Schedule 3 - Hunting with dogs: prohibition

Part of Hunting Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 25th January 2001.

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Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Liberal Democrat, Berwick-upon-Tweed 11:00 am, 25th January 2001

This group of amendments seeks in a general way to address the problems of gamekeepers, farmers, farm workers and pest-control contractors. I see great merit in that approach, because it will address the fear of prosecution, which the hon. Member for West Ham seems not to appreciate. If the exemption is of a general character, and qualified, if it has to be, to avoid attempts to get round the Bill's basic purpose, people can carry on their jobs. If we must rely on later amendments tabled by various members of the Committee to deal with specific anomalies, others will still not be covered and those carrying on legitimate and necessary activities will be in constant fear of prosecution, relying on the belief, ``The authorities wouldn't prosecute, would they?'' That is no basis on which somebody running a small pest control business can invest in a van or equipment to do his job. It is no basis on which a gamekeeper can hope to keep his job. A gamekeeper who finds himself in court does not stay in his job very long.