YouGov Profiles data reveals that all regions of Britain support the ban on fox hunting
David Cameron is planning to hold a vote on relaxing the 2004 Hunting Act next week, in a move to find a “middle way” between repealing the act completely – as promised in the Conservative manifesto – and preserving some current restrictions. MPs will be given a free vote on allowing hunters to use a pack of dogs to flush out foxes before shooting them, loosening the current limit of two dogs, however the hounds will still technically not be allowed to kill the fox.
YouGov research from earlier this year found that 51% of British people support the ban, while 33% are opposed. A new analysis of responses from 95,400 individuals across 12 UK regions contained within the YouGov Cube – our connected data vault of over 120,000 different data points - reveals that every region tends to support the ban, and in 11 out of 12 regions support outnumbers opposition by at least 14%.
The region with the lowest level of support is Cumbria and the England-Scotland border, a highly rural area, where support for the ban only outweighs opposition by 8%. Central Scotland, on the other hand, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, displays the strongest support for the ban (net +26).
Generally, support softens the further south a region is, with East Anglia showing the weakest southern support (net +14).
Using the YouGov Cube to analyse the people who oppose the ban, the unifying themes are unsurpringly rural. The interests they are particularly likely to have compared to the general public include ‘animals and nature’, ‘gardening’, ‘bird watching’ and ‘agriculture and farming’.
They also take a conservative view on issues, being significantly more likely to take a hard line on crime and discipline in schools, to oppose wealth taxes and limits on animal experimentation and to be in favour of Britain leaving the EU.
Tony Blair, who personally was not ideologically opposed to hunting, is suspected to have supported the ban to placate a block of MPs who had helped him get tuition fees through parliament. The success of the ban has been questionable, with illegal hunts still taking place, and the law itself leaves considerable room for hunters to get off the hook – they can claim hounds killed a fox ‘accidentally’, or because it was too unsafe to use a gun or a bird of prey the fox was flushed towards was ‘unable’ to kill the fox.