14 December 2000
Hunt vote ‘distraction’ to MPs

By FWi staff

FARMERS have appealed to MPs not to be distracted from the real issues affecting agriculture ahead of the second reading of the Bill to ban hunting.

The second reading the Hunting Bill was due next Monday (18 December). But some reports suggest it has been postponed by two days to Wednesday.

The National Farmers Union is opposed to the bill on the grounds that it will reduce the means available to farmers to control pests.

But NFU president Ben Gill said he was also concerned that it will prove an unwelcome distraction from more urgent issues affecting producers.

“At a time of crisis on British farms, the bringing forward of this highly controversial Bill will be viewed with astonishment and anger by farmers.

“It will deflect the public, media and parliamentary time away from the pressing issues associated with the deep crisis in which agriculture remains.”

The Countryside Alliance has planned a protest in central London to coincide with the second reading of the Bill. Protestors will gather in Trafalgar Square.

It believes the parliamentary timetable may have been changed to delay reading of the bill and “wrong-foot” demonstration organisers.