Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border has supported the planned introduction of measures to stamp out the awful practice of hare coursing.
Hare coursing is already illegal in the UK. It is where dogs are used to chase and kill hares. Alongside the sickening violence towards hares, the practice causes damage to farm property and leaves people in rural communities feeling threatened.
The Government’s proposals include:
· Increasing the maximum penalty for trespassing in pursuit of game under the Game Acts (the Game Act 1831 and the Night Poaching Act 1828) to an unlimited fine and introducing – for the first time – the possibility of up to six months’ imprisonment.
· Two new criminal offences: firstly, trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare; and secondly, being equipped to trespass with the intention of using a dog to search for or pursue a hare both punishable on conviction by an unlimited fine and/or up to six months’ imprisonment.
These proposals have been laid as amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is due to have its House of Lords Report Stage in this month.
Dr Hudson welcomed the proposal saying:
“Hare coursing is a violent and cruel crime and those who take part in it should be prosecuted accordingly. I have been working with colleagues in Parliament to fight for stronger action on this awful practice. It is great to see these commitments, that were made in the Government’s ‘Action Plan on Animal Welfare’, now being actioned as it is a problem that urgently needs addressing. Farmers and local residents should not feel threatened by those willing to flout the law and it is great to see the National Farmers’ Union and the RSCPA support these proposals.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“There are persistent groups who illegally perpetuate hare coursing creating challenges for the police. These new measures will give the police the additional powers to bring prosecutions and confiscate dogs from owners involved in hare coursing.”
NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said:
“The NFU welcomes government plans to table amendments which would strengthen the law and finally give rural police forces and the courts the necessary powers to tackle hare coursing and the wider problem of organised crime.