What’s The Public Opinion On Fox Hunting?
There are several different surveys measuring the public opinion of fox hunting. At the time of the vote (2004) 61% of the public supported parliament’s decision to outlaw fox hunting, whilst 30% opposed it and 9% had no opinion.
A more recent poll undertaken by Ipsos MORI (an impartial market research company) found that the public opposition to ‘blood sports’ including foxes, hares and deer hit a record level of 84% in 2016 – support stayed high in both rural 84% and 82% in urban areas.
It’s clear that British people support the 2004 ban on fox hunting, and despite common misconceptions, even people living in rural areas share this opinion, in fact, a more recent survey found that every single region in Britain supports the hunting act.
In 2015, another YouGov poll showed that the public were still heavily against fox hunting, but less people had an opinion. With 51% supporting the ban, 33% opposing the ban and the remainder (16%) having no opinion.
Other Independent Surveys:
The Mirror (2015) – “Should Britain bring back fox hunting?”
No – 81%
Yes – 19%
The Telegraph (2015) – Should the fox hunting ban be repealed?
No, it would be a backwards step – 48%
Yes, it should have never been banned – 52%
When Did Fox Hunting Start In Britain?
Foxes have been hunted for hundreds of years, for both fur and food. Fox hunting as a sport didn’t take off until the mid 1700’s after dogs were specially bred to have all the required attributes to hunt foxes effectively – known as foxhounds.
Does Fox Hunting Occur In Any Other Parts Of The World?
Yes, there are hunts registered in many other countries around the world including: Australia, USA, Canada, Italy, Portugal and India.
How Many Active Hunts Are There In The UK?
The MFHA (Masters Of Foxhounds Association) currently recognises 186 packs of foxhounds hunting in the UK. The largest day for hunts is the Boxing Day hunt, which saw an alleged 250,000 attendees across the UK in 2016. The League Against Cruel Sports says that you should take these figures with a ‘barrel load of salt’ as they were actually issued by the hunt lobby the day before boxing day.
What Is Digging Out?
When the fox ‘goes to ground’, it means the fox has gone down its hole. At this stage, the hunt master decides whether the fox is left underground victorious or whether it should be dug out. If the latter is selected, terriermen (who are employed by hunts) will send a terrier to dig out the fox, then ‘dispose’ of it – which often means being shot or thrown into the pack of hounds.
Digging out is legal so long as only one terrier is used to ‘flush’ the fox to guns, however, under the ‘gamekeepers exemptions’ section of the hunting act, this must only be done so long as they are doing so to protect game birds or wild birds for hunting on their own land or with the landowners permission.
Are Hunts Allowed To Block Badger Setts?
Absolutely not, this is illegal under the Hunting Act 2004 but still happens very frequently. If you spot badger setts that have been blocked with mesh or wire, get in touch with the landowner, your local police force or hunt saboteurs group.