Heated exchanges between the League Against Cruel Sport and the Countryside Alliance were heard in Hendon Town Hall last night (16 January) as they debated hunting at a Middlesex University law debate.
The legal and ethical arguments were argued over by Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, and Jim Barrington, Welfare Consultant for the Countryside Alliance.
Members of the public, students and Middlesex University staff heard the pair debate the Hunting Act, the issue of wounding, and whether hunting is natural, amongst other hotly contested topics.
During the debate the League Against Cruel Sports’ Joe Duckworth said: “It’s a deeply immoral activity which should have no place in our society. The majority of people and politicians agree with that – it’s completely unnatural and leads to terrible unnecessary suffering.
“There is nothing natural about a pack of dogs and a bunch of humans in red coats on horses chasing around hollering and blowing horns – that’s not the equivalent of a wolf pack. [For the hunters] it is about justifying the blood lust and the pleasure gained out of hunting wild animals for enjoyment.”
While Jim Barrington from the Countryside Alliance said: “Hunting isn’t a form of pest control it is a form of management - it’s not about animals being killed it’s about helping the population to stay alive, hunting is very good at doing that.
“Hounds are canines, they hunt like wild canines, they don’t wound it’s an all or nothing outcome. The chase is the determining factor, that’s what wolves do, they take out the old, the weak and the sick, and canines do the same.”
On the Hunting Act 2004 Jim Barrington said: “The Hunting Act has caused more damage to animal welfare than it has done good. I believe that no one should be able to cause unnecessary suffering to wild animals. It would be a far better law if it was a law based on evidence rather than on emotion.”
While Joe Duckworth said: “The act does work and has made an impact, the problem is not the act it’s the people breaking it.
The debate was chaired by Middlesex University principle lecturer in law Dr Susan Pascoe who is an expert on the legal aspects of the Hunting Act 2004.
The next Middlesex University law debate takes place on 28 February at 2pm on the impact of spending cuts on human rights.