Alliance MLA, John Blair has encouraged the public to sign a petition calling for a ban on hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland.
The call comes after his historic Bill, to ban the hunting of wild mammals with dogs, was blocked by Stormont. The proposed legislation was debated in the Assembly on Monday 6 December, when it was defeated by 45 votes to 38. The majority of the opposition was from Sinn Féin MLAs.
Mr Blair, who also chairs the All-Party Group on Animal Welfare, expressed his disappointment, but said he was not “deterred” and hopes to re-introduce the Bill to ban on hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland in the new Assembly mandate.
“Animal welfare will remain a high priority for the Alliance Party, and I will, if re-elected, take the earliest opportunity to bring this Bill forward again and reform legislation on hunting wild mammals with dogs in Northern Ireland, and bring our legislation in line with that in England, Scotland and Wales where the practice has been illegal for close to 20 years.”
“The result of the debate is contrary to the views of the public, and that’s why I am urging the public to add their voice to this campaign to outlaw the cruel and unnecessary sport of hunting with dogs.”
USPCA Chief Executive Brendan Mullan, said “Hunting wild mammals with dogs is sadistic and cruel and has no place in an advanced and compassionate society. We are staggered that half the members of the Assembly do not share this view and have allowed this barbaric ‘sport’ to continue here in Northern Ireland. By signing this petition, members of the public can put on record their opposition to hunting wild mammals with dogs, sending a clear message to the Assembly to end this cruel practice which causes unthinkable pain and suffering for innocent wild animals.”
The petition is available by visiting www.allianceparty.org/ban_hunting_with_dogs.