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Fox hunting ban repeal could nearer than you think

The Countryside Alliance says opposition to fox hunting has been overstated and a Conservative majority could see the sport return.

fox hunting

Exmoor Hunt - 19th March 2011 scenery, scenic views over exmoor H&H 07/4/2011 pub orig

Shooters have been encouraged to support a repeal of the fox hunting ban after Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to give MPs a free vote on the issue.

Mrs May described views on the divisive topic as “a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against” and said that she has always been in favour of foxhunting.

A Conservative majority in Parliament after next month’s general election would potentially allow Mrs May to do what her predecessor David Cameron was unable to — garner enough support to push through a repeal. His own bid to relax the ban in 2015 was obstructed following opposition from the Scottish National Party. It could be a different story following the general election, however.

Support for fox hunting ban ‘not widespread’

Figures circulated widely in the press suggest that 84 per cent of the public want foxhunting to remain illegal, with League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Gonçalves quoting them when he claimed the new push for a repeal “smacks of a small minority with a cruel hobby wielding an inappropriately large influence over the people in charge”.

But the Countryside Alliance (CA) has shot down these claims of widespread public support for the ban. Its political head James Legge highlighted a 2014 survey carried out by pollsters ORB in which more than 1,500 people were asked which three issues would most affect their vote at the general election and just four mentioned hunting. He further added: “Research has consistently shown that when people are spontaneously asked what issues will affect their vote at a general election they almost never mention hunting.

“When the issue of hunting is raised with voters alongside other issues it is consistently ranked as the least important.”

Repeal good for shooters

CA head of shooting Liam Stokes said that a repeal would be good news for shooters: “Certain news outlets may have spun this campaign as a ‘secret’, but it is no secret at all that we have always argued that the shooting community should wholeheartedly support the campaign for repeal.
In our rural charter we ask politicians to ‘repeal the Hunting Act and recognise the value of shooting and fishing’ because in our countryside all are interlinked, and all need to stand together.”