So it is just the House of Lords standing between Reynard and the hounds of death? No, actually, it is the Prime Minister: Tony Blair has decided not to give Mr Foster's Bill government time and that means, almost certainly that the bill will die, and so too will many thousands more of hunted- down foxes.
The House of Commons wants to ban foxhunting. A survey of 402 MPs published last week showed that almost three-quarters of them, including all the 11 Cabinet ministers who responded, back the Wild Mammals (Hunting with Dogs) Bill. Published today by Michael Foster, a Labour backbencher, it would make foxhunting with dogs a criminal offence. But it isn't just the MPs. The public wants to ban foxhunting. That is true even in the countryside: a Mori poll, based on a sample of 1,500 people in rural areas, found 57 per cent in favour of Mr Foster's Bill. Sixty per cent of them disagreed with the proposition that hunting with dogs is an important part of the British way of life.