A bid to extend Great Britain’s ban on foxhunting to Northern Ireland has been tabled in the Stormont Assembly.
The move by the Green Party aims to see the region adopt the same prohibition on hunting foxes with horses and hounds that has been introduced in England, Wales and Scotland over the last decade.
Green MLA Brian Wilson proposed the Bill, which will be debated by Assembly Members at a later date.
“This Bill will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK in terms of banning hunting with dogs,” he said afterwards.
“This is certainly not an attack on rural communities — in fact the introduction of the ban has changed the mindset of the majority of hunts in England, Scotland and Wales.
“They have turned to drag hunting, which provides all the excitement of the chase and colour and tradition without having the cruelty of a small animal being torn apart.
“The predictions that thousands of horses and hounds would be put down and there would be a massive increase in rural unemployment have not been fulfilled.”
With a sizeable pro-hunting lobby in Northern Ireland, the Bill faces a testing passage through the Assembly if it is to become law.
Mr Wilson added: “I believe blood sports are barbaric and have no place in civilised society.
“Hunting foxes with horses and hounds is an inherently cruel practice and I for one do not want to live in a society where any animal is tortured and abused for entertainment.”