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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Is the ban on hunting with dogs becoming irreversible?

It is boxing day and, as is traditional up to 300 hunts featuring approximately 250,000 riders and supporters will be gathering around the UK. However, none of them will be able to legally indulge in the traditional pastime of setting a pack of hounds onto a helpless fox, and watch as the dogs rip their prey to pieces. That is because of a law, passed in 2005, which banned hunting with dogs.

The Tories came into power determined to change all that, however, as today's Guardian reports that is becoming more and more problematic for them.

The paper says that Blue Fox, the increasingly confident lobby group coordinating Tory anti-bloodsports activists, claims that nearly 60 Conservative MPs would vote against proposals to weaken the ban.

In addition, new figures from Ipsos Mori demonstrate that public opposition to hunting is increasing. The paper says that an annual poll found that 83% of respondents objected to making foxhunting with packs of hounds legal again. Opposition to legalising foxhunting has risen from 72% in 2008 to 83% this year.

With the SNP block of MPs determined to block any relaxation of the ban, it seems that it is here to stay for some considerable time. As  Sir Roger Gale, the MP for North Thanet, president of Conservative Animal Welfare and patron of Blue Fox, says: “The hunting of wild animals with dogs has been consigned to the dustbin of history, along with cockfighting and bear-baiting, and the idea that this clock ought to be turned back is regressive and unpleasant.”

Lorraine Platt, Blue Fox’s founder, is quoted as saying: “There is a growing intolerance of killing wildlife for sport, whether it be a noble lion in Africa or a humble hare here in England.” The Guardian reports that Blue Fox’s patrons include the minister for sport, Tracey Crouch, and justice ministers Dominic Raab and Caroline Dinenage.

There has been a dramatic increase in opposition to foxhunting in rural areas over the last three years, with over eight out of 10 rural residents opposed to its legalisation of foxhunting. So much for the argument that this is an agenda adopted by ‘urbanites’ or ‘animal rights’ people who oppose hunting because they don’t understand it.

All of this is good news and the sign that things have changed for the better. Let's us hope it stays that way.
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