Hunting with dogs is done by dangerous individuals, claims Bill Oddie
People who shoot or hunt with dogs have flaws that are "downright dangerous", according to wildlife presenter Bill Oddie.
The popular presenter said it is horrifying that hunting with dogs is still legal in Northern Ireland, despite having been banned throughout the rest of the UK - and pest control is no longer a good reason.
Some of the 18 hunts held in Northern Ireland are now advertising for people on the mainland to come to the Province to take part in a form of bloodsport which is banned elsewhere, according to the League Against Cruel Sports. Mr Oddie said if any farmer had a problem with foxes he would shoot the animals, rather than using the inefficient method of hunting to control them. "It's just an excuse for the horrible ritual that is hunting," he said.
Mr Oddie said most people don't realise that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where hunting foxes, hares or deer with dogs is still legal. "It's horrifying, because it does mean we're back to square one," he said.
The wildlife presenter is vice president of the League Against Cruel Sports which is calling on the Assembly to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland, in a new charter which is supported by nine animal welfare charities.
League spokesperson Janice Watt said: "People are travelling here for the pleasure of killing animals by ripping them apart with dogs. You have to question what kind of person is attracted to watching an animal being ripped apart by dogs."
An Ipsos MORI survey carried out by the League revealed that three in five people in Northern Ireland think hunting with dogs is already illegal.
Fewer than one in 20 people surveyed support deer hunting remaining legal, while fewer than one in five support foxhunting.
Northern Ireland Green Party leader Steven Agnew has tabled a motion to have hunting hounds banned. The MLA said: "With the majority of public opinion in favour of such a ban, it is time Northern Ireland caught up with the other nations on these islands by banning these barbaric 'sports.'"