James Duddridge's Southend Standard column: Friday 20th September 2019
"Fox hunting is an issue that I know some constituents feel very strongly about. Many of you have written to me over the years to share your views. Research suggests more than 80% of the general population think it should remain illegal.
As a Member of Parliament, I am not in favour of banning things solely based on my opinion alone. I was reluctant to tell rural communities to change something that seemed to be an important part of their way of life. I was also not in favour of imposing a ban that could have led to the decline in the rural economy.
But, these fears have not materialised. There has been no such decline, rural traditions have been able to continue without the need to hunt and kill wild animals with dogs, a practice that I have always found to be barbaric and anachronistic. Because of this, it is now my view that fox hunting should remain illegal in this country.
As a nation, we have a proud history of pursuing higher animal welfare standards. We have a strong intolerance against unnecessary cruelty. Our ability to influence other countries around the world on policies like game trophy hunting, whaling and bull fighting would be hampered if we were to overturn the Hunting Act.
So to constituents who have contacted me over the years, I would like to reassure you that if the issue came before the House of Commons again – for which there are currently no plans – I would vote to keep the fox hunting ban.
If you would like to get in touch with me about this issue or any other, please email me via email@example.com or call my office on 01702 616 135.
Thank you for reading my article."