Schedule 3 - Hunting with dogs: prohibition

Part of Hunting Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 25th January 2001.

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Photo of Mrs Llin Golding Mrs Llin Golding Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme 10:45 am, 25th January 2001

Significant effect, thank you. The report says that hunting does not have a significant effect on the population of mink in the countryside. No, it does not. However, at least those who hunt are trying to do something about it. If they are banned from doing so, many more mink will be running around and breeding. Mink have no natural predators other than man, and unless man does something about them, they will continue to breed and to destroy much of our indigenous wildlife. That raises the question of who is responsible for ensuring that mink are eradicated.

I received a letter from the NRA—the National Rivers Authority—stating that

The control of mink has in fact always been a responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, not of NRA

—nothing to do with us, guv. In response, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food told me:

It is entirely at the discretion of individual landowners/occupiers to decide whether they wish to control mink on their land.

The letter goes on to say that the Ministry will ``provide advice''. In other words, it will not do anything about the problem, but it will give people leaflets about it. So who is doing something about it? The answer is nobody other than the mink packs.

East Dorset district council sent a letter to its local mink pack, stating:

Thank you for . . . helping us to control the population of mink on the Moors Valley River. It was good to see the hounds working and the excellent way you kept them under control. We will contact you again if we have further reports of mink in the future.

It appreciates the damage that is done to rivers and the effect of mink hounds.