Stephen has marked ten years since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force. This important legislation was introduced to stop hunting with dogs for sport due to the profound suffering caused by the prolonged chase and violent death. Ten years on, the Act has outperformed all other wild mammal legislation and is now the most successful piece of wild animal welfare legislation in England and Wales.
Speaking on the anniversary, Stephen said: “I am delighted to celebrate the Hunting Act ten years on from when it first came into force. It is a mark of our civilisation as a society that we protect animal welfare and I am delighted that the Act has been so successful. I look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries of this important legislation.”
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Hunting wild animals with dogs for sport was banned ten years ago on animal welfare grounds. A decade on, this important and popular legislation has both the highest number of convictions and highest conviction rate above all other wild mammal legislation. Many more people have been deterred from chasing and killing animals for pleasure - something worth celebrating. The problem is not with the law. It’s with those that flout it.”
The Hunting Act prohibited the hunting of wild mammals, including foxes, deer, hares and mink with dogs, something which the vast majority of the British public ten years on do not want to see a return to.
Latest opinion polling carried out by Ipsos MORI at the end of 2014 shows that 80 per cent of people in Great Britain think that fox hunting should remain illegal, 86 per cent for deer hunting and 88 per cent for hare hunting/coursing. These figures are about the same in both rural and urban areas.
On average, one person every week is prosecuted under the Hunting Act. Of these over two-thirds are found guilty rendering any argument that the ban is not enforceable redundant.