Alliance and SDLP lambast Sinn Féin, TUV and some DUP MLAs after bloodsports bill defeated

Alliance Party and the SDLP have lambasted Sinn Féin, a number of DUP MLAs and the TUV, after a bill seeking to ban hunting wild animals was rejected.

Alliance Party Cllr Eóin Tennyson, whose party colleague brought forward the Bill, said he was disappointed that it was defeated.

It lost by 45 votes to 38 in the NI Assembly on Monday.

Cllr Tennyson said: “Hunting wild mammals with dogs is sadistic and cruel. These bloodsports are unnecessary and have absolutely no justification in an advanced and compassionate society.

Alliance Cllr Eóin Tennyson, who will be standing as a candidate for Upper Bann in the forthcoming NI Assembly elections.

“What’s most staggering is that Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald told animal welfare organisations in the Republic of Ireland that her party would support a ban on fox hunting at the nearest opportunity, only for her party to combine with DUP and TUV MLAs to defeat this Bill in the Assembly. It is outrageous double speak.

“This result is contrary to the views of the public, as outlined in the consultation response where 80% of the 18,000 respondents supported a ban, and sets us even further beyond the rest of the U.K. where a bans have been in operation for two decades.

“I’m hugely disappointed that this historic chance for change has been squandered. However, Alliance will continue to push for progress on animal welfare and will re-introduce this Bill in the next mandate.”

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said she was 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 NI’.

The Upper Bann MLA, who has been working with the USPCA on the introduction of an animal cruelty register, said that the legislation should have been allowed to progress to protect animals and that concerns could have been addressed through amendments.

She said: “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. Their actions in the Assembly are either a total policy reversal or a cynical attempt to hold two entirely different positions.

“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.”

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