» Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Fox Hunting

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of the protesting outside Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that when the Prime Minister met representatives of the pro hunt organisations in his constituency last Friday, and again at Chequers, he had underlined that he recognised that there were strong emotions on all sides of this debate. He had also recognised there was a legitimate right to peaceful protest, but the emphasis had to be on peaceful protest. It was for others to judge whether that criteria has been met or not.

Asked if the Prime Minister backed the police behaviour this afternoon, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister believed, as always, that the Police had a very difficult task in these sorts of circumstances and he backed them wholly in their attempts to fulfil that task. Striking the right balance between allowing peaceful protest to take place, and protecting the processes of Parliament as it debates an issue, was, he recognised, one that was very difficult given the strong emotions involved.

Asked whether the Prime Minister thought the right balance had been struck, the PMOS said it was for others to judge the particular event and not for him to give instant judgements on what had happened. But the Prime Minister recognised that in these sorts of circumstances the Police had a very difficult job. Protest had a proper place in society, but equally that protest must be peaceful.

Asked about the Prime Minister’s whereabouts this afternoon and whether or not he would vote, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister was in No. 10 where he had a series of meetings during the afternoon and into the evening. Asked if the Prime Minister’s vote would become apparent, the PMOS said that this was a free vote and the advantage of a free vote was that you could watch and see. The Prime Minister had not voted on any of the procedural issues up to this point.

Asked if the Prime Minister was worried about the prospect of Police resources being put under strain and whether he thought it worth all of this extra police time taken up for the sake of a ban, the PMOS said that police resources had already been taken up policing anti-hunt protests wherever hunts took place. It was a fact of life and something that had to be taken into consideration. The Prime Minister’s view was that he would much rather we hadn’t got to this stage, that he would rather there had been an acceptance on all sides for the compromise approach, which was why he strongly backed the efforts of Alun Michael over the many months that he tried to get that compromise, unfortunately that hadn’t been possible.

Put to him by Sky News in language not appropriate for the lobby note, that it was wrong to say the Prime Minister had supported a compromise, the PMOS said that it was not helpful to inject emotion into questions, and that we must debate this in a rational manner without losing tempers, especially as there was so much strong emotion out on the streets. We had an extra duty to debate this in a rational way. He said that given the efforts the government had put in, particularly in the last year, to try and find a compromise approach which would involve a licensing system, and the efforts and many hours that Alun Michael had put in trying to find a compromised way forward, it was not fair to say the government had not made an effort to find a way forward. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been possible because people had taken very absolute positions on this. The Prime Minister regretted that but equally he recognised that there was a commitment in two manifestos to resolve this issue in the Parliament.

In answer to further questions, the PMOS said it was a free vote and the Prime Minister’s vote counted as little or as much as every other MP. What mattered was that Parliament was having a debate on the issue and that MPs were able to express their opinions through their vote in a free way. The Prime Minister had not mysteriously stayed in the background in terms of supporting the efforts of Alun Michael to try and find a way forward. Equally he believed it was important now that there should be a delay to allow people time to adapt to the new situation. It looks like that proposal was going to be accepted.

Asked whether the delay was to avoid this being a general election issue, the PMOS said it was to allow those who are involved in hunting to adapt and it is important that we allow people that.

Asked again why he couldn’t say whether the Prime Minister would vote, the PMOS reiterated what he said this morning, that if the Prime Minister had been asked the question in the House, he would have answered the question. He wasn’t asked the question.

Asked why the Prime Minister didn’t answer Michael Howard’s question in the House today about why so much time had been given to such a relatively unimportant issue, the PMOS said he did not want to get involved in party political matters but there were two points he could make. One was that this was not the only thing the government was dealing with. Second, this vote was going ahead because there was a commitment in two manifestos to resolve the issue with a free vote and that was what’s happening. Asked if the Prime Minister regretted including the issue in two manifestos, the PMOS said that was a party political issue.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. I think fox hunting is horrible its a cruel way to end a foxes life. how can someone call chasing a fox so its scared shitless a sport??? Tony Blair should push harder for a ban it would plz a lot of people. X Sammy X


    Comment by Sammy D — 5 Oct 2004 on 8:07 pm | Link
  2. foxhunting is the most humane way of killing the fox. Would you prefer for it to be shot or caught in a trap which is actually more traumatic for the fox?! It is a nessecary form of pest control firstly, not a sport. Do you prefer for farmers to lose their livestock?! You are supporting the loss of livestock, the loss of livlihoods for those connected with the hunt and wanting hundreds of hounds to be killed! All to ban a form of pest control which is actually the most humane way of getting rid of a pest with no natural predators! Go and find something worthwile to ban!

    Comment by al — 3 Feb 2005 on 5:31 pm | Link
  3. Like people who think hunting innocent animals and allowing them to be ripped apart by a pack of dogs is humane???

    And in answer to your question, no I wouldn’t prefer the fox to be shot; I’d prefer it to be left alone to live it’s life in the wild; if man encroaches onto its territory in the wild then tough titty. But if it was a choice between the fox being shot and allowing it to be torn apart, then shooting is obviously far more humane – well, at least it is to normal people who don’t think the whole idea of fox-hunting revolves around a social gathering and a time for fun and games (apart from for the poor fox).

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 4 Feb 2005 on 2:09 am | Link
  4. I agree with the previous comment. It’s not only the foxes who suffer from fox hunting, but the dogs too. When they’re no longer useful they’re merely shot….this is one of the cruelest things I’ve heard of. Are you people from the 1800’s? Killing animals for entertainment died out a long time ago. The most humane way to kill the fox you say? They suffer from being chased by dogs and are then ripped to shreds, what part of that is humane? Perhaps you should try and look after your livestock in a more suitable way? Hunting random foxes isn’t going to help the situation. Why is it up to us to control their numbers? Surely we should let nature take its course, or are you people too narrow minded to do that?

