April 2005 - hunting

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(*)- added since last update


30.4.05

Western Daily Press 30.4.05 PRO-HUNTING GUERRILLA ON THE SCENT OF CLASSIC SUCCESS - David Redvers is a man of many parts - bloodstock agent, manager of the biggest thoroughbred stud in Gloucestershire . . . and a pro-hunting guerrilla. Redvers and seven chums 'stormed' the chamber of the House of Commons last September… If that were not enough, Redvers, who runs the Tweenhills Stud at Hartpbury, just north of Gloucester, was also responsible for buying Penkenna Princess, one of the top fancies for the 1,000 Guineas tomor row… (story)

Mirror 30.4.05 EXCLUSIVE: DEATH THREAT TO ANTI-HUNT MUM By Jeremy Armstrong - AN anti-hunt campaigner is living in fear after receiving death threats. Mum-of-two Elaine Milbourn, 59, was warned in one of seven letters sent to her home: "Your death will come very soon." She also says vehicles have been deliberately driven at her while walking her dogs on country roads….(story)
Carlisle News & Star 20.4.05 Anti-hunt campaigner is sent death threats By Nick Griffiths - A HIGH-profile anti-hunt campaigner has received a string of death threats in letters sent to her Cumbrian home. Police are investigating who wrote a bundle of seven notes mailed to Elaine Milbourn, county spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Guardian 30.4.05 Hunt lobby in covert bid to oust Labour MPs - Transcript reveals link with group targeting 139 anti-hunting candidates - Duncan Campbell and David Hencke - Leading figures in the Countryside Alliance, the main pro-hunt organisation which declares itself to be politically nonaligned, were party to the setting up of an organisation which is seeking to "evict" anti-hunting Labour MPs. The Guardian has seen a transcript of a telephone conference call involving the head of the alliance in which the participants discuss how the new group would send thousands of canvassers into marginal seats… While the Countryside Alliance is officially non-partisan and not involved in the election, the new group called Vote-OK has identified 139 anti-hunting MPs which it is working to remove and replace with mainly pro-hunt Tories. Callers to the alliance are told that "there is no link" with Vote-OK…. (story)
Guardian 30.4.05 Hunt is on for poll scalps but rural vote has other concerns - Tories and Lib Dems battle it out mainly on local issues - Duncan Campbell - "Keep Hunting," says the sign nailed to an old oak on a Somerset farm just west of Yeovil. In the final days of the election, that is just what the candidates in the West Country's rural constituencies are doing - hunting for votes and hunting for issues in some of the most closely-fought seats in the country. The rural issue with the highest profile has been fox-hunting; Vote OK, the organisation set up by Countryside Alliance supporters, claims to have thousands of activists dedicated to removing anti-hunting MPs - mostly Labour - in 139 marginals…. As far as the local press were concerned, the election had still to ignite. Chris Rundle of the Western Daily Press said: "There is a very strong feeling that rural areas have been shunted off and marginalised. I don't think hunting will make that much difference."… (story)
Western Daily Press 30.4.05 ANTI-HUNT CAMPAIGNERS TARGET TORY MP - The League Against Cruel Sports was slammed last night after it stepped into a West constituency battle urging people not to vote for one of the candidates. Leaflets urging voters not to back Kingswood's Tory candidate Owen Inskip highlight his links to the West's biggest hunt…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 30.4.05 BIG ISSUE: RURAL LIFE IS FACING TURBULENCE - Q Why are rural issues playing a part in this election campaign? A It's mainly due to the decision to ban hunting with hounds - but it goes much wider than that. Certain rural campaigners believe that the hunting ban is merely the last straw from a Government they believe is not sympathetic to their concerns over farming and services in rural areas…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 30.4.05 WHAT WOULD BE YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IF YOU ARE ELECTED AS THE NEXT MP FOR THE CONSTITUENCY? Labour (Fiona Bentley): To extend Labour's existing support for the young and old, which has taken millions out of poverty since 1997, even further. CONSERVATIVE (Angela Browning): Work hard and stand up for the interests of my constituents in Parliament. LIBERAL (Roy Collins): Being a farmer I would like to see the profile of farmers raised. UKIP (Robert Edwards): To get the United Kingdom out of the European Union. GREEN (Colin Matthews): To create a positive increase in well-being for us as individuals as well as our planet, by setting out radical steps to tackle climate change. LIBERAL DEMOCRAT (David Nation): Adoption of my party's policies across a whole range of areas, such as council tax, more police on the streets, scrapping targets and league tables and leaving doctors and teachers to get on with the job, rather than spend valuable resources on bureaucracy…. What is your position on the fox hunting ban? LAB: As the ban was the result of a free democratic vote it should be honoured by all law-abiding citizens. CON: I have supported the right to hunt and will continue to do so. LIB: I am against the ban. Fox hunting is an effective way of culling old and ill foxes. GREEN: Fox hunting is a cruel and ineffective form of pest control. LIB DEM: I think the Government mishandled this issue and I am concerned that the new law may not improve the welfare of foxes and that the middle way (regulation of fox hunting) may have been better. UKIP: We would repeal the Hunting Act, but I would tighten some rules re the conduct of hunts…. (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 30.4.05 CONTRADICTION - Iwould like to challenge a couple of points made by That Forklift Truck Driver (Viewpoint, April 28). He states that before hunting with dogs was banned only "old, lame and sick foxes were caught…" I thought one of the main arguments for continuing hunting, was pest control. As hunt supporters class the fox as vermin, surely having a large healthy breeding population of foxes is the least desired scenario?... Julia Holliday, Hemingby Way, Horncastle (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 28.4.05 'NEW ANTI-HUNTING LAW PUTS MORE FOXES AT RISK OF DEATH' - I Feel I must reply to Pat Wick- ham's recent letters and put her right on a couple of points with regard to the number of foxes killed since the new law has been brought in. Before the Scottish brought in their version of it they were forewarned that it would sentence to death a greater number of foxes, but they still went ahead…. The reason for more foxes being killed is simple. Under normal hunting, old, lame and sick foxes were caught and killed by the hounds. Young, fit and healthy ones outwitted or outran the hounds…. Under new law hounds can still hunt, but the crucial difference is that all foxes found must be shot. Result, just about 100 per cent kills. Animal rights people knew this would happen, yet they still pressed ahead. Why? It has nothing to do with the welfare of foxes… That fork truck driver. (Name and address supplied) (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 1.4.05 SICKENING DEPTHS REACHED - That bane of creatures great and small, the Countryside Alliance, has recently shamelessly announced that 800 foxes have been killed since the hunting with dogs ban came into force on February 18…. Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor. (letter)

