Hunting foxes is not "the way of life of half the population". No more than badger baiting was. It's a pastime indulged in by a minority, some of whom live in the country, many of whom are townies.
It would have been quite possible to set the hunting issue on one side - to have organised a rally in support of fox hunting one weekend, and a demonstration about all the other problems another weekend. That could then have been joined by people in the countryside who would actually like to see hunting banned (who are a majority), together with all the rest of us who live in towns and who share the anger at has been done to the country way of life.
But that would not have suited the people who want to use countryside discontent to try and defend their pastime. Especially since, many of them have played a crucial role in bringing about the problems in the first place.