Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:11 am on 12th March 2001.

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Photo of Lord Dahrendorf Lord Dahrendorf Liberal Democrat 1:11 am, 12th March 2001

My Lords, I do not know how it happened that I find myself at the end of this very long list of distinguished speakers--perhaps it is because I am the most ignorant on the subject. I also regret that I have to rob the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, of the prize for the shortest speech, because what I have to say is very simple and consists of five sentences.

I am one of those who find the deliberate killing of any living creature painful and hunting with dogs distasteful. I am also one who profoundly believes that only actions that harm other people and infringe their rights require the force of the law, whereas activities that are merely disagreeable or distasteful to some do not. When it comes to legislation, as a matter of principle I would rather err on the side of restraint than on that of interference. This is what liberty means and to me liberty matters above all other values. For that reason, I prefer the option of self-regulation of hunting with dogs and am strongly opposed to the idea of a ban.