Byline: David Powell
A NEW war of words has broken out between pro and anti-foxhunting groups.
The row erupted as Assembly Members prepare to publish a preliminary report on the consequences of a ban in Wales at an Agriculture and Rural Development Committee meeting on June 19.
Animal rights campaigners yesterday criticised hunt supporters for claiming fox numbers are increasing.
The Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports in a new report says that numbers are no higher than in previous years.
But opponents at the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Hunting argue fox numbers are rising - and that farmers agree with them.
Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports chairman Ralph Cook said: ``Hunt supporters cynically exploited the genuine, if irrational, fears of farmers about foxes as part of their campaign to save hunting from the Parliamentary axe.
``They have repeatedly alleged increases in the Welsh and UK fox population without any supporting evidence simply to serve their own selfish interests.''
The Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports' report is based on figures in foxhunting magazines in the last three months of 2001 and first three months of 2002, and recent deaths of foxes in road accidents. …