Animal-rights groups picket NH Trappers banquet ahead of hearing on recreational trapping bill

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https://www.unionleader.com/news/animals/animal-rights-groups-picket-nh-trappers-banquet-ahead-of-hearing/article_2fbad506-8e4e-5e82-8db8-b3277398d2c0.html
Trapping protest

Annie Smith, a member of Twin State Animal Liberation, stands with a photo of a red fox on South Main Street in front of the Franklin Elks Lodge where the New Hampshire Trappers Association’s annual banquet was being held Saturday.

FRANKLIN — Ahead of what is expected to be a contentious, lengthy hearing on a bill that opponents say would lead to the elimination of recreational trapping, three animal-rights groups picketed the New Hampshire Trappers Association’s annual banquet on Saturday.

From about 4:15 to 5:30 p.m., a dozen-plus people and one human-sized red fox representing NH Citizens Against Recreational Trapping, NH Animal Rights League, and Twin State Animal Liberation conducted an informational picket on South Main Street, outside the Franklin Elks Lodge, where the banquet was held.

Kristina Snyder of Chester said the goal of the picket was to raise public awareness about trapping, the NHTA’s relationship with the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program, and House Bill 1504.

On Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Rooms 305-307 in the Legislative Office Building, the House of Representative’s Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee is scheduled to take up HB 1504, which would create a study committee to examine the feasibility of banning recreational trapping and would require that committee to file a report by Nov. 1.

The NHTA, on its website, urged members to attend the HB 1504 hearing, saying that “if there was one day worth taking a day off from work to attend it would be this one.” The NHTA says “trapping is humane and the only way to successfully control furbearer populations.”

Larry Torr, president of the NHTA, was not immediately available for comment.

Holding a large photo of a silver fox with its leg caught in a trap, Snyder said HB 1504 would ban recreational trapping, but not commercial trapping of nuisance wildlife.

She said that in September 2019, California became the first state to make recreational trapping illegal and that the Granite State should follow suit.

Animals feel fear and pain, she said, and trapping is an outdated and unnecessary tradition.

Another tradition that should end, Snyder said, is that of the NHTA annually presenting a coat made of furs collected by members to the winner the Miss New Hampshire competition.

An official with the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program, in published reports last year, said the organization, despite the controversy, would continue its relationship with the NHTA, adding that the Miss New Hampshire winner had the option of accepting the fur coat, something Snyder disputes.

Annie Smith, of Westminster, Vt., came to Saturday’s picket because, she said, “we want to let people know that trapping still goes on and there’s no reason for it.”

Smith, who held a picture of a red fox, is confident that recreational trapping will cease. “I just hope it happens in my lifetime,” she said.

Further up the picket line, a much larger, faux red fox, who said his name is Anonymous and that he hails from New Hampshire, said the NHTA and “a few hundred trappers are holding wildlife hostage. It’s time for that to end.”

New permit means open season for hunting many furry predators

You can soon hunt raccoons, coyotes, and other furry predators on your private land to help protect bird populations.

It will soon be critter season all year long in Arkansas. It may be the worst news in a while for coyotes since the Acme Roadrunner trap arrived in the mail.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted to relax hunting regulations on certain predator species.

RELATED: UCAPD help save raccoon hilariously stuck in drain grate

“Raccoons, possums, red fox, coyotes — things like that,” said Randy Zellers, the assistant chief of communications for the AGFC. “What it is going to do is give a private landowner to manage on a local level if he feels that predator populations are high and maybe impacting his ground nesting birds in the area.”

Coyotes and possums like quick meals they can get from a quail’s nest. To manage that, you can now set traps or hunt them with a special permit. There doesn’t have to be a set season, and more importantly, no set hours.

“You will be able to harvest bobcat, coyote, skunk, possum, and raccoon day or night,” Zellers said after getting a free predator-control permit. That lets hunters get them when they are out and active.

Officials are not declaring a critter crisis, but the rules needed updating because the days of every kid running around with a Davy Crockett hat are long gone.

“Years ago, people used to trap animals for pelts,” Zellers said. “As that has gone out of style, there’s not as much money involved in trapping animals for pelts.”

