The Wild Mammals Protection Bill, which was killed in the Lords in the last session of Parliament, is expected to be taken up again today by Alan Meale, MP for Mansfield. The Bill is likely to disappoint the League Against Cruel Sports because it will not seek to ban fox hunting, stag hunting or hare coursing. But the sponsors have limited its scope to enhance its chances of becoming law.
A similar Bill aroused controversy when it was launched a year ago because it would have banned all forms of hunting with hounds and its sponsor, John McFall, was forced to abandon the anti-hunting clauses. It ran into more opposition in the House of Lords and was finally killed through lack of parliamentary time, although it had passed all its Commons stages.
Mr Meale came second in the ballot of MPs for the right to introduce a backbench Bill and is guaranteed a full day for debate in January. The Bill would make it an offence for the first time to kick, beat, impale, crush or drown wild animals.
The Bill has the backing of the RSPCA. "It would give wild animals the same protection that the 1911 Protection of Animals Act gives captive animals," it said. "At the moment there is no legal protection for wild mammals unless they are a protected species."Reuse content