House of Lords - Explanatory Note
Hunting Bill - continued          House of Lords

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Hunting with dogs: Regulation

The Hunting Authority

83. Under this option it would be a requirement to obtain a licence to hunt wild mammals with dogs except in certain limited circumstances, and in order to organise a hare coursing event. Licences would be issued by a newly created Hunting Authority which would regulate hunting and would be able to attach terms and conditions to licences.

84. A body corporate known as the Hunting Authority would be created.

85. The Authority would consist of at least 7, and no more than 11, members at any one time. Members would be appointed by the Secretary of State, who would also appoint a chairman from among the members. Members of the Authority would be disqualified from serving as Members of the House of Commons.

86. The Secretary of State would have to ensure that members of the Authority included at least one representative of each of animal welfare, hunting, farming, land-owning, conservation and veterinary interests.

87. The Secretary of State would have to ensure that at any particular time at least half of the members were people who did not, in the Secretary of State's opinion, participate in, or provide support for, hunting; were not members of an organisation which had a main objective of improving or protecting the welfare of animals and which disapproved of hunting; did not participate in activities which protested against or interfered with hunting; or did not provide support for an organisation which had a main objective of improving or protecting the welfare of animals and which did not approve of hunting, and did not provide support for activities which protested against or interfered with hunting. For this purpose hunting would include hare coursing. The chairman would have to be such a person.

88. Appointments to the Authority would be for a maximum term of five years. The chairman and members could resign their office by written notice to the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State would have power to dismiss the chairman or an individual member in specified circumstances.

89. The Authority would regulate their own proceedings.

90. The Authority would appoint a chief executive and other staff, to whom they could delegate functions. The Authority could appoint people to carry out inspections - see paragraph 115 below - on such terms as they considered appropriate.

91. The Authority's income would be generated by their power to charge fees for the issuing of licences to hunt. They could pay their members and staff remuneration, allowances and expenses. Membership of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme would be open to staff of the Authority. The Authority would be responsible for ensuring that, so far as possible, income matched expenditure during each financial year. The Authority would have to prepare an annual statement of accounts, which would be laid before Parliament after examination and certification by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Secretary of State could make a grant or a loan to the Authority.

92. After the end of each financial year the Authority would be required to send the Secretary of State a report on how they had carried out their functions in that year. The Secretary of State would be required to lay a copy of the report before Parliament.

93. The Authority would not be regarded as a servant or agent of the Crown.

94. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration would have jurisdiction over the Authority.

Licences

95. A hunting licence would allow one or more people to take part in regulated hunting, which would mean the use of a dog to hunt fox, deer, hare and mink. The Secretary of State would, by order, be able to add to, or delete from, the list which determined what was covered by the term "regulated hunting". Such an order would be made by statutory instrument after a draft had been laid before and approved by resolution of both Houses of Parliament.

96. A coursing licence would allow one or more people to organise a hare coursing event, which would mean a competition in which dogs are assessed as to speed or skill in hunting hares. A reference to a hare coursing official would mean any person who acted as an official at a hare coursing event, and a reference to organising a hare coursing event would include a person who was in charge of, or taking responsibility for, the event.

97. An individual would either apply in his own right for a "personal hunting licence", or as a servant or officer of a hunt on behalf of the hunt for a "group hunting licence". A person who made an application for a coursing licence would have to state that he proposed to organise a hare coursing event. The application would have to be in the form prescribed by the Authority, and would have to be accompanied by the information required by the Authority and the appropriate fee, as prescribed by the Authority. It would also have to give details of hunting or coursing in respect of which the licence was sought. Where an application was for a group hunting licence the information could include the past or proposed hunt activities; people who had been, were or were expected to become members, servants or officers of the hunt; and people who had either participated in the hunt activities or were expected to do so. Where an application was for a coursing licence, the information could include past hare coursing events organised by the applicant, and people who were or were expected to be officials at events which the applicant had organised or intended to organise.

98. When the Authority received an application they would have to consider it as soon as reasonably practicable, grant or refuse it, and inform the applicant of the decision as soon as was reasonably practicable.

