Orders of the Day — Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:00 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:00 pm, 18th November 2004

If my right hon. Friend had listened to my response to my hon. Friend Rob Marris, the answer would be clear: it is because the people involved in hunting are unwilling to accept that the Bill will completely change their situation and make illegal some of the activities in which they participate. I want law-abiding people to obey the law, and I hope that they will do so. The change in the implementation date will make it more possible for them to obey the law, without giving rise to employment problems or animal welfare difficulties, concerning, for instance, the disposal of packs of dogs. That is a perfectly reasonable way in which to proceed. I say to my right hon. Friend that being reasonable, which is all that I seek, cannot bring this House into disrepute. I ask the House to insist, as it has done, on the nature of the legislation that it passes, but to do so with a reasonable implementation date.