HomeDocumentsMiddle Way Group Press Release: Hunting Act - Research proves ban increases suffering (added 30.5.05)

Middle Way Group Press Release: Hunting Act - Research proves ban increases suffering (added 30.5.05)

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Press Release from the Middle Way Group
Hunting Act - Research proves ban increases suffering


Issued by: Jim Barrington & Andy Poole
Date: 29th April 2005


Hunting Act - Research proves ban increases suffering

An authoritative study into wounding rates in shooting foxes has been peer reviewed and published as accepted and valid scientific research.

"Wounding rates in shooting foxes" is published in the May edition of Animal Welfare, the journal of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. The All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group commissioned it in 2002, after shooting became quoted by pro-ban organisations as the "humane" alternative to hunting with dogs.

Lembit Öpik*, co-founder of the All Party Middle Way Group, said, "The RSPCA and League Against Cruel Sports claimed hunting with dogs caused more suffering than shooting. This study set out to test that claim. It looked into wounding rates in various shooting regimes and varied the weapon, ammunition, distance and skill. All methods tested remain legal for fox control. It involved 6 scientists, led by Dr Nick Fox.

"The research proves conclusively the pro-ban groups were plain wrong. In many cases guns don't kill the fox outright, leading to large numbers of wounded animals. Many end up dying over hours, days or even weeks. In fact, up to 50% of foxes shot with shot guns are wounded, not killed.

"We've long suspected that shooting does not reduce suffering. After all, with dogs it's 'all or nothing'. But with guns foxes can be wounded and suffer for a long time. As the Government has pledged not to bring in new legislation to control shooting, we can be certain foxes will suffer more than they did before the ban on hunting with dogs was implemented. The ban has guaranteed that the time and money invested by the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA has increased animal suffering. We told them this would happen. This is the cost of ignoring that warning."

Peter Luff*, co-founder of the Middle Way Group, said, "Anti hunting MPs were given this information before the Hunting Act came into force, yet they chose to ignore it. Instead, they listened to organisations quoting unpublished and flawed research, resulting in an unworkable law that is anti-animal welfare and which appears to have upset all sides in the argument. No true animal welfare advocate can now support the Hunting Act as it currently stands."

Baroness Golding, co-Chair of the Middle Way Group said, "The hunting debate is supposed to be about improving animal welfare, yet we now know that the exact opposite will happen and welfare will be diminished. The next Government must look again at the Hunting Act and replace it with genuine animal welfare measures, such as the Bill to give all wild mammals basic protection, which was introduced into both Houses of Parliament by Lord Donoughue and Lembit Öpik."

Notes to Editors : Animal Welfare is published by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare

*Lembit Öpik and Peter Luff are co-Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group and are currently candidates in the General Election.

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