Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale): The Question is—

Noble Lords: Order!

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: I assume that I am entitled to reply to the debate. I apologise to the Chair. It has been an excellent debate, and I thank everybody who took part in it. It has been good humoured.

If I single out the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, it is because he constituted the major opposition to deleting the clause prior to the Minister's speech. The noble Lord said that people gathered to watch an animal subjected to an agonising death. When journalists ask if they may take pictures, the National Coursing Club takes them to the top of the course. If the journalists ask why they have been taken there, it is explained to them that, if a death is to occur, that is where it will occur. The reason that the crowd is so far away, not watching the death, is that it has come to see the skill of the greyhounds and the hare in competitive coursing.

The noble Lord said that I omitted to refer to the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Burns, had indicated that there was no conservationist plus to be had from hare coursing in terms of numbers. I did not say that. First, hare coursing is not engaged in for that purpose,

28 Oct 2003 : Column 208

and, secondly, it would have been wrong for me to contradict, in a sense, the noble Lord, Lord Burns, when I believe him to be right. Thirdly, the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, said that the hare coursing season went from September to March. I am not a lawyer, but there is a touch of suggestio falsi in that. The season starts on 1st October and ends on 28th February. I mean no disservice or disbelief, but the noble Lord was pushing it a bit with that observation.

My noble friend Lord Ullswater referred to the disappearance of the bookies from hare coursing and, thus, the disappearance, effectively, of gambling. The noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, said that the autopsies that had been done on five hares indicated that none of them died as a result of a bite. That is not surprising, as it is not how hares die in hare coursing. They are hit by a greyhound that is much heavier than they are and is going at extreme speed. As somebody once remarked, it is like a Reliant motor car being hit by a truck. I am not suggesting that that is not a painful process, but it is not the process that the noble Lord described. That applies also to the remarks that he made about hares being found in the jaws of both animals. It might apply to a dead hare, but it would not apply to a live one.

My noble friend Lord Caithness dealt with the rules that the National Coursing Club has about movements. My noble friend Lord Mancroft dealt with the subsequent allegation from the League Against Cruel Sports.

Lord Hoyle: I challenged the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, to produce the evidence, and he could not. I do not want that to be repeated.

7.45 p.m.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My very good friend the noble Lord, Lord Hoyle, will wait. I was saying that that matter would be determined outside the Chamber, rather than inside it tonight. Before the noble Lord becomes too supportive of the League Against Cruel Sports, I must say that, in a recent advertisement, it said that hares that survive the experience die of exhaustion. That was taken to the Advertising Standards Authority, which found it unsubstantiated and ordered the League Against Cruel Sports not to repeat it. The noble Lord must be careful about the quality of at least some of the evidence that he quotes.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: The noble Lord corrected something that I said about the season for coursing. Paragraph 2.54 of the Burns report says:


    "Coursing by registered clubs takes place from 15 September to 10 March".

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: I am happy to take that intervention from the noble Lord. However, he did not pay attention to what I said. The National Coursing Club has changed its rules in five respects

28 Oct 2003 : Column 209

since the Burns report, and that is one of them. I acknowledge what the Burns report said, but the up-to-date situation is different.

I thank my noble friend Lord Caithness and the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, for their support. They put more eloquently the things that I might have said, if I had not subjected myself to a degree of self-restraint at the beginning of the debate.

To answer the noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, I must say that approximately 200,000 acres are used by the coursing clubs on coursing estates. Since the Burns report, the National Coursing Club has carried out an investigation of the consequences of ending coursing. The figures from Dr Wise that were quoted by the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, are accurate. It looks as though ending coursing would lead to the shooting of 30,000 hares on those 200,000 acres. That is an area four times the size of Birmingham. I acknowledge that, according to Dr Wise, only one quarter are not shot cleanly and that only 10 per cent are not then picked up by gundogs. However, that still leaves 720 hares that will die an extremely painful death in order for the noble Baroness to stop 220 deaths by hare coursing, almost all of which happen instantaneously.

I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Best, on his personal initiative and his exceptionally objective speech. I also congratulate my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew of Twysden, who went to similar trouble.

The noble Lord, Lord Hoyle, has already been engaged in a degree of disagreement. I will not carry that further, except to say again that I never said that the issue was one of pest control. The noble Lord said that the noble Lord, Lord Burns, had said that the process,


    "seriously compromises the welfare of the hare".

The noble Lord, Lord Burns, has since said that he regrets using those words because he did not have a basis of scientific certainty for saying them. He did not know one way or the other.

I thank my noble friend Lord Peel. I also thank my noble friend Lord Onslow, from the heart of the countryside, for the common sense of his observations, even though he found fault with my championship of Durer. I thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Hereford, who joined the noble Lord, Lord Best, as a thoughtful convert. I thank my noble friend Lady Byford and the noble Baroness, Lady Strange, for winding up the debate.

The noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, and my noble friend Lord Mancroft responded to the first point that the Minister made. In my opening speech, I said that the noble Lord, Lord Burns, had emphasised the recreational purposes of hare coursing and that, therefore, it fell into the same category as shooting and fishing. It is curious that shooting and fishing are fcoutside the Bill, while hare coursing has been put in, unless that is because coursing has always been linked with hunting in all previous Bills.

28 Oct 2003 : Column 210

The Minister said that we would cross a Rubicon if we deleted the clause. However, as I said, the Minister in the Commons said that hare coursing was indefensible, whereas any number of Members of the Committee have shown in eloquent speeches that it is defensible.

I shall end with Dr Stoddart's evidence to the Lords Select Committee. He was giving evidence as a witness for the RSPCA, which he advised. His evidence has not been specifically refuted since 1976. Incidentally, I hope that the quotation will repair my standing with my noble friend Lord Onslow. Dr Stoddart said:


    "The hare is a prey species, that is to say it has evolved with the capacity to move with great speed and to escape from its predators by that means and by jinking. Its flight is a natural instinctive and behavioural response; it is, in fact, a normal state of affairs.


    "Just as it is biologically necessary for an animal to heed the warnings of physical pain, so also it is biologically necessary that an animal of a prey species should not suffer psychologically by being chased. "If an animal did so suffer, its capacity to escape would be impaired and the species would risk elimination by a process of natural selection. In addition to these considerations, it must be observed that an animal of a prey species like a hare has also evolved the capacity to instinctively resume, very quickly after the chase is over, exactly what it was doing before the chase began".

On the basis of the debate, I believe that a majority of the Committee wishes the matter to be put to the test, and I therefore ask that it should be.

7.49 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 5 shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 59; Not-Contents, 129.

Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. [Teller]
Fookes, B.
Gale, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B. [Teller]
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Higgins, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Laird, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Morgan, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Parekh, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Sheldon, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Whitty, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Best, L.
Bhatia, L.
Biffen, L.
Blatch, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Bragg, L.
Bramall, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E. [Teller]
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chalfont, L.
Chorley, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dundee, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freyberg, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Goschen, V.
Hanham, B.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hereford, Bp.
Hogg, B.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lyell, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mancroft, L. [Teller]
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Moran, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rawlinson of Ewell, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Richardson of Duntisbourne, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Foscote, L.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strange, B.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Ullswater, V.
Waddington, L.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Clause 5 disagreed to accordingly.

28 Oct 2003 : Column 212

8.2 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I beg to move that the House do now resume. In moving the Motion, I suggest that the Committee stage begin again not before two minutes past nine.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page