Rules are already in place that allow you to shoot predators if they threaten people, pets, or livestock. This new permit means you can do it more efficiently with an eye on wildlife management.

A hunter is also not responsible for having to turn the skin into a coat or a hat if they have the special permit.

Zellers points out that the permit is mainly for people living in the country.

While coyotes and foxes often encroach on suburban or even residential areas in cities, local firearms laws still supersede the special permit regulations.

RELATED: Dad, teens face-off against growling coyote

If you have a raccoon or skunk problem closer to town, the AGFC has standard advice.

“We still recommend the number one thing is remove all the food sources and make sure those animals are not welcome,” Zellers said.

The permits will be available in late August.

Scientists “speechless” after fox makes 2,176-mile, 76-day trek from Norway to Canada

A 1-year-old explorer made an epic journey from Norway to Canada, covering 2,176 miles in 76 days. That young explorer was an Arctic fox.

The fox started her journey in March, at just under a year old. She walked nearly 1,000 miles from the archipelago near the North Pole to Greenland. She completed this leg in just 21 days, then began the second part of her trek.

The fox then walked about 1,242 miles farther to Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The whole trek took her just 76 days, averaging about 28.4 miles a day. Some days, however, the ambitious fox walked over 96 miles.

ap-18278571138868.jpg
Researchers believe the fox curled up in the snow to brave the weather, much like this arctic fox lying in its enclosure at Osnabrueck Zoo.FRISO GENTSCH

Eva Fuglei, a research scientists at the Polar Institute, spoke to Norway’s NRK public broadcaster about the fox’s unlikely journey. “We couldn’t believe our eyes at first,” she said. “We thought perhaps it was dead, or had been carried there on a boat, but there were no boats in the area. We were quite thunderstruck.”

Fuglei has been tracking how foxes cope in with the dramatic changes of the Arctic seasons, BBC News reports. No fox has been recorded traveling that far, that fast before.

“There’s enough food in the summer, but it gets difficult in winter,” Fuglei told NRK. “This is when the Arctic fox often migrates to other geographical areas to find food to survive. But this fox went much further than most others we’ve tracked before – it just shows the exceptional capacity of this little creature.” Researchers think the fox curled up in the snow to sit out the bad weather.

The Polar Institute created a gif that shows the two parts of the fox’s journey across Greenland.

giphy.gif
Researchers made a gif of the fox’s travels across Greenland. She walked close to the North Pole for over 2,100 miles to Canada.POLAR INSTITUTE

The fox could have traveled even farther, but scientists stopped tracking her when she reached Canada in February, because her transmitter stopped working, the Polar Institute said.

The adventurous fox may have a hard time finding food in Canada, since she ate a mainly marine diet in Svalbard. Foxes in Canada’s Ellesmere Island eat mostly lemmings, which are small rodents.

World’s intelligent hunters in a race for survival in Iran

TEHRAN – Foxes, the intelligent hunters who avoid humans, having a limited range in Iran, are endangered due to human encroachment on their habitats and the lack of safety, said Jalil Imani, a biodiversity and ecosystems management expert.

There are more than 20 species of foxes who eat almost anything, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, worms and fruit. The common fox is considered by some as pest species, being an opportunistic hunter of game birds, ground-nesting birds and small mammals, often killing animals’ surplus to its needs.

Foxes in Iran are often seen in farmlands in search of rodents. They are also likely to feed on melons, scavenge in refuse dumps, or track hares and other small mammals, especially when there is snow on the ground. Foxes in Iran are trapped, shot, and hunted almost everywhere they occur, and yet they still manage to thrive.

Foxes feed on small animals like rats, but farmers turning pastures into agricultural land over the past few years are using pesticides to protect their product, which kill foxes’ prey, and in some case the foxes themselves by the poisonous baits.

Four fox species inhabiting in Iran, including Blanford’s, Corsac, Rüppell’s and common foxes, Imani said, lamenting, according to the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), all four aforesaid species of foxes in the world are defined as least concern, however in Iran, their condition is different.

