Fox Hunting supporters scent a shift in mood
The majority of people in Britain in poll after poll show that they are against fox hunting and this led in 2005 to the Government banning hunting with dogs. The campaign from hunt supporters to repeal this act has not stopped since then.
Boxing Day has always been the traditional highlight of the hunting year with hunts meeting in town and village squares to parade their colours, horses and dogs before setting out to hunt. Many town councils have now banned hunts from meeting in their town squares - even Loughborough where the famous Quorn Hunt met on Boxing Day for over a hundred years - but the day is still used as a rallying cry for generally the rich country set and people that aspire to the same or work for them, to "bring back fox hunting!".
The truth is that fox hunting has never gone away despite being banned. The hunts are busier now than ever finding new ways around the law at every turn. Even those who are against hunting see that the law is useless if it is not policed and when policed applied.
The call for fox hunting to be re-legalised will continue but despite the loud voices from this small yet powerful lobby overall public opinion will probably not see any government repeal the anti-hunt laws any time soon.
Beneath crisp blue skies, huge numbers of people turned out to support hunts across Britain, campaigners said yesterday.
The Countryside Alliance estimated that 300,000 people had gathered at hunts - evidence, it said, that the mood was shifting in favour of a repeal of the ban on hunting.
Hunting with dogs became a criminal offence in February 2005, although exercising hounds, chasing a scent trail and flushing out foxes to be shot are all still legal. Antihunting groups countered that the success of hunts yesterday was further proof that the ban should remain in place.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Loopholes let hunts continue to kill foxes
Several prosecutions under the Hunting Act 2004 have reached the courts. “The pro-hunting lobby’s message is that this act is confusing and there are grey areas,” said Louise Robertson from the League Against Cruel Sports. “But there have been 57 prosecutions since 2005, which is a lot. This is not a complicated law.” Hunts use different loopholes to avoid prosecutions. Some have bought hawks and golden eagles, because using dogs to flush foxes towards birds of prey is legal. Other hunts lay trails for the hounds to follow, some of which go very close to where foxes are likely be found. It is also legal to use two dogs to flush out foxes so that they can be shot.