Actor Jeremy Irons is set to protest the British government's forthcoming ban on fox hunting by doing "absolutely everything I can" to try and overturn the bill.

The traditional country sport has long been criticised by animal rights protestors for the cruel killing of foxes by hounds. After repeated unsuccessful attempts by members of parliament (MPs) to pass a ban through the House Of Lords, a special Parliament Act was invoked last month (OCT04) to override the Lords and enforce an outright ban from February 2005.

After initially remaining quiet over his support for the controversial activity, Irons has vowed to become a leading figure in the pro-hunting group COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE's (CA) campaign of disobeying the new law.

The OSCAR-winner says, "I believe this is one of the most devastating parliamentary votes in the last century.

"It's an outrageous assault on civil liberties. We're not harming anyone. The whole situation is terrible depressing.

"It's difficult to know what can be done now the Bill has been passed. We'll have to see how the court cases go - that's one ray of hope. And I'll do absolutely anything to help."

Despite the CA's plan to protest the bill, a recent MORI poll claims 76 per cent of the British public said hunting with dogs should be illegal.

Fellow celebrities who are opposed to the ban include supermodel ELLE MacPHERSON, rocker Bryan Ferry and soccer player-turned-actor Vinnie Jones.

01/12/2004 13:43]