To coincide with the traditional start of the hunt season, the Countryside Alliance has drawn attention to statistics that it says show the Hunting Act is a failure and a waste of police time.
Ministry of Justice figures obtained by the CA indicate that 97 per cent of convictions under the Hunting Act have been for poaching or other casual hunting-related activities, which could have been prosecuted under previously existing legislation.
According to the figures, only one of the 33 people fined under the Hunting Act in 2010 was associated with a registered hunt. There were 11 people cautioned under the Act in 2010 – and not one of them was associated with a registered hunt.
Furthermore, 12 police forces in the UK have not issued a single caution or proceeded against any individuals under the Act since it came into force in 2005.
Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “These statistics are a damning indictment of the expensive and failed Hunting Act.
“As a piece of legislation it has been condemned widely – including by those who created it – yet law-abiding hunts are still forced to go about their daily lives under the threat of harassment and intimidation from saboteurs who then waste police time pursuing cases that never see the light of day.”
Also quoted in the CA’s report was former chief inspector Philip Davies, who said: “The Hunting Act is a police officer’s nightmare. It is hugely time-consuming, a massive distraction and produces very poor results.
“The Hunting Act compels forces to investigate law-abiding hunts with little or no success. The strain on resources is totally out of proportion to the results achieved.”
Photo credit: David Hill.