The following press release was issued today by Michael Foster MP for Hastings and Rye.

Michael Foster has presented a ‘Back the Ban’ petition of 4,000 names to Parliament. The petition was the brainchild of local Animal Welfare Advocate Kim Stallwood who lives in Hastings after a spell in the USA working as Executive Director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He is currently European Director of the Animals and Society Institute.

The ban on hunting with dogs was passed in 2004 following a concerted campaign by the Labour Government and a range of animal charities. Since that time the ban has enjoyed overwhelming public support but David Cameron has promised a new vote on the issue should the Tories win the election. Local Conservative Parliamentary candidate Amber Rudd has said she will vote to repeal the ban.

Animal rights groups have expressed outrage and have campaigned against any such move. A Hastings and Rye Facebook page in support of the ban has attracted over 300 members.

Michael Foster MP said:

Fox hunting is a barbaric bloodsport with no place in the 21st century. The cruel truth is that during hunts wild animals are torn limb from limb in a bloody and excruciating attack. I think it shameful there are those like my Tory opponent who want to reintroduce this barbaric bloodsport to our country. Animal Welfare is important. Our treatment of animals is a reflection of our society. As sentient creatures that experience a complex range of emotions they deserve to be treated with respect and consideration. Parliament will shortly be dissolved for the election. If presenting the petition was my last act as MP I can take great pride in that. If re-elected I shall continue to pursue animal welfare issues and will fight against any repeal of the ban.

Kim Stallwood said:

Michael Foster’s support for the ban shows he is a wise and compassionate Member of Parliament that Hastings and Rye would do well to re-elect.

The Text of the petition reads:

The Petition of residents of Hastings and Rye and others, Declares that the petitioners believe that hunting with dogs is cruel; further declares that the Petitioners oppose the efforts of local Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Amber Rudd and the Conservative Party to have the ban repealed, further declares that the Petitioners support the Hunting Act 2004 and the Back the Ban campaign; and that the Petitioners support Michael Foster, MP for Hastings and Rye, in his campaign to keep hunting illegal. The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons reject any proposal to legalise hunting with dogs

Click here to read the Hansard entry.

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