29.4.05

ELECTION 2005
Leicester Mercury 29.4.05 BATTLE FOR A CRUCIAL SEAT - In the latest of our series of constituency profiles, Mel Atkinson takes a close look at Loughborough… Some claim the recent ban on hunting shows that the Government is not sympathetic to rural needs. Farmer Rad Thomas, from the Quorn Hunt, said: "We in the countryside have been criminalised. They have stripped me of my birthright."… (story)
Western Morning News 29.4.05 LABOUR IN TOUCH WITH RURAL VOTERS: BRADSHAW - LINDSEY KENNEDY - .CONSERVATION and Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw yesterday insisted that the Labour Party is listening to rural voters in the Westcountry…. Mr Bradshaw said the idea that Labour was out of touch with the countryside was something the pro-hunt lobby had tried and failed to demonstrate. He said: "The pro-hunt supporters try to make this argument, but we are interested in far more than foxhunting…. It is untrue when the Countryside Alliance and Conservatives say all the countryside cares about is hunting - they don't," he said…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 29.4.05 POLITICIANS IN BADGER CULL DEBATE - Badger culling was top of the agenda during visits to the county by a Government minister and an opposition MP. James Paice, shadow secretary of state for agriculture, fisheries and food pledged to give Forest of Dean farmers a licence to cull badgers to tackle bovine tuberculosis. But Ben Bradshaw, former minister at the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), maintained culling was not the way forward…. Mr Paice also vowed to slash bureaucracy and regulations for farmers. And in response to farmers who were also keen to make sure the Conservatives will bring back hunting, he said his party would reverse the ban as soon as possible. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 29.4.05 CANDIDATES QUIZZED OVER RURAL MATTERS - The voice of rural communities was heard during a special question time event at the University of Gloucestershire. Candidates from five parties tackled a range of questions from a 120-strong audience during a debate that has not yet been heard nationally in the run-up to next week's election. Affordable housing, post offices, anti-social behaviour and tourism were among the issues considered along with farming, hunting and wind power, by the panel which was chaired by The Citizen editor Ian Mean…. (story)

