the results of the hunt supporters clubs survey carried out by the Alliance in February 2000 for the purposes of this Inquiry show very clearly the socio-economic diversity of those who follow hunts. David Corbett (working with Produce Studies Limited) has also been instructed by the Alliance to analyse this survey.

10.11 The following information is taken from the Produce Studies' Executive Summary:

- retired 20%

- agricultural workers 17%

- 'professionals' 14%

- living in a rural situation 41%

- living in a village 23%

- living in a town 17%

- living in a city 7%

- 75% follow by car

- 15% follow on foot

- 6% follow on motorbike

- 4% follow on bicycles

10.12 Independent research has also emphasised the importance of hunting with dogs to the social life of the countryside. Two 1993 reports on deer hunting covered the importance of hunting to the social life of the communities where the hunts took place.

10.13 The first independent report is by a number of academics to the National Trust. Set out below is an extract from the report on the findings of the authors about the importance of hunting to the social life of the countryside community:

"Of the total sample of 325 subscriber households over three-quarters (79%) attended at least one Devon & Somerset Staghounds function and over one third (35%) attended at least one Quantock Staghounds function. Of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds subscribers, 85% went to at least one Devon & Somerset Staghounds function, and of the Quantock Stagounds subscribers, 84% went to at least one Quantock Staghounds function. Table 8.3 shows the range of different functions attended by the respondents or members of their households in 1990-91. The range of different functions attended is particularly striking. More than a third of the respondents and their households from each hunt attended 10 or more different types of function.

In order to gain some impression of the importance of the hunts for the social life of the area subscribers were asked to state how important the hunt was to their social activities (see Table 8.4). The answers show that the subscribers place a very high value on the social aspects of the hunts. Almost two thirds (63%) of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds subscribers and three quarters (75%) of the Quantock Staghounds subscribers stated that the hunt was "very" or "extremely" important to their social activities".

10.14 The chapter on social and other activities linked to stag hunting concluded as follows:

"Our evidence suggests high levels of involvement and cohesiveness encompassing the whole age range and providing numerous occasions on which people from isolated rural areas get together. There is a sense of community which is based on shared activities as well as shared values".

10.15 The second independent report is the Report to the Council of the National Trust by the Deer Working Party. The following is an extract:

"We recognise that a ban on hunting on Trust land would be very unpopular with most of the tenant farmers. The consequences of this should not be underestimated because, as already noted, the management of the Trust's land is predominantly in the hands of its tenant farmers. The effectiveness of that management is dependant upon mutual trust and co-operation.

In a broader context the Country landowners Association in its written evidence made this comment:

"It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of stag hunting to the local community. For many it is the cornerstone of their lives. It is the traditional form of recreation for many of the inhabitants of Exmoor. It is rich in lore and legend and is a crucial part of local culture."

The evidence presented made it clear beyond any doubt that hunting is a thread running through the whole fabric of the local community"

10.16 As an example of one further independent report which cites the importance of hunting with dogs to the social life of the countryside, the Alliance would draw to the Inquiry's attention the 1999 Report to the Rural Economy Working Group of West Somerset District Council The authors reported the same phenomena as the 1993 Royal Agricultural College Report. They stated the earlier reports:

"highlighted and commented upon the very high levels of involvement and cohesiveness demonstrated by the staghunting communities on Exmoor and Quantocks, a community which, they argue, was based on shared activities as well as shared values. We now find that foxhunting and beagling communities demonstrate the same distinctive characteristics as the staghunters."

10.17 The Alliance's petition, signed by those who support hunting with dogs, demonstrates the importance of hunting with dogs to a wide cross section of regions of Great Britain. In total 418,780 people signed the petition. The breakdown of signatures is as follows:

The original petition is available for examination by the Inquiry should the Committee wish to inspect it.

Evidence of the importance of hunting with dogs to the culture of the countryside

10.18 The National Survey of Hunts notes that:

"hunts are a significant part of the history of the country. 50% of all hunts were founded before 1869."

10.19 The Inquiry may be aware of The Museum of Hunting Trust. This is a body that is establishing a National Hunting Museum to house records of the cultural importance of hunting with dogs over the last three centuries. The hunting community has raised £96,000 and the Museum of Hunting Trust has received favourable replies to requests for a further £20,000 from Leicestershire County Council and Melton Borough Council. Importantly, an application is now in the process of being finalised with the Heritage Lottery Fund. Clearly, in this regard, the importance of hunting with dogs to the culture of the countryside has been recognised at a national level.

10.20 The continuing sales of Baily's Hunting Directory, and its associated publications, number several thousands each year. They are sold as much abroad as in Britain, especially in North America, is also testimony to the fact that many people in England and Wales view hunting with dogs not only as a sporting and social activity, but as an important part of the culture of England and Wales. The Directory itself has been published more or less annually since 1897 and is itself an important part of the countryside's heritage.

10.21 The value of the hunting art market testifies to the importance of hunting to the cultural life of the countryside, and indeed of England and Wales in general. The Alliance is aware that Hugo Swire, a Director at Sotheby's, is writing to the Inquiry in a personal capacity to testify to the importance of hunting with dogs to the art market. Indeed, Sotheby's is holding a 'Country Sports Sale' in March this year, in which the Alliance would expect to see much art relating to hunting with dogs.

Conclusion

10.22 The Alliance believes that there is a vast amount of evidence for the statement that hunting with dogs is important to both the social and cultural life of the countryside and the Alliance awaits with interest to see the results of the Inquiry's research contract 4.

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Question 11. What evidence is there about the present effect of hunting with dogs on preserving or damaging habitats and on the management and conservation of wildlife, including the quarry species?

Introduction

11.1 In January 1994, following the United Nations conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the UK government produced a document entitled "Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan". This stated that:

"managed sustainably, exploitation can bring conservation benefits, not just to populations of quarry species but to other species which benefit from the creation and maintenance of wildlife habitats."

11.2 This provision of the UK Action Plan on Biodiversity reflects the reality that if a party has an interest in maintaining a habitat, he is more likely to maintain that habitat than if he does not. Those who obtain benefit through hunting with dogs, whether economic or otherwise, have an interest in ensuring that hunting continues. They want to preserve a balance, such that a species survives, but causes only a tolerable amount of damage. They therefore have an interest in preserving the habitat of the quarry species.

11.3 Issues concerning the welfare of the quarry species as a whole are also dealt with under Questions 5 to 8, 13 and 14 of this submission. Issues relating to the individual species are set out below.

Foxes

11.4 Historically and traditionally, fox hunting with dogs has made a contribution to planting, management and conservation of woodland, hedges and other forms of cover in which foxes generally live. Hedges are important corridors for isolated communities of species in Britain, as emphasised by the E.C. Conservation (National Habitat) Regulations. The practice of laying hedges by hunts serves to increase the conservation value of hedgerows by encouraging dense growth and binding the vegetation together. Hedgerows trimmed using tractor-mounted flails, which is less labour intensive, tend to become ‘relict', that is gappy and discontinuous, which significantly reduces their ecological value.

11.5 In his study, "Running with the Fox" (Unwin Hyman, London, 1987), Professor David Macdonald stated:

"In a survey of over 800 farmers, I found that those that were enthusiastic fox hunters had removed 35% less hedgerows than the average farmer".

