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Lord Bach: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend, who has experience of the problems in
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Northern Ireland, in particular. I do not know what operational methods are used to protect the people to whom he refers. I suspect that they are fairly sophisticated in order to try to prevent these cruel attacks. But where you have suicide bombers who are determined to achieve their ends and do not mind if they lose their lives, it makes the provision of protection much more difficult.

Pensions Bill

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Hollis, I beg to move the Motion standing in her name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 3, Schedule 1, Clauses 4 to 11, Schedule 2, Clauses 12 to 84, Schedule 3, Clauses 85 to 100, Schedule 4, Clauses 101 to 107, Schedule 5, Clauses 108 to 159, Schedule 6, Clause 160, Schedule 7, Clauses 161 to 198, Schedule 8, Clauses 199 to 204, Schedule 9, Clauses 205 to 234, Schedule 10, Clauses 235 to 295, Schedule 11, Clauses 296 to 317, Schedule 12, Clause 318, Schedule 13, Clauses 319 to 323.—(Lord Davies of Oldham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Hunting Bill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.
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Lord Mancroft moved Amendment No. 10:




(1) The first test for registration in respect of proposed hunting of wild mammals is that it is likely to make a significant contribution to one or both of, firstly, the management of wildlife and, secondly, the prevention or reduction of serious damage which the wild mammals to be hunted would otherwise cause to—
(a) livestock,
(b) game birds or wild birds (within the meaning of section 27 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c. 69)),
(c) food for livestock,
(d) crops (including vegetables and fruit),
(e) growing timber,
(f) fisheries,
(g) other property, or
(h) the biological diversity of an area (within the meaning of the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992).
(2) The second test for registration in respect of proposed hunting of wild mammals is that a contribution equivalent to that mentioned in subsection (1) could not reasonably be expected to be made (whether by the person proposing to hunt or by another person) in a manner likely to cause significantly less pain, suffering or distress to the wild mammals to be hunted."

The noble Lord said: On behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Donoughue, I should like to move Amendment No. 10. I had the somewhat dubious pleasure of moving this amendment approximately one year ago when the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, quite rightly rebuked me for boring your Lordships for far too long. At that stage I was boring mostly empty Benches because it was at the end of the dinner hour; I am delighted to see that the House is now slightly fuller. I shall do my level best not to bore the Committee today.

Amendment No. 10 seeks to put back into the Bill the two tests of registration that were in the Government's original proposal when it came forward the first time. The tests are divided into two areas: utility and least suffering.

Yesterday, we discussed the principle of registration—which Members of the Committee, I am delighted to say, agreed to. Those of us in what has been called the "gang of four", which has now been enlarged to the gang of five—it may be six by this evening—tried to explain to the Committee that our intention was to return the Bill to the House of Commons in as precise detail as the original Bill that came to this Chamber. We said that where we had changed the Bill in any way, we would explain the change to the Committee.
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At the same time, I told the Committee that the Bill that we were aiming at—the original government Bill—was a somewhat moving target, as it had changed somewhat in its passage through the other place and that there were, therefore, a number of small changes which were inadvertent but which we put there to make the Bill flow logistically. I do not believe that they are of substance; if any Members of the Committee spot them and disagree with them, please bring them to the Committee's attention.

There are a couple of changes, one of which we debated at length yesterday evening, which was to place coursing back into the registration process. The second, and only other, substantial change that we have made to the Bill is in the test of registration. We have included the change in the first paragraph of the proposed new clause, which reads:

That is the change that we have included in the Bill—the reference to "the management of wildlife". We included it because, if one is considering a Bill which is about managing or culling four species of wildlife, it is not unreasonable to include the management of wildlife as one of the criteria for doing that. That is what it is about.

The welfare and cruelty issues that come in the second test are, of course, very important, but the first test is to do with utility—the reason why what is being done is being done. Of course, pest control is important if the relevant creatures are causing the damage listed in paragraphs (a) to (h) in the test, but managing wildlife is very important in its own right.

