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Star poll attracts record response

A Shropshire Star poll which invited readers to vote on whether or not foxhunting should be banned has seen a record response.

Almost 12,000 readers lodged their opinions by phone, e-mail and via a special section on the Shropshire Star’s website – the biggest response to a poll in the paper’s history.

About 65 per cent of readers voted against a ban on foxhunting after the Star highlighted both sides of the argument.

Deputy editor Jon Simcock told Holdthefrontpage: “We produced a week-long series of articles with a double-page spread every night for six nights.

“We wanted an intelligent debate on the future of foxhunting. It started off with the views of official spokespeople from organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports and the Countryside Alliance.

“We carried it through highlighting the diversity of opinion amongst farmers and a 150-word piece from every MP on our patch. There was a youth opinion section and a full profile of the hunting economy showing where the hunts are held, the number of hounds and horses etc.

“There wasn’t any editorialising – we just put forward the different arguments and then set up the phone and e-mail polls. We expected it to go in favour of hunting with this being a rural area.

“The figures from the response were excellent; we are really chuffed about them. It is one of the few issues we are besieged about.

“We are still using readers’ letters so that everyone gets a chance to have their say.”

Internet editor Mark Waugh said: “This is probably the busiest poll we have ever had at shropshirestar.com. It has really captured everyone’s imagination.”

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