Understanding the public debate on fox hunting

We are pleased to announce that Dr Lucy Parry, who has been carrying out academic research into animal protection funded by the CASJ, has had another paper based on those investigations published in a peer-reviewed journal, British Politics. Lucy’s research looked into the public debates on fox hunting, using a technique called ‘Q methodology’ to analyse the different viewpoints on the matter, and then comparing the quality and content of Parliamentary debates on the topic.

Lucy finds that the debate in the ‘public’ sphere – in civil society amongst the public and NGOs – has focussed significantly on the issue of animals and their ethical and political status. However, in contrast, the debate in the ‘political’ sphere – i.e. Parliament and mainstream media – has been characterised by simplistic and exaggerated positions that distort and marginalise the really important issues relevant to hunting, particularly animal protection.

Lucy’s analysis raises a number of important concerns that point to important new research paths. For example, is the relative exclusion of animal welfare from political debates about hunting symptomatic of a wider inability or unwillingness of the British state to consider animals seriously?