“Blanford’s fox is assigned endangered by the Department of Environment, any hunting or trade of which is considered illegal,” he noted, adding, while Corsac fox has been listed as extinct before sighting some in northeastern part of the country, which switched to critically endangered.

Rüppell’s fox is also placed in the IUCN’s least concern category, while being vulnerable in Iran which requires protection, he said.

“Fortunately, common fox is in better condition and is not listed as endangered yet,” he added.

So far, no measures have been taken to estimate fox population in the country, he said, adding, so there are no accurate statistics on the number of foxes in the country.

“The results of genetic tests showed that genetic variation of the foxes is desirable. There are two major genetic groups in the country that are in some ways compatible with the global groups.”

Imani went on to say that the Rüppell’s fox found mainly in Yazd, Kerman, somewhat Sistan-Baluchestan and Isfahan provinces, have proper genetic diversity, so there is still hope for the preservation of the sub species.

Blanford’s and Corsac foxes while offering insufficient information for a proper assessment, can be conserved to some extent, he said, noting, for precise determination scientific analysis and researches must be conducted in this regard.

One of the most important threats to fox species are habitat fragmentation, as well as the use of pesticides eradicating their prey, road construction, rabies and stray dogs, although the conflict with humans is the leading cause for their heading toward extinction.

“Foxes feed on small animals like rats, but farmers turning pastures into agricultural land over the past few years are using pesticides to protect their product, which kill foxes’ prey, and in some case the foxes themselves by the poisonous baits.

“On the other hand, road accidents took lives of many of the smart species, for example, there is a road in northern island of Qeshm, in which one to two foxes are killed per day due to road crashes.

“Unfortunately, another threat posed to the foxes is hunting for the fur trade, or some people keep their pelt for prosperity beliefs and superstitions.

“Foxes are primarily nocturnal hunters who prefer to search for food at a time when there is little chance of being spotted by humans, therefore, they are no threat to humans and there is no need to persecute the precious species,” Imani regretted.

Corsac fox’s habitat no longer safe

An official with the Golestan DOE, Mahmood Shakiba, said in October 2018 that living conditions for rare corsac fox in the country is so improper that spotting a few nests of the species is a pleasure.

In the Iranian calendar year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017), some 14 Corsac nests have been found in Turkmen Sahara in Golestan province, of which only four nests have been active and last year the nests have no longer been active, he added.

All Corsac habitats have been destructed turning into agricultural land, animal husbandry, manufacturing workshops or factories, so that the animal has no place to live, he regretted.

What happens when species go extinct?

As the species is at the top of the food chain, it plays an important role in conservation of the country’s ecosystem as well as protecting other species.

When an ecosystem loses key species such as common fox, it triggers what ecologists call a trophic cascade—a butterfly effect that spirals down the food chain. A well-documented case study for this phenomenon is the gray wolf, once among the world’s most widely distributed mammals. Prior to their extirpation, North American gray wolves were a key predator of deer, elk, moose, bison and caribou, as well as numerous smaller mammals. Following the wolves’ disappearance, the abundance of deer skyrocketed, with some populations climbing to six times their historical size.

Disappearance of foxes also have potential of disrupting the balance. For example, common fox’s function as an apex predator control the abundance of their prey and thus help to maintain a balance of nature.

Activists vow to continue fight to save foxes in Warwickshire

Catherine Thompson5th Mar, 2019
Sboteurs say they have no plans to give up the fight to save foxes in Warwickshire.

Anti-hunt campaigners in the county are concerned at the number of foxes killed by ‘mistake’ during hunts up and down the country, and say they will not stop disrupting the Warwickshire Hunt until foxes were properly protected under the law.

Following the ban on fox hunting introduced in 2004, the hunt and its hounds now follow artificial trails, but saboteurs still follow the hunt closely when it takes to the Warwickshire countryside.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands hunt saboteurs said: “It’s sad that it’s up to us to fight. The law is not enforced properly and hasn’t stopped animals being killed for blood sport. It’s barbaric.

“We do our utmost to try and save the animals.

“We will always try and stop them until the day when the law is tightened an outright ban on hunting. They can’t keep claiming killing foxes is an accident. If so many accidents are happening then it shouldn’t be allowed at all.”

But the hunt denied the accusations and said it operated within the law.

A spokesman for the hunt said: “We hunt legally to comply with the Hunting Act 2004 and our professional staff correct hounds as quickly as possible should any mistakes occur. Hunting remains a popular activity as demonstrated at many of its venues and increasing public attendance and support especially on Boxing Day and Opening Meets. People are welcome to come and see what we do.”

The hunt and saboteurs recently blamed each other when an ambulance was held up on a country lane near Shipston.

The hunt accused protesters for not pulling their car over as they followed the hunt, while saboteurs said the ambulance was delayed by the hunt ‘using the road as their own personal playground’.

Campaigners Warn Of Disease Risk From Hounds As ‘Hunting Festival’ Opens

The animals have been described as a biosecurity hazard
Hunting hounds are a biosecurity risk

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/campaigners-warn-hounds-disease-risk-ahead-of-hunting-festival

Hunting hounds can potentially spread disease to other hounds and animals across the British countryside, according to research revealed by an animal welfare charity.

The independent report – Hunting with Hounds and the Spread of Disease, 2018 – uses research on disease spread over decades. It was commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports following the discovery of bTB in a pack of hunting hounds early in 2017. According to the charity: “Accumulated evidence in the study suggests overwhelmingly that hunting with hounds maintains and/or spreads several livestock parasites and pathogens that have a major economic impact on British farmers.”

Now campaigners are highlighting this research ahead of the annual Lycetts Festival of Hunting being held today in Peterborough, saying the attendance of the packs of hounds is a major biosecurity threat.

Disease

According to the study: “Hounds used for hunting carry numerous infectious diseases which can be spread to livestock, other hounds, and even humans. The dogs often contract the diseases after being fed the carcasses of diseased livestock.

“Diseases spread by hunting hounds contribute to a substantial number of infections each year, costing the livestock and farming industries ‘millions’, as hunts regularly ignore ‘biosecurity’ measures which are designed to prevent disease spreading.

“At least 4,000 hunt hounds are euthanised by hunts each year, many around 6-10 years old, often because they are too ill to keep up with the rest of the pack. Studies suggest many of these will have diseases but post mortems are rarely done.”

The hounds can spread diseases to other animals

‘Melting pot of disease’

Chris Pitt, Deputy Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: Agricultural and country shows are a long-standing tradition and a part of country life, but research shows that they are basically a melting pot of disease which is leading to disaster for farmers and animal welfare.

“You’ve got hunting hounds from different parts of the country all mixing together. If even one of those dogs is carrying disease – which is highly likely – then the risk of it passing it to other dogs or livestock is also high. The disease then gets moved around the country and livestock dies, which is both a financial and welfare cost. Local hounds are then fed the carcasses – and the cycle continues.

“Anyone taking livestock to a show must follow basic biosecurity measures to ensure that their animals do not spread, or pick up, disease. There are question marks over how successful these measures are anyway, but evidence suggests that hunts take even less care with their hounds. Given the huge impact disease has on the countryside, it’s unbelievable that so little care or thought is being given to this problem.”

Human health risk

Evidence also shows there are ‘significant risks’ of disease transmission to humans from animals (though it is lower than animal-to-animal disease transmission). This is a particular worry when it comes to children, because of their immature immune systems and poor standards of hygiene, and older people.

The lack of veterinary care received by hunting hounds, as well as their diet, and their freedom to roam move across farmland without biosecurity scrutiny, means the risks of catching diseases is higher from these animals than companion dogs.

Examples of diseases that can be spread from hunting hounds to humans include Salmonella, Toxoplasmosis, which can lead to serious problems for pregnant women, and Campylobacteriosis, a common cause of diarrhoea, fever and stomach pain, which can be carried by dogs without them showing any signs.

The study, Hunting with hounds and the spread of disease, by Professor Stephen Harris, BSc PhD DSc and Dr Jo Dorning, BSc PhD, is available online.

Falconer cleared of hunting charge because he uses golden eagle to hunt foxes

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/05/falconer-cleared-hunting-charge-uses-golden-eagle-hunt-foxes/
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt CREDIT: PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH / SWNS

Afalconer has been cleared of breaching strict hunting laws because he hunts foxes using a golden eagle.