11.6 The Game Conservancy Trust has initiated a pilot project at the request of the Alliance into the contribution of fox hunting to biodiversity, and will the Alliance understands, be making a short submission to the Inquiry in order to report on the research undertaken to date.

11.7 In the meantime, the Alliance suggests that the best evidence of the contribution of hunting to the management and conservation of wildlife and the preservation of habitats can be found through the contemporary evidence of steps being taken by individual hunts, or through reports of conservation and management activities carried out in connection with hunting.

11.8 In this regard, a survey of 98 fox hound packs commissioned by the Campaign for Hunting in 1995 indicated that those packs were responsible for the management of 15,665 acres of mostly broad-leaved woodland, the majority of which was planted specifically for hunting in some areas. This is a larger area of woodland than the National Nature Reserves managed by English Nature.

11.9 Further, Cobham (1997) reported that, out of 158 Lowland MFHA packs, 95% carried out gate repairs and hanging, 82% carried out bridle path work, 60% carried out laying and management and 22% hedge laying.

11.10 More particular examples of conservation work encouraged or promoted by hunts or participation in hunting include the following:

11.11 The Alliance holds information on areas managed by a number of other hunts, and will be happy to supply details to the Inquiry if that would be helpful.

Deer

11.12 Landowners and farmers will not and cannot tolerate the losses caused by unmanaged red deer herds. For the most part, control is undertaken by regulated shooting. However, in areas where deer hunting is allowed and suitable, landowners and farmers ensure that a sufficient number of deer are left for winter hunting. The herds of deer survive because they are prepared to tolerate them. To ban hunting would remove the motivation to conserve; and the deer population would almost certainly decline.

11.13 In areas where hunting has ceased, so too has the deer population has declined as has the quality of the herd. For example, in parts of Exmoor where as a result of the National Trust ban there is no longer hunting, deers are causing more damage to farming interests. As a result, more deer are being shot and the population is decreasing. Farmers are simply not prepared to tolerate the damage, where they can no longer participate in hunting and the "dispersal" effect of hunting no longer exists:

"No-one can be sure that it would be possible to achieve an adequate deer management scheme in the absence of hunts and of the support they receive from the local community and the farmers. What is certain is that it would be far easier to achieve an effective deer management scheme with the active co-operation of the hunts because of their significance as a local binding force."

The Alliance believes that it will assist the Inquiry in its assessment of these issues to seek evidence on the effects of the National Trust ban on deer hunting.

11.14 Those with hunting interests in Exmoor (for example, the Badgeworthy Land Company) are actively involved in conservation. Many hunt followers and supporters are involved in an annual count of the deer and work closely with the Exmoor and District Deer Management Society.

Hares

Coursing

11.15 Between 1988 and 1990 the Game Conservancy Trust investigated the effect of hare coursing on hare populations in two estates where coursing took place. This research was undertaken against an earlier background of a declining hare population nationally during the period 1960 to 1980 and the brown hare being a species of concern and subject of the Biodiversity Action Plan (which aims to double the numbers of hares in Britain by 2010). They found that on these estates, hare numbers were retained at relatively high densities compared with the countryside in general, and that the direct mortality associated with hare coursing was very low compared with the overall mortality that might be expected in hare populations.

11.16 The Game Conservancy Trust also found that coursing estates:

Beagling

11.17 In 1989 and 1990 the Game Conservancy Trust studied the impact of beagling on hare populations at nine different sites around the country. It was found that on average beagling removed less than 1.7% of the hare population with a maximum of 7.1% in one instance.

11.18 It is interesting to note the difference with hare shooting. Between 1988 and 1991 the Game Conservancy Trust visited four estates which had organised hare shoots to count hares before and after the shooting days; they found that the size of the cull ranged from 40% to nearly 70% of the population, that is, far greater than for beagling.

11.19 Beagling makes an important contribution to the study of hare numbers which in itself is a conservation benefit. For example, the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles Rules provide that all Masters of Hounds may be required to complete a "Hare Survey Form" giving details of hares seen on each day's hunting. Further:

"Masters are required to maintain a basic knowledge of the hare population throughout their registered country and to encourage that population at an appropriate level".

11.20 The data is collated by the Game Conservancy Trust and assists with the monitoring of the health of the hare population. This is an obligation imposed on the Government under the European Biodiversity Plan. Since each pack may have well in excess of 30 or more hunting days in a season and visiting many localities, the amount of ground covered is extensive and produces a large sample size.

Mink

11.21 Mink hunts do not carry out conservation work in order to encourage survival of mink. They do not wish to encourage the continued existence of American mink and their work is aimed at reducing numbers of mink. By doing so, the hunts contribute to the effort to maintain biodiversity in the face of predation by this alien species. The Alliance refers further to Question 5 above, and, in particular, the details of predation by mink on water voles.

Conclusion

11.22 Those who hunt with dogs have an interest in maintaining a balanced population of the quarry species (other than American mink). Accordingly, they carry out substantial amounts of work that contribute to the management and conservation of the British countryside. This has benefits extending far beyond the management of the population at a level that is both sustainable, and creates and preserves habitats for numerous other plans and animals.

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Question 12. What would be the impact on these matters of a ban?

12.1 The conservation benefits of hunting with dogs have been outlined under Question 11. The benefits and the possible impact of a ban on hunting with dogs were summarised by the New Scientist magazine as follows:

"Foxhunting has helped change the British landscape. Areas where it is common often have more hedgerow and thickets which benefit other wildlife besides the fox. These would disappear if hunting was banned."

12.2 It is not clear over what time scale the hedgerows and thickets would disappear. However, in order to assess the impact of a ban on hunting, it would be necessary to consider whether farmers currently carrying out management and conservation work because of their interest in hunting would continue to carry out that work, and what the costs and benefits of their doing so would be.

12.3 The following work which is now carried out as a result of hunting has significant cost implications which farmers would have far less incentive to bear:

12.4 Hunting with dogs provides a significant incentive for farmers and landowners to manage their land in a way that promotes biodiversity and to tolerate the quarry species. Removal of this incentive is unlikely to help the cause of conservation. A ban on hunting would be bad for conservation of habitats, wildlife and the quarry species itself.

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Question 13: What evidence is there at present about the effect of hunting with dogs on the welfare of the quarry species or on the welfare of other animals, including those used in hunting activities and domestic pets and farm animals which may be affected accidentally?

Welfare of the quarry species

Introduction

13.1 The present effect of hunting with dogs on the welfare of the quarry species must be considered in relation to:

The need to cull, control and manage the quarry species

13.2 There is a need to cull, control and manage the quarry species for the reasons explained under Questions 6 and 11 above.

Welfare of the U.K. population of the species as a whole

13.3 Animal welfare and conservation are inextricably linked and for this reason this section overlaps with Question 11 above. The emphasis on the welfare of a small selection of individual quarry and the failure to address comprehensive inter-species and habitat relationships will jeopardise biodiversity. There has to be extensive analysis of the relationship between biodiversity and hunting with dogs such that the overall impact of a ban on UK biodiversity could be predicted. Even opponents of hunting do not suggest that it is detrimental to the quarry species: their attack is focused exclusively on the individual animals hunted.

