Few animal welfare issues raise as much controversy as hunting. In 2004, some 400,000 hunt supporters descended on London to protest against the Hunting bill. Nevertheless, the majority of the public supported it, and the bill was subsequently enacted. Yet the government now plans to repeal this Act.
In July 2015, an American bow hunter caused worldwide outrage when he shot and killed Cecil, a 13-year old African lion, after the animal was lured from the safety of a national park in Zimbabwe. However, big game hunters claim the thousands of Dollars they pay in fees can aid local conservation efforts. Is hunting a noble tradition, freeing the landscape from dangerous predators which are given quick, clean deaths? Or is it an outdated blood sport, with no legitimate place in civilised society? Who is right? Should the government repeal the Hunting Act?
Presenting their views on this contentious issue were the experts below.
Videos of their presentations can be viewed via the University's YouTube channel by clicking HERE.
Dr Jane Goodall DBE (presenting by video)
Jane Goodall is world renowned for her pioneering research on wild chimpanzees. Today, Dr Goodall is widely recognised for establishing innovative, community-centred conservation and development programmes in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, JGI’s global environmental and humanitarian youth programme, which is now in over 130 countries. (Photo: Richard Ladkani)
David Bowles coordinates the RSPCA’s campaigning and public affairs work. Since the Hunting Act was adopted in 2004, the RSPCA has been campaigning to ensure that the provisions are kept, to investigate and where necessary prosecute anyone who evades the Hunting Act and to work alongside the countryside and hunting community to ensure that the Hunting Act is enforced and works properly.
Jordi Casamitjana is a zoologist working as Campaigns and Enforcement Manager of IFAW UK on the hunting campaign. He manages a team of Wildlife Crime Investigators that go out monitoring hunts. When he was working for the League Against Cruel Sports he secured the first successful convictions under the Hunting Act 2004.
Joe Hashman joined the Hunt Saboteurs Association in 1982. He worked for the League Against Cruel Sports and since 2006 has remained part of the IFAW Enforcement Team. Integral to many groundbreaking investigations, exposés and prosecutions, Hashman has also defended his anti-hunting beliefs successfully in the ECHR and various domestic legal arenas. He is the Founder of Hounds Off.
Prof. Andrew Knight
Andrew Knight is a Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, Director of the Centre for Animal Welfare, and a European and American Veterinary Specialist in Animal Welfare. His presentation explores welfare issues in police video footage of a deer injured near a Surrey Union Fox Hunt in 2014. It was used in a 2015 legal case, in which four hunt monitors were acquitted.
Adrian has petitioned Parliament on strengthening the Hunting Act. He has strongly spoken out against hunting on Twitter and Facebook and has engaged with Ricky Gervais, among others. He is particularly opposed to bow hunting. As animals suffer pain and bereavement, he believes we should all stand up and speak out against such violence.
Christine Amelia Nellist is a Winchester doctoral student of Theology, with a professional background in science education. She has been actively involved with issues of violence towards women, children and animals for almost fifty years, and has lectured, taught, and advised governments and church organizations on animal welfare, within the UK and abroad.
Dr Thomas Nørgaard
Thomas is Director of the Institute for Value Studies, which offers the module 'Other Animals: Contemporary Moral Frontiers', developed in close cooperation with the Centre for Animal Welfare. Thomas's primary interests are value theory, philosophy of education and ethics. He is broadly interested in the ethics of human-animal relations, but especially in questions about vegetarianism and the possible forms of companionship between humans and other animals.
Dr Angus Nurse
Dr Angus Nurse is Director of Criminology and Sociology Programmes at Middlesex University. He previously worked within NGO wildlife crime investigations/policy analysis and as a Local Government Ombudsman’s investigator. Angus has researched and published on why people commit environmental crimes and crimes against animals and the links between violence towards animals and human violence.
Dr Toni Shephard
Dr Toni Shephard is Head of Policy and Research at the League Against Cruel Sports. She combines a passion for animal welfare with expertise in ecology and animal behaviour to ensure the League’s policies and campaigns are science-based and effectual. She has particular admiration for adaptable and successful (yet much maligned and persecuted) species such as foxes, magpies and rats. She hopes that better understanding of these animals and the important ecological roles they play will lead to more tolerant and compassionate attitudes towards them.
Prof. Noel Sweeney
Prof. Sweeney is a practising barrister who specialises in criminal law, human rights and animal law. He has lectured and written widely on all those subjects. His presentation will summarise the reasons the 2004 Hunting Act was introduced, and will examine in depth the effects of a possible governmental repeal of that Act.
Will Travers OBE
Will Travers is President of the Born Free Foundation, Born Free USA and the Species Survival Network. He has dedicated his life to wildlife issues since living in Kenya. In 1984, he co-founded The Born Free Foundation which works to stop individual wild animals suffering, protect threatened species and promote compassionate conservation worldwide. The film Born Free was made by his parents, Virginia McKenna OBE and Bill Travers MBE. (Photo: garyrobertsphotography.com).