A CALL for the Hunting Act to be repealed at the earliest opportunity for the sake of animal welfare has been made by Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire.

The Vale MP is co-chairman of the All Parliamentary Middle Way Group along with Lembit Opik, a Lib.Dem MP.

Mr Luff said: “The Hunting Act fails at every level. It doesn’t improve wildlife welfare as its supporters claim, in fact it makes animal welfare worse.”

He claimed: “This is what happens when legislation is based on prejudice and political deals, not principle. The result is a badly drafted law based on a false premise, it’s not the human that hunts, but the dog.

“The Hunting Act must be repealed at the earliest opportunity, leaving the way clear for a genuine debate on how we advance the welfare of all wild animals.”

On the day when the Conservative Party announced it would hold a free vote on the future of hunting if returned to power, Mr Opik said: “The Hunting Act cost over £30 million of animal welfare money and consumed 700 hours of Parliamentary time to reach the statute book and yet despite this enormous effort neither the government not the ant-hunting groups have bothered to examine the effects of this law on the very animals they wish to protect. All the evidence I have seen indicates that wild animal welfare is now worse.”