Sir Paul McCartney backs IFAW in Action campaign to safeguard Hunting Ban and urges “No Return to Cruelty”

Wednesday, 17 February, 2010
(London – 18 February, 2010) - Sir Paul McCartney pledged “no return to cruelty” as he backed an IFAW in Action campaign to protect the ban on the cruel sport of hunting with dogs.

Five years today since the Hunting Act came into force in England and Wales, Sir Paul speaks out in the new report ‘No Return to Cruelty’ by IFAW in Action, a part of the global International Fund for Animal Welfare movement.

He said: “When the cruel and unnecessary ‘sport’ of hunting with dogs was banned, I, along with the majority of the British public, backed this historic victory for wildlife. The scenes described in this report of how animals were hunted down and savaged with dogs for fun before the Hunting Act 2004 was passed are simply barbaric and shocking and should remain a part of Britain’s past, not its future.”

Conservative Party leader David Cameron has pledged to allow MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the Act if he becomes Prime Minister. This is despite the fact that a return to hunting would be completely out of step with the views of the majority of the British public, including his own party.

Polling by Ipsos MORI* in September 2009 found strong cross-party support for maintaining the ban, including almost twice as many intending Conservative supporters backing the Act as those that want it repealed (62% vs 33%). Overall, 75% of the British public do not want fox hunting to be made legal again.

IFAW in Action’s new report has been sent to prospective parliamentary candidates, urging them to remember the horrific cruelty inflicted on foxes, deer, hares and mink before the introduction of the Hunting Act and to protect the ban. IFAW in Action has also released a three-minute compilation of video footage showing examples of hunting cruelty before the ban.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW in Action, said: “The vast majority of the British public have long opposed animal cruelty and do not want the archaic practice of chasing and killing animals for fun to return to our countryside. We urge prospective parliamentary candidates to read our report and view the footage and remember why this vital ban was introduced.”

IFAW in Action is also urging members of the public to read the report and view the footage at and to ask their local parliamentary candidates where they stand on the issue.

When hunting with dogs was banned in 2004 there was already overwhelming evidence to show that hunting with dogs is cruel. Today that evidence is even stronger with the release of a new report this month by Professor Donald Broom of Cambridge University.

Professor Broom describes the evidence of cruelty in hunting with dogs as “compelling”, with foxes, deer, hares and mink experiencing considerable fear and distress when being pursued by hounds or when being dug out.

Sir Paul McCartney added: “Don’t let politicians bring back cruelty. Help IFAW keep cruelty out of the countryside and back the ban on hunting with dogs.”


For electronic versions of the report, broadcast-quality footage or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling at IFAW on 020 7587 6708, mobile 07917 507717 or email

Or to view the report and footage visit which is due to go live by February 18.

About IFAW in Action and the International Fund for Animal Welfare – IFAW in Action is an independent part of the International Fund for Animal Welfare family (IFAW), which is one of the world’s leading animal welfare organisations. IFAW has representation in 16 countries and carries out its animal welfare work in more than 40. IFAW works from its global headquarters in the United States and focuses its campaigns on improving the welfare of wild and domestic animals by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats and assisting animals in distress. IFAW works both on the ground and in the halls of government to safeguard wild and domestic animals and seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people. Visit

* Ipsos MORI interviewed a nationally representative quota sample of 2,003 adults in GB aged 15+. Interviews were carried out face-to-face, in home, using CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing Laptops), as part of the Ipsos MORI Omnibus (Capibus). The sample design ensures that the Omnibus accurately reflects the GB population in terms of region and area types as well as respondent demographics. The survey data were weighted to the known population of this audience. Fieldwork was conducted between 4-10 September 2009. Results are based on all respondents unless otherwise stated. Where results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to multiple responses, computer rounding or the exclusion of don’t knows/not stated.

For further details, please contact Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL or John Leaman at Ipsos MORI on 020 7347 3000 or see:

No Return to Cruelty is promoted by IFAW in Action (company registration number 1556892), registered office 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7UD

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