Boxing Day Hunts: Ban on Hunting with Dogs should stay, finds poll


25 December 2013 by Sally William

A survey released by the League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPCA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found 80% opposed to legalising hunting Most people believe hunting with dogs for sport should remain illegal, according to a new survey released today.

Hundreds are expected to gather today for the traditional Boxing Day meets that take place across England and Wales. But a survey released by the League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPCA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found 80% of the public surveyed think fox-hunting should not be made legal again; 85% think deer-hunting should remain illegal, and 87% think hare-hunting/coursing should also remain illegal.

The poll, carried out by MORI for the animal welfare charities, also found that the same majority of those living in rural areas thought fox-hunting should remain illegal as those living in towns and cities, indicating it is not simply a “town vs country” issue.

The league said the Coalition Government was quite clear in its agreement that it wanted to hold a free vote on whether to repeal the Hunting Act.

Its chief executive Joe Duckworth said:“Hunting is a sickeningly cruel blood sport, which, like us, the majority of the British public do not want brought back. Voting for repeal would be political suicide. We need to move forward as a nation, not backwards on matters of animal welfare.”

Gavin Grant, the RSPCA’s chief executive said: “The message to MPs is loud and clear. Hunting wild animals with dogs is unethical, inhumane and cruel. The British people will simply not allow a totally unrepresentative elite to re-introduce it.”

Robbie Marsland, IFAW’s UK director, said: “The hunts will be making their annual choreographed Boxing Day appearance with a few die-hard hunters making the usual call for repeal of the Hunting Act. The truth is the vast majority of the British public, whether they live in town or country, share IFAW’s view that bringing back a blood sport is a repugnant idea that has no place in the 21st century.”

But the Countryside Alliance claims the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said it will give consideration to a proposal from Welsh farmers to amend the law to make it easier to flush and shoot foxes. And many Welsh farmers believe this amendment is crucial as the lambing season approaches.

The Alliance’s executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said:“We have less than 18 months left in this Parliament but the Government is still to make good many of its promises to the countryside – not least the pledge of support to hunting. Tackling the failed Hunting Act is a matter of trust between Prime Minister David Cameron, the coalition Government and the countryside. The arguments for repeal or replacement of the ban are not arguable.”

Meets include the Tivyside, Pembrokeshire, the Flint and Denbighshire, North Wales and Cwrt Y Cadno in Carmarthenshire