13.4 Hunting with dogs is not a process of extermination (with the exception of American mink), it is one of control and management. Active steps are taken to preserve the habitat for hunted species. In the absence of hunting, these habitats may not be as well maintained or even preserved as habitats. This is a particular consideration at a time when agricultural incomes generally are under severe pressure. Hunting with dogs also means that people are more willing to tolerate the impact and population densities of animals that in normal circumstances would be considered only as pests and treated as such.

13.5 In contrast with other methods of control (but with the exception of American mink), hunting with dogs offers a number of benefits to the quarry species:

Welfare of the individual hunted animal

13.6 It is important to bear in mind that:

13.7 Current evidence endorses the belief among hunting communities and those with the most knowledge of the countryside that, compared with the alternatives, hunting with dogs is at least as humane a culling method as other available methods:

13.8 This section on the welfare of the hunted animal will be dealt under the following headings which are listed here for ease of reference:

The duration of the hunt and its effect

13.9 The length of the hunt in fox hunting has been estimated at an average of 16.8 minutes. The Alliance recognises that this figure may be of limited evidential value, because the data was collected from only one pack of foxhounds between mid September and early December 1979. The Campaign for Hunting therefore undertook a survey in 1997 whereby 12 different huntsmen were asked to time the length of the chase over a three week period between 27th January and 15th February, 1997. The results were as follows:

The Alliance believes these figures to be fairly representative of the average foxhunt. Attached as Annex 17 is a copy of a table summarising the results. The raw data is available to the Inquiry should the Inquiry wish to review it.

13.10 In deer hunting, the average hunt is 19km over three hours. The typical hare hunt will last between 60 and 90 minutes. An average hare course lasts 35-40 seconds. The average mink hunt lasts from two minutes up to two hours. The chase is never continuous except for the shortest hunts, but consists of sporadic escape followed by longer periods as hounds (or harriers or beagles) attempt to re-find a lost scent.

13.11 Hunting with dogs is the hunting of the quarry in its wild and natural state. It does not involve any artificial prolongation of the chase. The Alliance knows of no evidence to suggest that it does. The hounds and the huntsmen want to catch the quarry. The hounds travel quickly and have excellent stamina. Whilst any dog hunting by scenting ability runs slower than those that hunt by sight, hounds have to be used because of their ability to locate quarry by scent where sight dogs would not be able to locate them. The length of a hunt can vary from seconds (where the quarry is caught before it has a chance to escape) or for a longer time when the hounds have to give chase. The ability of hunting with dogs to cull the old, weak and the wounded and disperse the species depends on the chase.

Foxes

13.12 There is a wealth of evidence from experienced and careful observers that foxes do not appear to be distressed whilst being hunted and there is no scientific evidence that they are. After a detailed analysis of evidence as to the behaviour of a fox during the chase, the Phelps (1997) report concluded:

"we feel unable to conclude at this time that the typical chase which results in a fox being caught and killed by hounds above ground, constitutes cruelty. Without doubt, the fox experiences a mixture of excitement, tension, fear and physical stress, and a final brief period of acute distress, before it is killed almost instantaneously by the lead hound which breaks its neck. But the levels of disturbance are no greater or more prolonged than those that occur routinely in nature when any type of predator stalks, kills and hunts it prey. Furthermore, the fox is, itself, the most clever and cunning of predators and it is superbly equipped, both mentally and physically, to take on board and generally cope with the vicissitudes of the Chase."

 

Deer

13.13 In April, 1995 the Council of the National Trust invited Professor Bateson to study suffering as a welfare factor in the management of red deer on National Trust properties on Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. Professor Bateson reported to the National Trust in April 1997 (the "Bateson Report"). Professor Bateson concluded that deer had not evolved to cope with the exercise imposed by hunting and were therefore pushed beyond their physiological limits. Therefore, he surmised, they suffered severely during the chase and those escaping would have prolonged and painful periods of recovery and some might die.

13.14 Professor Bateson intimated that the strongest evidence for his conclusions came from new discoveries about the physiological state of the deer at the time of the kill. However, the Bateson Report was published before being fully examined by his 'advisory panel' (who in any case lacked the relevant expertise to authoritatively comment on the report) and, more crucially, was not exposed to the standard procedure of a full anonymous peer review. Since its publication, the Bateson Report has been the subject of considerable debate.

13.15 The paper "Physiological Effects of Hunting Red Deer", which was published by Professor Bateson in the Proceedings of the Royal Society in December 1997 (eight months after the Bateson Report), was very different. This paper did not contain some of the key damaging conclusions contained in the Bateson Report. In particular, it did not repeat the erroneous conclusion that "hunting with hounds can no longer be defended on welfare grounds". It would appear that Professor Bateson felt unable to reaffirm his earlier findings.

13.16 After the Bateson Report, Professor Bateson agreed to write a joint letter to the Veterinary Record with Professor Douglas Wise which acknowledged that critics of the Bateson report believed that:

13.17 The Joint University Study on Deer Hunting was published in 1999. It was anonymously peer reviewed by international scientists with the necessary expertise in animal physiology and behaviour. In other words, it went through normal scientific processes before publication. The JUS directly contradicted the conclusions in the Bateson Report. The JUS found that:

The JUS concluded that:

"red deer have locomotory muscles and a body form that are well designed for the type of exercise imposed by hunting. The biochemical and pathological samples taken after hunting establish a picture whereby deer have little difficulty in coping for most of the hunt…It is concluded, therefore, that the exercise undertaken by deer for all but the last minutes if a hunt is well within their physiological capacity (i.e. not at a level immediately leading to fatigue or exhaustion)…There is no evidence to suggest that deer which escape experience pathological changes other than minor muscle damage which would lead to stiffness for a few days; comparable to that experienced by human and equine athletes".

13.18 The Inquiry has stated that it will be obtaining its own research into the stag hunting debate. The Alliance will restrict itself to mentioning some key objections to the Bateson Report:

"neither of us believes that any one study should be regarded as definitive."

13.19 The disagreement between scientists continued with Professor Bateson's recent paper titled "The Stag-hunting debate" which contains a list of 13 scientists who Professor Bateson claimed supported the conclusions in the Bateson Report. This is not anonymous peer review. It does not follow accepted procedures for validating scientific research. Professor Bateson's latest paper does not amount to any further original research and shows an entrenched and partisan position. A number of the scientists who have publicly supported Professor Bateson do not have the requisite specialist knowledge in the relevant disciplines to comment authoritatively, and have not read the JUS report but have relied on Professor Bateson's own synopsis of the JUS. The Alliance is disappointed that Professor Bateson's original paper to the National Trust was and is not subject to anonymous peer review. The Alliance understands that Douglas Wise's submission to the Inquiry contains a response to this paper.

13.20 Moreover, the Bateson Report is limited in scope. Professor Bateson himself acknowledged this by saying:

"I need to emphasise that this study was only of red deer. The findings may not be generalised automatically to the hunting of other species of deer, foxes or hare. Any extension of the findings for red deer to other species needs to take into account the behaviour, ecology, physiology and reaction to stress of the species in question, as well as the welfare costs of alternative methods of culling."

