Britain’s May, in U-turn, won’t push for end to fox hunting ban
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday she will ditch an election pledge for a vote on reversing the fox-hunting ban following a public backlash.
“On this issue of fox hunting, what I can say is that there won’t be a vote during this parliament,” she told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“I’ve never fox hunted, but I’ve not changed my view on that,” added May, who is a supporter of the sport.
“But as prime minister my job isn’t just about what I think about something, it’s actually about looking at what the view of the country is, I think there was a clear message about that.”
The manifesto of May’s Conservative Party for last year’s general election contained a pledge to hold a free vote on overturning the 2004 law banning the use of dogs to hunt foxes and other wild mammals in England and Wales.
The opposition Labour Party focused heavily on the issue during campaigning, helping it to score a shock upset in depriving May of her majority.
The subject received extra attention on December 26, Boxing Day, when hundreds of British hunting groups met across the country on the busiest day in the hunting calendar.
Britain still allows trail hunts, which let packs follow a route rather than an animal, and drag hunting, in which hounds track artificial scents.
Critics argue that dogs still chase and kill live animals on these hunts, with organisers claiming the kills are accidental.
Hunters claim they comply with the law.
The U-turn is likely to anger parts of May’s rural base, who see the ban as an imposition of urban values on their way of life.
Ann Mallalieu, president of the Countryside Alliance — a rural life lobby group which claims to have around 100,000 supporters — wrote in the Daily Telegraph last month that some lawmakers had admitted their opposition to fox hunting was an element of “class warfare”.
But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called the sport “cruel and barbaric”.
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