Barbaric ritualised bloodsport carried out until recently by a few warped arrogant fools in the United Kingdom, which has finally been made illegal (in this country at least). Here I will dismantle some of the illogical arguments that the simple-minded perverts that used to partake in this hobby continue to use to defend their "sport":

Fox hunters are a persecuted minority! Ludicrous as it may seem, some of the vermin in the Countryside Alliance try to peddle this argument. These people hunted foxes by their own volition, and have lost nothing now that their family torture outings have been banned.

The government should concentrate on bigger issues ...While your 'hobby' continued to go un-noticed? I'm sure that drug smugglers and paedophiles share this view. Legislation isn't designed only to tackle issues of a given scale - it is the duty of the government to address all issues no matter how small that are in its power to be rectified. The cost of abolishing this sick practice in perpetuity is irrelevant - it should be done.

This is just Labour playing on class divisions This is the sort of answer that the Tories give when questioned about hunting. In my view, it should be possible for members of any 'class' to recognise that torturing and killing an animal for entertainment is cruel and pointless. This argument has not even an iota of merit to it, and will not be discussed further here.

Additionally: This issue is being used for political capital! Obviously this is nonsense. The number of people who would consider fox-hunting an important enough issue to sway their vote (as in, more important than any other issue in political life today, i.e. ALF nuts) is tiny. The minority who object to the ban will always vote Tory anyway.

Banning hunting would lead to job losses This would be true, just as the banning of bear baiting, or the abolition of slavery, probably led to job losses. The last time I checked, there was no reason that someone who has worked as a farrier or dog breeder all his life cannot find work doing something else. It is not genetically predetermined that they must do that job. And I am sure that compensation could be arranged for those whose source of income was affected, if only those gutless shits could bring themselves to negotiate.

It's necessary to control fox populations If you honestly believe that natural predators factor into modern farming methods, or that the huntsmens' actions have any interest in preserving the ecology of the English countryside, you must be pretty naive.

The fox has a quick death This is both false and inconsequential. There are countless documented instances of foxes meeting their end in unbelievably cruel ways. (The fox being torn apart by dogs is just the last of a bloodthirsty sequence of events that no reasonably intelligent person would want to have anything to do with.) The entire practice of foxhunting is steeped in bloodlust (witness sickening customs such as blooding) - which is why the pathetic deviants who participate in it will not settle for drag hunting instead.

Nature's cruel - so why not allow hunting? Correct, nature is cruel. But the thing that supposedly seperates civilised man from animals in the ability to overcome our base instincts. Still, obviously some people have trouble doing this.

Banning hunting curtails people's liberties (suggested by WyldWynd) ... Again, so does banning bear-baiting, dog-fighting and cock-fighting. And having laws preventing some forms of animal cruelty (even - gasp! - in farming). However, this argument would also require the outlawing of fishing. So we have to identify differences between fox-hunting and fishing (which is the most popular sport in the UK with 2,000,000 regular participants). OK : Fishing is done for food as well as sport ; the enjoyment of fishing derives from the skill required and the long periods of relaxation involved, over the actual killing ; fishing can actually be practiced as a sport (e.g. bass fishing) and doesn't require killing (you can throw 'em back!) - comparatively, fox-hunting is skill-less and one-sided; you require a license to fish. There are more differences, but that's a start.

I think a point to be added is that fox-hunting is as much about attitude as it is about cruelty. Without contradicting the point on class above, we can observe that fox-hunting is based around killing - it glorifies killing. As quick as the hunters are to deny that they act cruelly or prolong the foxes' suffering, we cannot take their word for it that this is the case (especially with so much video evidence to the contrary). Look at the people opposing fox hunting - it's not just ALF nuts, but everyone from farmers to politicians to members of the public (both in the cities and in the countryside). It obviously crosses a line of what is considered to be acceptable behaviour in an industrialised nation.

More arguments will go here as they are found...

Hopefully, parliament will plump for a complete ban (and not Jack Straw's spineless compromise), making this all a historical curiosity. We can but hope.

(update) : The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly for a ban, however I expect they'll still find a pathetic way of wriggling out of it or dragging their feet, should a big enough cash incentive be offered.

(addendum, partially in response to tiefling): I fully agree that the only course of action against fox-hunting that should be taken is a legislative ban. "Direct action" demonstrations of this kind are harmful to the cause. Regarding the "compassion" and "social prejudice" arguments:

I'm not saying "look at the poor fox."
I'm not saying "look at those vicious toffs."

I'm saying : "Look at those vicious toffs chasing that poor fox. WHY?"