FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14th July 2015
Fight for foxes and badgers comes to Downing Street
The Badger Trust and their organiser Emily Lawrence will be joining with other animal welfare organisations and campaigners to hold what is expected to be the largest ever wildlife protection protest held outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday 15 July.
The protest will coincide with the debate and vote in the House of Commons on the amendment of the 2004 Hunting Act, which if passed will result in a serious weakening of the ban on fox hunting across England and Wales and could also lead to an increase in the illegal persecution of badgers by fox hunts.
Polls show that the vast majority of the UK public in both urban and rural communities are firmly opposed to the cruelty of hunting with dogs and support the retention of the Hunting Act in its current form. Thousands of people from across the country are expected to attend the protest. Speakers at the protest will include the CEO of the Badger Trust Dominic Dyer, actor and animal welfare campaigner Peter Egan, former MP and Trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports Chris Williamson and wildlife campaigner and broadcaster Anneka Svenska.
Speaking ahead of the protest, CEO of the Badger Trust Dominic Dyer said:
“Whatever the government might say, the amendment to be put to the vote on Wednesday has nothing to do with helping farmers control fox numbers. It’s a clear back door attempt to weaken the ban on fox hunting as a blood sport and to test the water for full repeal of the Hunting Act in this Parliament, which would also allow the return of stag hunting and hare coursing.
“The Badger Trust is also very concerned about the impact of fox hunting on badger persecution. In the last few days we have received video evidence of fox hunt workers pouring diesel down badger setts and blocking and digging in badger setts, all of which are illegal under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and could result in a six month prison sentence. We believe this illegal activity is widespread within the fox hunting community and the situation will get far worse, should the ban on fox hunting be weakened on Wednesday. Equally, we are concerned that if this parliamentary tactic is successful then the government will use the same unscrupulous method to weaken or amend the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
“If the pro-hunting lobby in government thought they could push this amendment vote through before the Summer recess with little public and political opposition they have badly miscalculated.
“We are confident that at least 40 Tory MPs will vote against, abstain or not participate in the vote on Wednesday, this will include new Ministers such as Dominic Raab and Tracey Crouch, the former Tory Party Chairman Grant Shapps and the favourite Tory candidate for London Mayor, Zac Goldsmith. First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon has announced that SNP MPs will join Labour MPs and Tory rebels in voting against the amendment.”
Update on earlier release
The government, under huge public pressure and following the decision by the SNP to join Labour and Tory rebels in voting against the Hunting Act amendment, have postponed the Commons vote scheduled for Wednesday 15 July.
However, the Badger Trust believes it is vital that we keep up the public and political pressure on the government to stop any further moves to weaken the Hunting Act and potentially the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and we will therefore be continuing with our mass protest at Downing Street at 12.30 on Wednesday.
CEO Badger Trust