Brian May’s Save Me opposes amendments to the Hunting Act 2004
Dr Brian May’s Save Me Trust strongly opposes the government’s proposals to amend the Hunting Act 2004 using a draft Order. The government proposes to use a statutory instrument to change the exemptions under the Act, in order to use an unlimited number of dogs in exempt cases. At present, the exemptions only apply where a maximum of two dogs are used. The government claims that it is amending the exemptions to bring them into line with the current position in Scotland.
Anne Brummer CEO said “The use of a draft Order, rather than a Bill to amend, is a good example of ‘cherry picking’ some of the bits of the Scottish legislation, that favour hunters, without also taking on the related obligations. Most notably, the Scottish legislation has the possibility of higher penalties to go with its more liberal approach to the number of dogs used. The power to amend the existing exemptions by order does not permit amendment of penalties and thus underlines the inappropriateness of the approach of using a draft order.” It should also be noted that there are only 10 registered hunts in Scotland, compared to the 310 in England and Wales, so the issues of enforcement are hardly comparable.
Brian May said, “If the government wishes to amend or repeal the Hunting Act 2004, it should have the guts to bring forward a Bill, as it suggested it would during the election campaign. They are simply running scared of the level of opposition such a move would produce. 80 per cent of the electorate is against the repeal of the Hunting Act 2004. The draft Order is a move to avoid the kind of debate that a Bill would engender and to curtail the time allowed for debate of the proposed changes.”
The government’s supporters have suggested that bringing the legislation in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland, would be beneficial to farmers.