§ 3.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)
I beg to move,That leave be given to bring in a Bill to abolish stag-hunting with hounds.I welcome this opportunity of addressing what is still an unusually large audience of right hon. and hon. Members, even after the recent departures.
Over three years ago—on 10th February, 1965, to be precise—I introduced a similar Bill to prohibit stag-hunting with hounds, and I make no apology for reintroducing the Bill again.
Two recent incidents and a television broadcast of a stag hunt have again focused attention on the vile abomination of this so-called sport. In one case a stag was chased into the town centre of Barnstaple and there shot. In the second case, a stag, after being hunted for many miles, was shot in the town centre of Porlock, less than 100 yards from the main street. In both cases bystanders were revolted by what they saw.
I have had many letters from people everywhere, in particular, from people in the West Country and from a lady in Hull who has been very active in the campaign against this form of blood sport. These letters indicate that even in the West Country decent-minded civilised citizens want no more of this horrible spectacle. The need now is to see an end to this kind of killing altogether.
In Porlock, the two shots which killed the exhausted stag were fired with a minute's interval between, which I would not regard as very efficient shooting. Nevertheless—
§ Mr. Lipton
I was saying that in Porlock the shooting did not indicate a very high standard. Nevertheless, the joint master of the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds had the brazen effrontery to say that it had been a perfectly conducted hunt.
1039 I could not dispute that it may be necessary to thin down deer in the West Country and elsewhere, but surely it is possible to effect this by more humane methods than the barbarity of stag-hunting with hounds. It will be remembered that during the last war stags were rounded up, delivered into compounds, and shot. Organised shoots, as would be provided for in my Bill, with the possible use of helicopters and tranquilliser darts, are a much more effective method than the killing for fun under which these mounted popinjays indulge their degraded blood lust, supported in so many cases by a retinue of gloating followers in cars, Land Rovers, jeeps and on motor cycles.
On Forestry Commission estates stags are thinned out by organised shoots. I want the same methods to be employed in the West Country without all the disgusting paraphernalia of stag-hunting as practised there at present. I know that a selfish minority of so-called sportsmen are bitterly opposed to my proposed Bill. Some of them are in the House today. I want them to have the courage to vote against my Motion today. I want them to have the guts to go into the Division Lobby and vote against my Motion rather than skulk in cowardly anonymity and shout "object" on Second Reading without the world knowing who they are. Let us know who these hon. Members are. That is why I do not want an unopposed acceptance of my Motion today. I want those hon. Mem- 1040 bers who think that stag-hunting is great fun as practised by the Devon and Somerset Hunt to go into the Lobby this afternoon and vote against the Motion or forever hold their peace—especially on Friday at 4 p.m.
A widely experienced deer hunter wrote in a recent issue of a Barnstaple paper describing what happens when the pack ravage the exhausted stag. He said:Hinds suffer even worse. They are hunted while they have a calf at their feet and are carrying a live calf inside them. I make known this information for the benefit of those seeking the truth and in the hope that the day will dawn when this barbarity, carried on under the guise of sport, is stopped.The writer did not add, as he might have done, that the embryo was ripped out as part of this filthy ritual.
I ask the House to accept the Motion.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Lipton, Mrs. Braddock, Dr. John Dun-woody, Mr. Michael Foot, Mr. Emrys Hughes, Sir B. Janner, Mr. Peter Mahon, Mr. McNamara, Mr. Newens, Mr. Oakes, Mr. Spriggs, and Mr. Winnick.