Minister attacks hunting act

Fitzwilliam Hunt Boxing day meet at Stilton

Fitzwilliam Hunt Boxing day meet at Stilton

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Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has claimed that the Hunting Act “simply doesn’t work” as hundreds took part in the traditional post-Christmas meets.

Mr Paice said he is in favour of hunting with dogs while visiting Milton Park in Peterborough ahead of the annual Boxing Day hunt.

Hunt supporters have described the act as “failed”, and under the terms of the coalition agreement there will be a vote on whether to repeal it.

The Countryside Alliance estimates that more than 250,000 people are expected to turn out today to 300 hunts across the UK.

“The current law simply doesn’t work,” said Mr Paice.

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Joe Duckworth said: “It is utterly appalling that people can think the act of chasing a wild animal with hounds to the point of exhaustion and then taking pleasure in watching it being killed is acceptable.”

The coalition Government has promised to allow MPs a free vote on whether to bring forward legislation to repeal the Hunting Act, which made it illegal to hunt wild animals using dogs.

Full report and pictures in Wednesday’s Evening Telegraph