Social Democratic and Labour Party MLA Dolores Kelly has said that it is shocking and deeply disappointing that Sinn Féin and a number of DUP MLAs have teamed up to kill a bill that would have banned fox hunting in Northern Ireland.
The Upper Bann MLA, who has been working with the USPCA on the introduction of an animal cruelty register, said that the Assembly legislation should have been allowed to progress to protect animals and that concerns could have been addressed through amendments.
Dolores Kelly MLA said:
“MLAs had an opportunity to finally introduce a ban on fox hunting today. The vicious and cruel practise should have been outlawed already but I am shocked that Sinn Féin and most DUP MLAs, with some notable and honourable exceptions, teamed up in the Assembly to block new legislation that would have addressed this blood sport.
“I am particularly surprised at Sinn Féin given that their party President Mary Lou McDonald recently indicated that they would vote to ban fox hunting at the first available opportunity. Their actions in the Assembly today are either a total policy reversal or a cynical attempt to hold two entirely different positions. That will come as no surprise to many.
“The SDLP had reservations about elements of this legislation but we were prepared to work to resolve the challenges by amending the bill in service of the overall objective of preventing cruelty to animals. It is incredible that Sinn Féin and many DUP MLAs were unwilling to work toward that goal with us.”