The Middle Way Group is a coalition of people who approach the hunting issue from different perspectives. Some are primarily concerned with animal welfare. Others focus on civil liberties.
What unites our supporters is the belief that the banning route will not achieve the aim of improving animal welfare. However, there is also the view that the current situation is hard to accept on either moral or political grounds and therefore the existing legislation requires changing.
The issue is a complex one and any new law must properly address those activities which are regarded as unacceptable, while at the same time taking into account the consequences of such a change. Recently the Middle Way proposals were reviewed and radically strengthened. The Middle Way Group argues that the existing legislation covering wild mammals should be changed as described in this document. Such a change, together with the formation of a statutory hunting authority with licensing powers, will benefit animal welfare while still protecting personal freedoms. This ‘package of measures’ can guarantee an improvement in wild animal welfare, whereas the simple ban route cannot.
Support for the Middle Way is growing as can be seen from the public opinion polls and there is further support from a new quarter. Academics specialising in animal welfare and wildlife law have examined the new Middle Way proposals. They have concluded that hunting with dogs must cause a degree of suffering to individual animals, but that a ban would not be likely to improve the welfare of the quarry species. Further, there is concern about the alternative methods left available and the possible loss of practices, which may be beneficial to bio-diversity.
To quote Professor Stuart R. Harrop, Professor of Wildlife Management Law, “A middle way approach coupled with an amendment to the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act would, in my view, be a way to balance the various issues and provide a vehicle in which the current debate concerning hunting with hounds can be developed and objectively researched.”