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 Lord Livsey of Talgarth Lord Livsey of Talgarth Shadow Minister (Agriculture), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 1:18 pm, 11th November 2004

My Lords, I support the amendments very strongly, particularly the amendment dealing with stoats and weasels. Anybody who lives in the countryside is horrified at the damage that they do to wild ground-nesting birds. The curlew, as I mentioned in an earlier debate, has been completely wiped out of large parts of the United Kingdom. That is a great shame because it is a harbinger of spring. So I believe very strongly that stoats and weasels must be controlled in the way in which the noble Earl, Lord Peel, has described.

I am particularly concerned about the use of dogs underground. In the uplands, that is often the only method of flushing out the foxes. The same applies in dense woodland. Lamb losses can be immense unless foxes are kept down or, rather, kept in balance—we are not looking at wiping out the fox population.

This is the most efficient method of control. As we know, more foxes are killed by shooting than in any other way. It is vital that this should continue; indeed, there will always be more foxes to be shot next season because there is a balance to be secured.