A wildlife charity is urging MPs from both sides at the House of Commons to vote against any attempt to re-introduce foxhunting.

The call by Wildlife Aid, a Leatherhead-based charity that looks after sick and orphaned animals, was prompted by Conservative-Liberal coalition proposals to give MPs the chance to vote on whether or not the ban should be kept.

Simon Cowell, Wildlife Aid founder, said: "I was very disappointed to hear that the new Government is planning to reopen this issue.

"The Hunting Act 2004 may not be perfect but at least it reduces the scale of animal cruelty and protects at least one species.

"To repeal this law, as some members of the Coalition Government seem to want, would in my view be a retrograde step.

"I cannot see why, with so many pressing economic and financial issues to deal with, some politicians want to waste Parliamentary time on an unnecessary debate about foxhunting.

"We had this debate in the early years of the previous government, and Parliament ended up passing a law against foxhunting. That was the right thing to do, and should have been the end of the matter.

"It would be appalling if, while Britain rightly condemns such bloodsports as bull-fighting, cock-fighting and bear-baiting, and when dog-fighting and hare-coursing are rightly prohibited here in the UK, our MPs vote to turn back the clock by reintroducing foxhunting to our countryside."

Mr Cowell thinks it is disappointing to see the Government trying to bring back hunting when so many of the coalition's other environmental policies are "so good and are to be warmly welcomed by all who care about nature and the environment".

He said: "Too much natural habitat has been lost in recent years and if we can halt the decline of our native wildlife species and provide better protection for them in future that will be one of the Liberal-Conservative Government's greatest achievements.

"But the reputation of the Coalition will be forever tarnished if at the same time as doing this they also bring back foxhunting."

Wildlife Aid was established 30 years ago to care for sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, and to release them back into the wild once they have been treated and rehabilitated. It became a registered charity in 1987.

In three decades the staff and volunteers at Wildlife Aid have saved the lives of more than 150,000 wild animals.

The charity's work features in the long-running international TV documentary series Wildlife SOS.