Letter: Trouble with foxes and the blood sports lobby

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The Independent Online
From Mr Elliot Morley, MP

Sir: Lord Mancroft (Letters, 7 November) does not give the full story about the sorry demise of John McFall MP's Wild Mammals (Protection) Bill. Firstly, the sensible thing to do was to have used the existing wording to the 1911 Protection of Animals Act. This was refused by the British Field Sports Society because of the word "torture". They feared blood sports would be vulnerable to legal challenge.

Secondly, while some Lords amendments were not objectionable, none were necessary. The original wording was approved by Home Office and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food legal advisers. It was agreed by the BFSS and all the animal welfare groups. It was a compromise to suit the hunting lobby on the basis that the Bill would be supported at all stages by the BFSS.

The result was unnecessary amendments, one of which actually puts a serious loophole in the Bill according to RSPCA legal advisers. The Bill is seriously weakened and its progress blocked.

For Lord Mancroft to talk about "consensus" and "compromise" is hypocrisy of the worst kind. The result of this debacle is that many of my colleagues, from all parties, who served on the committee stage of this Bill feel that compromise with the blood sports lobby is pointless.

Yours sincerely,

Elliot Morley

MP for Glanford and

Scunthorpe (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

The writer is Labour spokesperson for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

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