The Green Party has unveiled a proposal to outlaw hunting wild animals with dogs in Northern Ireland.
Its sole MLA Brian Wilson yesterday launched a consultation document on a proposed bill to be put to the Assembly.
It would bring Ulster into line with the rest of the UK, where hunting animals with dogs was banned in 2004.
Mr Wilson said he has a long-standing opposition to blood sports and was a regular protester against hare coursing at Crebilly, Antrim, in the 1970s.
“I still remember one particularly cold Boxing Day listening to the shouting as the hare was torn apart.
“I believe then, as I do now, that blood sports are barbaric and that fox hunting, stag hunting and hare coursing have no place in a civilised society and should be outlawed in the same way as we outlawed cock fighting and bear baiting,” he said.
Mr Wilson said the 2004 ban has changed the mindset of hunts in England and Wales.
“They have turned to drag hunting which provides all the excitement and colour of the chase, protecting the tradition without the cruelty,” he said.
Anyone wishing to comment can access the document on the Green Party website www.green partyni.org — the consultation will close at 5pm on May 14.