John Mease, 45, was found not guilty after a court heard he used the bird of prey to catch animals as opposed to a pack of dogs.

He was further cleared of causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal despite “dispatching” a fox by driving a knife through its eye after it was caught by his raptor in 2013.

George Adams, 66, a co-accused Fitzwilliam huntsman, was convicted of using hounds to kill a fox on January 1 2016.

Peterborough Magistrates Court was filled with supporters of the huntand hunt saboteurs during the two-day trial.

Magistrates heard that the hunt’s hounds were used to flush the fox out into the open before the eagle was meant to be released to catch the fleeing mammal.

John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt 
John Mease, member of the Fitzwilliam Hunt  CREDIT: PETERBOROUGH TELEGRAPH / SWNS

Video footage filmed by Stephen Milton, a hunt saboteur, showed the 40-hound hunt in a field near Wansford, Cambs, and picked up the sound of a hunting horn.

Mr Milton said he did not hear anyone from the hunt calling the dogs off the fox after they picked up its scent.

The fox was killed by the pack of hounds and Mr Mease’s golden eagle was not released.

Adams, who joined the Fitzwilliam Hunt in 1981 and became a huntsman in 1984, said he had not seen the fox before it was killed.

When asked if it was his intention to kill the fox with hounds, he said: “Absolutely not. We wanted to flush it out for the bird of prey.”

Mr Mease told the court there was no chance for him to release his golden eagle because the saboteurs were in the field.

Asked why he did not radio Adams to call the hunt off, he said: “A hunt is a fluid thing. It was changing minute by minute.

“It was the heat of the moment and it was the first time I had come across saboteurs in my 11 years.”

He told the court he was in charge of the bird but had no control over the pack of hounds, which was Adams’ responsibility.

The court was also shown headcam footage from Mr Mease taken in November 2013, when he used the golden eagle to catch a fox.

He then used a falconers knife to kill the animal by driving the spike through its eye.

It took him 47 seconds to kill the fox from the moment it was caught by the eagle.

Mr Mease said: “No-one else could have done it quicker.”

He denied hunting for sport and described himself as a pest controller.

District Judge John Woollard said he had heard no evidence the hunt had made any changes to their activities – other than using the falconer – since the hunting act was introduced in 2005.

Joe Bird, prosecuting, alleged that the eagle was used as a “smokescreen” to allow the hunt to continue as it had before the law was changed.

He said: “The set up was never going to work. It was a smokescreen.

“There were so many occasions when they would not have been able to fly the eagle.”

Stephen Welford, defending both men, said: “There is video footage of Mease using his eagle to kill a fox. That would not exist if it was a smokescreen.”

Judge Woollard said it was clear Adams had no control over the hounds during the hunt.

He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge and £930 costs.

Hunt Saboteurs Association spokesperson Lee Moon said after the trial: “To anyone who witnessed the events on the day in question it was abundantly clear that a wild mammal was hunted and killed illegally, in a most gruesome manner.

“The loopholes and exemptions in the current act have always been cynically exploited by hunts in order to operate much as they would have done prior to the ban.”

Adrian Simpson, from the Countryside Alliance, said they believed the judge had made the wrong decision, and said Adams was planning to appeal.

Hunting fraternity gather to remember rider killed in fall from horse

Mr Graham, pictured in October
Mr Graham, pictured in October

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Huntsmen and women from Leicestershire and further afield gathered at the weekend to pay tribute to a 54-year-old member of the Fernie Hunt who died in a horse-riding accident last week.

William Graham, formerly of Lubenham, near Market Harborough, fell from his dark bay horse as he jumped a timber fence in fields between Saddington and Mowsley on Wednesday, January 31.

An inquest on the father-of-three’s death has been opened and adjourned.

Mr Graham, pictured in action last month
Mr Graham, pictured in action last month

On Saturday, people from the hunting fraternity gathered for a day’s hunting near Hallaton, in his memory.

