THE FORMER chief of the anti- hunting League Against Cruel Sports has made a shock move the pro-hunting group Countryside Alliance.
And his first aim is to repeal the ban on fox hunting.
James Barrington, a former director of the League Against Cruel Sports, compared his animal rights colleagues to “religious fundamentalists” and said that foxes are more likely to suffer through snaring, poisoning and shooting rather than hunting.
Mr Barrington, 56, stated: “I think hunting is a positive and vitally important part of wildlife management, provided it is done within proper rules.”
Barrington, who joined the League Against Cruel Sports in 1972, and was its executive director for seven years, will now campaign to repeal the controversial Hunting Act introduced by Tony Blair in 2005.
The animal rights activist said: “Animal rights campaigners adopt a simplistic “Just don’t do it” attitude, almost like a religious fundamentalist.
“But animal welfare means you have to confront things that aren’t pleasant. In many ways the use of dogs is beneficial.
“The outcome is all or nothing, the fox either escapes or it is killed. There is no wounding or prolonged suffering. It’s not stressed in the way you or I would be.
“When it’s caught it is a violent and bloody end but it’s over pretty quickly. “
Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, welcomed Mr Barrington.
He said: “We are thrilled that James has agreed to work with us to achieve that goal. He is a remarkable man who has made a remarkable journey, and no-one could question his commitment to animal welfare.”
Mr Barrington says he is not ashamed of doing a U-turn on his opinion , and does not consider it hypocritical.