POLL: Should the ban on fox hunting be relaxed in the UK?

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David Cameron is backing calls to relax the ban on -hunting in England and Wales, it emerged today. The Prime Minister has ‘sympathy’ with calls to scrap a law banning farmers from using more than two dogs to flush out foxes, Downing Street said.

It would mark a first step towards the coalition fulfilling its pledge to stage a free vote on repealing the controversial law altogether and follows reports of a surge in fox attacks on sheep flocks.

The ban on using just two dogs to flush out foxes could soon be lifted

New evidence has been hand to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of a growing threat to lambs from a rising fox population.

MPs from the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru parties have put pressure on Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to allow farmers to use more than two dogs to flush out foxes.

The MPs have acted after hill farmers told them that the current law has led to devastating losses of their livelihood, because they cannot get rid of the foxes which plague their flocks.

Mr Cameron’s officials spokesman told journalists in Westminster: ‘There is a very specific issue around pest control and the impact is has on particular farming communities, such as hill farmers.

‘I think the Prime Minister has some sympathy with those concerns. They have been voiced by MPs from across the House.

‘Given the cross-party nature of concerns that have been raised in this area it is something that the House may wish to consider.

‘There are various ways in which the House can consider these things.’

Fox-hunting was banned by The Hunting Act 2004

David Thomas, secretary of the Federation of Welsh Farmers told the Daily Telegraph: ‘We feel that this is something that could be very easily done.

‘It is necessary for sheep farmers, it is not going to cost the government any money at all. It is a win, win situation.’

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are said to have seen evidence that flocks are being threatened by foxes, and plan to consider a change in the law.

Under the current law, farmers are only allowed to use two dogs to flush out fox dens before shooting the foxes.

A recent study suggests that using a full pack of hounds can be almost twice as effective as using two dogs.

Fox-hunting was banned by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2004, and has long been a source of debate amongst MPs and the public.

Lifting the ban on using more than two dogs to flush out foxes would not herald a return to traditional hunting, and it is thought that many Conservatives still feel that there is not enough public support for overturning the full ban.

Many rural communities support traditional , and believe that it is an essential form of pest control

The coalition agreement committed to ‘bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express  its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act’.

However, it is thought that a growing number of Tory and Lib Dem MPs would vote to keep the law in place, dashing the hopes of countryside campaigners that the deeply unpopular law would be axed.

A spokesman for Defra said: ‘We have received reports on increased predation of lambs by foxes and the burden this has placed on hill farmers. We will look at all research into this with interest.’

We invite you to vote FOR or AGAINST the relaxing of the ban on fox hunting in the . Even if you’re not from the UK, please vote and also leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should the ban on fox hunting be relaxed in the UK?

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The editorial content of this article was written by Hayley O’Keeffe and Matt Chorley for the Daily Mail.

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Those who voted “yes” hang your heads in shame. There is nothing sporting about hunting down a defenceless animal with horses and dogs. It is barbaric – and yet we dare call ourselves civilised!! The law needs both tightening and enforcing. It’s no good having a law if the police won’t enforce it and, at present, they seem to think that enforcing the Hunting Act is way down their list of priorities – well, it isn’t and the lawbreakers should be prosecuted just the same as if they had been speeding, drink driving or breaking into someone’s property. Why should… Read more »


Such archaic barbarism must not be allowed, if foxes are an issue culling by clinical means can do the job, empowering horse and hounds to terrify an animal for a prolonged period before rliterally ripping it apart only satisfies the blood lust of malicious bullies. No argument can justify the cruelty of the horse and hounds hunting brigade

Judi Hewitt

George Holloway Well said George but foxes don't need to be managed at all – if they were then why would some sheep farmers say that foxes are not a pest for them? Plus I have family in the Lincolnshire countryside that keep lots of pet geese, ducks and hens and have only ever lost two in the last twenty or so years. Its up the chicken eating owners of said poultry to look after their chucks. More than one kind of predator will kill hens…Btw her birds are free range on her 2 acre land..

Judi Hewitt

She talks about anti-hunt people being mutton jeff but she has nothing to say about artificial earth's. Well, what do think about hunts using artificial earth's Ms Forster? Come on answer this because I really want to hear your excuse.

Judi Hewitt

Joanna Elizabeth Forster If you think that foxes need management then you should be telling your hunt chums to stop building artificial earth's. Oh but I forgot, you people are deaf to the truth, aren't you?