Hare and Mink

13.21 There is no scientific evidence of which the Alliance is aware as to the extent to which hare and mink suffer during the chase. However, there is again strong evidence that these animals do not outwardly appear distressed when chased. They are doing what they evolved to do in their own environment. The evidence of the AMHB is that hares can often be seen stopping, sitting up and listening, and then proceeding 'leisurely on their way'.

The Kill

Fox

13.22 In a vast majority of cases the killing technique of foxhounds is to grab the fox by the neck or across the shoulders and, either through a bite or severe shake, quickly kill the fox by disruption of the central nervous system. It is almost always certain and quick because the hound not only has powerful jaws but also a significant weight advantage (see below). On the few occasions where a fox is not killed virtually instantaneously, death will follow within a matter of seconds.

13.23 Anti-hunting groups have frequently claimed that foxhounds attack the abdomen of prey, leading to a protracted death. These groups have sometimes used comparisons with the hunting technique of other species of hunting dogs hunting different species of prey, where the difference in size, stature and nature of prey and the different nature of the hunting dogs renders such comparisons completely worthless. The hound has a substantial power and weight advantage over a fox (an average foxhound weighs 75 lbs, an average fox weighs 18lbs).

Deer

13.24 Hunted deer are shot by a specialist member of the Hunt Staff after being brought to bay. Death will therefore almost always be instantaneous. Hounds are trained not to touch the deer and rarely do. The particular welfare advantage of close range shooting in the presence of hounds is that it is virtually impossible for a deer to escape wounded from hunting.

13.25 The West Country packs continue, despite local hunting bans, to perform a casualty call out service for the dispatch of deer that have been injured, for example by cars and shooting. This service is of profound welfare benefit to the herds. The continued use of call-out is evidence that those responsible for deer management on the ground recognise it is the most effective and humane method, despite politically motivated views to the contrary.

Hares and Mink

13.26 Hares and Mink suffer a virtually instantaneous death when the hounds (or in the case of hares: beagles, harriers, greyhounds and lurchers) grab the hare or mink in the same manner as the foxhound grabs a fox.

Autumn hunting

13.27 Foxes are nearly fully grown by the time autumn hunting begins, so are no longer cubs. The foxes born the previous Spring will be hunting and fending for themselves by the Autumn, which is the time of year when the adult fox population is at its highest and when Autumn hunting takes place. If time allows, many hunts publish their Autumn meets in the sporting or local press. However, at this time of year, some fixtures may be arranged at two or three days notice dependent on farming reasons, such as unharvested crops. Autumn hunting is often in very small groups of followers with hunting usually starting very early in the morning.

13.28 The objectives of Autumn hunting are:

13.29 Hunts will arrange fixtures consistent with the requirement of culling foxes in the particular area. For instance, if they know of an area where excessive litters of foxes have been born, they will treat that area as a priority. They will also try to hunt shooting land before reared pheasants are released, or in good time before the shooting season starts usually at the request of gamekeepers.

Holding-up

13.30 The process of 'holding-up' is where nominated followers surround the covert or other area where the ''find' is taking place with the object of deterring foxes from breaking out of cover in a particular direction. They do this by the use of the voice and tapping saddles. Following adverse criticism of the previous practice, a new rule was introduced which provides:

"’If the Master, or person acting as such, deems it necessary due to the proximity of the roads, railways or built up areas, or for farming or fox control reasons, he may appoint specific mounted and/or foot followers to discourage a fox from leaving covert".

It is only permissible for those followers who have been appointed by the Master to help in the process of "holding up".

Earth stopping

13.31 Earth stopping is a frequently misunderstood aspect of hunting. Hunting takes place during the daytime and foxes are by nature nocturnal animals. Foxes need to be found 'above ground' and prevented from immediately running to ground if hunts are to fulfil one of their prime objectives: pest control. The most regularly used earths are stopped at night by 'earthstoppers' registered on the Masters Register of Earthstoppers while foxes are out looking for food.

13.32 Natural holes in the countryside, be they used by badgers, rabbits or foxes, are far too numerous for all earths to be stopped. Consequently earth stopping affects only a proportion of available holes. However, most of the time the foxes do not use any earths at all preferring to live in thick cover, drains, bales, stick heaps or similar such places. If earth stopping was banned, then in order to maintain the pest control efficiency of hunting with hounds there would be an increase in terrierwork.

13.33 There are also strict earth stopping rules, some of which are enshrined in law (such as the 1992 Badger Act) which hunts follow meticulously. Two forms of stopping badger setts are permitted: entrances may either be blocked with loose straw, hay, bracken, leaf, litter or loose soil (in which case they need not be removed after the hunt) or they may be blocked with bundles of sticks, or with sacks filled with straw, hay leaf litter or soil (in which case stops must be removed within 24 hours of being put in place). A study conducted into the effect of blocking entrances on the internal environment of badger sets concluded that blocking of sett entrances does not disturb the within-sett environment sufficiently to be detrimental to badgers.

Digging out

13.34 Digging-out is the practice of using a terrier to locate and hold a fox at bay underground whilst a terrier man can dig down to locate the fox and dispatch it humanely.

13.35 Terrier work is not a sport, but it is an important part of the pest control service provided free of charge by hunts. Once a fox has run to ground it is for the farmer alone to decide whether it is dug out and humanely destroyed. Particularly in upland countries farmers request that the fox be destroyed.

13.36 Terrierwork carried out by recognised hunts and the NWTF is conducted under strict rules and a code of conduct. These are described in the MHFA rules and the submission from the National Working Terrier Association. These rules require a "humane, efficient and selective" pest control service and also emphasise welfare and safety considerations for the terriers. All responsible terriermen ensure that the necessary culling of pests is carried out as efficiently and humanely as possible. All hunt terrier men have to be licensed by their appropriate governing body and carry an ID card and licence whenever they are performing this service for hunts. Any person who fails to work to the required standard will be liable to being struck off the Register of Terriermen kept by the MFHA.

13.37 Generally when a fox goes to ground a terrier will locate it quite quickly. The fox faces the terrier underground and the terrier stands off at a safe distance and bays, which enables the terrier man to locate it by use of an electronic bleeper. The use of modern electronic locator collars speeds up the process and reduces the possibility of a terrier being lost underground. The job of the terrier is simply to corner the fox.

13.38 It is impossible to force a terrier to go to ground. It is something terriers do instinctively.

13.39 There are various legal methods of controlling pests, but the only alternatives for pests underground are either gas and poison - neither of which is as humane or selective as terrier work, and which are both illegal for fox control.

13.40 The Phelps (1997) report stated that a 'unifying point' among the members and officers of hunts they spoke to was that:

"In the great majority of cases, the fox appears to be relatively unperturbed by the goings on around it, despite the close proximity of the terrier…..It remains stationary within the cul-de-sac, and it does not panic, salivate, whirl around in circles, defecate, urinate or show other signs of great fear"

The Phelps (1997) report found it reasonable to assume that the fox would not be too frightened or distressed by the arrival of the terrier. The terrier is another canid of a roughly equivalent size and in most cases stands off and barks. The apparently unperturbed appearance of the fox when it is dug down to does not of course necessarily mean that it is unperturbed. But the length of time between the fox being 'exposed' and its humane dispatch is minimal, and necessary for pest control. On occasions, foxes are bolted into a suitable net placed over the exits of the earth. Once in the net the fox is immediately dispatched.

