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Fox hunting ban should stay, say Star readers

North Shropshire | News | Published:

The ban on fox hunting should stay – that's the verdict of a poll undertaken by the Shropshire Star.

Crowds turn out in Newport to see the riders and hounds gather for Albrighton’s traditional Boxing Day meet

After massive crowds turned out for the Boxing Day hunts in towns including Newport, Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Morville, near Bridgnorth, we asked our readers if it was time for hunting with dogs to be made legal once more.

About 10,000 people took part, with 64 per cent of them saying fox hunting with hounds should remain banned.

The poll, which ran for two days and attracted 9,790 votes, came after a survey conducted for the League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA found 80 per cent of the public believe fox hunting should remain illegal, with support equally strong in both rural and urban areas.

Supporters of fox hunting are pushing for a new vote on the ban, as promised by the coalition following the 2010 general election.

Last October, Prime Minister David Cameron said he had "sympathy" with calls for the rules on fox hunting to be loosened.

However, Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said today that despite being in favour of overturning the ban, he doesn't see any point in calling a vote on the issue at the moment.

"I've always been in favour of allowing fox hunting to remain legal and that's still my view, but there's not a majority of MPs in the House that agree with me, and I don't expect that to change," he said.

"People do contact me quite regularly about the issue, but there doesn't seem any point in discussing it at the moment since there isn't going to be a change."

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Mr Davies said if a vote was called on the issue then he would vote in favour of overturning the ban. "On humanitarian or welfare grounds I don't think there's a good reason to ban fox hunting," he added.

Respondents to the Shropshire Star poll left dozens of comments.

One said: "No matter what your opinion on whether fox hunting is traditional or not, the method of hunting foxes with dogs and horses is cruel. That's it, fact."

Diane Bartlett said: "Fox hunting should have been totally banned. Hunts are regularly breaking the law like stubborn children. I think a total ban will sort this out."

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The survey, carried out by Ipsos Mori, whose figures were released on Boxing Day, also suggested there was no difference between the views of people living in rural and urban areas. However, John Rimington, from the Hare Preservation Trust, said much of the hunting carried out in the UK is not chasing foxes.

He said: "Further to your poll, most people are unaware that a third of dog-pack hunts in England and Wales are nothing to do with foxes. Instead their quarry is our iconic and inoffensive brown hare, drastically declined in numbers by over 80 per cent since 1880 and listed in 2011 in a report for Eden TV natural history channel to be at risk of extinction by 2050.

"An Ipsos Mori poll has just shown an overwhelming 87 per cent public opposition to hare hunting and coursing, applying equally to both country and urban dwellers.

"That children are being indoctrinated into these sadistically retrograde activities is a disturbing reflection on the lack of ethics and ecological awareness by a very introvert minority faction within our society."

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: "The fact that 80 per cent of the public oppose the return of this bloodsport comes as no surprise to me.

"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."

l In the region there are the North Shropshire, South Shropshire, Albrighton & Woodland, Tanatside, Ludlow, Wheatland and United hunts.

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