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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 15:28 GMT
Anti-hunt cards condemned
Martyn Jones and Alun Michael are among 54 MPs on the Countryside Alliance cards
Martyn Jones and Alun Michael are among 54 MPs on the cards
A Tory hunt supporter has turned his fire on a pro-hunting campaign group over a pack of cards featuring MPs.

The faces of 54 anti-hunting politicians appear on the playing cards produced by the Countryside Alliance.

AM Glyn Davies said the cards were a parody of the pack produced by the US Government to help troops identify members of the Iraqi regime sought during the war - and could damage the hunting cause.

But the Countryside Alliance has denied there are any comparisons between the two sets of cards, saying theirs was a "light-hearted set" showing politicians who have backed a ban on hunting.

"To compare 54 MPs who favour a ban on hunting with 54 Iraqi war criminals is not the way to win the hearts and minds of the British people," said Mr Davies, Welsh Conservative AM for Mid and West Wales.

"I profoundly disagree with those who want to ban hunting with dogs - but I do not think it is right to depict them in the same way as the war criminals who were led by Saddam Hussein.

Two of the cards issued to identify Iraq's most wanted
The US cards showed the ousted regime

The pack of cards features Minister of State for Rural Affairs Alun Michael - the Cardiff South and Penarth MP has a Joker card, while Labour backbencher and former actress Glenda Jackson is the Queen of Hearts

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe is pictured in the so-called Pack of Prejudice as the Queen of Clubs and Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy as the Jack of Hearts.

"The British people are fair minded and, after hearing the arguments for and against a ban on hunting, have decided that they wish to allow hunting with dogs to continue.

"The prime minister has already realised that to pursue a hunting ban could lose him the next election.

"The last thing those of us who support the continuation of hunting should so is behave unreasonably and cede the high ground to the illiberal abolitionists who have been losing the argument over recent months."

Darren Hughes, spokesman for Countryside Alliance, said it was wrong to draw parallels with the cards featuring Iraqi war criminals.

"I would disagree emphatically - no comparisons were drawn up by us," he said.

"They [the US Army] have used them as an advertising medium, and so have we.

"The idea of the cards was a light-hearted way to show the politicians who have constantly supported a ban on hunting."

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