Hunting ban challenge rejected

The hunting ban challenge from the Countryside Alliance has been rejected by Law Lords. The Countryside Alliance had argued that the ban on hunting with hounds contravened human rights and put up to 8,000 livelihoods at risk.

Law Lords ruled unanimously in favour of the ban, and also dismissed a similar appeal relating to Scotland.

The ban, which prohibits fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing with dogs in England and Wales, was passed by government in 2004 using the Parliament Act to overturn opposition in the Lords.

Law Lords rejected the argument from the Countryside Alliance, saying that the democratic process risked being subverted if opponents of the ban won in the courts but not in Parliament.

Lord Bingham, former Lord Chief Justice, headed the panel. He said: ?The democratic process is liable to be subverted if, on a question of moral and political judgment, opponents of the act achieve through the courts what they could not achieve in Parliament.?

Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart said: ?We have always maintained that the legitimacy of the Hunting Act would eventually be decided in Europe. The Hunting Act was based on prejudice, rather than principle or evidence, and has no justification in terms of public benefit or animal welfare.?

The Countryside Alliance will now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over the Hunting Act, following the rejection of their challenge by the Law Lords. The Countryside Alliance maintains that up to 8,000 livelihoods are now at risk as a result of the ban.

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