The recent UK General Election provided good news for wildlife across the country. The Scottish National party won a record number of seats to give them a significant presence in the House of Commons, earning them the opportunity to oppose a proposed repeal of the Hunting Act in England and Wales, should they choose to do so.
Foxhunting ban repeal
It seems that some Conservative MPs are likely to push for a vote on whether the 2004 foxhunting ban should be repealed within the next few months, having promised to do so in their party manifesto. The Act was introduced by the 2004 Labour government and prohibits the hunting of deer, hare, mink and foxes with dogs.
The SNP still have to consider the legislation and decide whether or not to challenge any proposed repeal during the forthcoming Free Vote. Historically the party has refrained from voting on matters that only affect England and Wales, but on this particular issue they feel strongly enough to stand up and be counted. Despite having only one Tory MP in Scotland, the UK government does vote on matters directly affecting rural affairs in Scotland, and so it seems only right that the SNP should have their say on such a controversial matter.
Prime Minister, David Cameron is a supporter of foxhunting but despite this is unhappy that the issue seems about to rear its head again. Many MPs of all the parties represented in Parliament are opposed to hunting with dogs. All of them would be allowed a Free Vote regardless of their party affiliation as foxhunting is considered to be a matter of conscience. As it stands, the Conservative party has just a majority of 12. This means that it would only require a few Tory rebels together with support from Labour and the SNP to block the repeal.
At least some of the wildlife of the UK appears to be safe thanks to the unexpected SNP intervention in the proposed repeal of the Hunting Act. Let’s hope that they offer their support on matters such as badger culling, and the persecution of birds of prey by gamekeepers too.
Image source: newsshaft.com