99. The Authority could only grant a licence to a person who was 16 years of age or over, had not been disqualified by the courts from holding a hunting licence, was a suitable person to hold a licence, was capable of complying with any licence conditions that the Authority might want to impose, and was capable of ensuring that hunting or coursing undertaken by virtue of the licence was carried out in accordance with the relevant code of practice - see paragraphs 118-121 below.

100. There would be a right of appeal to the magistrates' court against a refusal by the Authority to issue a licence. The court could direct the Authority to issue a licence on specified terms or conditions, or to issue a licence on terms or conditions to be determined by the Authority.

101. The Authority would be able to attach terms and conditions to hunting or coursing licences. A licence, which would last for no more than one year (and could be seasonal), would have to stipulate the kind of regulated hunting or coursing for which it was issued. A licence could be issued on conditions, to be included in the licence, which could be standard or specific to the circumstances of the licence.

102. A condition in a hunting licence could relate to anything which was done for the purpose of, or in connection with, regulated hunting. It would not have to be done during hunting, and, in particular, could relate to the way in which dogs and horses were kept and anything which was done to prepare the terrain prior to the hunt.

103. A condition in a coursing licence could relate to anything which was done for the purpose of, or in connection with, a hare coursing event. It would not have to be done during the coursing event, and, in particular, could relate to anything which was done to prepare the terrain for coursing and arrangements for spectators.

104. The terms and conditions attached to a personal hunting licence could restrict the licence to unaccompanied hunting or regulate the number of people who could accompany the licence-holder during hunting (whether or not those accompanying the licence holder participated).

105. The terms and conditions of a group hunting licence could relate to the activities of the hunt, the behaviour of a member, servant or officer of the hunt, and the behaviour of a person who was allowed to go hunting by the hunt in so far as they occurred during, or related to, regulated hunting.

106. The terms and conditions of a coursing licence could restrict the licence to one or more particular coursing events, and could relate to the behaviour of an official, and of a person who participated in, or was a spectator at, a hare coursing event.

107. It would have to be a condition of each licence that the licence holder obtained insurance cover.

108. For the holder of an individual hunting licence the insurance condition in the licence would have to require the licence holder's insurance to cover him against loss or damage to any third party and would have to specify the minimum amount of cover.

109. For the holder of a group hunting licence the insurance condition in the licence would have to require insurance cover to be obtained against damage caused by a member, servant or officer of the hunt to a third party or another member, servant or officer of the hunt and would have to specify the minimum amount of the cover.

110. For the holder of a coursing licence the insurance condition would have to require insurance cover to be obtained against damage caused by the licence holder to an official or third party or by an official to a third party, or to another official and would have to specify the minimum amount of cover.

111. It would have to be a condition of a group hunting licence that the Authority was given advance notification of any hunting carried out by virtue of the licence. The licence condition would have to stipulate what information had to be supplied in order to satisfy this requirement and how it had to be supplied.

112. It would have to be a condition of a coursing licence that the Authority was given advance notification of any hare coursing event organised by virtue of the licence. The licence condition would have to stipulate what information had to be supplied in order to satisfy this requirement and how it had to be supplied.

113. The Authority would have power to revoke or suspend the licence, or to add, vary, revoke or suspend a term or a licence condition. On payment of a prescribed fee a licence holder would be able to apply to the Authority in the prescribed form for an addition, suspension, variation or revocation of a term or condition of a licence.

114. The licence-holder would have a right of appeal to the magistrates' court against any term or condition of a licence granted by the Authority, or against any decision to revoke or suspend a licence or to add, vary, revoke or suspend a term or licence condition, including those made as a result of an application from a licence holder. The court could require the Authority to reinstate a licence or a term or condition of a licence, or revoke, vary or add a term or condition to a licence.

