§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she plans to hold public hearings as part of the consultation on hunting with dogs. 
§ Alun Michael
Hearings will take place in Portcullis House on 9, 10 and 11 September as part of the current consultation on hunting with dogs.
The hearings will explore the issues of preventing cruelty and recognising utility and how best to apply principles, building on the conclusions reached by the Committee of Inquiry chaired by Lord Burns. A number of expert witnesses will be invited to provide evidence. This process will help towards the drawing up of legislation based on clear principles, as indicated in my statement to the House on 21 March and is being organised in co-operation with the Countryside Alliance the Campaign for Protection of Hunted Animals, and the Middle Way Group. Details will be posted on the DEFRA website from early August (http://www.defra.gov.uk/erdp/hunting/hunting.htm).