Voters back tougher fox hunting laws, poll suggests

A majority of people support strengthening laws preventing fox hunting – and would be more likely to back a candidate who wanted a stronger ban, polling suggests.

Analysis carried out for the League Against Cruel Sports suggests support for toughening up the laws against hunting foxes and other wild mammals is high in key battleground constituencies, and more than half of voters in those areas would favour a candidate proposing stronger rules.

The campaign group is calling for moves to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales, which it says contains too many loopholes and exemptions, and ban trail hunting.

In trail hunting, dogs and riders follow an animal-based scent laid through the countryside without chasing or killing an animal – but it has been described as a “smokescreen” for traditional hunting.

In Scotland, hunting with dogs was banned except in limited circumstances in 2002, and new laws to limit it were passed in 2023, including banning trail hunting.

The polling of more than 5,300 people by Find Out Now, with further analysis by Electoral Calculus, suggests that more than three quarters of people (76%) wanted to see the law changed in England and Wales to prevent animals being chased with dogs and killed.

Among rural voters, 70% wanted the law changed to prevent hunting with dogs, and 52% were more likely to back a candidate who wanted to strengthen the ban.

Some 85% of those planning to vote Labour in the General Election, 67% of Conservatives and 78% of Liberal Democrat voters backed stronger laws.

Analysis also shows across so-called blue wall seats – where the Conservatives are vulnerable to losing MPs – support for a stronger ban is estimated at 73%, and 52% are more likely to vote for a candidate who backed strengthening the law.

In the top 50 Labour target seats, support for changing the law is 75%, and the same level of support is seen in the top 50 Conservative target seats.

More than half of voters in both main parties’ top 50 target seats – 52% for Tory target constituencies and 56% in Labour ones – would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to strengthen the ban, the analysis suggests.

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.”

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