Press Release on behalf of Keep The Ban Campaign - 9th July 2015

This is a press release on behalf of the Keep The Ban campaign. Keep The Ban is a grassroots movement that was set up with the sole aim of opposing the present Conservative government’s plans to repeal the Hunting Act 2004. We believe this would be regressive. We have enjoyed comfortable support since being founded in May this year and can boast 4,000 likes on Facebook, over 1,200 Twitter followers and at one point managed to reach around 1.4 million people through post reach. We are a movement on the move and are here to stay and defend all wildlife.

‘KTB’ argues that the Hunting Act 2004 is one of the most successful pieces of legislation in living memory. The Act has led to around 237 prosecutions from around 2004 to 2011, out of a total figure of 333, meaning that there is a 71% success rate for the legislation. This can be compared to the Deer Act of 1991, for example, where there have been just 39 prosecutions over the period from introduction to 2011, with 23 prosecutions being unsuccessful. KTB would therefore like to ask, why target successful legislation for clearly political and ideological reasons as we believe this government is doing, whilst letting other legislation with poorer performance being unchanged. We support all existing animal rights legislation such as the Deer Act, and believe that strengthening them will lead to greater success. Moreover, polling suggests that 51% of people support the ban, with statistics given from a Yougov poll earlier this year. However, support for repeal has risen only 3% in the eleven years since it’s introduction. This proves that the government are on the wrong side of public opinion. Furthermore, I can confirm that KTB are fully against fox snares as we believe snares are cruel and inhumane.

Additionally, KTB would like to respond to recent media reports that the government are planning a vote on fox hunting this coming Wednesday 15th July 2015. This is urgent and opposition to repeal of the Act must be heard. We believe that the present Conservative government has no mandate for repeal. They were elected on just 37% of the vote, meaning that almost 2/3 of the electorate did not support the Conservatives. The British people did not give a mandate nor did they give the government permission to do this, and so KTB will stand by those people. KTB stands ready to fight proposals to repeal the legislation in the near future. We encourage support for our campaign, cross-organisational consensus and would like to extend an arm to other pressure groups and Trade Unions, even if they pursue the same cause. The strength of a movement will defeat the proposals for repeal. We have proudly received the official support of Labour MPs such as Andrew Gwynne, Sarah Champion, Richard Burgon, Karl Turner, Emma Lewell-Buck and Angela Raynar as well as Ex members of parliament most of whom were involved in the original debate such as Dame Anne Begg’s and Cathy Jamieson. We encourage others from all parties to support our campaign.

However, throughout the weeks and months of lobbying on this issue, that KTB has engaged in, KTB believes that the position of the SNP (Scottish National Party) is worryingly uncertain. The SNP have 56 MPs and could determine the vote. Joanna Cherry QC MP, SNP spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs, has replied to an email from us here at KTB stating that this was a “devolved matter” and that “the SNP group at Westminster has not decided it’s stance”. She then stated “I would encourage you to contact the UK government who have made the initial proposals”. We would urge the SNP to decide their stance, quickly. We wish to add the support of the SNP to our list of supporters. We would urge the SNP to stop flip-flopping on this matter and make a decision, a decision that 1.4 million Scottish people elected them to make as Westminster politicians. KTB again repeats calls to hold discussions with SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP, and SNP Chief Whip Mike Weir MP to resolve this matter in Parliament. We would greatly appreciate dialogue so as to resolve this issue. KTB seeks to protect wildlife and ensure animals are around for future generations to enjoy. We fight for this and seek assurances for the future. We urge co-operation in the achievement of this goal. For more information on KTB please visit http://www.keeptheban.org.uk/ .

Thank you for reading,

Jack Cunningham Press Officer, Keep The Ban

Date of release: 08/07/15

References: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/countryside/11418998/Ten-years-on-from-the-foxhunting-ban-has-anything-really-changed.html https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/01/09/british-people-still-support-fox-hunting-ban/

Reply of Joanna Cherry QC MP

Please do not hesitate to contact Keep the ban campaign team if you have any queries or wish for any interviews. press@keeptheban.org.uk