Kate has shown her support for strengthening the 2004 Hunting Act, which banned the hunting of wild mammals with dogs.
Fourteen years after the introduction of the Hunting Act by the last Labour government, the Labour Party is campaigning for the eradication of loopholes in the law, such as ‘trail hunting,’ which allows hunters to get around the ban.
Trail hunting has arisen since the ban on hunting was introduced, and is an entirely different practice to drag hunting, which is a traditional and legitimate pursuit that does not use animal scent or involve the killing or chasing of wild animals.
To address some of the loopholes currently open to exploitation, Labour announced last Boxing Day that in government they would consult on bringing forward amendments to the Hunting Act to make it tougher.
These amendments would include introducing jail terms for those found to be breaking the law – currently the most severe punishment is an unlimited fine.
A recent poll found that only 16 per cent of those living in rural areas believe hunting with dogs reflects countryside values, while only 4 per cent of people living in the countryside ever take part in hunting with hounds.
Kate said: “Animal welfare is something my constituents feel very strongly about.
“On the 14th anniversary of the introduction of Labour’s Hunting Act, we must look again to ensure that any loopholes in the law currently open to exploitation are closed.
“The next Labour government will be committed not just to maintaining the hunting ban, but to strengthening it.”
Sue Hayman MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said “Labour has always been the party of animal welfare.
“It was Labour who led the way with the 2004 Hunting Act which has laid the foundation for improved animal welfare standards. And it is Labour who are now leading the way, ensuring existing legislation on animal welfare is fit for purpose.
“The strengthening of the Hunting Act would represent a new chapter on the improvement of animal welfare standards in the UK.”