Western Morning News 29.4.05 COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE'S DISAPPOINTING SLANT - MY husband and I are disappointed that the Countryside Alliance, under the guise of getting the Hunting Bill reversed, is encouraging its members and followers of hunting to campaign for selected prospective parliamentary candidates. The alliance is supposedly apolitical, but has passed the word down and apparently we now have hunts threatening that those who do not support certain prospective parliamentary candidates will not be welcome to hunt next season…. My husband and I have supported several hunts over many years, and needless to say we are very disappointed at the political slant of the alliance. Those who follow hunting are from all political parties and all walks of life. We have both worked for the Conservative Party, myself from 1950 until 1999, when we both realised we had been deceived. Margaret & Peter Fountain, Dawlish (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.4.05 HUNTING JUST NOT A MAJOR ISSUE - Both Julian Brown and Gill Purser need to get their facts right. Their claims that the vast majority of people wanted a hunting ban is a myth. The reality is that most people don't care either way - indeed in a nationwide TV poll carried out last year only two per cent of the public said it was a priority for them… Mr Brown's attack on the vet student, saying she was too young to study such a subject, presumably because she supported hunting, was typical prejudice… Ray Bird Acton Turville Gloucestershire (letter)

LACS ELECTION LETTER
Western Daily Press 29.4.05 WILD CREATURES IN NEED OF HELP - Douglas Batchelor Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Whitehaven News 28.4.05 Michael Howard, in the Conservative Party manifesto says: “A Conservative Government will therefore introduce a Bill, and offer Parliament a free vote, to overturn the Government’s ban on hunting with dogs.”… It has taken us 80 years of hard work and struggle to rescue our wildlife from the cruel and inhumane pastime of hunters. Help us ensure that we don’t hand our nation’s wildlife to them on a plate! Douglas BATCHELOR, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)

28.4.05

FemaleFirst 28.4.05 Royal News Prince William In Pro-Hunt Controversy - PRINCE WILLIAM TO HELP PRO-HUNT OFFENDER - British royal PRINCE WILLIAM is endorsing a controversial fund-raising campaign aimed at paying for the legal fees of a pal who illegally stormed the London government buildings during a pro-hunting demonstration last year (04). In September, OTIS FERRY - son of veteran singer BRYAN FERRY - was arrested by police after breaking through security at the Houses Of Parliament… (story)