Philip Cowen, joint-master of the Fernie Hunt, said: “Many people who are connected with hunting in Leicestershire and further afield came together for a special day’s hunting which was dedicated to Will.

“ There is an incredible bond which runs throughout those who are involved with the hunt, whether as riders, followers or supporters and the moving tributes on that day will last long in all our memories.

“Will was a true gentleman and we all owe him so much for a life which has been cut short far too soon.”

Mr Graham was a member of the Fernie Hunt (Image: Andrew Carpenter)

He added: “Will fell from his dark bay horse as he jumped a timber fence mid-way between Saddington and Mowsley. The horse was not injured in the fall.

“Although born in Scotland, Will had lived locally for many years. He leaves a wife, Lucy, and their nine-year-old daughter, with two older children from a previous marriage.

“Will’s tragic death whilst out hunting with the Fernie last week has stunned and shocked us all. Sadly, he died when his horse fell on top of him at a fence which has been jumped on numerous occasions previously, close to Saddington village.

“There are no words to describe such a devastating loss particularly for his family, but also a great many other people in the locality who knew him so well.

Mr Graham, pictured in October
Mr Graham, pictured in October

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to them all at such a sad time. Will was a constant source of energy, passion, enthusiasm and determination in whatever he turned his hand to – whether in his line of business, when on the sportsfield or when relaxing at home. His loss to our community is immeasurable.”

He added: “Will was an accomplished and very competent rider who has followed the Fernie hounds for about 15 years.

“He particularly enjoyed both the social side of the sport, and the excitement which can be provided in both jumping natural obstacles and watching the hounds as they use their scenting abilities to follow the lines of the trail across natural country and open farmland.”

Polly Portwin, of the Countryside Alliance said: “Will was a great supporter and representative of the Alliance and we extend our deepest sympathies to Lucy, their family and all those closest to them.”

Chris Parker, also a joint-master of the Fernie Hunt said: “Sadly Will lost his life whilst enjoying a sport that he loved, and to which he has been a huge contributor both directly and behind the scenes for many years.

“He was clearly enjoying himself on the day in question right up to the moment that this dreadful accident occurred.

“Words do not adequately convey our emotions, or the profound degree of sympathy which we all feel for his wife, daughter and their wider family.

“He will be greatly missed by all his friends in not only the hunting world, but from many other aspects of life as well. He was also a hugely successful businessman, and he particularly enjoyed skiing and sailing.”

The inquest on the Mayfair, London, based investment management company director was opened at Leicester Town Hall and was adjourned, pending reports until April 23.

Fox hunting another battleground in U.K. general election

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/07/fox-hunting-britain-election/102545374/?siteID=je6NUbpObpQ-yqNY7JW.vlpBFQPw1i8utA

, USA TODAYPublished 6:05 a.m. ET June 7, 2017

LONDON — One of the sleeper issues in the United Kingdom’s parliamentary election Thursday is the future of that most iconic British tradition: the fox hunt.

The image of red-coated riders — bugles blaring, hounds barking, steeds galloping through the lush countryside — is familiar around the world. Tally-ho! Trouble is, chasing actual foxes was banned more than a decade ago because of a campaign by animal-rights activists.

Now, traditionalists are lobbying to bring back the real thing, and they have an advocate in Prime Minister Theresa May, whose Conservative Party hopes to defeat the Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who called fox hunting a “barbarity” and vowed to keep it outlawed.

Hunting foxes with more than two dogs was banned in England and Wales in 2004 by the then-Labour government, with the measure going into effect in 2005. Hunters and their dogs instead could follow a trail of fox urine. May has pledged to hold a vote in Parliament on overturning the ban.

Animal rights groups also were infuriated when May said last month that she supports using real foxes again. “I was brought up in the countryside and yes, I do support fox hunting,” she said.

The Labour Party is urging people to sign a petition against overturning the ban.

Emily Whitfield-Wicks, 47, a photographer from Cornwall in southwestern England, where fox hunting is popular, said overturning the ban is “completely and utterly unnecessary.” She said the hunters keep their tradition alive with the hounds following a trail. She said foxes are still killed in order to get urine for the trails from their bladders.

