Support for the ban on hunting with dogs remains strong as hunts ride out on Boxing Day
Nine years after hunting with dogs was banned in England and Wales, mounted hunts are out today parading themselves in a small number of market towns as they do every Boxing Day. They will no doubt be creating a song and a dance and there will be a lot of bluster about how hunting has never been so popular. They will also be repeating their tired call for the ban to be repealed. Despite the fact that it is the most frequently used piece of wildlife legislation, they will be saying it does not work. What they will refrain from saying openly though is that they want to reintroduce a blood sport in the 21st Century.
Encouraging a pack of hounds to chase, catch and rip a wild animal to shreds is cruel. That's why this type of hunting has always been repugnant to the British public. Despite the gala day turnout of the hunts on Boxing Day when they will be saying that hunting has never been so popular, IFAW recently commissioned polling from IPSOS Mori which shows that 80% of the British Public support the ban on fox hunting. Those desperate to reintroduce this cruel so-called sport will be saying that the townies don't understand their country ways, but the poll reveals little or no difference between support for the ban in town or country.
The desperate few are hanging on for the coalition Government to overturn the ban. It seems they will wait in vain because there is majority support for the ban among the supporters of all three major UK political parties.
So, the desperate few will be parading their rich pageantry today. They will be providing a spectacle evocative of old England. People will be sipping sherry and making brave speeches. Then they will be saying they are off on an exciting ride where they will admire the skill of a huntsman controlling his hounds as they pursue an artificial trail. IFAW has no issue with any of that. We have never been against the spectacle, the pageant or a good ride out. They are part of rural life and we hope they will remain so for as long as people want them. What IFAW has always been against, and will always be against, is encouraging a pack of hounds to chase and possibly catch and rip a wild animal to shreds. As the Seavington hunt knows, we will also do our utmost to ensure that any hunt that breaks the law will be brought to justice through the courts and convicted.
I wish all our supporters a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to bringing you more positive news of animal welfare and conservation in the coming year.