PRESCOTT CORNWALL DEMO
Cornish Guardian 28.4.05 STAFF'S ANGER OVER CLEANING PRESCOTT BUS - Civilian staff at RAF St Mawgan said they worked with anger after being told on Monday to clean the election 'battle bus' of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. The 40-strong group of workers in the Motor Transport Section face an uncertain future following a Government decision to mothball the base in two years' time… When Mr Prescott arrived at Redruth's Cardew industrial estate he was given a noisy reception from a mix of Labour supporters and protesting hunt supporters. Around 40 banner-waving, whistle-blowing members of the Countryside Alliance and the Four Burrow Hunt were awaiting the bus as it drew up with Mr Prescott inside…. (story)
Cornwall Packet 28.4.05 EGGS THROWN AT PRESCOTT - EGG throwing hunt protestors carrying anti-government banners marred the visit of the deputy prime minister John Prescott to Redruth on Monday…. James Pascoe, chairman of the Four Burrow hunt, said: "The government had their own inquiry into fox hunting which did not find in favour of a hunting ban. We are not prepared to accept the law, and we won't stop the fight against it."… (story in archive)
Telegraph 26.4.05 Prescott claims credit for rebirth of inner cities By George Jones, Political Editor - John Prescott burst on to the national election stage yesterday to lay claim to an "urban renaissance" under Labour…. Mr Prescott was later jeered by hunt supporters during a visit to Cornwall. They waved banners and shouted as they surrounded his battle bus in Redruth before 20 police officers moved them on…. (story)
Western Morning News 26.4.05 MINDERS PUT DAMPER ON PRESCOTT'S SHORT FUSE - John Prescott brought his election 'battle bus' to the Westcountry yesterday - and Robert Jobson and Jason Groves attempted to join him… Despite these precautions a noisy reception awaited him from both his friend and his foes by the time his convoy came into view at Cardrew industrial estate yesterday afternoon. The foe consisted of 40 banner-waving, whistle-blowing supporters of the Countryside Alliance and the Four Burrow Hunt, whose kennels lie close to the home of Labour's defending candidate in Falmouth-Camborne, Candy Atherton, at nearby St Day…. (story)
BBC News Online 25.4.05 Hunt supporters surround Prescott - The Deputy Prime Minster was jeered and heckled by a crowd of about 50 hunt supporters on a visit to Cornwall. John Prescott was visiting Frame Homes UK at Cardrew industrial estate in Redruth along with a group of Labour campaigners on Monday afternoon. Hunt supporters, including farmers, workers and children, waved banners and shouted slogans when they surrounded his battle bus after it stopped… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Nottingham Evening Post 28.4.05 A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH - One of Labour's big hitters rolled into Ilkeston, Arnold and Mansfield yesterday. Deputy PM John Prescott came to rally the faithful and preach to the unconverted. JAMES KAY hopped aboard his battle bus… so far the bombardment has been slight - just three eggs have hit the Prescott Express ...but please don't mention the pheasants. "We've had two pheasants hit the bus. One destroyed the front bloody window. I think the Countryside Alliance have got a guarantee with them... they're suicide squads." (story)
Western Morning News 28.4.05 WMN PUTS THE BIG QUESTIONS TO LEADERS - Over the next three pages, the three main party leaders take time out from the election campaign to answer a series of questions on Westcountry issues. London Editor Jason Groves explains the thinking behind the questions that they were asked… The issue of hunting has dominated political discourse in the Westcountry for much of the last few years. The controversial ban is now in place, but we wanted to know what the party leaders could offer to those who stand to lose their jobs as a result. We also wanted to know their attitude towards other country sports…. (story)
Western Morning News 28.4.05 WE HAVEN'T NEGLECTED RURAL AREAS - BLAIR - Tony Blair today rejects charges that his Labour Government has neglected the needs of the rural Westcountry… Mr Blair claims that the number of people whose jobs will be affected by the controversial hunting ban is "very small". And he insists that there is "no threat whatsoever" to angling or the sport of shooting…. (story)
Western Morning News 28.4.05 LABOUR WILL KEEP INTEREST RATES AS LOW AS POSSIBLE … What can you offer to those whose livelihoods will be destroyed by the hunting ban? What reassurance can you give to shooters and anglers that their sports will not face further political interference? I am glad to have this chance to repeat - as I have said many times before - that there is no threat whatsoever to angling or the sport of shooting. We have a long-standing manifesto commitment not to interfere with both sports and are working with their governing bodies to promote them. As for hunting, it's already clear that most hunts have adapted and are continuing to enjoy the recreational and social side of hunting within the law…. (story)
Western Morning News 28.4.05 LIB-DEMS WILL HELP FARMERS …What can you offer to those whose livelihoods will be destroyed by the hunting ban? What reassurance can you give to shooters and anglers that their sports will not face further political interference? The effects of the hunting ban on local employment are as yet unknown, but changes in land use policy to encourage more tourism and leisure pursuits will provide more employment opportunities. The Liberal Democrats recognise fishing and shooting as traditional and legitimate countryside activities… (story)
Western Daily Press 28.4.05 WHY LABOUR WILL LOSE* - Labour is set to sweep to another landslide victory in the General Election - but the political landscape of the West could be set for a dramatic upheaval. With just a week left before voters go to the polls, Western Daily Press elections expert Dr Gordon Reece today predicts that up to 10 marginal seats could change hands… in 2001, Taunton bucked the trend when former Liberal Democrat MP Jackie Ballard, renowned for her staunch anti-hunting position, lost out to Tory candidate Adrian Flook. This time Mr Flook faces strong competition from Liberal Democrat candidate Jeremy Browne, who favours regulating hunting rather than an outright ban…. (story)
Gloucestershire Echo 28.4.05 COUNTRY ISSUES IN THE SPOTLIGHT - Rural communities were given a voice during a question time event at the University of Gloucestershire. Candidates from five parties tackled questions from a 120-strong audience… (story)
Bath Chronicle 28.4.05 STUDENTS VOTE AFTER DEBATES - Being unable to vote in this year's General Election has failed to prevent pupils from two Bath schools getting to grips with the political debate. Oldfield School in Kelston Road is holding a mock election on Thursday, May 5…. Labour candidate Hattie Ajderian was grilled by students wanting to know what her party was doing to tackle the hospital superbug MRSA, fight poverty in Africa and where she stood on fox hunting… (story)
North Devon Journal 28.4.05 CANDIDATES GO FACE TO FACE WITH THE VOTERS - The journal's first election debate of 2005 saw the prospective MPs for Torridge and West Devon come face-to-face for a grilling by voters… The question of repealing the hunting bill put forward by Cllr Tony Collins, of Northam, raised the most rumblings in the audience but the number of hands raised in relation to a motion supporting the repealing of the act received a divided response. Mr Cox told the audience: "We believe the hunting act is wrong and criminalises people who don't deserve it." Mr Walter said he favoured the 'middle way' of licensed hunting and was therefore against the ban. The ban was supported by Peter Christie who encouraged the audience to put hunting into the past as cock-fighting had been years before… (story)
The Forester 28.4.05 WE'LL LIFT HUNTING BAN - Shadow Agriculture Secretary James Paice promised to reverse the hunting ban if the Tories win the General Election. The Conservative big gun made the pledge on a visit to Bradley Court Farm in Mitcheldean on Monday…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 28.4.05 HUNT BACKERS' POLL CONFUSION - I see that the Conservatives have pledged to introduce legislation to legalise hunting with hounds if they win the General Election. I also recall that the pro-bloodsports lobby was recently telling us that Parliament should not be wasting its time discussing legislation on this matter… J B Doherty, Rivermead Road, Exeter (letter)

