Monday, February 06, 2006

Fox Hunting voted favourite 'icon'

Fox hunting has come top of a government poll of great British institutions.

A competition run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and entitled "Icons" had set out to find "England's most cherished cultural treasures".

A government website asked the public to nominate things that reflect "a contemporary view of English culture and values - a living portrait of a country, a people and a way of life". Nominations included Stonehenge, the double decker bus, fish and chips, the English weather and the cup of tea.

The clear winner of the contest, the results of which will be announced soon, was fox hunting with 91 per cent of the vote. Officials have privately cried foul, claiming that pro-hunting groups encouraged supporters to bombard the website.

However, the site itself waxes lyrical about hunting and features a surprising definition of the sport, which was outlawed last year. Rather than describing it as banned, it says: "February 2005 saw fox hunting with dogs curtailed in England as a result of years of campaigning by animal welfare groups…"

While acknowledging opposition to the sport, the website says: "Hunting foxes with hounds has a long tradition in England… Today, there are many pubs with names such as 'The Fox and Hounds' that provide a further cultural echo."

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