John Blair clearly rattled by CAI e-lobby

Mr Blair has clearly been rattled by the country sports communities participation in CAIs e-lobby, so much so we are aware he emailed his MLA colleagues across Stormont claiming he only wants to “ban hunting with dogs for the kill”…. but is this the case?

We can only presume John did not read his own public consultation which clearly states “The Bill, if passed, will also ban trail hunting and effectively outlaw flushing with dogs for pest control, also known as ‘terrier work’. Possible exemptions may apply.”  A week later when challenged, he confirmed it is his intention to ban trail hunting an activity which he acknowledges is designed to ‘mimic’ traditional hunting.

Mr Blair is keen to state that the proposals would have no impact on other activities such as shooting but yet what he is proposing may not allow for an exemption for the use of a dog below ground, that was specifically included in the Hunting Act, and similarly included in the Scottish legislation, precisely to enable game keepers to protect game for shooting, as well as wild birds. Dogs are also used to track mink to protect fish stocks. John must also be well aware that those opposed to hunting on so-called animal welfare grounds are also opposed to shooting and fishing and advance the same arguments against those activities.

Those opposed to hunting made great claims when the Hunting Act was going through the Westminster Parliament that they were not against shooting and angling, and even supported the terrier work exemption amendment as a result. Since then, they have attacked shooting relentlessly. Therefore, contrary to what he suggests in his proposals, as far as CAI understands them, would have serious implications for shooting, and for rural communities. The impact on communities was yet another point explicitly recognised by Lord Bonomy’s report.

In addition, any ban on terrier work for the dispatch of orphaned fox cubs will almost certainly affect shooting potentially resulting in a closed season for foxes.

Scottish Parliament (Rural Affairs Committee Official Report 78):

“The use of terriers in pest control work is necessary as there appear to be few practical alternatives” and “the use of terriers underground to dispatch orphaned cubs which appears to the Committee to be the only practical alternative, and more humane than leaving them to starve.”

The Scottish Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Commenting on the absence of a closed season on shooting vixens, Scottish Rural Affairs Committee Official Report 21st Nov 2000):

“leaving those cubs to die would be the greatest cruelty” and “we will have to support terriers going underground”.

Mr Blair’s survey is about to enter its last week, we call on the country sport community to stand together and fight this. CAI calls on everyone to complete our e-lobby HERE sending a clear message to your local MLAs on how you feel and to also complete Mr Blair’s survey using following the link We ask you to encourage and assist others to do the same.

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