Vinnie Jones targeted by animal rights campaigners over love of ‘cruel’ hunting

X Factor: Celebrity semi-finalist Vinnie Jones is under attack from animal rights campaigners over his love of hunting.

They are furious the ex-­footballer is on a Saturday night ­entertainment show and stunned that anti-cruelty champ Simon Cowell is calling him “a friend”.

Activists have highlighted how the sportsman-turned-actor takes part in hunting which they say is “cruel and causes suffering”.

The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star has admitted he goes ferreting to catch rabbits, has been wild boar shooting, has taken part in hare coursing and also hunts down foxes.

He claims the practice of lamping –where hunters use a high-voltage ­spotlight that reflects the eyes of ­animals and makes them easier to spot – is his “favourite”.

And he added: “If a farmer has a fox problem, I love going out and dealing with it for him.”

Activists have questioned why X Factor boss Simon – a staunch anti-cruelty campaigner who has ­donated millions to animal welfare causes – is pals with the star and got him on the show.

The TV mogul has said: “I don’t ­understand how anyone can get ­pleasure from hunting or killing animals – I totally do not understand it.”

A petition has even been mounted to get Vinnie off X Factor.

Last night Vinnie’s manager said: “He is an avid conservationist, son of a gamekeeper. His passion for the UK countryside has always been paramount.

"Vinnie is in the final stages of development on a new nature series, exploring everything from flowers to plants and animals.”

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