Hunts must be held accountable to the Highway code and Health and safety legislation.
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Motorists on public roads and commuters on trains have a right to expect that other road users will either follow the highway code... or be dealt with by the police in accordance with the law. To be driving at any speed on a busy Dual Carriageway in poor visibility and suddenly finding hunt horses, riders or hounds coming towards you is totally unacceptable and illegal. (Highway Code rules 50 , 53) Fox hunting, is supposed to be illegal, yet the number of openly observed kills is rising. Not only are hunts seemingly contemptuous of the hunt law,they have been photographed/ videoed, riding their horses on busy dual carriageways, where dogs have been killed and potentially fatal multi vehicle pile ups narrowly avoided. Trains have been delayed for the same reasons, causing the knock on detrimental effects on railway staff, passengers and businesses. A 'Trail' hunt is' an event'. Hunts with 20-30 horses is over 20 tonnes of unpredictable beasts with equally wayward dogs on open public roads. It's also illegal not to clean up your dog's mess...are hunt hounds owners exempt.Do they prove that they have a cleaner upper? Councils have event packs that anyone planning an event in a public place needs to apply for showing that they are taking all Health and Safety precautions, to avoid injury or death to innocent members of the public. With almost open warfare in some places where pro hunt people are creating road blocks , anti hunt farmers having outbuildings and vehicles burnt out, or young women needing airlifting to hospital and the police seemingly unable to do anything. The solution is that it's time to use existing legislation to make hunts as accountable as anyone else holding an event on Public land/ highways/ railways. It's not unreasonable for hunts to prove that their 'trail' is nowhere near roads, to have submitted and had accepted a Comprehensive Risk Assessment document( in advance) and to have Public Liability Insurance to cover any damages to life or property. It's time for councils to make sure the 'rules' apply to everyone. How would you feel if someone you love, lost their life after crashing into a horse being ridden, with no regard for other road users. Or someone's business was destroyed when they were injured following a multi vehicle pile up after someone swerved to avoid hounds. If Hunts have not obtained comprehensive Public Liability insurance( which also covers horses and hounds in breach of the Highway code ) then the risk is that people might begin to hold councils accountable. If people make claims against their councils following uninsured, high risk events that have taken place in their jurisdictions, then ultimately it is WE the rate payers who will be footing the bills.
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