THE HUNTING ban appears to have had little effect on the number of foxes killed, according to figures from the first week after the legislation took effect.
A total of 157 foxes were killed by 156 hunts on 206 hunting days. The figure is about the same as that of foxes caught by hounds prior to the Hunting Act coming into force on February 18th.
The Countryside Alliance acknowledged that there had been 37 accidental killings, when hounds inadvertently picked up the scent of a real fox while on a scent trail, but added that there had been no intent to do so and that all hunts had operated within the law.
Despite claims by anti-hunt protesters that filmed evidence of hunts breaking the law had been passed to police, no prosecutions for illegal hunting have been forthcoming.
About half of the country’s 270 hunts ended their season last weekend. Hunting usually continues until the end of March, but many hunt masters have decided that it is not worth retraining hounds to learn to follow artificial scents for trail hunting until the outcome of the General Election – scheduled for May this year - is known.
Conservative leader Michael Howard has pledged that a Conservative administration would reverse the hunt ban. Meanwhile, pro-hunt activists are working to defeat anti-hunt MPs in 120 targeted seats.