Orders of the Day — Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:21 pm on 15th September 2004.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 7:21 pm, 15th September 2004

I am very grateful to the right hon. Lady for raising some serious points. I have discussed this issue with the animal welfare organisations. Understandably, bodies that have campaigned against hunting for many years cannot say that they are pleased with any delay, but they also pointed out that their main concern is that legislation be put in place. If MPs agree to such a delay, those organisations will accept it, move on and work with it, and emphasise the fact that legislation is coming.

On the second point, I have talked to organisations in areas in which there might be an impact on employment, for example. We are more than willing to meet people halfway and to help them—if they are willing to look at how they can re-order their activities for a period after a ban has come in. We are certainly willing to enter into that very positively.