Fox hunting could become key general election issue, campaigners warn | Nature | News

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Theresa May hinted that fox hunting could be reintroduced

Campaigners from all parties can expect to be quizzed about their support for blood sports in coming weeks after Theresa May hinted that a vote on bringing back fox hunting is on the cards.

Anti-blood sports Tories have warned the Prime Minister that fox hunting is a toxic issue among voters and that Brexit, the NHS, education as well as the economy should be the core debates for next month’s general election.

Today, 21 leading animal welfare charities called on all candidates to pledge to defend the Hunting Act along with other key legislation such as the Animal Welfare Act, Protection of Badgers Act, the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and the Welfare of Farmed Animals regulations.

The charities, which include the RSPCA, IFAW, League Against Cruel Sports, Humane Society International, Born Free and Brian May’s Save Me Trust, have also written to Mrs May and the leaders of the other major parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to not only defend existing laws but ratchet up the pressure on animal abusers.

They say the UK must be a “world leader on animal welfare” and are calling for the introduction of an official national database of convicted animal abusers and for cruelty sentences to be increased to a maximum of five years.

It is the first time that such a large group of charities have come together during the run up to an election to highlight animal welfare and wildlife issues which concern millions, such as puppy farming, animal cruelty, hunting and shooting, animal experimentation, habitat protection, live transportation, animal fighting and the trade in endangered species.

The charities wrote: “We are charities and campaigners who represent the many millions of people in Britain who care about the welfare of wild, domestic and farmed animals, and who support the laws that protect them.


Fox hunting is a barbaric and brutal practice

David Bowles of the RSPCA


“We are committed to ensuring that these laws are not weakened, repealed or replaced – either as a result of Brexit or by other means – but that protections are instead strengthened and extended.”

The letter goes on to tell the political leaders: “All parties should pledge meaningful action to deliver on the UK’s desired identity as a world leader in animal welfare, including delivering a complete ban on the ivory and rhino horn trade, and ensuring that the global commercial whaling ban remains in place, and – critically – ensuring that promoting higher animal welfare is an essential precondition of any existing and new UK trade deals post-Brexit.”

It concludes: “As a nation we love animals, we admire them, we care for them, and we are inspired by them. We are therefore morally and legally bound to protect them.”

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Campaigners are urging MPs defend the Hunting Act

Mrs May’s announcement on the…

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