Two sides of an argument

4th February 2005 at 00:00
Speech by Kate Hoey MP to the House of Commons during the second reading of the Foster Bill on hunting November 28, 1997

"I was born and bred in the country. I was brought up on a small farm. I understand what goes on in the country. I know about hunting. I do not hunt, and I have never hunted, but I understand the reasons for it and the benefits that it can bring to rural communities. The economic arguments for hunting focus on rural jobs, but most important to me is the role that hunting can have in helping to maintain the ecological balance in nature.

(I) One cannot hunt unless there is a suitable habitat for the species concerned. That means that corners of fields are left fallow, hedges are not entirely grubbed out, edges of forests are planted with deciduous trees and chalk streams are maintained. Those habitats suitable for hunting are an example of biodiversity and support many other species. Once hunting goes, I am convinced that they will be at risk to commercial forestry and the desolate monoculture of agro-industrial farming. (I) No one - except vegetarians - can make a coherent case for banning hunting."

Speech by Tony Banks, MP (House of Commons) March 18, 2002:

"It seems to me that continual pressure on vermin is the way to deal with them, but (I) those who support hunting do not want foxes to be eliminated.

That is why, for example, foxes were introduced to the Isle of Wight and why certain hunts put carcases out to feed foxes - they need the sport. The idea that foxhunting is an effective method of fox control is nonsense.

Only about five per cent of foxes are dealt with through the hunt and most are killed on the roads. Indeed, we would probably be better off issuing the hunts with four-wheel drive vehicles so that they can run the foxes over. For me, this is a moral issue. I cannot understand how anyone takes pleasure from killing a wild animal, and the aspect of blood lust fills me with detestation."

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