Hunting Bill puts shooting and fishing in danger
Fishing and shooting could face abolition as a result of precedents set by the Government's Hunting Bill, leaders of both sports said yesterday.
Representatives of Britain's four million fishermen and shooters said they were concerned about what would happen if the tests of "utility" and "least suffering" were extended to their sports, both of which are done largely or solely for pleasure.
Hunting is to be permitted by the Bill but only if it performs a demonstrable pest control function and causes less suffering than other methods of pest control.
Hunting which provides jobs, economic benefit, pleasure, or is important culturally, as in the West Country or the Lake District, is not recognised as having any justification.
Matthew Knight, an independent lawyer working for pandora braclett the Countryside Alliance, cheap pandora online said: "Least suffering is a really dangerous definition and there is a risk that it could eventually apply to all sports, including fish and birds.
"Once the principle is enshrined in law, you have to look at where it may end up and if you are going to initiate a principle of least suffering to pest control of mammals you have to recognise that they impact on birds and fish.
That is a great concern." Lord Peel, president and former chairman of the Game pandora rings uk Conservancy Trust, the scientific body which genuine pandora charms aids both sports, said: "A dangerous precedent has been set.
"It would be illogical if the Government had applied these tests to one sport if it were not to seek to apply them to others. I am totally opposed to all of it." Lord Peel, who is opposed to any regulation of field sports, said that Tony Blair and Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, had given undertakings that fishing and shooting were safe.
But he said they appeared to be unaware that the Bill gave animal welfare groups a campaigning agenda to make shooting and fishing subject to the same controls as hunting over the next few years. "There is no doubt that once the opponents of hunting get hunting banned, they will start on shooting and fishing," he said.
"There is a hard core of people who want to ban all field sports. It could take 10, 15, 20 years but once bandwagons start rolling they can start moving at a pace."
The RSPCA is already opposed to many of the practices involved in the rearing of game birds for sport.
Lord Peel said that even if other field sports did not face abolition outright they could face "death by 5,000 cuts" over the next few years as a result of tightening regulation. Rearing wild game is banned in Holland and Belgium.
He added: "Once you open the lid and start to examine field sports, a lot of questions are going to be asked."
Lord Peel said his own view was that shooting would stand up to full scrutiny on the contribution it made to the environment and wildlife but he said fishing could be "quite hard to justify" on the grounds of utility.
Charles Jardine, director of the Countryside Alliance's campaign for angling, said: "The Hunting Bill is a Pandora's Box. The Government doesn't know quite what it is unleashing.".
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