Poll: Brits don't like hunting with hounds

Dec. 26, 2012 at 1:10 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Brits remain strongly opposed to fox and deer hunting with dogs and to any efforts to lift the current legal ban, a poll released Wednesday indicated.

Just over three-quarters or 76 percent of those surveyed by the Ipsos Mori poll oppose legalizing hunting foxes by running them down with a pack of hounds encouraged by hunters on horseback, The Guardian reported. Hunting deer with dogs is opposed by 81 percent and hare coursing with greyhounds by 83 percent.

The day after Christmas, known as Boxing Day in England, has long been a big day for hunting. About 45,000 people are expected to turn out this year to follow the hounds, but they will be unable to pursue foxes or other live prey.

The Countryside Alliance and registered hunts have been campaigning to lift the ban since it was imposed seven years ago, but the new poll suggests public opinion remains unchanged.

The Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire, the group Prime Minister David Cameron has ridden with, was recently fined after animal rights activists taped the hunt killing a fox.

Riding to hounds may be a British upper-class tradition but it has long had critics. Playwright Oscar Wilde, more than a century ago, described hunting as "the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible."

Ipsos polled 1,943 people. Other details of the survey methodswere not available.

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