BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 7 November 2003, 08:42 GMT
Would you support a fox hunting ban?
Fox hounds
The start of the new hunting season is being marked with mass rallies across the England and Wales.

Hundreds of hunt supporters are pledging their support to a campaign of defiance against any future ban on fox hunting.

A bill to ban hunting was in effect killed off on Thursday after the House of Lords ran out of time to debate it.

But the government has hinted it might use the Parliament Act to force the legislation onto the statute books.

What do you think of hunting with dogs? Would you ignore a ban?

Should hunting with dogs be banned? Can a compromise be reached?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

Traditional hunting has been proven the most humane way to control foxes. To ban it will see the decline of the species. Wake up people, look at the facts not the emotions. This is no longer about cruelty; this issue is now about Government saving face. They would do well to stop spending time and tax payers money on a scapegoat and start spending it on real issues that affect the whole nation.

"The most humane way to kill a countryside pest?" Would that be suffering a long and painful death by having its throat, intestines etc ripped out by a pack of hungry hounds? Mmm yeah, really humane!!
Andi, UK

I support hunting and wish the government would pay as much attention to public services and law and order!
Deena Mooa,UK

I support a fox hunting ban. It is time to put an end to this barbaric ritual.
Marla Rosenberg,USA

It is absurd to put the rights of animals (if one is to accept that they have rights - a dubious case in the first place) over and above those of humans. Indeed, if one is to stress the importance of the rights of the fox, should not the importance of the rights of the fox-hounds be taken into consideration, many of whom will face being put down as a result of this proposed bill?
Sholto Moger,England

Hunting is not a way of life
Richard James Letchford,England
Hunting is not a way of life, bear baiting, badger baiting and domestic violence are now rightly outlawed, so why not this?
Richard James Letchford,England

As soon as you contrast the Government's stances on hunting and fishing, it becomes clear that the hunting ban is not driven by principle but by prejudice.
Tom Adam,UK

A fox hunt does not catch enough foxes to provide an effective service in keeping fox numbers down. This is done today by shooting and will continue whether hunting is banned or not. Hunting is the killing of an animal pursued to exhaustion for pleasure/sport pure and simple and should have been banned years ago.

I note that the pro-hunt lobby are asking for support and are willing to go to jail for breaking the law. I don't remember the countryside lobby standing up for the rights of miners and steelworkers when their jobs were on the line through the policies of the Government of the day. Do I have sympathy? Not a lot.
Robert Day,UK

Nothing makes me wish to resume hunting more than the Government intervening to ban it
N Wentworth, UK
I have not hunted for 30 years but nothing makes me wish to resume hunting more than the Government intervening to ban it.
N Wentworth, UK

This is a very unfair and unjust piece of legislation and it will only serve to make criminals out of law abiding citizens of the UK
James Selick, United kingdom

To James Selick: I am sure that many otherwise law abiding citizens were made into criminals when child abuse became illegal! Societies change, hopefully they get better. Killing animals for fun is no longer considered morally acceptable in the UK in 2003.

I don't approve of fox hunting and believe those that do should be persuaded otherwise. But I don't think there is any need for a new law and the intervention of the law enforcement agencies. The knee jerk reaction of this government to anything its party members consider to be disagreeable is to have a law against it. Today its fox hunting, tomorrow it could well be smoking in public after that who knows - having a loud voice wearing a tasteless tie. Bit by bit the ideal of individual freedom is being eroded. By the way before the anti smoking puritans seek to harangue me - I am a life long non smoker.
Alan, UK

Banning hunting would be utterly pointless. It would not save the life of a single fox. If hunting is banned, more foxes will be killed by shooting, which never guarantees a clean kill and from which foxes often escape with serious wounds. There is no justification for interfering with farmers' right to choose how they control foxes.
DJ Renney, UK

Banning hunting will have an adverse effect on the welfare of the fox. The bill is anti society/people by MPs who do not either care for or understand the countryside.
Brassey, England

Hunting causes no injury to people or property. Accordingly, legislation to prevent it must be based simply on a desire to give precedence to one moral view over another. This is precisely the sort of tyranny which democratic governments are supposed to be vigilant in opposing. For an allegedly liberal government to permit a ban on hunting, even if not actively promoting one, is an affront to civilisation.
F Rundall, UK

