A pledge to repeal the Hunting Act is political suicide, according to research revealed today by animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports.

The polling, conducted by Survation on behalf of the League, has been released today following Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to offer a free parliamentary vote on the Hunting Act 2004 if he were to become Prime Minister.

The League Against Cruel Sports has also written to Mr Hunt to share the research, and also to invite him to visit the charity’s head office in Godalming, within his Surrey constituency, to discuss the realities of the Hunting Act and why it needs to be strengthened, not repealed.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Millions of people across the country vehemently oppose a return to the barbaric activity of fox hunting including Tory voters living in the countryside.

“Pledging to legalise fox hunting did not work well for Theresa May during the last general election. The backlash Jeremy Hunt is already seeing, not least from the younger, future elements of the Conservative Party, should send unequivocal warnings that pledging to ‘bring back fox hunting’ is political poison.”

The polling – which asked people living in the countryside what they think rural values are –showed that the move was also firmly rejected by people of all political colours.

Out of 1,072 respondents, 65 per cent said they were either much less or somewhat less likely to vote for a candidate standing in their local constituency who wanted to make fox hunting legal again, while only 8 per cent said they would be more likely or much more likely to vote for them.

Only 11 per cent of 2017 Tory voters would be more likely to vote for a party if it backed fox hunting while almost half - 47 per cent - would be less likely to vote for the party.

Animal welfare campaigners are now calling for the strengthening of the Hunting Act to ensure that loopholes exploited by the hunts are closed and that there are stronger deterrents including prison sentences for people convicted of illegal hunting.

Chris Luffingham added:

“The Hunting Act needs to be strengthened, not repealed, as the hunts are currently still getting away with chasing and killing British wildlife.

“Our polling indicates that Jeremy Hunt is not only out of touch with the British people but with his own Conservative Party voters, and we look forward to helping him understand the realities of this inhumane ‘sport’.”

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Pictured: Andy Knott, MBE, chief executive officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, hand delivers an letter to Jeremy Hunt following his recent pledge to hold a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act.

The polling took place in early December 2018 with a sample size of 1,072 people aged over 18 living in rural areas in England and Wales.

Full details and tables available here:

https://www.survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LACS-Hunting-tables.xlsx

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports press office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected].

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).