Under the amendment, the applicant for registration will have to show that the proposed hunting with dogs is,

The applicant must show that it will make a significant contribution to the above and/or the management of wildlife.

Why have we included that provision? When consulting on the grounds for his original Bill, Mr Alun Michael, the Minister, raised and consulted on the issue of wildlife management. He recognised and accepted its importance as a concept in determining the utility of hunting. The inclusion of wildlife management in this amendment is thus wholly consistent with the Minister's approach, and his claim that legislation should be based on principle and evidence, not on personal taste.
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The Defra press release of 11 September 2002 said:

Earlier in the press release, the Minister said:

For the purposes of the utility test, "game birds" are defined by reference to Section 27 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides that "game bird" means any pheasant, partridge, grouse, black game or ptarmigan. Equally, in subsection (1)(h) of the amendment, the biological diversity of an area is defined by reference to Article 2 of the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992. The convention provides that "biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources—inter alia terrestrial, marine and so on. So those phrases are very carefully defined.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the United Kingdom Government, both alone and as part of the European Union, are signatory to a number of international agreements, such as the Berne Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and habitats; the Convention on Biological Diversity, enshrined in law by the EU habitats directive; and, more recently, the Hague Ministerial Declaration to which we are signatory and which encourages and enables,

Under the "Countdown 2010" initiative, as,

All that underlines our commitment as a nation to managing wildlife within the terms of those international agreements. Indeed, we are as a country keenly following that path. The United Kingdom Government, in partnership with our friends in the European Union, are currently funding an Operation Campfire in Zimbabwe, which is a wildlife management project in which sport hunting is the dominant source of income. That works on the principle that conservation can be endorsed only by local communities if they benefit. Wildlife populations, including the hunted species, have benefited and increased in number. That is what we are doing in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, and it is being done in Norway, Latvia and Canada—but apparently, at the moment, the Government do not want to do it here in the UK. That is why wildlife management is included in the
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amendment. It is extremely important, which is why we have made this one small change of significant effect to the test of utility.

The test of least suffering forms the second part of the amendment and the second of the registration tests. The language that we have used in it is the language of the original Bill as introduced to the House of Commons by the Minister. It is entirely correct that during its passage through the Standing Committee, the wording was changed, but it was changed in such a way as to create an imbalance. Members of the Committee have the wording before them, which is the Government's original wording, decided on following consultation.

I do not intend to go into the question of wording in minute detail, but it is quite difficult to understand precisely what it means. Having read it through many times over the past few months, it is clear that until recently I had read it wrong myself. How anyone is meant to work out precisely what it means and work with it is another matter—but it is the Government's original wording. It is our intention to give the Government back as much as we can of their original Bill, and we should do it.

I make one last point on the test of least suffering. If your Lordships turn your minds back to the Burns inquiry and the report and, indeed, to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and of my noble friend Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior in this House, one of the things that apparently is agreed, which I can understand, is that it is virtually impossible to measure physical suffering—I suppose that the "compromising of welfare" is the relevant term—as between one method and another, one animal and another and one circumstance and another. Yet that is exactly what the Government are asking the registrar to do in this Bill. When the Minister replies, if, indeed, he does—perhaps he will not feel the need to do so—will he kindly tell us how exactly the registrar is to make this judgment, bearing in mind that the inquiry of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and the welfare experts at the Portcullis House hearings said, after considerable debate, that you cannot measure suffering and that therefore it is very difficult to make a comparison in that regard? Although I am very keen that we should return to the terms of the original government Bill—and that is why I am moving this amendment—it would be interesting to know precisely how the registrar is to make that judgment every time an application is made.

I hope that I have described what the amendment seeks to do. It would put back the terms of the Government's original Bill with one change, which I hope that I have adequately explained to your Lordships, and would put back on the original basis the test of least suffering. I accept that that test changed later but it appeared to do so in an imbalanced way. We hope that we have produced the best solution. I look forward to hearing what your Lordships say. I beg to move.

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