It's interesting that such a large number of people assert that they are prepared to defy the law in order to carry on killing animals for fun. Are we supposed to respect such people for their "moral stance" in favour of an obviously inhumane method of pest control?
Guy Chapman, UK

Hunting is the most natural effective way of controlling the fox population. It is time that the government concentrated on the real issues in this country and left the rural way of life to the countryside.
Toni McCarthy, UK

It is the most humane way of getting rid of an animal seen by all country people as pests
Lucinda D'Ambrumenil, UK
I personally do not hunt however having read a great deal on the subject it is the most humane way of getting rid of an animal seen by all country people as pests. Second to that we live in a free society and should be fighting for our liberty and say in pursuing things that we enjoy. Hunting will be first and then the rest will follow, the way it is going in years to come meat will not be eaten as the killing of the cow or sheep will be seen by some as cruel.
Lucinda D'Ambrumenil, UK

Having read a number of the posted comments, I can see that most of your contributors have not provided any alternative to hunting. Here on my farm, dumped foxes that have been live trapped in London are 'humanely relocated' are released in large numbers. Lamb and poultry killings by foxes have escalated beyond acceptable levels. The variously available means of killing foxes including hunting are being overwhelmed. I do personally know that a significant number of foxes killed by the local hunt are suffering from various injuries including mange (contagious by contact with domestic pets) shotgun wounds and traffic accidents. Hunting as well as any other means of control must continue.
Paul, Kent

I don't hunt, and find many people who do downright repellent, but I don't think it right to ban an activity undertaken by thousands on these flimsy grounds. I hate football, and believe many of its supporters to be brutish, neanderthal yobs, but no-one is talking about banning it on those grounds. Hunting may be cruel, but then, so is much of the UK's animal farming industry.
John, UK

This should have been banned long ago. It is unnecessary and it is barbaric to say the least. Of course, it is a largely middle/upper class domain and it appears that these people believe they can flout the law whenever, wherever and however they see fit. The current threats these people make such as "we will carry on regardless" just serve to highlight the utter selfish attitude inherent in people intent on pursuing and maintaining an outdated, outmoded activity that any right thinking human being would regard as callous.
Deb, Wiltshire UK

I look forward to seeing vast arrays of the blue rinse brigade slopping out
Anthony Johnston, UK
So the Countryside Alliance is promoting mass law breaking - so let them go to prison. I look forward to seeing vast arrays of the blue rinse brigade slopping out
Anthony Johnston, UK

Hunting for food is natural. Hunting for fun is barbaric. Despite what the pro-hunters like to try and make us believe there is a lot of support for the ban from country folk. My family grew up in the country and witnessed many a hunt and they have always been opposed to hunting! The sooner the unelected House of Lords stops going against the will of the majority of people in this country the better.
Martin, UK

I would much prefer to see hunting with dogs coming to an end voluntarily, but in the absence of the hunters doing the decent thing, the law should be used to impose a ban. To say, as the pro-hunting lobby do, that the present method is the kindest way of killing foxes is ridiculous. Would they allow a pet dog to be killed in this way, rather than being put down humanely? If foxes had only recently become a pest, would we really have found no other way to control their numbers other than chasing them around the countryside with a pack of dogs? The current system defies all reason, and puts 'tradition' before humane, civilized values.
Marc, UK,UK

Hunting with dogs should, without question, be banned. To call this barbaric activity a sport is insane. I have seen the cruelty of it and the arrogance of those who partake in it. If jobs are lost, so what? Jobs do not justify maintaining cruelty.
Jill Bestwick, UK

This silly, cruel and barbaric upper-class tradition has gone on long enough. The only thing that's holding up a total ban, is the power of those who partake, those in the Lords being just one example. The people have made it clear they want it banned, and so have a majority of the House of Commons. The minority do not rule in a democracy. Ban it now!
TJ, England

Animal cruelty is animal cruelty. It makes no difference how you dress it up. Should hunting be banned, of course it should. How can you reach a compromise with a group that want the right to inflict cruelty upon a wild animal.
Andrew Akerman, England

I believe that if the hunting is so vital, it should be done in a proper and civilised manner, not in the current barbaric way.
Mark H, UK

Hunting should indeed be banned. It is a cruel barbaric act that in no way should be classed as a sport. It lowers the human race down to pitiful levels and makes a mockery of us being a civilised society. If it means losing jobs so be it. Jobs were lost when the slavery trade came to a halt but it was for the good of mankind.
Tony Heald, England, UK

