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Animal welfare bill axed 'to avoid row over hunting'

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Ministers have scrapped legislation aiming to ban the export of live animals and bring in new powers to tackle smuggling amid fears that it would lead to a vote on hunting.

Mark Spencer, the environment minister, told MPs that the government was scrapping the Kept Animals Bill because Labour was going to "play political games" by widening the scope of the bill. He insisted that introducing measures one by one would now be the most effective strategy.

The government claimed that Labour would seek to include hunting in the bill, which was "likely to stoke unnecessary tensions and campaigns". Labour backs strengthening the ban on hunting but said that it had "no plans" to add any such amendment to the bill.

The Conservative Party is

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