An RSPCA report reveals the Hunting Act, now in its seventh year, works well, with many hunts having adjusted to the laws

A new report has revealed the Hunting Act is working well and actually has been more successful than some other laws aimed at tackling wildlife crime.

Statistics show that 73 per cent of prosecutions taken against those suspected of hunting with dogs in 2010 were successful – up by 10 per cent from 2009 and more than any other wildlife-related legislation.

Despite dire predictions before it was introduced, many hunts have successfully adjusted to the Act, keeping their hounds and preserving rural jobs.

Claire Robinson, government relations manager, said: “The Act is now in its seventh year and remains pivotal in protecting wildlife and preventing cruelty in this country – any suggestions that it does not work are ridiculous.

“It seems incredible to me that anyone ever thought it was acceptable to pursue and attack a wild animal with a pack of dogs – leading to an utterly pointless death. This Act has ensured this vile practice is a thing of the past, and I hope it stays that way.”

The Hunting Act will have its seventh anniversary in February 2012, and the RSPCA said it is delighted it has proved to be an enforceable law as an effective means of stopping cruelty.

In 2010, there were 49 prosecutions under the Act and of these, 36 defendants were found guilty. This means that the success rate of prosecutions taken in 2010 was 73 per cent, more than the Badgers Act 1991 (60 per cent), Deer Act 1991 (50 per cent) and Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 (67 per cent).

The coalition government has promised a “free vote on a motion” on whether to repeal the Hunting Act 2004. The RSPCA has said it is “extremely alarmed” at this decision, believing those calling for repeal of this law are calling for a return to cruelty.

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