THE debate on whether to relax the hunting ban continues in North Wales.
Following calls by some farmers and fox hunt supporters to relax the hunting ban, Denbighshire animal rights campaigner Judi Hewitt said the act should be strengthed rather than relaxed.
Mrs Hewitt said: “We should not still be debating this issue of killing with dogs - we should be talking seriously about strengthening the hunting act to make it work.
“There needs to be a reckless behaviour clause, so if a fox is killed on a hunt the huntsmen are heavily fined or banned from going out on a hunt for a period of time.”
The current hunting ban means two dogs can be used to flush out a fox from its den and then be shot.
But farmers have claimed this is not effective and it’s affecting their livestock.
Mrs Hewitt added: “Hunt supporters and pro-hunt farmers never provide any concrete proof of fox attacks on lambs, we are just supposed to take their word for it. Well it's not good enough.
“Yes, foxes will attack poultry if they get the chance and there is ample film footage to prove this, but we still have no footage of foxes attacking lambs.
“We should be talking seriously about strengthening the hunting act to stop the unnecessary and cruel persecution of foxes.”
North Wales AM and shadow minister for rural affairs, Antoinette Sandbach, supports those farmers calling for the ban to be relaxed.
She said: “Foxes continue to be a major, growing, problem for farmers and others working in the Welsh countryside, by attacking and killing young stock from lambs through to poultry and game birds. With lambing season upon us, this is an issue
that farmers are facing right now.
“The loss of livestock and the cost of extra protection from these pests is an expense that Welsh food producers have to pass on to shoppers. We have to find efficient ways to control foxes and the present methods are patently not working.
“The Hunting Act needs to be amended or repealed to allow farmers the right to use more than two hounds to flush out these predators, to be shot humanely, and so protect vulnerable livestock.”
What do YOU think?
Tell us what you think by voting on the Free Press poll ‘Is it time to relax the ban on fox hunting?’ at www.denbighshirefreepress.co.uk Alternatively, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org