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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Hunting group criticised over ad
Fox hunt
The Countryside Alliance says it will use the poster on private land
A pro-hunting group has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for a "misleading" claim in a poster.

A Countryside Alliance assertion that "59% say keep hunting" had been arrived at using "flawed methodology", the League Against Cruel Sports said.

The ASA noted the alliance reached the result by adding the figure 18%, who said hunting should continue, to 41% of those polled, who wanted regulation.

The Countryside Alliance agreed not to use the claim again.

The League Against Cruel Sports had complained about the poster saying it gave "unrealistic results".

These inaccurate claims have been plastered all over the countryside in a blatant attempt to deceive the public
Douglas Batchelor, League Against Cruel Sports

Douglas Batchelor, the group's chief executive, called the poster "a cynical attempt to show a degree of public support for fox hunting that does not exist.

He added: "These inaccurate claims have been plastered all over the countryside in a blatant attempt to deceive the public."

The poll, conducted by NOP, showed 18% of respondents agreed "hunting should be allowed to continue because it is essentially a matter of civil liberties".

A further 41% said it should be allowed "under regulation", while 36% wanted it banned "because cruelty is more important to me than civil liberties".

The ASA decided the questions were phrased in broad terms and that those who backed a regulated form of hunting "could have interpreted it in many ways and agreed with it for many different reasons".

But the Countryside Alliance refuted the decision. A spokesman called the ASA ruling "strange" and said it "meant nothing".

"The judgement is about the poster, not the poll, and it is all a matter of semantics," he said.

"The ASA only has control over paid-for advertising. We will continue to use the poster on private land."

The BBC's Tom Heap
"Many posters are likely to remain in place"

Timeline: Hunting row
21 Oct 03  |  Politics
Hunt supporters defiant over ban
02 Nov 03  |  Politics

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