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A surprising multi-party coalition of MPs—Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour, and Plaid Cymru—in sympathy with the plight of farmers suffering livestock losses from foxes are backing Parliamentary proposals to ease one aspect of the Hunting Act.

Under the Act as it stands, when a farmer wants foxes on his property killed, only two hounds are allowed to flush the foxes from covert to guns. The proposals under consideration would allow a full pack to be used. Such a change would bring the Act in line with Scotland’s ban.

Farmers say that attacks on lambs have been increasing, and claim that the hunting restrictions under the Act are impeding effective pest control.

A vote in Parliament will be required, but a new bill will not be needed for the change. Supporters are pressing Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to back the proposals. Although Mr. Paterson is a long-time supporter of lifting the ban, he has not yet made a public commitment.

A furious debate is expected. Read John Bingham’s article in The Telegraph for more details.

Posted October 14, 2013

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