UK & World News
Fox Hunts To Ride Out For Boxing Day Meets
Thousands of supporters are expected to attend Boxing Day hunts across the UK today as a poll shows 80% of people remain opposed to hunting with dogs for sport.
Some 250 hunts will ride out on the biggest day of the hunting calendar, some following an artificial scent while others are expected to hunt foxes within the law.
Groups of hunt saboteurs are also expected to be out in force, monitoring hunts they believe will try to flout the law and hunt foxes illegally.
The survey commissioned by animal welfare organisation The League Against Cruel Sports reveals 80% of the public think hunting should not be made legal again.
In October, David Cameron said he had "some sympathies" with farmers demanding the use of packs of hounds to flush out foxes if they threatened livestock. Once driven out, the foxes could be shot.
Downing Street suggested it might introduce a government motion to amend the 2004 ban on hunting by relaxing rules that say farmers can only use two dogs to hunt.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said he was particularly worried about hill farmers who have suffered heavy losses of livestock that is threatening their livelihoods.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of The League Against Cruel Sports, 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."
The survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI, also suggests that on the issue of legalising fox hunting, there is no difference between people living in rural areas and those in urban areas.
Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, which also commissioned the survey, said: "As a rural dweller I have always known that opposition to hunting with dogs has never been an issue of 'town versus country'. This poll proves it once and for all.
"The message to MPs is loud and clear. Hunting wild animals with dogs is unethical, inhumane and cruel."
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