Prince Charles, who has reportedly threatened to leave the United Kingdom if the sport of fox hunting is banned there, is now said to have quoted remarks made to him by a Cumbria County farmer on the issue: "If we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimized or picked upon." The prince apparently said he agreed with the statement, according to The [London] Mail on Sunday. The newspaper also said that an unidentified senior politician had claimed to have heard the prince on some unspecified date threaten to emigrate if hunting were stopped.
Tony Banks, a Labor Party candidate for London mayor and a prominent animal welfare campaigner, said the reported comments are offensive to true minority groups. "If this is true--and no one knows whether it is true or not--I think quite a lot of people will find it both invidious and offensive to talk about minorities, whether they are ethnic minorities or minorities based on sexual orientation, and to compare that with a minority of people who want to carry on ripping wild animals to pieces," Banks said. Charles's comments were reported on the day that more than 400,000 farmers, gamekeepers, hunting enthusiasts, and rural residents gathered in London for a rally in support of fox hunting and their rural way of life.