16 August 2002

Sheep farmers say No to ban on fox hunting

MOST sheep farmers oppose a ban on hunting, according to a Countryside Alliance survey.

Of 600 farmers who took part in the poll, 93% said they believed hunting should not be made a criminal offence. Support from producers was strongest in areas such as Wales and the north-east of England.

The research was carried out during June by the independent research group Produce Studies. Loss of livestock due to fox predation was reported on 82% of the farms which agreed to take part in the phone interview survey.

As a result, 76% said that maintaining the ability to control foxes with dogs was "very important". A further 81% said any further increase in fox numbers would have either have "some negative" or "a significant negative" impact on their businesses.

Simon Hart, director of the Alliances campaign for hunting, said: "This survey shows that hunting is valued and supported by the vast majority of UK sheep farmers. Further it shows that a ban would have a serious averse effect on the agricultural industry and would be bad for animal welfare."

The research will be incorporated into the alliances submission to the governments consultation on hunting.