World

Fox hunting stirs up political storm, sets UK government colliding with Scottish nationalists

  • Protestors dressed as foxes demonstrate in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Protestors dressed as foxes demonstrate in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

  • A protestor dressed as foxes demonstrates in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    A protestor dressed as foxes demonstrates in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

  • Queen guitarist and committed animal campaigner Brian May, right joins protestors dressed as foxes in a demonstration in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Queen guitarist and committed animal campaigner Brian May, right joins protestors dressed as foxes in a demonstration in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 urging policymakers to keep Britain humane by keeping the Hunting Act intact. The government has called off the scheduled vote for Wednesday on fox hunting. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)  (The Associated Press)

Fox hunting is back on the agenda in Britain, and it's getting bloody.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government announced a vote to loosen a decade-old ban on the divisive blood sport — then unexpectedly called it off Tuesday when it looked set to fail.

Fox hunting has long divided Britons. Opponents consider it a cruel pastime reserved for the rich, while supporters say it is an important part of rural life.

Cameron's Conservative government had announced a vote on what it called "technical amendments" to the hunting ban in England and Wales. Opponents called it an attempt to legalize hunting by stealth.

The separatist Scottish National Party announced Monday that it would oppose the changes — even though the party had promised to vote only on issues that affect Scotland.