Artificial earths

13.41 Artificial earths have been around for years and exist in many places. For hunting (and indeed other forms of pest control) to take place effectively, foxes need to be encouraged to live in areas suitable for the activity and, consequently, away from areas in which control is difficult to implement. Furthermore, it is a perfectly reasonable species management practice to provide an attractive habitat for foxes in areas where they are most likely to do the least damage. For example, artificial earths were traditionally built on the fringes of large estates to attract foxes to reside well away from those areas where livestock damage or perhaps predation of game birds could be a problem. It also enables the hunt to know the part of the country in which they were most likely to find a fox so hunting and its pest control function could be effective. Its objective is simply to manage that population. Wildlife management globally includes the distribution and re-alignment of the population.

13.42 The existence of artificial earths does not mean that the foxes that live in them are bred in captivity or purely for the purpose of hunting. All over Britain artificial badger setts have been created where original setts have had to be destroyed for development or road building operations. Wildlife Trusts have created many artificial otter holts. The wild badger and otter population appear to be easily relocated into such places. This does not mean that they are bred in captivity and does not mean that they are any less wild than those that live in natural refuges. The same applies to foxes. The creation of artificial earths simply provides a habitat in which foxes can live in much the same way as the planting of woodlands provides a habitat for thousands of other species. It is not possible to force foxes to reside in such earths. They do so by their own choice. Many artificial earths have been in place for hundreds of years. They do not alter the size or composition of the population, only its location.

Domestic animals

13.43 The opponents of hunting have created accumulative records of domestic pets killed by hounds. Every such incident is very much regretted but fortunately these incidents are very isolated. Foxhounds are bred to hunt the fox only but occasionally (like other canines) will catch a cat when it is caught by surprise. Of course, all incidents are emotional and in the current climate the likelihood of such an incident being recorded and reported is very high. To put this in context the number of domestic animals killed accidentally by hunting is tiny compared to the huge number of domestic animals injured and killed by traffic, but equally dear to their owners. 220 million vertebrates are killed or maimed by British drivers every year.

13.44 In 1995, it was estimated that approximately 9 million domestic cats in Britain kill 88 million wild birds and 164 million mammals in Britain every year (and cats method of killing is slow). Few suggest that domestic cat keeping is cruel to wild life even though allowing pet cats to roam freely results in the random killing of wildlife. This demonstrates the arbitrary nature of the objections to foxhunting.

Hunting Dogs

13.45 The care of hunting dogs by organised hunts and individuals with hunting dogs is exemplary. It has to be: they have to be fit and well cared for to do their job. Hounds live a life comparable with a wild hunting dog, socialised into pack behaviour and accustomed to hunting, hard exercise and the care of the kennel huntsman. While a hound with an exceptional temperament may be retired as a domestic pet, most cannot adapt to the more constrained and solitary life of a pet dog, they will simply try to go off hunting. Consequently, most hounds sadly have to be humanely destroyed when they retire from hunting. This may be considered premature for a domesticated dog, but hounds are not domesticated dogs The life of a hound may therefore be shorter, but generally of high quality from a canine point of view.

13.46 It has been reported that, consistent with the approach of hunts on this aspect, the SSPCA recently took advice from animal behaviour experts, and confirmed on 6th December, 1999 that they would not be able to find homes for the 700 foxhounds involved in Scottish hunts if a ban were to be implemented. The reasons given by the SSPCA were that the hounds have spent their lives in big groups and could not adapt to life as a domestic pets. The officers decided that it would not be in the interests of the hounds, used to being in a pack, to be kept in a lone environments removed from farm land. Additional obstacles in the way of rehoming would be weaning them off fresh meat, house training and providing the long runs they are used to. It is confirmed by the National Hunt Survey January 2000 that there are 19,162 hounds used in hunting by the packs that responded to the survey and a majority would have to be killed if hunting were to be banned. This does not include figures for other hunting dogs.

13.47 Similarly, working terriers are exceptionally well cared for by their owners. They are not forced to go underground, it is something they do instinctively (as evidenced by some domestic terriers that roam underground) and it is something they appear to enjoy.

13.48 Some hounds are injured during hunting but again, in the context of the number of hounds that participate in the sport the numbers are minimal. Any that are injured receive treatment to the highest animal welfare standards necessary.

Horses

13.49 The International League for the Protection of Horses ("ILPH") has recently confirmed that:

"No threat to equines exists specifically in the hunting field "

and

" the ILPH believes that the abolition of hunting would have adverse equine welfare repercussions "

The horses used for hunting are afforded some of the highest standards of care in the country by people who are extremely experienced with and love horses. The International League for the Protection of Horses has no record of hunting horses being neglected or abused. The horses are well suited and trained for the exercise (made fit) and jumping required for hunting. They are ridden by riders who take special care to avoid putting their horse into any danger. If jumping per se was to be found to be cruel to horses then many types of horse racing would also have to be banned on welfare grounds, it would be inconsistent not to do so.

13.50 The fallen stock service provided by hunts also deals with the humane disposal of sick horses and also a carcass disposal service. If hunting were to be banned it would lead to some horses suffering for longer since instead of the owner being able to call upon the local hunt, the owner would have to find and afford alternative means of disposal. This could mean transporting the animal to a remote abattoir or other location.

Livestock

13.51 The allegation that hunting disturbs farm livestock is not correct. Incidents of hunting dogs disturbing livestock are rare. The Alliance believes that a comparison of hunt related incidents to livestock incidents caused by recreational dog walkers would illustrate the minimal adverse effect of hunting with dogs in this respect. It is interesting to note that most farmers are happy to have a pack of unleashed hounds on their land whilst the Country Code provides that domestic dogs have to be on leads. Further, most farmers consent to hunting with dogs taking place on their land. They would be unlikely to give their consent if hunting dogs were a source of disturbance to livestock. In addition, a very real welfare benefit is provided to by the casualty stock service. This provides a local, subsidised and humane method of disposing of sick or injured animals. The absence of such a service without the provision of suitable alternatives would add to animal suffering.

Conclusion

13.52 The Alliance is not aware of any scientific research in many key areas relating to a wild animal's response to culling methods, including hunting, which are key to a full understanding of the welfare implications. For example, what evidence is there for cognitive prescience (that is, the ability to predict consciously what the future holds) for any wild animal? - the Alliance is not aware of any. The Inquiry may already be familiar with the difficulties associated with carrying out such research. The JUS themselves came up against barriers when planning their research on red deer. The Alliance believes that all the evidence available points to hunting with dogs, properly regulated, being as humane as any other methods of pest control, and not the cause of any avoidable suffering. The Alliance suggest that it is impossible to draw proper conclusions on this subject without further research and that in the absence of clear evidence a ban on hunting would be a severe curtailment of human rights, and a massive and unfair impact on social and cultural life in the countryside.

 

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Question 14. What evidence is there about the impact on the welfare of animals of other means of control which might be used if hunting with dogs was banned?

Introduction

14.1 The only legal methods of fox, deer, hare and mink control are described under Question 6 (pest control). This section will deal with the welfare aspects of alternative methods of control as they affect each of the four quarry species.