North Devon Journal 28.4.05 MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND BACK UKIP'S BROWNE - I was disturbed on reading the election choices we face by Frank Hind (Letters April 21) which depressingly concluded, 'better the devil we know.'… The Tories will introduce a Bill on Hunting, but only demand a 'free vote.' The Tories know full well that they will lose such a vote, as at least half of them will vote no. However, they continue, with unabashed cynicism, to mislead their county followers that they will save them and their way of life…. A.J. CHAPMAN, North Street, South Molton (letter)

27.4.05

Western Daily Press 27.4.05 CONFUSION ON HUNT LOOPHOLE - Government officials were accused of contradicting themselves over the hunting ban last night after telling hunt supporters they would not be breaking the law if they used the so-called gamekeeper's exemption…. Last week, the Western Daily Press revealed how an official from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had written to a Cotswold anti-hunt monitor agreeing hunts should not use the loophole, and it was only designed for gamekeepers. That prompted a furious response from huntsmen, who accused Defra of creating a situation where one person can legally send a terrier down a hole, while another would be breaking the law…. (story)
Western Daily Press 15.4.05 HUNT BAN LOOPHOLE IS SET TO BE CLOSED BY DEFRA - The Government has stepped in to close one of the biggest loopholes in the hunting ban, we can reveal today. Defra officials have confirmed they will be drawing up new guidelines on an exemption in the Hunting Act, which permits the use of terriers to catch foxes if it is done to protect nearby game birds… A leaked letter from Defra's Hunting Policy Unit says the exemption is intended for gamekeepers and "it is unlikely" that anyone else - for example, hunts - will be able to use it…. Jo Aldridge, spokeswoman for the Beaufort Hunt, added: "It is bizarre that you can use terriers to protect pheasants, but not to protect lambs or piglets… Josh Stratton, whose farm in Codford is used for hunting and who rears pheasants and partridges, said: "This is a bit of a fudge. My trained gamekeepers are not used to using terriers - the huntsmen are the best people to use terriers…. (story)

