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Lord Whitty: My Lords, on this rare occasion perhaps I may agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe; I do not think the amendment is necessary. The restrictions relate to people exercising the right of access. They do not apply to the owner using dogs on his own land or the owner who gives permission to others to use dogs for whatever purpose on his land. Therefore, both the original situation which my noble friend described, and the training of hounds with the permission of the owner will not be affected by the restriction.
Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend. Perhaps he will consider this point. I go with my dogs to my friend's farm. I want my dogs to go for a walk with me. I know that they will not chase sheep. I know the way to stop dogs from chasing sheep. One puts them in a pen with a ram and they will never chase sheep again. Will my noble friend accept that I would need my friend's
Lord Whitty: My Lords, it is accurate. The owner can give permission both directly and tacitly, because if he does not object to you then no consequences arise. You are covered in the situation where you have not formally sought prior permission. If he does not object then no other sanction applies. Therefore, either way, you are allowed to exercise your dogs with the connivance or permission of the owner.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I am sorry to have to tell my noble friend that once the Minister has replied no one else may speak, other than the mover of the amendment who indicates whether or not he wishes to withdraw it.
The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I thought that with Amendment No. 45 were grouped other amendments, including the Minister's Amendment No. 118 and my Amendments Nos. 119 and 210. I should like clarification from the noble Baroness as to whether they are to be spoken to at the same time.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, we have a slightly confused position here. I thought I allowed time for noble Lords to speak and therefore my noble friend Lord Hardy followed me. If we are discussing all amendments in the group then I shall formally move Amendment No. 118 and allow the noble Earl to make his points and open the debate to others.
Lord Bragg: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Hardy, my noble friend the Minister and the House for allowing me to discuss very briefly what might be a regional difficulty. I refer to trail hounds. They are bred for great speed in Cumbria from foxhounds. They race freely across open countryside or fell land for varying distances, but always several miles. Their pursuit is motivated by nothing more inflammatory than a trail of aniseed laid down
Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, indicated that no other noble Lord could speak on this amendment. I do not quite understand why indulgence is given to those behind her that is not given to noble Lords in other parts of the House. There are other amendments which can be spoken to when they are called.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, all the amendments in the group can be spoken to. The Minister was replying to Amendment No. 45 but I take it that, tacitly, he was, with the leave of the House, dealing with an immediate issue that arose. The whole of the group is now open for debate and all noble Lords who have amendments in this group and indeed other noble Lords are at liberty to speak.
It is vital that it should be made absolutely clear that hound trailing is not subject to restrictions regarding the use of a lead. That would destroy a sport which plays such a unique role in Cumbria where, as elsewhere, country life and country living, especially in the hill farm areas, are now under great strain. I thank your Lordships for your indulgence.
The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, the Minister has now spoken to Amendment No. 118. I have tabled Amendments Nos. 119 and 120 as amendments to Amendment No. 118. As they are all grouped, perhaps it would be for the convenience of the House if I spoke to them now.
Another word in the amendment worries me. The final line of subsection (1) of Amendment No. 118 refers to persons who do not take "dogs" on the land. Does "dogs" include "a dog"? Does the plural include the singular? That is an important point for us to get straight. Those are the four points on Amendment No. 118 on which I seek clarification.
When speaking to Amendment No. 32, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, said that dog owners have rights. That statement cannot be let go without some challenge. I do not think that that is a correct statement. Dog owners have responsibilities but they do not have rights. It is one's personal choice to have a dog. Having made that personal choice, one then has responsibilities. One should not have rights. It is with regard to the exercise of those responsibilities that we are seeking clarification.
The grey partridge is declining in numbers and needs to be encouraged. It has now been recognised throughout the House that a dog can cause considerable damage at nesting time. I am considering also the position of wildfowl and the wader species. As I pointed out in Committee, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a "heath" as marsh. If an owner manages a marsh for the benefit of wader species, then why should not that owner be given the same benefit as the owner of a moor? That explains the reasoning behind Amendments Nos. 119 and 120.
I once had the enjoyment and difficulty of working as a shepherd on the hill in Scotland. I have seen the consequences of stray dogs disturbing blackface sheep. Once those sheep begin to run--with no boundaries within a 15-hectare area--they simply run and run. At lambing time that can be very detrimental. The noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, made exactly the same point.
Lord Jopling: My Lords, I was somewhat staggered to hear a treatise from the noble Lord opposite about hound trailing. I thought that I recognised in his contribution almost precisely some of the remarks I made at col. 1400 on 3rd October. I shall read out only one section:
However, who am I to complain when someone on the opposite Bench takes exactly the view that I took in Committee about the need to ensure that no measures are taken in the Bill to interrupt the historic sport of hound trailing in the Lake District? I declared my own interest in Committee as the part owner of two trail hounds and also my membership of the Trail Hound Association, so I shall not declare those interests again.
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