“It’s just inhumane. They (the dogs) get to the fox and they rip it apart and that’s a horrible, horrendous way to die,” she said.

The Countryside Alliance, which promotes rural issues, said a near record 250,000 people attended last year’s Boxing Day hunts traditionally held the day after Christmas. That was despite a poll in September showing 84% of voters believe fox hunting should not become legal again.

Animal-rights advocates said more than 4,000 people marched in central London late last month, calling on May to keep fox hunting illegal, although the Countryside Alliance contests that figure.

A poll this month by market research firm Survation said half of voters were less likely to vote for a candidate who wanted a return to fox hunting, and 67% of voters believe it should remain banned.

Polly Portwin, a spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance, said foxes have no natural predators and are considered a pest in rural areas, killing lambs, chickens and other animals.

“We don’t believe it’s a good law,” she said of the Hunting Act 2004. “There are things about it that don’t make a lot of sense. For example you can chase a fox with two dogs, but you can’t chase it with three.”

She said the law allows shooting and snaring animals, methods she says are “far more cruel,” than hunting with dogs. With shooting and trapping, animals can be maimed and suffer a slow, agonizing death, Portwin said.

“Hunting has become one of the big issues in this election, and it is now clear that it is an extremely toxic one for any pro-hunt candidate,” said Eduardo Goncalves, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, a British animal welfare charity.

The politicians need to hear from us LOUD & CLEAR – we will NOT vote for more animal abuse & cruelty. RT to stand up for animals

Goncalves said the group estimates an average of 16,000 incidents of illegal hunting occur each year since the ban began. The argument that fox hunting has anything to do with animal control is “a ruse,” he said.

“The reality is that fox hunts actually capture and raise foxes so they always have foxes to chase,” he said. “Foxes are not pests as they substantially help the rural economy by predating on rabbits, which in some places may cause agricultural damage.”

The Farmers Union of Wales is also calling for an end to the hunting ban. Wyn Jones, a farmer in Wales, said 114 of his lambs have been killed by foxes over the past four years, according to the Farmer’s Guardian.

“Those who dismiss this evidence and argue against a change … demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice animal welfare and the incomes of hard-working people,” Glyn Roberts, the union’s president, said in a statement.

Hunting poll: Do you agree with May that fox hunting should be legal?

http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/hunting-poll-do-you-agree-with-may-that-fox-hunting-should-be-legal-1-5011172

PUBLISHED: 11:13 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:31 10 May 2017

Should fox hunting be legalised?

Should fox hunting be legalised?

A win for the Tories team could be bad news for foxes as the PM pledges a free vote to overturn hunting ban.

Theresa May has outraged animal lovers with a pledge to hold a free vote on overturning the ban on fox hunting.

The Prime Minister said she was in favour of the outlawed activity but MPs would be given the final say.

David Cameron had promised to put the divisive issue to Parliament but did not go ahead with the plan due to a lack of support.

During a visit to a factory in Leeds, May said: “This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against.

“As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting, and we maintain our commitment, we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote.

“It would allow Parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this.”

Should fox hunting be legalised?Should fox hunting be legalised?

Animal welfare campaigners criticised the move, pointing to a survey last year which revealed 84% of people were opposed to making fox hunting legal again.

David Bowles, head of public affairs for the RSPCA, said the Hunting Act had proved to be a useful piece of the legislative framework protecting wildlife in England and Wales.

“Fox hunting is a barbaric and brutal practice that has no place in civilised society.

“The Hunting Act was introduced to end the suffering caused to wild animals by chasing and killing them with a pack of hounds.

“Other blood sports such as dog fighting and cockfighting have been consigned to history and nobody is pushing for those to be legalised. Why should the hunting of Britain’s wild mammals be treated any differently?” he said.

League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Eduardo Goncalves said: “Britain’s voters have been waiting to hear what the next government will be doing on key issues like the NHS, education and Brexit.

“It’s a shame that Parliamentary time will be spent on trying to make fox hunting legal again.

“Are we really going to turn the clock back to a time when killing animals for fun was legal?

“I’m sure many current and future MPs of all colours feel the same way, so we hope they stand up and be counted when the time comes.”