Animal welfare charity RSPCA's chief executive has called those who hunt "enemies of the animals" today, as an estimated 250,000 people are to take part on legal Boxing Day hunts across Britain. Gavin Grant told the Independent:
Those who get a kick out of it, those who consciously abuse animals for profit or for pleasure – they are the enemies of the animals, and that makes them the enemies of the RSPCA.
If the Prime Minister feels he wants to have his vote then let him have his vote. He will discover he’s going to lose and maybe that’s necessary to end this discussion about the Act.
Joe Duckworth of the League Against Cruel Sports has said they would be stepping up their campaign against hunts which broke the law, after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson appeared to rule out bringing the issue before the Commons next year.
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
We have invested £1 million in recruiting new professional investigators who are out in the field, many of them ex-police officers, and we have quadrupled the number we have out there, in the field, trying to catch these people hunting illegally.
The executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Sir Barney White-Spunner, said he believed the ban on hunting would eventually be lifted, although he accepted it was not an immediate priority for the government.
Mr White-Spunner told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We know that actually if you are going to go for some form of repeal then it would probably take another huge amount of time at a time when the Government and parliament has got other priorities.
"I think people are absolutely sensible and mature about that but I am absolutely confident the Act will be repealed. In the meantime, the country people trust the Prime Minister will deliver what he can."
Wakefield MP and Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh has said there was no public support for ending the hunting ban, following comments from a Cabinet minister who signalled that there is no imminent prospect of a vote on repealing the ban.
Ms Creagh responded to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson: "Most people back Labour's ban on hunting wild animals with dogs and accept there is no place for animal cruelty in a civilised society.
"People are worried about their incomes falling, prices rising and losing their jobs, yet this out of touch Tory-led Government wants to bring back hunting.
"After the recent high profile conviction of members of the Prime Minister's hunt, I hope that hunts will respect the law this year."