Thank you for writing to me about hunting and the League Against Cruel Sports’ report.
The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. Those found guilty under the Act are subject to the full force of the law. Whilst I appreciate your strength of feeling about this issue and the concerns that you raise, I am not aware of any plans for the Hunting Act 2004 to be amended.
I am aware that many hunts have turned to trail hunting since the introduction of the Hunting Act. This involves a pack of hounds following an artificially laid, animal-based scent. As this does not involve a hunt for a live fox, it is not banned under the Act. For an offence to be committed it is necessary to prove that a wild animal is being hunted intentionally. If proven, this can lead to a prosecution and an unlimited fine.
Enforcement of the Hunting Act is an operational matter for police. This is in line with their duties to keep the peace, protect communities and prevent the commission of offences, working within the provisions of the legal framework set by Parliament. It is for individual Chief Constables to determine how their resources are deployed and it is for locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners to hold their forces to account. This includes consideration of how the police tackle the crimes that matter most to residents and businesses in rural and urban areas alike.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking