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Hunting Act 2004

Volume 457: debated on Friday 23 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the Hunting Act 2005 on (a) levels of rural employment, (b) the fox population, (c) sheep deaths caused by foxes and (d) the prosperity of rural areas. (122506)

My Department has made no specific assessment of the impact of the Hunting Act 2005, beyond its normal monitoring of wildlife and the rural economy. However, the majority of hunts have continued to operate within the law. Therefore, there has been no discernable adverse effect on rural employment, which remains above the national average, or on the rural economy as a whole. In addition, DEFRA has no evidence to suggest that there has been a significant change in the national fox population as a result of the Act, nor that the overall numbers of sheep being taken by foxes has increased substantially since it was introduced.