04 August 1999
Ministers to reject ‘cruelty-free’ hunts

THE government is apparently set to reject a compromise aimed at retaining fox-hunting by allowing hunts to stamp out its cruellest practices.

The idea had been put forward by the all-party “Middle Way” group, led by Tory MP Peter Luff who is also the chairman of Commons Agriculture Select Committee.

It proposed that hunts should apply for a licence, which could be withdrawn if it carried out barbaric practices, such as dogs “digging out” a terrified fox underground.

Jack Straw, the home secretary, is to review the proposals which would mean that hunts which refused to adopt a new code of conduct would be refused a licence.

But The Independent reports “sources” which say the proposals do not go far enough to address concerns about the cruelty in hunting.