New polling* published ahead of the biggest day of the hunting year shows that six out of ten people think the Hunting Act has been a waste of police time and eight out of ten believe animal rights activists should not be allowed take the law into their own hands.
The police have dealt with thousands of allegations since the Hunting Act came into force, but there have been just twelve attempts to prosecute hunts of which eight have failed. The latest case involved three members of the Sinnington Hunt in Yorkshire who were cleared of all charges after a three day trial earlier this month.
The poll, carried out by ORB for the Countryside Alliance, asked 2 questions:
Do you think that banning hunting and the subsequent requirement to police the ban is a good use of police resources?
Do you think that animal rights activists should be allowed to take the law into their own hands for the purpose of protecting wild animals?
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard said: "The Hunting Act has wasted thousands of hours of police time and millions of pounds of taxpayers money. Police officers have spent endless time investigating allegations made by animal rights activists when they could have been tackling real crime like burglary, knife crime and drug dealing.
"No wonder Tony Blair has now admitted that the Act is one of his greatest regrets, and the new government has called it an unnecessary drain on police resources.
"The coalition government is committed to a vote on the Hunting Act. When the law is debated and its failure and waste exposed, we are confident that the country and parliament will support the arguments for getting rid of it."
Notes - *ORB for the Countryside Alliance 10th to 12th December 2010. 1005 respondents. www.opinion.co.uk
***NB Boxing Day meets will take place on Monday 27th December ***
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