Hunting remains an emotive, divisive and controversial topic. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all blood-sports and opposes the killing of, or infliction of pain or suffering upon animals in the name of sport or leisure.
It is clear that despite employing a wildlife officer, the current attitude of Avon & Somerset Constabulary is a hands off approach with no to little action at all against illegal hunting practices. This is despite many campaigners claiming they have obtained evidence of illegal hunting. I would ensure that more interest and action is taken against cruelty to animals and illegal hunting. It is not ok to ignore such breaches. Whilst capacity may be limited, I believe that taking some interest and action can act as a preventative deterrent and send the right message that illegal hunting is of concern to many local people and that it is not ok.
The culture and tradition of hunting goes back a very long way and I understand that accepting change is a process. However, this in itself cannot justify illegal hunting and it is important that allegations of illegal hunting practices are investigated and that the legal position is reiterated and effectively communicated. There have been a limited number of convictions since the 2004 Hunting Act became law. I note and commend the work done nationally by the RSPCA. I would hope that most hunting groups operate within the law. If elected I would seek to get a clear understanding of the local landscape and concerns. I would make an effort to meet with representatives from hunting groups and hunt opposition groups.
I would also have the constabulary declare a climate and ecological emergency.