Germaine Egan

keep the ban on fox hunting. NO MORE FOX HUNTING BAN FOX HUNTING –

Kelvin Thomas

Foxes do not attack sheep flocks…this is just the Tory hunters idea to repeal the Hunting Act against the British public's wishes. Killing for fun has no place in this country

Ann-marie Britton

It's sick and barbaric ..totally outdated and incomprehensible to decent people with a modern attitude

Phil Kibler

The only place where foxes are a significant problem is in inner cities and clearly hunting with hounds is impossible there. Elsewhere hunting with hounds has nothing to do with pest control but just personal pleasure mixed up with sadism on the part of some and indifference to suffering on the part of others.

Lego Andrew Lonsdale

No it`s cruel, chasing animal down for fun is cruel. Whilst I understand farmers having to kill them, to protect their livestock. Anyone doing this for fun, is down right wrong.

Elaine Hames

Foxes deserve to live like all others and they kill to eat like majority of humans so why do we think it's ok to terrify them and rip them apart?!? Its not sport the fox has no say

Laraine Manley

Actually you only have to look at them to know what type of people they are . It's not foxes that want eradicating in this country , it's toffs !

Peter Thurgood

No need to cull, the more you cull the more the foxes will breed. If left alone the population will balance out in time. Culling is an excuse for the social activity of Fox hunting and cub hunting, neither of which have any place in a humane society.

Nina Cole

Shame on those who vote yes!

Gordon Alexander

This is just a device to reverse the ban by the back door. If a farmer has a problem with foxes, there are plenty of rough shooters willing to pay an annual fee for shooting rights over their land and prepared to commit to controlling foxes and other vermin. If foxes must be killed it should be done as humanely as possible. Fox hunting with hounds is an abomination.

Leanne D BroWn

With all the many issues of this country ..why would such a question even be a thought! Infact why would it be a thought at any time..It is barbaric..it is an old dated so called sport tho sport involves equal opportunity ..No No No it should not be relaxed..Implemented with consequence Yes!

John Greaves

Definitely not its abhorrent, what is it with this government trying to destroy our wildlife. Disgusting and I'd love to know who did the research and who paid for it cause the sheep flock issue is a smoke screen I know sheep farmers and they don't have issues strange that they may take a weakling lamb but it would of probably perished anyway . Shame on Cameron it's amazing this had reemerged after his own hunt has been in the spot light does the above mentioned imbiciles think the public is stupid

Kelly Selling

Ban it for ever it is so cruel

Keith Woodward

Lets hunt Cameron with dogs NOT foxes……see if he likes being hunted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark King

Foxes are not pests, in fact they are beneficial to farmers as they eat crop eating animals like rabbits and birds.

Darren Jessup

I couldn't have put it any better Lesleyann Porton !

Richard Still

Life is for Lufe !! No matter what shape or form it walks upon this earth in !!
It is not mans right to remove or eradicate any form of life !! Only to Co-exist alongside it !

Sue Moyle

The only reason it is still happening is because it's a Rich mans SPORT!!! We are NOT over run with foxes actually I know for a fact that they encourage breeding of foxes and do indeed feed them as I have seen it with my own eyes. I lived in Cheshire and the countryside for 26 years and I hear and see what goes on. It is a total disgrace that any Animals wild or Domestic are hunted down by a pack of Hungary dogs and a load of jumped up snobs watching!!! And they call it Sport!!!!!!

Norma Jean Pickens

All Animals DO FOX'S …What ever has that RIGHT!! SO PLEASE STOP DOING THIS!! THANK YOU!

Roger Watling

The Law needs to be tightened rather than relaxed. We have seen on the news that hunts bait areas to encourage foxes then turn up with the dogs.

Flora Johnson

The ban on fox hunting needs to be strengthened NOT relaxed!

Paul Mambooza Burnett


Keith Knight

We have no right to take the life of any species.

Stevie Riks

This ALL disgusts me. The Cruel Bastards who feel the need to pursue this incredibly EVIL Act, are just that "EVIL" It just never ceases to amaze me the way it keeps coming back time and time again. The fact of the matter is, its against the Law NOW, but it still hasn't stopped the Hoorah Henry's of this World breaking that Law and continuing with this Barbaric Act. Thank God for Sabs thats all i can say, and put it this way, IF it was relaxed, id be out there with thousands of other Sabs protecting this most beautiful… Read more »

Susan Hawkins

Hunting in any form should be banned, only game keepers or farmers should be allowed to cull sick animals they may come across .

Robert Fulton

What if we are mother nature's method of culling Evelyn. unless you are arrogant enough to think you understand nature

Oliver Morris

Vegetarian are you?