Foxes

Rifles

14.2 A clean kill with a rifle is the most humane way of killing a fox and it is the preferred method of gamekeepers. However, for topographical and safety reasons only 33% of gamekeepers' cull of foxes is achieved with rifles leaving 67% to hunting with dogs, terrierwork, shotguns, traps or illegal methods. The following welfare issues arise:

Shotguns

14.3 The risk of injury with a shotgun is even greater than with a rifle because:

14.4 The fact is that the amount of shooting could increase if hunting were to be banned as the banning of hunting with dogs removes one of the legal methods of control therefore forcing people to use the alternative methods, including shooting.

14.5 The Scott Henderson report stated:

"It is significant that the RSPCA consider that the cruelty involved in shooting foxes is such as to make it an unsatisfactory substitute for hunting and that they would prefer hunting (to which they are naturally opposed on ethical grounds) to continue if its abolition were likely to lead to an increase in the amount of shooting"

and concluded:

"Unless great care is taken, shooting may be an extremely cruel method of control, and this view is shared by many of the leading animal welfare organisations".

14.6 Following the Scott Henderson report, the RSPCA issued its own policy statement on hunting which, after minor adjustments, was adopted at its 1958 AGM. The RSPCA's position was that:

14.7 The transparency of the RSPCA's artificial change of position is difficult to understand. Of course, there have been no major changes to make shooting "less cruel" or hunting "more cruel" since 1958. If anything, foxhunting has become better regulated. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that there is some motivation for going beyond the issue of animal welfare.

14.8 The Phelps (1997) report stated:

"illicit "lamping" carried out by irresponsible amateurs is, according to game keepers, a significant and rising source of cruelty due to the high proportion of foxes that are inexpertly shot and escape wounded"

Trapping/Snares

14.9 The most unpalatable prospect for pest control after a hunting ban is the potential amateurish and ad hoc use of snares and traps. Both devices can be used efficiently by professional gamekeepers so as to maintain good standards of welfare, but each needs a programme of day-and-night inspections that may not be followed by unaccountable individuals and which may be difficult to fit in around the routine of other farm business: This may result in animals being trapped for long periods of time in captivity causing a great deal of pain and suffering and the serious risk of self mutilation in trying to escape.

14.10 Traps and snares are also non-selective. They can easily catch milking vixens, leaving the cubs to die of starvation, or other animals. A technical paper commissioned by Forest Enterprises, TP23 "Foxes and Forestry" 1997, quotes a MAFF trial where 155 (54%) foxes and 132 (46%) no target species were caught.

14.11 Although cages are successful in urban locations, the rural fox is generally far too wary of entrapment. Other species such as badgers, otters and domestic pets are less suspicious and may be more vulnerable. The same risks apply to snaring, in that the trapped animal may hurt itself trying to escape.

Illegal methods

14.12 It cannot be emphasised enough that a ban on hunting will lead to the increased use of cruel and illegal methods of controlling foxes, including the use of the poison or gases which causes horrific deaths. Greater suffering will result.

Deer

14.13 The alternative method for deer is shooting with rifles and their use would no doubt increase if a ban were to be implemented. Increased use of rifles by the inexperienced carries the risk of injury to the deer and a threat to public safety. Of course, the hunts currently offer a 'casualty service' to retrieve wounded deer but if hunting were to be banned then this activity would not be available. There would be increased levels of suffering for wounded deer and no effective method to track and cull wounded animals. The hunting ban on National Trust land has lead to increased shooting, not only by experienced stalkers but also by the less experienced and poachers. This cannot be in the welfare interests of deer. Further, increased shooting would lead to deer becoming 'gun shy' and less visible to those that love to watch them.

Hare and Mink

14.14 It is not proposed to repeat the same welfare considerations for alternative methods of control for hares and mink as they are the same as for foxes.

Benefits of hunting - all quarry

14.15 None of the above methods offer the welfare benefits that hunting offers, namely:

Conclusion

14.16 Taking into account all matters both for the individual mammal and the quarry species, hunting with hounds is the most beneficial means of control. It should be noted, of course, that whilst this is the case, for there is to be any justification for a ban, it would have to be demonstrated by those that oppose hunting that hunting is substantially worse as a means of control then the available alternatives.

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Question 15. What form(s) might a ban take and what would be the implications?

Introduction

15.1 Drafting legislation to ban hunting with dogs would be beset by numerous practical legal issues, including:

Defining the Offence

15.2 Criminal statutes should be precise and certain in their application. They require specific definition both of the prohibited act and the attendant criminal state of mind. Thus, in the Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996, the prohibition is directed at anyone who:

"mutilates, kicks, beats, nails or otherwise impales, stabs, burns, stones, crushes, drowns, drags or asphyxiates any wild mammal"

but only if this is carried out "with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering".

In relation to the protection of children from cruelty (which surely is more important in moral terms) the prosecution must prove assault, ill-treatment or neglect, but also that this is done:

"wilfully… in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health".

15.3 Inadequately defined laws may at best be unenforceable, but at worst will bring the whole administration of law into disrepute.

15.4 The definition of "hunting" is extraordinarily difficult (and was deleted from the last Bill introduced by Michael Foster). This is because there is no sensible distinction between hunting with hounds and the other uses of canines in mammal or bird control. The paradox is that, by banning hunting with hounds whilst allowing other dog-related activities to continue, there is a serious risk of encouraging practices which undoubtedly do cause animal suffering.

15.5 At what stage would any ban operate? There are a range of theoretical possibilities, each with its own difficulties:

15.6 If hunting with dogs alone is to be banned, the quarry species will remain liable to be shot, snared or trapped in cages. Moreover, dogs may be used as an adjunct to some of these methods of control, for example, to catch quarry wounded by these alternative methods. Would that be an offence?

Identifying the Offender

15.7 The list of possible offenders depends on the activity proscribed. Potentially the list is very wide indeed:

15.8 Is it really sensible to envisage making criminals of any or all of these? If not, how is any legislation to be drafted which would sensibly identify the offenders? For example, there will need to be a tight and easily applicable definition of "huntsman", if a policeman is not to be faced with a group of riders none of whom admit to being the huntsman. There will also have to be exemptions and exceptions. Certainly, farmers, landholders and householders who have prohibited the hunt from their land in writing should certainly be protected. But what about those who prohibit the hunt on paper, but permit it in practice?

Exemptions and Exceptions

15.9 In past attempts to legislate, a number of major exemptions and exceptions have been proposed. For example, an exception for fox hunting on foot in upland areas, permitting hunting in National Parks, licensing certain hunts where there is a proven need for their pest control services. None of them are sensible from the point of view of the hunted animal.

15.10 The position of the gun packs in Wales and the fell packs in the Pennines and the Lake District must be considered because of the key role they play in sheep farming areas. If exceptions are made for these, the result would be that conduct which is criminal in one part of the country would be perfectly legal in another. How could that be justified?

15.11 If shooting is allowed as an alternative method of control of the species now hunted, would there need to be an exception for the use of hounds to discover wounded animals? Would there need to be an exception for sick or otherwise injured animals? Would anyone perform this necessary and humane task unless there is also protection in the event of the same hounds flushing out or killing an unwounded or healthy animal? How would this exception work in practice given that the evidence may often be consumed?

