Wildlife Crime — [Andrew Rosindell in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:43 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 2:43 pm, 20th March 2019

My hon. Friend makes a good point. I am glad that our two police forces are making some progress, but it is the implementation of the law, and punishments, that we are particularly concerned about.

I represent a little urban area; we do not have any foxhunts in Southend West. However, I drive along at night and see the odd fox or badger that sadly has been flattened by a car. I am very concerned about how people seem to have got around the 2004 Act. I would very much welcome an increase in penalties and more custodial sentences for illegal hunting. Average fines of £250 are a paltry punishment, frankly, for such cruelty, whatever a person thinks about foxes. Those Members who have kept chickens will know that it is not a lot of fun to find that they have been killed and played with—indeed, it can be very upsetting because they are pets. However, it beggars belief that anyone would set dogs on foxes and think that it is acceptable to have them physically torn apart. I think that most civilised people, and I would hope most Members of Parliament, would find that repugnant.

The law needs strengthening to stop deceitful trail hunting, and to protect our wildlife from the cruel sport of hunting with dogs. Nobody should be above the law, and those who continue in the inhumane killing of foxes and stags under the cover of trail hunting should be prosecuted.