115. The Authority would have to make arrangements as they thought appropriate to inspect regulated hunting by a licence-holder, hunting by a person who applied for a hunting licence, and hunting by a member, servant or officer of a hunt where a licence was held or had been applied for. The Authority would have to make arrangements as they thought appropriate to inspect animals or equipment kept by or on behalf of a licence-holder wholly or partly for the purpose of regulated hunting, animals or equipment kept by or on behalf of an applicant for a hunting licence wholly or partly for the purpose of hunting, and animals or equipment kept by or on behalf of a member, servant, or officer of a hunt for which a licence was held or had been applied for. The Authority would have to make arrangements as they thought appropriate to inspect premises used by a licence-holder wholly or partly for the purpose of or in connection with regulated hunting, premises used by an applicant for a hunting licence wholly or partly for the purpose of or in connection with hunting, and premises used for or in connection with hunting by a member, servant, or officer of a hunt for which a licence was held or had been applied for. The Authority would have to make arrangements as they thought appropriate to inspect hare coursing events and premises used for, or in connection with, hare coursing events.

116. The Authority would be able to provide instruction or training and provide an examination in connection with regulated hunting or hare coursing, for all of which they would be able to charge fees.

117. In carrying out their functions including deciding whether to grant a hunting licence, the Authority or a magistrates' court could take account of whether the applicant had received instruction or training and whether the applicant had passed an examination in connection with regulated hunting.

Codes of Practice

118. The Hunting Authority would be required to prepare, publish and, if necessary, revise separate codes of practice for each of the various kinds of regulated hunting, and one or more codes of practice for hare coursing.

119. The purpose of the codes of practice would be to improve or protect animal welfare, protect the safety of the public and discourage trespass. The codes of practice would have to set out what the licence holder could and could not do, it would have to make clear that permission for hunting or coursing had to be obtained from land-owners and make provision about the manner in which hunted animals were to be killed.

120. The Authority would be required to make provision in any relevant codes of practice in relation to the following practices: autumn or cub hunting, digging out and bolting, stopping-up, the use of artificial earths, interference with the quarry's flight and hunting a hind which was with its calf. Provision would have to be made in each code of practice either declaring that the practices should not be engaged in, or specifying the conditions or circumstances in which the practice could be engaged in. Provisions about digging out would have to include a requirement that the permission of the owner of the land where the activity was taking place had to be obtained, and those relating to digging out and bolting would have to require that the time that dogs were below ground would be kept to a minimum.

121. Failure to comply with a code of practice would not be a criminal or civil offence. However, in exercising its functions the Hunting Authority or a magistrates' court could take account of a code of practice and a failure to comply with a code of practice, and a code of practice would admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings or in any other court or tribunal where it might be relevant.

Offences

122. The following offences would apply:

  • Prohibited hunting: hunting a wild mammal with a dog if it was not regulated hunting, see paragraph 95 above, or unrestricted hunting, see paragraphs 132-148 below. Participation in a hare coursing event would not be prohibited hunting;

  • Unlicensed regulated hunting: this would be where regulated hunting took place without a licence or where the person in charge of a dog used in that hunting held a licence but the hunting fell outside the terms of the licence or there was a breach of a licence condition. Such a breach of the licence condition need not be committed by the person who held the licence for an offence to be committed.

  • Hare coursing: participation in a hare coursing event which was not licensed. This would include acting as an official or knowingly permitting land to be used for a hare coursing event which was not licensed, entering a dog or permitting a dog to be entered in a hare coursing event which was not licensed and controlling or handling a dog as part of an event. A hare coursing event would be licensed if a person who organised it held a coursing licence, unless the event fell outside the terms of the licence or there was a breach of a licence condition. Such a breach of the licence condition need not be committed by the person who held the licence for an offence to be committed.

  • False information: this would be where a person who applied for a licence knowingly made a false or misleading statement or a statement which he did not believe to be true or knowingly failed to disclose a material fact.

Part V: Enforcement

123. A person found guilty of an offence under this option would be liable on conviction in a magistrates' court to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000).

124. A police constable would be given the power to arrest without warrant a person whom he reasonably suspected had committed, was committing or was about to commit specified offences. These offences would be where a person engaged or participated in prohibited hunting or unlicensed regulated hunting, acted as an official in an unlicensed hare coursing event, or where a person entered, controlled or handled a dog in the course of, or for the purpose of, an unlicensed hare coursing event and the dog participated in the event.

