Hunting community accuse Peterborough councillor of ‘picking on rural communities’ after anti-hunting motion raised

The Countryside Alliance has accused a Peterborough councillor of ‘picking on rural communities’ after an anti-hunting motion was raised to be discussed at the council’s meeting on Wednesday (July 28).

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 11:54 am
New Year's Day 2020 Fitzwilliam Hunt at Wansford.

Ahead of tomorrow’s full council meeting, Cllr Ansar Alli has raised a motion which, if approved, will call on the authority to outline its opposition to a hunting event held in the city.

The motion from the Labour and Co-operative member for North ward states: “This Council notes that the Festival of Hunting took place at Peterborough’s East of England Showground on Wednesday 21 July 2021, as it has in previous years.

“In 2020, this council resolved to ban ‘trail’ hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise on council land.

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Cllr Ansar Ali.

“This resolution is a clear reflection of Members’ rejection of the facilitation of hunting for sport in Peterborough.

“This Council believes that Peterborough is no longer a suitable place to host the Festival of Hunting.

“This Council resolves to ask the Leader of the Council to write to the Chairman of the East of England Agricultural Society to request that it does not host the Festival of Hunting at the East of England Showground in future.”

The Festival of Hunting ran its 133rd edition last week but the event did draw protests from opponents of the sport.

The Countryside Alliance has criticised the motion for ‘wasting vital council time’ as well as the decision taken to ban ‘trail’ hunting on all council land, claiming that none has ever taken place.

Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “The motion demonstrates a staggering lack of self-awareness and a warped sense of priorities.

“The Festival of Hunting is on its 133rd year and this year’s turnout saw thousands of people from all over the country visit Peterborough.” He said letters from a councillor directed at a privately owned showground would achieve nothing. He added:”It will waste vital council time and resources which would be better spent on helping Peterborough residents out of this pandemic.”

Richard Bramley, chairman of the East of England Agricultural Society, added: “Although Peterborough has become more of an urban city since the agricultural society was formed in 1797, councillors still have their rural constituents to consider.

“The Society hosts a number of events on the Showground, which, in any normal year, bring in excess of £20 million into the local economy. There are numerous other associated jobs linked to the venue such as catering, hospitality, security, electrical installation, sound and light as well as many local event organisers, a large number of which are engaged for the Festival of Hunting too.

“The Society is proud of its connection with the Festival of Hunting and the Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show which has taken place since 1878. No hunting activities actually take place throughout the course of the day of the show, it is simply an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the different types of hounds including beagles, basset hounds and foxhounds. The hounds are entered into different classes where they are judged on their conformation and movement in the same way that other breeds of dog are judged at Crufts.

“We are a venue at the heart of Peterborough and the community, that hosts many charitable events and local Council events, meetings and local elections. The NHS testing and vaccination centre has been and is still hosted on part of the site, playing a critical role all throughout the pandemic for the people of Peterborough and the surrounding area.”

The Peterborough Telegraph has contacted Cllr Ali for his response.