The pro-hunting lobby suffered a tactical defeat today with the publication of research demonstrating that hunting has no impact on fox numbers.
The survey, published in scientific journal Nature tomorrow, shows that the ban on fox hunting during the foot-and-mouth outbreak had no effect on the number of foxes in Britain.
This contradicts claims from lobby groups that hunting and other types of fox culling are necessary to regulate fox populations.
The survey was funded by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. It was carried out by the Mammal Society, an independent member-owned organisation which carries out research into mammal populations.