Guardian 27.4.05 Bring back rent-a-mob - It is the duty of the young to go to the barricades for foolish causes, but today's students would rather drink than demonstrate - Max Hastings - At a recent Oxbridge dinner, I heard a college dean remark that he had taken part in two political demonstrations lately, one against the Iraq war and the other against the ban on foxhunting. By contrast, it was some years since his students had marched further than the pub… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Western Daily Press 27.4.05 DON'T IGNORE COUNTRYSIDE - The Conservatives last night warned Labour they would pay the price for ignoring the needs of voters who live in the countryside. On a visit to Stroud Tim Yeo, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport, said issues like the hunting ban and the spread of TB would come back to haunt Tony Blair… (story)
Carmarthen Journal 27.4.05 SUZY DAVIES, CONSERVATIVE - Conservative candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is Suzy Davies…. "The hunting ban will go, and we'll stop the loitering over bovine TB," she added…. (story)

26.4.05

Western Morning News 26.4.05 IF I WERE PRIME MINISTER... A new series in which NFU regional director Anthony Gibson is the first contributor… And recognising that country people are feeling pretty alienated and demoralised at present, I would signal the start of a new relationship between government and countryside by repealing the hunting ban… (story)

Independent 26.4.05 John Mortimer: The good fight … I tell him I'd heard his wife would be voting Tory. "She did say that," he says, as though he can't really believe it. "Her great thing is foxhunting." Were either of them Labour members? "I don't think I've ever actually signed up, but Penny has." So has she resigned? "She's resigning her membership, yes."… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Western Daily Press 26.4.05 WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN THE LAST 8 YEARS, BUT WE'LL DO MORE - The Great Western train thundered round the curved track into tranquil Bath Spa Station… But the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are on it, I thought but didn't say. We boarded, my Political Editor, award-winning photographer and I, and made our way down to First Class coach H… We turn to the hunting ban. "I don't think it will affect how people vote now," said Mr Blair. "People have more or less made up their minds about the issue…. (story)
Daily Post 26.4.05 Rural stronghold for the bright gold By Tom Bodden, Daily Post - THE Lib Dems have built a party stronghold in Montgomeryshire. Lembit Opik, the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, secured virtually half the vote in the 2001 general election…. A fall in milk prices, the continued problems of bovine TB and the ban on fox hunting with dogs are all affecting rural communities. The 100-year-old David Davies Hunt, in Llandinam, near Newtown, must cope with the ban on hunting with dogs… (story)
South Wales Evening Post 26.4.05 PLAID SAYS FULL LAW-MAKING PARLIAMENT NEEDED IN WALES - BRIAN WALTERS - A Plaid Cymru-controlled Assembly with full law-making powers would legislate to scrap tuition fees, ban smoking in public places and introduce free care for the elderly…. "With only 10 days to go before the General Election, we would challenge Rhodri Morgan and Peter Hain to come clean on their proposals for devolution," said Elfyn Llwyd … He added: "With a law-making parliament we could scrap tuition fees, ban smoking in public places, introduce free care for the elderly, change the law on hunting and provide a proper framework for housing - particularly affordable housing…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 26.4.05 TACTICAL VOTE COULD HOLD THE KEY TO RURAL RESULT - The rural constituency of Tiverton and Honiton is once again an electoral battleground between those wearing blue rosettes and their yellow-clad counterparts…. Conservative candidate Angela Browning, who is seeking re-election as the seat's MP, is defending a hefty majority of more than 6,000… She has been a fierce opponent of the fox hunting ban, maintaining it is an infringement of civil liberties…. (story)
Mid Devon Gazette 26.4.05 CONSTITUENCY IN THE MARGINAL MELTING POT - Voters in the Dulverton area can have more impact on the shape of the House of Commons than many people in the UK. The Taunton constituency, of which Dulverton is a part, is among the five most marginal seats in the country, with Conservative Adrian Flook holding just a 0.4 per cent majority - 235 votes - over the Liberal Democrats…. The issue of hunting is even more likely to divide the constituency this time around, with people in the hunting heartland of Exmoor more likely to support the Conservative candidate than in the more traditionally Liberal Democrat Taunton area. But the fortunes of the Liberal Democrats in the area have been poor in other recent elections, with the party losing eight seats on Taunton Deane Borough Council in 2003… (story)

25.4.05

BBC News Online 25.4.05 Farmer fears high costs after ban - A livestock farmer from Kent fears his business could suffer because of the recent ban on hunting with dogs. Roy Glover, 63, from Hartley, near Longfield, pays his local hunt a fee to dispose of any animals which die on his farm, which are then fed to the hounds. However, he said if the hunt is forced to disband because of the ban, he will be faced with a much higher charge from the government's Fallen Stock Scheme…. (story)

