Great Britain’s Hunting Act of 2005 made it illegal for hunters to pursue foxes, deer, hares and mink with hounds.
Almost seven years later Agriculture Minister Jim Paice publicly decried the act stating, “The current law simply doesn’t work. I am in favour of hunting with dogs – and the coalition agreement clearly states that we will have a free vote on whether to repeal the act.”
Paice’s comments came just prior to the Fitzwilliam Hunt’s annual Boxing Day meet at Stilton. More than 600 people were on hand to watch more than 40 dogs and 60 horses participate in a “bloodless hunt” in which hounds chase down dabs of fox urine planted in the countryside surrounding the village. Master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt George Bowyer also used the gathering as an opportunity to speak out against the hunting ban. “The law was brought in because the Labour government didn’t want to see upper class twits like myself hunting,” Bowyer told The Evening Telegraph. “What they don’t realizes is that it affects everybody, and the rural community know that hunting is the best way of dealing with the problems caused by foxes.”
Bowyer continued by pointing out the double standard presented by anti hunters, “The anti-brigade say hunting is immoral, but the ban says we can hunt mice and rabbits, but not foxes or deer. That shows it is not a question of morality. We had a lot of people out to show their support for the hunting traditions on Boxing Day. It was the first time we have been able to get out on a hunt for the last two years because the weather was so bad. Even though the ban is in place we are not scaling things down. We need to keep a presence.”