Belfast Telegraph

Anti-hunting campaigners to stage protest rally at Stormont

By Linda Stewart

Animal lovers are being urged to rally at Stormont Buildings tomorrow to voice their opposition to fox and stag hunting.

The rally, called by Noelle Robinson, Green Party councillor for Bangor Central, in partnership with the League Against Cruel Sports, will highlight that Northern Ireland is now the only region within the UK that has not introduced a complete ban on fox and stag hunting.

In 2002 the introduction of the Protection of Wild Mammals Act made it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a pack of hounds in Scotland. In 2004 England and Wales followed suit and the Hunting Act was passed.

Ten years on, hunting foxes and stags with dogs continues to be legal, as there is still no legislation, the league says.

The charity says it has given this campaign priority status and hopes it will be able to ensure that the practice is also made illegal in Northern Ireland.

League spokeswoman Janice Watt said: "It is vital that we gain the support of both the NI public and politicians in order to resign this cruel and bloodthirsty sport to the history books where it belongs.

"It is not acceptable in the modern age for any animal to be chased to exhaustion, and then ripped apart whilst still alive.

"The public were outraged at the leniency shown to dog fighters convicted this year in our courts – but what is the difference between setting dogs on a domestic pet and setting dogs on a fox or stag? The answer is none."

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