§ Mr. Gray
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions she has had about re-housing hunt workers of hunts which fail to achieve registration under the Hunting Bill; 
(2) what estimate she has made of the housing consequences of the Hunting Bill. 
§ Alun Michael
It is not possible to predict the precise impact of the Hunting Bill on housing.
Where the activity is banned absolutely, as in the case of deer hunting and hare coursing, it would be prudent of employers and employees affected to plan for that eventuality and to seek out the available assistance.
§ Mr. Gray
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will make a statement on the human rights implications of the prohibition of hunting where there are subsisting contracts for providing hunting facilities; 
(2) whether she has identified obstacles to certifying that the Hunting Bill does not conflict with human rights; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what representations she has received about the human rights implications of the Hunting Bill. 89W
§ Alun Michael
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has signed a statement, under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998, that in her view the provisions of the Hunting Bill are compatible with the Convention rights on the basis that she was satisfied no obstacles prevented her from so doing.
It is the Government's view that the requirements of the Hunting Bill would, for the purposes of Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, amount to an interference with the use and enjoyment of property rather than a deprivation of property, and that accordingly no compensation should be payable for any economic losses that may be suffered as a consequence of the Bill by the persons concerned.
There are numerous occasions where new legislation interferes with existing contractual rights without the individuals being compensated. In this respect the Government consider that persons entering contracts in connection with hunting with dogs have no legitimate expectation that any or all types of this activity would continue to be lawful. The contracting parties will have been aware for a considerable period of time of the intention of the Government to legislate on hunting with dogs, and the present Bill is the result of an extensive and well-publicised process of consultation over a long period.
The detailed reasons for this view are set out in a memorandum submitted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 31 January 2003 in response to a letter from the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to the Minister for Rural Affairs of 21 January 2003. The Committee indicated that, subject to this point, their provisional opinion was that the present Hunting Bill is compatible with the relevant human rights obligations.
Representations on the Hunting Bill which relate to human rights issues have been couched in general terms and have included the suggestion that the continuation of traditional forms of hunting is or should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. There have also been references to the rights protected by the United Kingdom's international commitments under the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 1992, in particular Principle 22 which refers to the role indigenous people and their communities play in relation to environmental management and development. Other representations have argued that there is no right to be cruel.