125. A police constable would have powers of search and seizure where he reasonably believed that a person was committing one of the offences listed under paragraph 122 above, and that evidence of the offence was likely to be found on the suspect or in a vehicle, or animal, or other item in the suspect's possession. In those circumstances the constable would be able to stop and search a suspect or, as the case may be, his vehicle, animal or other thing. A constable would have power of seizure of a vehicle, animal or other thing where he believed that it was likely to be used as evidence or that the court might order its forfeiture. A constable would be able to enter all premises (other than a private dwelling) for the purpose of exercising these search and seizure powers. All of these powers could be exercised without a warrant.

126. Where a person had been convicted of an offence under paragraph 122 above, the court would have power to make an order for the forfeiture of any dog or any hunting article which was either used to commit the offence or was in the convicted person's possession when he was arrested. A hunting article must have been designed or adapted for use in hunting. The forfeiture order could include provisions relating to the treatment of the dog or article in question, and could require the person who had possession of a dog or article to surrender it to the police, who would have to ensure that arrangements were made either for its destruction or disposal, as specified in the order, or, if no arrangements were specified, would have to make whatever arrangements for its destruction or disposal as they considered appropriate. A person claiming to be the owner of a forfeited dog or article, who was not the convicted person, would be able to apply to the court for the return of the dog or article.

127. Where a person had been convicted of an offence under paragraph 122 above, the court would have power to cancel the person's hunting or coursing licence or suspend it for a specified period.

128. Where a person had been convicted of an offence under paragraph 122 above, the court would have power to disqualify the person from holding a hunting or a coursing licence, for a maximum period of five years.

129. The courts would have power to make an order prohibiting a person convicted of specified offences from owning or being in control of a dog of a specified kind for a specified period, which could be for the rest of the person's life. The offences in question would be engaging or participating in prohibited hunting, or in regulated hunting which was not licensed, or where a person entered, knowingly permitted a dog to be entered, or controlled or handled a dog in the course of, or for the purpose of, a hare coursing event which was not licensed and the dog participated in the event.

130. A person who contravened a prohibition order would be liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000). A person could apply to the magistrates' court one year after a prohibition order was made for the order to be terminated, and might be required by the court to meet the costs of hearing the application.

131. Where the offence of knowingly permitting land to be used for an unlicensed hare coursing event had been committed by a corporate body, with the consent or connivance of an officer of the body corporate who was in a position to give the company's permission for the use of the land, that person as well as the body corporate would be guilty of an offence.

Part VI: Interpretation

132. The following activities could in certain circumstances be unrestricted hunting: stalking an animal; flushing an animal out of cover; hunting rodents; retrieving a rabbit or hare which had been shot; searching for an animal which had escaped or been released from captivity; and searching for a seriously injured animal.

133. Stalking an animal would be unrestricted hunting if three conditions were met.

134. The first condition would be that the stalking was for the purpose of protecting livestock, fowl, game birds or crops, or for the purpose of providing meat directly for animal or human consumption, or was to enable a bird of prey to hunt the animal after it was found.

135. The second condition would be that reasonable steps were taken to ensure that once the animal was found it escaped or was shot dead, for which purpose the dogs must have been kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that their actions could not prevent this objective being met. However this condition would not apply to stalking carried out for the purposes of falconry.

136. The third condition would be that the person stalking was the owner of the land where the activity was taking place or was acting with his permission.

137. Flushing an animal out of cover would be unrestricted hunting if three conditions were met.

138. The first condition would be that the flushing out was for the purpose of protecting livestock, fowl, game birds or crops, or for the purpose of providing meat directly for animal or human consumption, or was to enable a bird of prey to hunt the animal after it was flushed out.

139. The second condition would be that reasonable steps were taken to ensure that once the animal was flushed out it escaped or was shot dead, for which purpose the dogs must have been kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that their actions could not prevent this objective being met. However this condition would not apply to flushing out for the purposes of falconry.

140. The third condition would be that the person flushing out was the owner of the land where the activity was taking place or was acting with his permission.

