LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her support for fox hunting, saying that other methods of controlling fox numbers can be “cruel.”
The prime minister told ITV that she had seen research suggesting that hunting was a less cruel way of controlling the fox population than other methods.
“I have never been fox hunting,” she told ITV’s Robert Peston.
“[But] if you look at some of the research that’s been done over time, there’s an issue about how you actually cull the fox population, because there is a necessity of keeping fox numbers down and some of the other forms of dealing with foxes can be cruel,” she said.
She added that: “fox hunting is something that you either believe in, in the sense that you support it, or you don’t [and] you really dislike it intensely.”
She confirmed that she would call a vote on scrapping the ban on fox hunting in the next parliament.
“It should be a free vote in Parliament so individual members of Parliament should be free to exercise their view, their discretion on this matter,” she said.
The prime minister said last week that she had “always been in favour” of the return of fox hunting.
“This is a situation on which individuals will have one view or the other, either pro or against,” she said on a campaign visit to Leeds.
“As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting, and we maintain our commitment, we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote.
“It would allow Parliament the opportunity to take the decision on this.”
Watch Theresa May speak about her support for fox hunting
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