FOR years we have seen MPs voting (by huge majorities) on behalf of their constituents to ban the so-called "sport" of hunting with dogs, and for years the House of Lords has obstructed the progress of such legislation.

Two months ago the Government's Hunting Bill, which will ban the hunting of all wild animals with dogs, was overwhelmingly voted through the House of Commons by MPs.

This Tuesday, September 16, the Bill reaches its next stage when peers in the House of Lords will have an opportunity to voice their views on the issue.

The Lords must not be allowed to frustrate the will of the elected chamber. If necessary, the Bill must be introduced in the next parliamentary session beginning in November, when the Parliament Act applies and the bill can finally become law.

Polling of the general public has consistently shown majority support for a ban and it is the duty of the elected politicians to ensure that this is finally reflected on the statute books.

The Labour Party promised to "resolve" this issue in their 2001 manifesto. The RSPCA believes this can be achieved by using the Parliament Act.

Hunting is cruel and unnecessary and should not be allowed to continue in the 21st Century. We are now closer than we have ever been to seeing this barbaric practice consigned to the history books.

It is now up to elected politicians to ensure that this is the case.

Clare Robinson Senior parliamentary officer RSPCA HQ Horsham