A PRO-HUNTING group has urged its members to boycott Waitrose because it is raising money for a fox charity.

An email was dispatched to Countryside Alliance (CA) members after the Thame Waitrose, picked the Little Foxes animal sanctuary at Great Haseley as a nominated charity.

The sanctuary is run by Penny Little, left, a hunt monitor and spokes-man for anti-hunting charity Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA). Last night she branded the boycott “ridiculous” and said her sanctuary was completely independent of her other interest.

In an email seen by the Oxford Mail, Adrian Charman, from the Countryside Alliance’s Bucks County Committee, called on local members to register their opposition with Waitrose owners, the John Lewis Partnership.

However, the Countryside Alliance’s head office in London last night distanced itself from the boycott, saying it “wouldn’t want to pick a fight with Waitrose”.

Little Foxes is one of three organisations chosen by Waitrose in Thame for customers to support using green tokens given to them at the checkout.

Mr Charman said: “Two of the organisations selected are admirable – the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

“But Waitrose has also selected The Little Foxes animal sanctuary.

“Charitable giving by Waitrose is to be applauded and many local organisations and neighbourhood groups benefit greatly from their generosity, but surely this time they have made a mistake.”

He added: “Perhaps a voluntary boycott of the JL Partnership by hunts and the CA membership in general is a first stage to bring the matter to their attention.

“You can also voice your opinion direct by email.”

The Countryside Alliance has run long campaigns against the 2004 Hunting Ban.

It claimed the legislation was “motivated by prejudice and spite rather than principle and evidence”.

Mrs Little said the sanctuary helped a whole range of animals.

She said: “This is absolutely ridiculous and completely disproportionate.

“I am a hunt monitor but that is entirely separate to the sanctuary, where we look after a range of injured animals.

“There is no need for the Countryside Alliance to target Waitrose when it is trying very hard to raise money for important local causes.”

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: “We would not urge people to boycott Waitrose.

“Many of our members are farmers who grow or rear produce for the store, and many of our members shop there.

“We certainly wouldn’t want to pick a fight with them.

“However, a number of our members have had disagreements with Mrs Little in the past, so there may be strong feelings on an individual basis.”

Mr Charman was unavailable for comment.