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Ban on hunting foxes with dogs, passed 10 years ago, under threat?

February 18, 2015 - UNITED KINGDOM

The Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron will try to legalize the traditional hunting of foxes with dogs if the Tories win the May election, but the 10th anniversary of the law will come and go with the ban still in place. It will be a hot election issue in May, 2015, with the Conservatives wedged between pro-hunt and anti-hunt groups.

The party will offer a free vote in the next parliament if it wins in May. The law passed initially in 2004, while the Labour government was still in power.

The League Against Cruel Sports, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal welfare organizations can rally voters as surely as the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, which organized massive rallies to avert the ban. The Alliance argues that the hunt functions as pest control, that killing foxes reduces a threat to farm animals. It also argues that the hunt is a source of jobs in rural areas.

The government has launched an investigation into whether fox populations have grown to nuisance levels since the ban.

Banning fox-hunting: A timeline (BBC 9 Jun 2000)

Huge turnout for countryside march (BBC 22 Sep 2002)

Hunting prosecutions at all-time high since ban (Telegraph 3 Jul 2014)

Date written/update: 2015-01-19