    Comment by Laura Hammond — 23 Jul 2005 on 6:06 pm | Link
  5. I eat eggs with a little lion on. Chickens crammed into cages, feathers worn off, beaks and wings clipped, force fed growth foods, hormones and antibiotics, necks wrung when laying levels fall off and scrunched up for chicken food. Scrambled eggs – yummy!


    Comment by Mr Pooter — 10 Aug 2005 on 9:38 pm | Link
  6. I eat eggs with a little lion on. Chickens crammed into cages, feathers worn off, beaks and wings clipped, force fed growth foods, hormones and antibiotics, necks wrung when laying levels fall off and scrunched up for chicken food. Scrambled eggs – yummy!


    Comment by Mr Pooter — 10 Aug 2005 on 9:38 pm | Link
  7. I think the ban is bad!!

    more foxes will die now, thanks to the ban!
    how would you like it if you when you were shot in the leg and it took days for you to die.that is much wose then bening hunted naturaly and dieing a swift death.And about the digs they hunt with they are shot when there is some thing rong with them,just like normal dogs when they have some thing rong with them they are put out there pain.When the dog they hunt with are alive they are creeted very well!!
    Some of you might think the dogs are trained to rip the foxes apart,but it is 100% natural.

    Comment by fow hunter — 24 Aug 2005 on 11:02 am | Link
  8. I think foxhunting is disgusting. The people who say its more humane to chase the fox for hours before finally catching it, ripping it to pieces and keeping the tail as a trophy, have got some serious issues. Its not a form of pest control, its torture. Imagine what those foxes are going throught right before they die. Just minding their own business, living their lives when all of a sudden comes horses, hounds and men about to claim the innocent lives of a gorgeous creature just trying to live. Whoever condones fox hunting is sick. Maybe it makes men feel big going around on their horses and killing animals. I dont know what it is that makes you enjoy foxhunting, but its sick. And at the end of the day theres far more people against you than with you, and one day karma will come and bite you in the arse. Might keep it as a trophy. Who knows.


    Comment by Stephanie Ferguson — 3 Dec 2006 on 2:18 pm | Link
  9. 10,000 foxhounds are shot every year in the UK, either because of age (up to about 7 years old), because they are the WRONG COLOUR, injured etc

    Comment by Liam Mc — 31 Jan 2007 on 8:06 pm | Link
  10. ya’ll are a buch of fools the south will riase again

    Comment by murphy — 22 Feb 2007 on 2:15 pm | Link
  11. ya’ll bunch of tree huging sissys.would you like it if your little kitty fluffy got viciously mauld by a fox or would u perfer me to shoot it with a .223

    Comment by murphy — 23 Feb 2007 on 1:44 pm | Link
  12. ya’ll bunch of tree huging sissys.would you like it if your little kitty fluffy got viciously mauld by a fox or would u perfer me to shoot it with a .223

    Comment by murphy — 23 Feb 2007 on 1:49 pm | Link
  13. fox hunting is not a humane way of dealing with the fox "problem" being chased until the animal is so exhausted it cannot fight anymore, to then be ripped apart by incredibly over excited dogs is hardly quick or pain free, it can take a very long time. being shot with a tranquiliser dart, or even shot with a bullet (as long as an accurate hit) is far quicker and less traumatic.
    fox hunting just supports an age old tradition from a time when people knew less about animal welfare and therefore the method of death should be updated as many things have in the last hundred years.

    Comment by emma Gildersleeve — 22 Mar 2007 on 11:42 am | Link
  14. Your all a bunch of nobs that come from the town and dont have a fucking clue about the country side, if your all so perfect y dont you go hug a tree or recycle your shit


    Comment by Mr Fox — 13 Dec 2007 on 4:17 pm | Link
  15. With regard to Mr Fox’s comment i have to say i do, completely agree!!!!!.

    For the most part, most people in the towns dont have a clue about the countryside or in fact know about what pests foxes can be – expsically to farmers. They go about spreading disease and uprooting crops.

    Fox hunting is something which should be allowed!. Look whats happing now the ban is in place..the fox population is booming..and so forcing them into the towns and cities, and yet those ‘townies’ still complain…well to that i say you only have yourselves to blame for voting for the ban in the first place.

    Comment by Ross — 14 Dec 2007 on 7:31 pm | Link
  16. At least the ban has proved to be unenforcable rubbish and hunting continues as it always has; and now with the great advantage of the townie mooks not bothering to turn up to disturb us.

    The inempt hunt monitors who now think they have the right of law behind them are being run rings round..bless their little deluded minds.

    Tally Ho!

    Comment by Charlie Fox — 15 Apr 2008 on 6:23 pm | Link
  17. The only shame is that we havent yet got into Blair and Brown’s stinkiling little earths, dug them out and slowly clubbed them to death with a spade!!!!!!!!

    There two pest that we have been very lax in dealing with.

    Comment by Charlie Fox — 15 Apr 2008 on 6:26 pm | Link
  18. I find fox hunting cruel, especially the fact that people do it for fun. Yes they steal farmers’ livestock but it’s to get food for their family. Some people kill for fun but foxes kill to stay alive. If they’re pests then what are those certain humans. To foxes they’re monsters. I strongly agree with the ban!

    Comment by Matthew Maynard — 26 Jun 2008 on 7:41 pm | Link

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