By Kit Sandeman, Local Democracy Reporter
All forms of hunting with dogs have been banned on county council-owned land in Nottinghamshire.
The Conservative Party at Nottinghamshire County Council voted against the ban, calling it “silly”, but were defeated for the first time since they started running the council in 2017.
Hunting foxes with dogs is illegal in Britain, but there are a number of exemptions which Labour councillors said were being used to get round the law.
They called fox hunting “barbaric”, “twisted” and “dehumanising”.
No defence of fox hunting was offered by the Conservatives, but they objected to the ban saying it was too ambiguous, and called it “nonsense”.
The vote was narrowly won by Labour yesterday (March 28), by 31 votes to 30.
The Conservatives do not have an overall majority on the council, but rely on coalition partners the Mansfield Independents to win votes.
Labour councillor Kevin Greaves proposed the motion banning hunting, and said: “I can’t think of a more cruel and vile activity that is against the law and is so openly flouted.
“This activity is so outdated with today’s society and is only carried out by twisted cruel individuals of deluded grandeur in themselves of a bygone age.
“To think it is fun to see a beautiful defenceless wild animal such as our native fox be pulled apart in agony by a pack of dogs, and to the cheers of these deluded cruel individuals, is beyond most normal people’s comprehension.
“They are so proud of their deluded activity they encourage small children to watch this cruel barbaric act.”
Councillor Greaves, who represents Worksop South, added: “An overwhelming majority of people in Nottinghamshire would like to see this act of barbarism come to an end, and most people will know that if they are allowed to hunt with a pack of dogs on council land they are a danger to the public and there is only one outcome, the death of a wild animal or a domestic pet or even worse.”
The leader of the council, Kay Cutts, said her Conservative party would not support the motion because the definition of ‘hounds’ was too ambiguous. The motion was then amended to clarify the meaning of hounds. However it was still not supported by the Conservatives.
Councillor Cutts, who represents Radcliffe-on-Trent, said: “There is no hunting which takes place on Nottinghamshire County Council land. There is nothing there. So your motion is entirely pointless.
“This is a nonsense motion. If you want to bring a proper motion then properly research it. Stop wasting this council chamber’s time.
“We are not going to support it, we are going to vote against it, because it’s just plain silly.”
A spokesman for the group Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs said: “We’re definitely pleased with this. It’s a good result.
“It’s just one more nail in the coffin of these hunts. They need to be disbanded, and the actual structures around them need to be broken up to stop them reforming.
“Acts like this, even though they are small, do help, and it shows the strength of feeling the public has about this.
“The hunts pretend to be using the loopholes, but they are not using them, and if the police query it they just say they are.
“If you can catch the hunts on council land then it’s just further evidence we can use.”