Parry, Lucy J. (2018). Discourses on foxhunting in the public sphere: A Q methodological study. British Politics. (ePub in advance of print) (Accessible:

Abstract: The foxhunting debate conjures up dichotomies on party politics, the rural/urban divide, class, animal welfare, animal rights and the right to hunt them. In the lead-up to the 2004 hunting ban, animals themselves became peripheral in the political debate on hunting. This paper presents a contemporary analysis of shared viewpoints on hunting that highlights the centrality of animals to debates over foxhunting. I use Q methodology to identify four discourses on hunting in public debates. Liberal progressives are against hunting on the basis that it is cruel, unnecessary and outdated. Critical-radicals oppose hunting from a structural perspective, encompassing critiques of power and class. Countryside managers support hunting as a form of wildlife management and emphasise the differences across animals. Sporting libertarians support hunting as a legitimate sport. These findings demonstrate the complexity of the hunting debate in the public sphere that is simplified and exaggerated in mainstream media and Westminster.

Lucy J Parry <> is with the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra, Australia; and the Centre for Animals and Social Justice, Sheffield, UK.