[B]POLLY HARVEY[/B] has encountered widespread opposition to her pro-hunt comments in [I]NME[/I] two weeks ago....

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POLLY HARVEY(pictured)has been criticised by the League Against Cruel Sports and scores of outraged readers after she made pro fox-hunting comments in a recent NME feature. During an interview in our October 3 issue, Harvey said she was not opposed to fox-hunting and said: "Seeing the hunt out on the fields is just so natural to me."

Since then, scores of letters have poured in from readers shocked at her support for the highly controversial 'sport'. Steve Rackett, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, blasted the singer's stance, and said: "Polly has always done her best to wave the flag for Cool Britannia, now she's carrying the standard for Cruel Britannia."

In contrast, the Countryside Alliance, who successfully campaigned to delay and defeat a private member's bill to ban fox-hunting in Parliament earlier this year, were delighted with their new supporter. Spokesman Paul Latham told NME: "Her support for hunting is obviously a good way of getting our message through to the younger people. Good girl, Polly!"

In the article, Harvey said that she accepted and supported fox-hunting as part of her West Country heritage: "I can't imagine it (hunting) not being there. I was brought up on a farm, and so many times our entire set of chickens was wiped out by a fox. If I could have physically strangled that fucking fox with my bare hands I would have done! Hunting is a way of keeping fox numbers down and there are very few foxes killed... it's not something I want to see go."

But the League Against Cruel Sports claimed her entire argument was flawed. They said: "She has managed in one sentence to show the massive contradiction in the pro fox-hunting argument. She says that hunting is a way of keeping fox numbers down, but then says that very few are killed that way! Banning blood sports will not seek to destroy a way of life. All we ask is that hunts are required to chase an artificial scent." It concluded: "We are sure NME readers and other artistes are aware of the cruelties involved and want to see fox-hunting banned as soon as possible."

Andy White, from Brighton, articulated a view expressed in dozens of letters and e-mails sent to NME. He wrote: "After reading your feature, I'm banning Polly's records from my house. I can't believe someone I thought so intelligent could support something so outdated, unnecessary and barbaric."

Meanwhile, Polly Harvey has announced she will play her first UK tour for more than three years this December to support the release of her new album 'Is This Desire?'. The dates are Glasgow Barrowlands (December 9), Manchester Academy (10), Bristol Colston Hall (11), London Shepherd's Bush Empire (13), Nottingham Rock City (15) and Dublin Olympia (17). Ring the NME 24-hour ticketline on 0870 1212 500. Calls are charged at national standard rate.

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