Evelyn Ball

All species have a right to be on this planet and NOT TO BE abused, tortured or killed by the pathetic human animal. Those idiots need a good kick of the pedestal they have wrongfully placed themselves. As for the sheep farmers, live with it!! You are not the only thing on this planet. Mother Nature will cull any species naturally so but the fuck out! The only cull or hunting should be of useless human shit who have the mistaken belief that they are so damn superior.

Pete Jones
Pete Jones

So basically they’re asking whether we should allow dogs to rip foxes to pieces because a handful of bloated Hooray Henrys and peasant shit-kickers think its a laugh. No thanks

Alexander Roberts

Well dressed psychopaths.

Harmke Y Wiersma

Tell Cameron to take the place of the fox, and then ask the same question!

Colette Jane Brough

I personally don't understand what these farmers expect these wild animals to do when they push them out of their homes for farm land to be honest! They have to live somewhere, and considering they are clearing forests for their hideously selfish livelihood the foxes have less natural food as well as places to live. Humans have created those lambs to eat them so I don't see why they are blaming the foxes for doing the same. I'm glad to have disassociated myself with animal agriculture, the people who do it commercially are monsters 🙁

Yesi Bel

Humans are certainly cruel creatures. With to many constructive things to do they pick to cause pain and practice evil. No culture can call it self civilized if it still commits atrocities like this specially for the simple fun of it. If humans are really concerned about the environment, pests and species destroying the planet they should start by controlling human population,or maybe killing themselves. The human species is the ONLY one who is threat to this planet there would be nothing better for this planet than the human race to disappear, ALL OF IT no exceptions.

Heather Wilko

Barbaric and outdated , it doesn't beling is 2014 – it's for the brain dead ! The population argument is a joke when you build artificial earths ! Disgusting !

Nancy O'Neal

Lets see—you are proposing a group of dressed up people mounted on horseback with hunting dogs chase a little fox until it is exhausted and cornered and brutally killed—HMMM—That's a tough one

Iain Gibson

Does no-one ever notice that the proponents of fox hunting never provide any scientific evidence to back up their claims that foxes have a significant impact on the sheep farming industry? That's quite simply because there isn't any. Their case is built on constructed anecdotal allegations which don't bear up to scientific scrutiny. The vested interests in restoring fox hunting exploit this. Gamekeepers and some farmers won't be happy until they wipe out every last predator. Even Mountain Hares are being massacred in the supposed advancement of biosecurity.

Laurie Armer

Oh and your vacant, yet predictable claim, that you are helping farmers and their sheep is laughable!! What's even more hilarious is that you think we do not see your transparency!!

Laurie Armer

The arrogant, archaic desires of an elite few! Solely for their own self-declared amusement! With 7 billion human cockroaches on this planet, animals are more valuable than humans are! Who cares if animal population explodes? Who cares if livelihoods are lost? Who cares about traditions? Time for a good cleansing and culling of the human species…..starting from the top and then from the bottom equally! YOU are what is unnecessary and worthless!!

Sam Brown

Just an excuse for egotistical idiots to get on a well groomed horse……..then let their poor starved hounds tear apart an innocent animal. Saving the country side is a pathetic excuse! How many other innocent animals lose their lives during a hunt? Rabbits? A poor hound caught or injured? Badgers ripped apart ?…… A 'sport' really? Don't try and justify the unjustifiable . It's cruel plain and simple.

Lindon Tilson

Hunters are trash. Leave the fox alone

Lauren Aisling Blunt

Surely in this day and age there's a more humane way to keep the fox population down.
That and it pisses off the Lords, that's more than enough reasons to keep it banned. It's barbaric.

Diana Mary De Lange

Hunting is inhumane and cruel and barbaric and does NOT belong in a first world country SHAME ON YOU

Jessica Wong

Of course not!

Charlotte Salomon

Hunting with dogs ensures natural selection unlike ALL other still LEGAL forms of hunting, which don't. Hunting was invented to replace wolves which we removed from the UK. Fox have no predator and can live on a diet of slugs and snails. They can been seen often with deformities. If the dogs catch the fox, trust me, it was not a healthy fox. The fact is people don't really know the truth, they don't want to, its a class issue. They sit there eating their factory farm bacon butties crying about supposed rich people on horses. Ignorant and hypocritical. In… Read more »

Tan Tennant

this should be banned foxs are a lovely animal thy feel pain and suffering like we do thy have right 2 live be free in the wild with there familys and 2 be safe and not scared from people it breaks my heart when i hear the hounds horse man i hate what thy do 2 the pore foxs