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Foxhound Packs

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many foxhound packs there are in England and Wales; and how many hunts have taken place in each of the last five years. [100361]

According to the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs in England and Wales (The Burns Report), published in June 2000, there were 175 foxhunting packs registered with the Masters of Foxhounds Association in England and Wales. There were also nine fell packs registered with, or affiliated to, the Central Committee of Fell Packs. In addition, there were seven packs of harriers, registered with the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles which mainly hunt foxes. There were also another two harrier packs which were registered to hunt foxes.The position in Wales was found to be less clear. There were 48 foxhunting packs registered with the Federation of Welsh Packs which included 27 Welsh based packs affiliated to the Masters of Foxhounds Association, and 30 registered with the Welsh Farmers' Fox Control Association. At the time of publication of the Burns Report these two bodies had been formed fairly recently and represented only a proportion of the total number of packs in Wales. Some estimates put the number of unregistered packs in Wales at two or three times those of registered packs (Burns, paragraphs 2.10–2.11).The Burns Report stated that there was a total of some 15,000 meets per season (paragraph 2.12). This figure would have been significantly less in 2001 when all hunting was suspended in England and Wales due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.