A series of full-page adverts in today's national newspapers warn that a vote for David Cameron will risk the fox hunting ban being overturned.
The £150,000 campaign has been launched by the UK animal welfare group PAL (Political Animal Lobby) and its founder, Welshman Brian Davies, in a last minute bid to sway floating voters and draw attention to Cameron’s pro-hunting stance.
Current polls predict a hung parliament with many voters still undecided. PAL believes that many floating voters could be swayed into not voting for a party whose leader thinks hunting with hounds is not cruel.
Davies said: “If anyone is undecided I implore them to not vote for a candidate whose leader lacks compassion. This election is too close to call and animal loving voters can have a real impact. Undecided voters have the power to decide the next government, so our campaign could be critical.
“There is also every possibility of a hung parliament and incoming MPs should be aware that any attempt to reintroduce hunting with dogs will be a head on battle against the vast majority of the British public.”
The advert appears in seven national newspapers (Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail, Express, Mirror, Star) and the London Evening Standard. It shows a fox with an election rosette that states ‘Help Me’.
The text reads: ‘The brutal climax of a successful hunt sees an exhausted and terrified animal savagely torn apart by a pack of hounds. Displaying a stunning lack of compassion David Cameron does not believe this is cruel. If you want a compassionate human being who shares your values as the next Prime Minister – you know which party’s candidate not to vote for tomorrow.’
“The hunting with dogs ban is an iconic piece of legislation opposing animal cruelty that must be protected,” said Davies, who has been one of the leading campaigners opposing fox hunting for more than three decades. “It must not be thrown out as a sop to some of Cameron’s richest supporters.
“We are calling on the animal loving public to vote against the risk of a return to hunting. At the same time it is a reminder to all political parties that the vast majority of the British public have consistently opposed fox hunting for decades.”
The hunting with dogs ban was introduced in 2005 after a prolonged public campaign by PAL and other NGOs including the RSPCA. At the time public opinion polls showed that more than 70 per cent of the public supported the ban.