Congratulations to Belfast City Council for voting in favour of a motion calling for a ban on the hunting of mammals with dogs and the equally cruel practice of snaring.
It would be a proud step forward for Northern Ireland if the Executive were to enact such legislation.
It would end the nightmarish so-called sport in which a fox is hounded until its lungs give out and exhaustion delivers it to the pack to be eviscerated, not to mention the practise of unearthing foxes that escape underground during a hunt. These animals are dragged to the surface with the aide of spades and terriers. Fox and terrier alike suffers in the melee of savagery that ensues, and then the mangled live fox is tossed to the waiting hounds.
Snaring is an abomination in the countryside, leaving animals struggling for hours or even days to break free, often suffering a lingering death in the process.
In 2011 Northern Ireland banned hare coursing, and the prohibition of other forms of live animal baiting would be consistent with that humane approach. Here in the Republic we have a long way to go, with many blood sports still legal.
We hope Northern Ireland will set yet another shining example to us down here by dispatching cruel sports to where they belong: the dustbin of history.
Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports