Written Answers. - Fox Hunting.

Tony Gregory

Question:

55 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the plans, if any, he has to outlaw any of the cruel practices associated with fox hunting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16466/95]

It is generally recognised that field sports like fox hunting are part of the traditional fabric of rural life and have the support and participation of a broad cross-section of people in rural communities. Nevertheless, there are aspects of fox hunting which need to be considered from the standpoint of animal welfare and I have therefore arranged for an examination of the issues involved. This examination includes consultations with various interested organisations. I invite concerned parties who have not already done so to indicate their views on this issue to the Department. I will take a decision on the matter as soon as these consultations are completed.