Anti cruelty campaigners are urging politicians to keep the ban on fox hunting in place if they want to win votes in the upcoming General Election.
An overwhelming 84% of the British public is against fox hunting, eclipsing the number of those who voted for Brexit, says the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS).
The numbers against fox hunting are also far higher than the 36.9% who voted the Conservative Party into power in the 2015 election, along with the 30.4% who voted Labour, 12.6% UKIP and 7.9% who voted Liberal Democrat.
Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is among those questioning how voters could be told other, less popular political decisions such as Brexit were irreversible, while the fox hunting law could be overturned.
“If Brexit means Brexit, then the hunting ban should mean a hunting ban,” he said.
Just under 17.5 million people, 51.9% of those who took part in the Brexit referendum, voted to take Britain out of Europe. Just over 16 million or 48.1% voted to remain.
Nearly three quarters of those eligible to vote took part in the Brexit vote. This means 33.3 million out of a possible 46.5 million people voted.
An IPSOS-Mori Poll commissioned by LACS involved interviews with a nationally representative sample of adults aged 15 and above. The poll shows voters back the ban by a huge majority in every parliamentary constituency in the country.
Their results show too that the British public is comprehensively against lifting the ban, regardless of political allegiance and whether they live in rural or urban areas.
Almost three quarters of Conservative voters polled backed the ban and only 16% of all those polled were either ambivalent to, or supported foxhunting.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was one of several signatories to a statement published as a letter in The Guardian in May. Animal welfare charities and celebrities called on all party leaders “not only to rule out any repeal, weakening or substitution of the Hunting Act - but also to support its strengthening and enforcement.”
The letter, whose signatories included LACS President Bill Oddie OBE, RSPCA, IFAW, Save Me Trust, Queen guitarist Brian May, actor Peter Egan and TV presenter Chris Packham, also said:
“The Hunting Act is one of the most popular pieces of legislation on the statute book today. We’re asking party leaders to send a clear, unambiguous message at this election that they fully intend to preserve Britain's great natural heritage, and ensure that cruelty to animals in the name of 'sport' remains firmly in the past.”
The ban, imposed 12 years ago, is under threat as polling day looms. Following the election in June, there will be potentially enough pro-hunting MPs to overturn the legislation in England and Wales for the first time since the Hunting Act came into force. This means the law could be weakened or repealed, say anti cruelty campaigners.
Team Fox is a coalition of animal groups asking all political candidates to understand that the British public does not want a return to legal hunting, and voters want animal cruelty to be taken seriously.
The Votes for Vinny campaign allows voters to send an email to local candidates to find out what they think about LACS’ key policies. Just click here.