Hunting Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:18 pm on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Baroness Golding Baroness Golding Labour 1:18 pm, 11th November 2004

My Lords, I, too, have much sympathy with the arguments in support of these two amendments. I understand that my noble friend Lord Sewel has tabled Amendment No. 2 as a compromise, but I do not think that it can work. The countryside must be managed. As we live in it we change it, and that change must be managed. We should not divide it up into areas that we manage, such as less-favoured areas, and areas that we will not manage, such as those outside less-favoured areas, as my noble friend suggests.

Part of the Government's recognition of our responsibilities is that they have signed up to the European Convention on Biological Diversity, which commits them and us to control and eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or native species. Having signed up to the convention, the Government cannot then say, "We will allow hunts to protect wildlife only in areas deemed less favoured by another European directive, and the remainder of our countryside will not be protected, even though it may need to be". We must take into account that we need to hunt and eradicate other mammals besides foxes. Of course I should mention mink. Mammals know no boundaries and neither should this Government's Bill. I am sorry to say that we should reject the amendments.