New figures say strengthening fox hunting law is a vote winner in key battleground areas

New polling data released today shows that, despite being banned nearly 20 years ago, voters want hunting laws strengthened by the next government and will cast their votes to prove it.

The polling was commissioned by national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports but carried out independently by FindOutNow with further analysis by Electoral Calculus in March and April this year.

It shows nearly eight out of 10 (76 percent) voters polled in favour of strengthening the Hunting Act.

The League says the law has too many loopholes and exemptions that allow hunters to circumvent it, and also wants to see so-called trail hunting, described as a “smokescreen” for old fashioned illegal hunting, banned.

It also shows the impact it could make in key seats during the general election:

  • Across Blue Wall seats, which are especially vulnerable to loss by the Conservatives, support for strengthening the ban is 73 percent, with 52 percent more likely to vote for a pro-strengthening candidate. Only seven percent of respondents did not support strengthening the ban
  • Across the top 50 Labour target seats, support for strengthening the ban is 75 percent, while six percent disagree. 56 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports strengthening, while six percent would be less likely.
  • Across the top 50 Conservative target seats, support for strengthening the ban is 75 percent, while six percent disagree. 56 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports strengthening, while five percent would be less likely.
  • Across the top 50 Liberal Democrat target seats, support for strengthening the ban is 73 percent, while seven percent disagree. 53 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports strengthening, while eight percent would be less likely.

Data also shows support for strengthening across respondents planning to vote for all three major parties, with 85 per cent of Labour voters, 67 percent of Conservative voters, and 78 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters answering positively.

Emma Judd, head of campaigns at the League, said: “Hunting has been a key area of debate in every general election since the ban was introduced, and in 2019 all political parties finally acknowledged its importance to voters.

“These figures show that in areas where seats can be won or lost on single issues a commitment to strengthening hunting laws – or otherwise – can and will make a difference.

“The League has been saying for years now that it’s time for change – this polling confirms that voters of all colours agree with us.”

The polling also shows there is very strong support in rural areas, with 70 percent of voters polled supporting a stronger ban. In fact, 52 percent of rural voters go so far as to say they would be more likely to vote for an election candidate who supports strengthening the law while only 10 percent would be less likely to do so.

Emma added: “The so-called rural-urban divide has been used by pro-hunters as an attempt to stoke a culture war and attempt to lobby parties not to neglect the countryside. However, what these figures definitively show is that there is no divide – and moreover committing to strengthening the law to properly end hunting is a vote winner in rural regions.”


Notes to editors

Find Out Now interviewed 5,379 GB adults online from 26 March-2 April 2024. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults by gender, age, social grade, other demographics and past voting patterns.

Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are both members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules.

The top target seats are those where the party requires the smallest swing to gain the seat, and are drawn from the list and analysis produced by Professor Colin Rallings and Professor Michael Thrasher of the University of Plymouth, on behalf of the PA news agency, the BBC, ITN and Sky News.

Blue Wall seats are defined using the list developed by Steve Akehurst., former Head of Public Affairs at Shelter, and previously used for battleground polling by More in Common. The list defines blue wall seats as Conservative held seats held since at least 2010 where the Conservatives under-performed the national swing in both 2017 and 2019 general elections against Labour and/or the Lib Dems, calculated using notional results for 2010/2015/2017/2019 election results.

A full breakdown of the data is available here:

Trail hunting was recently described by Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, the most senior police officer in England with responsibility for fox hunting crime, as a “smokescreen for illegal fox hunting”. He also described illegal hunting as “prolific”.

Trail hunting was banned in Scotland in 2023 when the Scottish Parliament strengthened its own fox hunting laws.

The campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 and ban trail hunting is backed by the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting representing 34 animal welfare and environmental organisations.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports press office on 01483 524250 or email

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 2004, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, the strengthened fox hunting laws of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023 and a ban on the use of snares created by the Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023.

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 wildlife reserves. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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