November marks the start of the new hunting season for the 289 registered packs of hounds across Britain, which provide an important service for farmers and landowners by lawfully managing the population of foxes, hare and deer.
The Hunting Act means that many of the packs of harriers, foxhounds, beagles, bassetts and mink hounds now follow a trail, but most also continue to carry out wildlife management under the exemptions put into the Hunting Act by MPs who realised that populations of some mammals have to be controlled.
We had hoped that the new season would have been marked by small amendments to the Hunting Act that were to have come before Parliament in July.
These would have varied the number of hounds allowed to be used by hunts when flushing mammals out to be shot. However, despite evidence showing that being able to use more dogs is more effective, and potentially more humane, and the support of a majority of MPs in Government, the vote was called off.
There is no justification for the Hunting Act and it will be consigned to history. So the hunting community starts the new season in good spirits determined to continue hunting, under the law, and fighting for repeal.