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by Tom Freeman
13 July 2015
Labour urges SNP to oppose fox hunting ‘repeal’

Labour urges SNP to oppose fox hunting ‘repeal’

Labour has urged the SNP to vote against changes to fox hunting laws in England and Wales.

A letter from Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle to SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson argues opposition to the reforms “should not stop at the border”.

The UK Government has proposed ‘Technical changes’ to the hunting ban which would bring the law into line with what already exists in Scotland over hunting using dogs.

SNP MPs generally do not vote on issues which do not affect Scotland, but Labour are urging them to take a stand in the free vote on Wednesday, where as many as 40 Conservatives could vote against the government.

The letter reads: “Many people, including in Scotland, will oppose any move by the Government to water down the existing law in England.

“We are sure you, and members of the SNP group, will have already received representations from constituents and others in this regard. It is important that all of us listen to people across Scotland who have been making their views clear since this vote was announced last week.”

Traditional fox hunting is illegal across Britain, but in Scotland an unlimited number of dogs can be used to flush out a fox so that a farmer or landowner can shoot it. In England and Wales currently only two dogs can be used.  Campaigners have said the change would lead to a return of hunting “by the back door”.

PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi said: "We're calling on decision-makers to heed their constituents by maintaining the current limit on hunting with dogs."

Polls have consistently shown opposition to hunting across the UK. It was banned in Scotland in 2002, with England and Wales following two years later. 

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