Prime Minister "sympathetic" to watering down of hunting ban
PRIME Minister David Cameron is said to be “sympathetic” to calls from farmers demanding to be able to use packs of hounds to flush out foxes before they are shot.
A maximum of two dogs can be used for the task of flushing out foxes.
Hunting with packs of dogs has been banned in Wales and across the country since 2004.
Several hunts still operate in South West Wales, including the Banwen Miners and the Carmarthenshire Hunt, but they stay within the law.
Any move to water down the law has been condemned by an animal welfare charity and former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, who warned Mr Cameron against changing the legislation.
Ms Widdecombe told the Mirror website: “I think he would be silly to let Parliament get bogged down in hunting.
"It is not what the nation is concerned about. It is bad PR.”
Mr Cameron pledged in 2010 to hold a free Commons vote on scrapping the 2004 Hunting Act, which outlawed the blood sport.
Farmers have claimed that attacks on lambs have risen as a result of the ban.
Derek Morgan, of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, said: “The hunting ban was aimed at what was seen as posh people on horses.
"But those who suffer are working-class farmers.”
Packs of dogs are already used in Scotland and some MPs have backed the call for them to be used in England.
The PM’s spokesman said: “There is a specific issue here around pest control and the impact it has on farming communities.
"The Prime Minister has sympathy with these concerns.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA warned: “Talk of relaxing hunting laws is a backward step for a civilised society and something that would appal the vast majority of the British public.”