15.12 Terrierwork is at present the only lawful way of dealing with foxes and mink in their earths. Given the threat presented by foxes to ground nesting birds such as grouse and partridge, and by mink to water voles and others, exceptions to permit terrierwork in these circumstances may have to be made. Alternatively, poisoned baits or gas may need to be licensed for use in these situations, notwithstanding their dangers to non-target species and to the environment.

Compatibility with the Human Rights Act 1998

15.13 Making any law compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights ("ECHR") would be a major problem. The UK’s obligations under the ECHR require that its domestic legislation is compatible with the ECHR. This will have even greater significance in October 2000, when the Human Rights Act 1998 is brought into force.

15.14 All previous Bills have sought to criminalise the killing of animals in certain circumstances, but not in other circumstances which are not materially different.

15.15 Four articles of the ECHR are relevant:

15.16 There is no doubt that any ban on hunting with dogs would constitute an interference with one or more of the substantive rights:

15.17 Any ban on hunting with dogs would be liable to be challenged on any of four grounds:

15.18 To be lawful, any ban would have to pass the tests of "necessity", "proportionality" and "fair balance". These words are terms of art, importing the concept of fairness to the individual or minority. It would be necessary for the legislature to identify both the general interest being served by the interference and the motive for the legislation. Consideration would have to be given to whether legitimate aims could be achieved without a complete curtailment of the activities of the huntsmen.

15.19 The concept of "proportionality" would require compensation to be fairly provided for.

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Question 16: How might such a ban be applied and enforced?

16.1 One answer to the difficulties over defining an offence has been to rely on the good sense of prosecutors. But, leaving aside the fact that animal protection offences tend to be prosecuted by bodies other than the Crown Prosecution Service, this is not a satisfactory state of affairs. People have a right to know where they are with criminal offences. As Lord Reid said in Warner v Metropolitan Police Commissioner:

"I dissent emphatically from the view that Parliament can be supposed to have been of the opinion that it could be left to the discretion of the police not to prosecute, or that if there was a prosecution justice would be served by only a nominal penalty being imposed".

16.2 There are practical difficulties over enforcement. If a law is not practicably enforceable, or only enforceable with difficulty, it will be brought into disrepute and will damage the whole respect for the criminal law.

16.3 Further, if in enforcing the law the police are compelled to arrest and prosecute large numbers of otherwise law-abiding members of the public, it will tend to undermine the assistance and support that they rightly expect from large sections of society in the enforcement of other laws. That would be to the detriment of society generally.

16.4 The Inquiry will need to investigate whether there are the resources within the police force to even police a ban. The Alliance understands that most rural police forces are very stretched already. There used to be three police houses in Exmoor and there is now no manned police station within 30 miles of the centre of Exmoor. This would inevitably make a complete ban on hunting hard to police.

16.5 The Inquiry will need to consider:

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Question 17: Would a ban need to be supported by any other action?

Introduction

17.1 Any ban on hunting would have to be accompanied by, at the very least, measures to:

Compensation

17.2 The immediate effect of a ban would be likely to deprive many people of the right to own and keep hounds. Compensation for the hounds destroyed as a result would be required.

17.3 The secondary effects of a ban would be widespread. Thousands of jobs could be lost and business profits could fall. Compensation would be required for these losses.

17.4 The unavailability of pest control by hunting could lead in some cases to increased predation, crop and hedge damage and other financial loss to farmers and landowners (for example, the additional loss caused by the loss of the hunt fallen stock service). These farmers and landowners would also want compensation.

Protection of the quarry species

17.5 The presence and benefits of hunting in many cases dissuades farmers and landowners from adopting other means of control, including illegal methods such as poison or gas. In a strong foxhunting country, shooting is discouraged because hunting is seen as the most effective and humane method of fox control. Hares, which have declined in some regions as a result of intensive farming methods, are often tolerated and encouraged through voluntary habitat improvement because of hare-hunting or coursing. Paradoxically, the banning of hunting could well push the hare onto the list of endangered species as other methods of control are used or habitat improvement is discussed. The population of deer and foxes would also decline; for example, the deer population has already declined as a result of the National Trust ban. There would need to be incentives or regulations to preserve animals presently hunted? Unless the quarry are made a protected species there would be nothing to prevent farmers from exterminating them. This, in turn, would create a huge problem as the population, uncontrolled, would rapidly grow to pest proportions.

Protection of wildlife habitats

17.6 The Alliance believes that much of the traditional form of the English countryside is due to the practice of hunting over the centuries. Coverts have been planted and maintained for foxes. In recent years there has been a move to open up fields by the removal of hedges. In many places, hedgerows have survived only because of hunting. These features not only determine the look of the countryside, but also the survival of a large population of smaller mammals, insects and birds. To avoid hedgerows and similar being lost, with the massive effect that this would have on biodiversity, some other encouragement would be required, probably financial.

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CONCLUSION

The Countryside Alliance has been saying for a long time, and in recent months loudly and publicly, that the right thing to do in the public interest was for the Government to establish an independent inquiry into hunting with dogs. The Alliance has adopted this stance because it believed it was important for the debate on the topic inside and outside Parliament to be properly informed by independently established facts and independently formed opinion. The Alliance knew that strong views on the matter were held within the countryside, not just because of hunting but because of what an attack on hunting was seen to represent.

The Alliance was strongly encouraged in its stance by people from all parts of the community, who were disturbed by what they say as a threatened encroachment on personal freedom, apparently supported by a large majority and promoted by emotiveness, political expediency and prejudice. There have been instances in our national history in which the creation of new criminal offences in such circumstances, and without the underlying facts first being established, has resulted in gross injustice which has persisted for many years.

The Alliance is most encouraged by the open way in which the Inquiry is going about its work. The Alliance is anxious to do anything it reasonably can to assist the Inquiry in finding out the facts about hunting with dogs and, in particular, to assist in reporting within the tight timetable that it has been set. It will be in that spirit that the Alliance will be providing to the Inquiry a further detailed submission which will review all the available evidence published by the Inquiry.

 

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DEFINITIONS

ALC

Association of Lurcher Clubs

Alliance

Countryside Alliance

AMHB

Association of Harriers and Beagles

Bateson Report 1997

Bateson P. (Prof.), The Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Culling Red Deer. A Report to the Council of the National Trust (1997)

Bateson and Wise

Bateson P. (Prof.) and Wise D.R., Welfare of Hunted Red Deer Veterinary Record 142,95 (1998)

CCFP

Central Committee of Fell Packs

Cobham (1997)

Cobham Resource Consultants, Countryside Sports - Their Economic, Social and Conservation Significance (1997)

FWP

Federation of Welsh Packs

Fox and Macdonald (1998)

Fox N. and Macdonald H., Welfare Aspects of killing or capturing wild vertebrates in Britain (1998)

GCT

Game Conservancy Trust

Heydon and Reynolds (2000) Fox Management

Heydon M.J. and Reynolds J.C., Fox Management in Three Contrasting Regions of Britain, in Relation to Agricultural and Sporting Interests Journal of Zoology 251 (2000)

ILPH

International League for the Protection of Horses

ISAH

Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting (I.S.A.H. Ltd)