141. Hunting rodents would be unrestricted hunting on the condition that the person hunting was the owner of the land on which the activity was taking place or was acting with his permission.

142. Retrieving a rabbit or hare which had been shot would be unrestricted hunting.

143. Searching for an animal which had escaped, or been released, from captivity would be unrestricted hunting if two conditions were met.

144. The first condition would be that reasonable steps were taken to ensure that once the animal was found it was recaptured or shot dead, for which purpose the dogs must have been kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that their actions could not prevent this objective being met.

145. The second condition would be that the animal had not been released or allowed to escape for the purpose of being hunted.

146. Searching for an animal which the person doing the searching believed was or might be seriously injured would be unrestricted hunting if two conditions were met.

147. The first condition would be that the purpose of the search was to relieve the animal's suffering.

148. The second condition would be that appropriate action was taken to ensure that once the animal was found any suffering was relieved, for which purpose the dogs must have been kept under sufficiently close control to ensure that their actions could not prevent this objective being met.

149. The Secretary of State would be able to add an activity to, or remove an activity from, the list of unrestricted hunting activities by means of statutory instrument, which would have to be laid in draft before, and approved by, both Houses of Parliament.

150. A number of expressions which would appear in the option would be defined as follows:

151. A dog would "belong" to a person if he owned it; or was in charge of it; or had control of it.

152. A person would be "in charge of a dog" if he had a sole or shared responsibility for controlling or directing it, or if he was responsible for giving directions concerning the dog's deployment.

153. A "hunt" would be a body of people who combined wholly or partly in order to hunt wild mammals with dogs.

154. "Hunting" a wild mammal with a dog would include in particular where a person engaged or participated in the pursuit of a wild mammal and one or more dogs were used in the pursuit. It would not be necessary for the person to have employed the dog or dogs himself or for them to have been under his control.

155. Land would belong to a person if he owned an interest in it, or managed or controlled it, or occupied it.

156. A "licence-holder" would be the holder of a personal hunting licence or a group hunting licence.

157. "Wild mammal" would include a wild mammal which had been bred or tamed for the purpose of being hunted or for any other purpose; a wild mammal which was in captivity or confinement; a wild mammal which had escaped or been released from captivity or confinement; and any mammal which was living wild.

SUMMARY OF THE REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

158. A ban on hunting with dogs as provided by the Schedule to the Bill would have implications for employment. There are four main categories of employment which depend on hunting. These are direct employment by the hunt; direct employment by hunt followers; indirect employment resulting from the supply of goods and services to hunts and hunt followers; and induced employment resulting from the salaries which are spent by both direct and indirect employees.

159. The number of full time equivalent jobs dependent on hunting is probably somewhere in the region of between 6,000 and 8,000.

160. In terms of national employment statistics, the short term loss would be limited and extend not much further than the 800 people (700 jobs) employed by the hunts, and some employed by hunt followers who immediately reduced their use of horses.

161. A ban on hunting would affect the farming industry; a number of different types of businesses supplying goods and services to hunts and hunt followers; point-to-point races; and National Hunt racing.

162. The options for self-regulation and a statutory licensing authority do not impose any compliance costs on business.

163. A full RIA of the costs and benefits that the Schedule to the Bill and the two other options would have is available to the public from the Home Office, Room 1385, Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AT.

FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL

164. The option for a statutory licensing authority would require initial funding to meet the start up costs of the Hunting Authority. The cost has been estimated to be £500,000. However, the Authority would be required to ensure that, so far as possible, the annual income from licences matched the expenditure. Therefore, after the initial period, the Authority should be self-financing.

165. There would be no public sector financial costs in relation to the Schedule. The option for self-regulation would contain provision for the making of grants and loans to ISAH Limited, but no significant public sector financial costs would be expected to arise.

EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER

166. The statutory licensing authority option would provide for the Hunting Authority to appoint a chief executive and other staff. Provision would be made for the Authority to pay salaries, allowances and expenses to its members and staff. It would be for the members of the Authority to determine how many staff they wished to employ.

167. There would be no public service manpower effects in relation to the Schedule and the self-regulation option.

 
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Prepared: 1 March 2001