A fox is not a furry friendly creature. It is a cruel cunning killer. Its control has been part of our rural tradition for generations. To wilfully destroy part of our heritage on a platform of misunderstanding is heresy.
Ellie, UK

Cruelty should be the priority - not class prejudice
Kevin, N. Ireland
Any law which actively discriminates against a minority is of course wrong. This law is about class - if the pro-ban supporters were concerned about animal welfare they should focus attention on the millions of battery chickens reared in inhumane conditions - not hunters engaged in pest control of a few thousands of foxes which have a good chance of survival and return to their natural habitat. Cruelty should be the priority - not class prejudice.
Kevin, N. Ireland

I would definitely support a ban on hunting with dogs. I agree foxes can be a nuisance, but there are other ways of dealing with it. We are supposed to be living in a civilised world. Letting dogs go and pull another creature to shreds, is not civilised. It is barbaric.
Nikki, UK

I have never been involved in fox-hunting and never will. But what I fail to understand is why so much parliamentary time should be wasted when there are important issues to deal with. With exams becoming a joke, universities pushing out worthless degrees, poor healthcare, rampaging crime sprees by the drug under-culture, and so much more, why waste time on a non-issue?
Dave, UK

Will a supporter of these hunts please explain to us how they differ from Badger Baiting, Cock Fighting, Bear Baiting and other banned cruel so called sports? Since there is no difference at all, the ban should go in place and be done with it. However you paint it, it's animal cruelty.
Chris Miller, UK

The sooner the law to ban hunting is on the books the better. Labour had better do it this term or they may not get another chance should the Tories make a good showing next election. This is what the majority of people in Britain want, a total ban, so Labour will not be forgiven for not carrying out what it promised.
Gil Bolton, UK

Hunt supporters and those who oppose hunting each claim that "the majority" support their particular view. If we really do still live in a democracy, then lets put it to the vote - let "the people" decide.

If the hunts are so ineffective in controlling the 'vermin' they hunt, why are they doing it?
Elaine, UK
Having read the Governments White Paper on hunting with dogs, I was not entirely surprised to discover that a very small minority of the foxes exterminated each year are actually killed by the hunts. This poses the question, if the hunts are so ineffective in controlling the 'vermin' they hunt, why are they doing it? I can only think that perhaps the 'ladies and gentlemen' of the various hunts do actually enjoy the kill? If that is not the case, why not muzzle the dogs during a hunt. The fox might stand an even chance of surviving.
Elaine, UK

No. Hunting should not be banned in any way shape or form we should not allow the prejudices of the few prevent the course of normal life of the many.
Charlotte Atherton, UK

I don't hunt, I never will hunt, but I don't want some do-gooder banning my favourite hobbies.
There used to be pride in something called "civil liberties" in this country. People used to say "it's a free country".
Does anyone remember?
Simon Richardson, UK

Personally, I cannot see a moral argument supporting the hunters. Hunting to kill for fun, using dogs is not pest control it's sport, and an overwhelming display of human arrogance through their perception of themselves as a more important species.
Will Bugler, UK

This activity is a primitive sport dress up to look civilised. Maybe the Japanese, Norwegians should wear uniforms and hunt whales with speed boats would give it a more "civilised" look.
Carl Stephens, Germany

It should be banned. Any sport that hunts an animal until exhaustion, to face death by being torn to pieces by a merciless animal should be stopped. If there is a genuine threat from foxes, either keep livestock better protected, or find a more humane way to cull or relocate foxes. I'm ashamed to live in a society where this is tolerated. Anyone who supports these sports should be ashamed of their selfishness.
Paul, Shropshire, UK

Yes, hunting with dogs should be banned. Hunting an animal to fear and then ending its life in a cruel way is wrong in the 21st Century. Hope the rest of the UK follows the Scottish example and ends it!
Jason Powell, Scotland

The government must force this legislation through. That's why many of us voted for them. Fox hunting is vile and has no place in a civilised society. It is completely irrelevant how long an abhorrent activity has been carried out - if tradition and "we've always done it" merited anything, then we'd still have slavery. It's not pest control, it's not a countryside tradition, it is merely a despicable killing frenzy disguised as sport, under the cloak of respectability.
Patricia, UK

Should hunting with dogs be banned?
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific