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COMMITTEE of INQUIRY into HUNTING with DOGS

Chaired by Lord Burns

 

Written Submission from DEADLINE 2000

Phase Two


Contents

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Summary of Deadline 2000’s position

Evidence from the Written Submissions

Evidence from the Oral Submissions Transcripts

6th April 2000 - 10:30

6th April 2000 - 14:00

10thApril 2000 - 10:30

10th April 2000 - 14:00

Evidence from the Research Seminars

Conclusions


 

The Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs has invited a second written submission from the organisations represented by Deadline 2000. This submission has been prepared in response to that invitation and identifies specific areas of disagreement with evidence submitted by other parties. It should not be assumed that this submission is exhaustive; given the short time available to consider evidence, it is restricted to points that Deadline 2000 consider will assist the committee in its inquiries.

 

 

Summary of Deadline 2000’s position.

* Mounted hunts and fell packs.

 

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Evidence from the Written Submissions.

 

Most areas where there appeared to be conflicts in the written evidence were discussed at the oral submissions to the Inquiry; these submissions are considered in some detail below. However, we wish to reaffirm our opposition to certain statements contained within the written submission made to the Inquiry by the Countryside Alliance.

 

  1. Submission from the Countryside Alliance

However, it should be noted that the above discussion does not take account of the likelihood that some hunts will convert to drag hunting.

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Evidence from the Oral Submissions Transcripts.

 

I. 6th April 2000 – 10.30am

 

I.i. Foxhunting

i.a. Cubbing

 

i.b. Stopping Earths and Artificial Earths

 

 

i.c. Terrier Work

 

i.d. The Kill

 

I.ii. Deerhunting

Deerhunting was not covered in detail in this session.

 

I.iii. Control of Hounds

The League Against Cruel Sports will make a separate submission to the inquiry in support of its ‘Hunt Havoc’ evidence.

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II 6th April 2000 - 2.30 pm

 

II.i. Economics.

The development of a more enterprising approach to drag and bloodhound hunting may be one scenario that could emerge from a ban on live quarry hunting as argued by Dr Neil Ward in the ‘Foxing the Nation’ study submitted to the Committee of Inquiry with our first round submissions.

There is likely to be increasing employment in the service sector to agriculture, for example, agricultural waste.

It is significant that many rural hunting areas under discussion (e.g. Devon and Cumbria) qualify for European funding under Objectives 1 and 2. Regeneration funding is more likely to be available in these areas because organisations such as the Countryside Agency and local authorities have formed rural partnerships; effort is put into diversifying the economy, retraining and tourism. Unskilled workers directly employed by hunts could benefit from such initiatives.

 

II.ii Social and Cultural Issues.

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III 10thApril 2000 – 10.30am

 

III.i. Predation by foxes

i.a. Lambs

i.b. Rabbits

i.c. Other wildlife

 

III.ii. Fox control

ii.a. Regional aspects

ii.b Shooting

ii.c. Wounding rates

 

III.iii. Red Deer

 

III.iv. Brown Hare

 

III.v. Mink

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IV 10th April 2000 – 2.00pm.

 

IV.i. Animal Welfare

 

IV.ii. Drag Hunting

Deadline 2000 has a number of areas of disagreement with the Countryside Alliance on this subject; these are considered in the section that relates to the seminar on bloodhound and drag hunting.

 

IV.iii. Legal Issues.

Deadline 2000 is submitting papers on these topics to the legal seminar to be held on 15th May 2000.

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Evidence from the Research Seminars

 

Deadline 2000 does not consider that it would be helpful to the committee to produce a detailed critique of the seminar proceedings. The research presented at each seminar was discussed in detail during the proceedings. We have produced below a brief synopsis of each seminar, to summarise those points that are of particular significance.

 

  1. Animal Welfare

Deadline 2000 welcomes the research papers by Professors Harris and Bateson. Although the seminar concentrated on deer, it did nonetheless confirm that Professor Bateson’s original conclusions (Bateson & Bradshaw 1997) remain valid. The evidence demonstrates that deer show physiological changes during the ‘chase’ and that they suffer unnecessarily. Shooting was seen to be the humane alternative.

We believe that there are substantial grounds for drawing similar conclusions in respect of foxes that are chased, but in the absence of a scientific investigation, we emphasise the precautionary principle. This states that in the absence of definitive evidence, but where genuine doubt exists, the animal should be given the benefit of the doubt.

We do not accept that it is valid to apply data, collected by veterinary exercise physiologists from racehorses, to wild deer. Racehorses are highly specialised animals, produced by selective breeding for high speed chasing. There is no evidence to suggest that deer are similarly adapted. Research shows that deer sprint for short distances when threatened.


II Pest Control

We accept the research methodology and conclusions of Dr MacDonald and Professor Stephen Harris. The seminar generally confirmed the submissions from Deadline 2000: that mounted hunting with dogs and fell packs do not contribute towards population control of the quarry species: that shooting represents a more effective method of control, should control be necessary: that foxes are not a significant agricultural pest.

 

III Drag and Bloodhound Hunting

Deadline 2000 was disappointed with the presentation from Manley et al. The introductory analysis of past surveys was, in our view, unnecessarily laboured and largely irrelevant. The economic conclusions were, in our opinion, based on assumptions and doubtful methodology, which mixed capital and revenue expenditure. Furthermore, the significance of some conclusions was affected by inclusion of data from one respondent in an inconsistent fashion.

The hunts featured in the research demonstrated distinct and individual characteristics and we are concerned that it is dangerous to extrapolate general conclusions from this small sample. However, the differences between the different hunts were interesting. They show that this is a varied sport that adapts to the interests of the particular hunt. Of particular interest was the North East Cheshire Hunt which resemble a fox hunt in many ways: it has 51 hounds, a flesh house, a large field averaging 60 and an interesting approach to laying the drag. This hunt has been established for more than forty years and covers an area that is not generally fox hunted. It demonstrates that drag hunting can be popular and well supported by people who enjoy riding to hounds.

We do not accept the view expressed by the Masters of Drag hunts and Bloodhounds Association (MBDA) that drag hunting is not an alternative sport to live quarry hunting. As the study by Manley et al shows, most people who participate in drag hunts also hunt live quarry. In our opinion, the MBDA’s statement is political and unhelpful.

We accept that it is impossible to predict how many people will convert from hunting to drag hunting in the event of a ban. The research contract has not added to our knowledge in this respect. We wish to re-state that drag hunting is but one of a number of alternative activities for those whose interests are principally equestrian.

 

IV Economics

Deadline 2000 generally agree with the methodology and conclusions of PACEC as presented in their final research submission. We wish to restate the comments made by Sean Rickard at the economics research seminar that most of the data used to derive the indirect figures were provided by hunt supporters. This leads us to suspect that the indirect employment figures are high.

 

V Social Issues

Deadline 2000 generally accepts the methodology and conclusions in the final version of the Social and Cultural research submission. We would draw attention to the fact that these results apply to areas where maximum support for hunting would be expected. In these areas, the importance of hunting to the lives of residents was lower than expected; the committee is asked to refer to the IFAW/MORI poll submitted to the inquiry which appears to show a general low level of support for hunting in rural areas.

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Conclusions

Deadline 2000 is confident that the points given in the position statement, at the beginning of this submission, have been generally supported by the research commissioned by the Inquiry. Our submissions have been based on science wherever possible and on reasoned argument where science is lacking. The quality of our evidence is apparent, given the considerable agreement between the research and our submissions.

There is an overwhelming case for a ban on hunting with dogs that should be enacted without delay.

 

References: Where we have quoted from evidence which was not used in the main written submissions from the Deadline 2000 organisations, we have included references in the text. Elsewhere, we have indicated that we are quoting from our written submissions. These submissions contain extensive references and bibliographies.

 

Deadline 2000 represents The League against Cruel Sports (LACS), The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

 

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Date uploaded to website 15 May 2000