JUS

Harris, Helliwell, Shingleton, Stickland and Naylor, The physiological response of red deer (Cervus elaphus) to prolonged exercise undertaken during hunting Joint University Study on Deer Hunting (1998)

LACS

League Against Cruel Sports

Langbein (1997)

Langbein J. The ranging behaviour, habitat-use and impact of deer in oakwoods and heathermoors of Exmoor and the Quantock Hills (1997)

Macdonald (1987)

Macdonald D., Running with the Fox (1987)

Macdonald and Johnson (1996)

Macdonald D. and Johnson P., The Impact of Sport Hunting: a Case Study: the Exploitation of Mammal Populations (1996)

MAFF

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

MDBA

Masters of Drag and Bloodhounds Association

MDHA

Masters of Deer Hounds Association

MFHA

Masters of Foxhounds Association

MMHA

Masters of Mink Hounds Association

NCC

National Coursing Club

NWTF

National Working Terrier Federation

National Survey of Hunts

Produce Studies Ltd, A National Survey of Hunts in England and Wales (February 2000)

Phelps (1997)

Phelps, Allen and Harrop, Report of a Review of Hunting with Hound (May 1997)

RAC

Royal Agricultural College

RDC

Rural Development Commission

RFMP

Rural Fox Management Project

RSPCA

Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals

SSPCA

Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals

 

Stoate and Tapper (1993)

Stoate C. and Tapper, S.C., The impact of three hunting methods on brown hare (Lepus Europeaus) population in Britain (1993)

Ward (1998)

Ward N., Foxing the Nation: Competing Claims about the Economic Impact of a Hunting Ban (1998)

Ward (1999)

Ward N., Foxing The Nation: The Economic (In)significance Of Hunting with Hounds in Britain Journal of Rural Studies 15 (1999)

West Somerset District Council Report (1998-99)

Centre for Rural Studies, Royal Agricultural College, Economic, Social and Environmental Aspects of Hunting with Hounds in West Somerset and Exmoor (February 1998)

Wiltshire County Farms Report (1995)

Centre for Rural Studies, Royal Agricultural College, The Impact of Foxes and Fox Hunting on the Management of Wiltshire County Farms Estate (1995)

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

ADAS, Farmers Voice Survey (1999)

Baker P. and Harris S., How will a Ban on Hunting affect the British Fox Population? (December 1997)

Bateson P. (Prof.), The Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Culling Red Deer (1997)

Bateson P. (Prof.), Psychiological Effects of Hunting Red Deer (December 1997)

Bateson P. (Prof.), The Stag-hunting debate

Bateson P. (Prof.) & Wise D.R., Welfare of Hunted Red Deer Veterinary Record 142,95 (1998)

British Equestration Trade Association Survey, 1999

Cabinet Office, Sharing the Nation's Prosperity (2000)

Central Rail Users' Consultative Committee Statistical Bulletin (18th August 1999)

Centre for Rural Studies, Royal Agricultural College, Economic, Social and Environmental Aspects of Hunting with Hounds in West Somerset and Exmoor (February 1998)

Centre for Rural Studies, Royal Agricultural College, The Impact of Foxes and Fox Hunting on the Management of Wiltshire County Farms Estate (1995)

Cobham Resource Consultants, Countryside Sports - Their Economic, Social and Conservation Significance (1997)

Deer Working Party, The National Trust, The Conservation & Management of Red Deer in the West Country: Report to the Council of the National Trust (1993)

Fox N. and Macdonald H., Welfare Aspects of killing or capturing Wild Vertebrates in Britain (1998)

Harris, Helliwell, Shingleton, Stickland and Naylor, The physiological response of red deer (Cervus elaphus) to prolonged exercise undertaken during hunting Joint University Study on Deer Hunting (1998)

Heydon M.J. and Reynolds J.C., Fox Management in Three Contrasting Regions of Britain, in Relation to Agricultural and Sporting Interests Journal of Zoology 251 (2000)

Joseph Rowntree Association, Finding Work in Rural Areas: Bridges and Barriers (1999)

Langbein J. and Putnam R.J., Conservation and Management of Deer on Exmoor and the Quantocks (1992)

Langbein J., The Ranging Behaviour, Habitat Use and Impact of Deer in Oakwoods and Heathermoors of Exmoor and the Quantock Hills (1997)

League Against Cruel Sports, Drag Hunting - a Family Sport (1996)

Macdonald D., Food Catching by Red Foxes and some other Carnivores (1996)

Macdonald D. and Johnson P., The Impact of Sport Hunting: a Case Study: the Exploitation of Mammal Populations (1996)

Macdonald D., Running with the Fox (1987)

Macdonald R., Baker P. and Harris S., Is the Fox a Pest? (October 1997)

Phelps, Allen and Harrop, Report of a Review of Hunting with Hounds (May 1997)

Produce Studies Ltd, A National Survey of Hunts in England and Wales (February 2000)

Produce Studies Ltd, Employment Generated by Fox Hunting in Great Britain (February 1998)

Produce Studies Ltd, Farmer Attitudes to Fox Control (May 1995)

Produce Studies Ltd, Hunt Supporters Club Survey (February 2000)

Produce Studies Ltd, The Economic Contribution of Hunting (September 1999)

Produce Studies Ltd, The Economic Contribution of Leicestershire Hunts (November 1999)

Produce Studies Ltd, The Economic Contribution of Hunting within the Scottish and Northumberland Borders (February 1998)

Rope T.J. and Kemenes I., Effect of Blocking of Entrances on the Internal Environment of Badger (Meles Meles) Set Journal of Applied Ecology (1997)

Royal Agricultural College, Economic and Social Aspects of Deer Hunting on Exmoor and the Quantocks: Report to the National Trust by the Centre of Rural Studies (April 1993)

Rural Development Commission Survey of Rural Services, 1997

Rural Development Commission, Rural England, Facts and Figures (1999)

Rural Development Commission, Unemployment and the Labour Market in Rural Development Areas

Savage (Chair) et.al., The Conservation and Management of Red Deer in the West Country (1990)

Scott Henderson, Report on the Committee on Cruelty to Wild Animals (1951)

Stoate, C. & Tapper, S.C., The impact of Three Hunting Methods on Brown Hare (Lepus Europaeus) Population in Britain (1993)

Strachan C., Strachan R., and Jeffries, D.J., A Preliminary Report on the Changes in the Water Vole Population of Britain as shown by the National Surveys of 1989-1990 and 1996-1998 (February 2000)

Suggett, R H Graham (Ed) Countryside Sports and the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (1999)

Tapper S.C. and Barnes, R.F.W., Influence of Farming Practice on the Ecology of the Brown Hare (Lepus Europaeus) Journal of Applied Ecology (1986)

Tapper, Potts & Reynolds, The effect of an experimental reduction in predation pressure on the breeding success and population density grey partridges (1996)

Ward N., Foxing the Nation: Competing Claims about the Economic Impact of Hunting (1998)

Ward N., Foxing the Nation: the Economic (In)significance of Hunting with Hounds in Britain Journal of Rural Studies 15 (1999)

Wiltshire County Council, The Impact of Foxes and Fox Hunting on the Running of the County Farms Estate (1995)

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Date uploaded to site 28 February 2000 (Amended 5 April 2000)