Western Daily Press 25.4.05 HUNT BAN SLUMP ON EXMOOR - The hunt ban and fears over the future of shooting sports are already hitting the West's economy, the Western Daily Press can reveal today. Field sports groups and rural campaigners have long feared that a ban on hunting could have a dramatic impact on the region's businesses and tourist industry. Now, in what appears to be the first signs of a much-feared downturn, estate agents say that an unprecedented number of pubs, hotels and restaurants on Exmoor are for sale…. A spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance said the findings of the Exmoor estate agents confirmed some of their worst fears… (story)

Western Daily Press 25.4.05 SHOW HAS SOME CHEEK - Cheeky hunt supporters have written to a West Labour politician who was ambushed in an egg attack last month - to ask if he will pay for the rosettes at their horse show, it emerged yesterday. The secretary of the Mendip Farmers Hunt event asked Wansdyke MP Dan Norris if he would stump up £50 for the show in July…. (story)

ELECTION 2005
Guardian 25.4.05 Parties on tour: how local media rated them - Owen Gibson, media correspondent - The attempt by the three main parties to bypass national media and get their message across through the local media instead is attracting a sceptical response…. Mike Lowe, editor, Bristol Evening Post…. We've had a bit of fun with the Conservative candidate for Kingswood, Owen Inskip. Mr Inskip is a field master with the Beaufort Hunt but didn't mention it in his newsletter or website. So we did it for him…. (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 25.4.05 BURTON, HIGH PEAK, BOLSOVER, NE DERBYS, NW LEICS, CHESTERFIELD AND BROXTOWE - The General Election on May 5 is more than a week away and those of us who are not already too sick of the relentless campaigning to care will soon have to decide where to place our crosses… High Peak's attractive countryside and proximity to Manchester and Sheffield makes it a popular commuter area and thus natural Conservative territory… The opposition to Labour's stance on hunting will no doubt be a factor for voters…. (story)
South Wales Evening Post 25.4.05 COHERENT VISION OF THE FUTURE - The Countryside Alliance has applauded Plaid Cymru's manifesto for providing a coherent vision for the future of rural Wales. Alliance regional director Adrian Simpson said: "Plaid Cymru's acknowledgement that farmers are guardians of the countryside and its vision of rural-urban interdependence is of fundamental importance to a sustainable future for the countryside in Wales."… (story)

Western Daily Press 25.4.05 WHAT HAPPENED TO ROUGH STUFF? - Where have all the protesters gone? The Countryside Alliance, the fox hunters? The Grey Army? Fuel blockaders? Anti-war brigade? The BNP party? Are they all under house arrest?... G Haddock Trowbridge Wiltshire (letter)

Western Morning News 25.4.05 Constitutional reform - THE mixture of arrogance and incompetence shown by the Government in its hamfisted attempts at constitutional reform should be enough to ensure its removal from office in May, even if its record had been spotless on all other counts, which it has not been…. We all know much of last year's parliamentary time was devoted to "the far more important" issue of banning hunting, but now that is a fait accompli why not continue Parliament to deal with the constitution?... J Ward-Hayne, Modbury (letter)

Basingstoke Gazette 25.4.05 Clarification of hunting issue - I was astounded by the recent letter from Paul Connolly regarding the Hackwood point-to-point. I am a keen supporter of point-to-points and attended the Hackwood event on Easter Monday with friends. All point-to-point horses are obliged to go hunting on a statutory number of occasions… The event is entirely organised, run and funded by volunteers from the local hunt… If hunting were to finally cave in, Mr Connolly will never have the choice of attending that kind of event ever again…. -Henry Bankes, Saffron Walden, Essex.
It would be hard for anyone who attends point-to-points to be unaware of the fact that they are run by hunts…. I feel that Mr Connolly's desire to avoid being told of the unpalatable truth about the way the hunting community has been treated flies in the face of all that is fair…. -Cathy Fleming, address withheld (letters may be in archive)
Basingstoke Gazette 5.4.05 `Rant' spoiled event's fun - For many years, my family and I have enjoyed an outing to the Easter Monday point-to-point meeting at Hackwood Park…. This year I was deeply appalled at the degree to which some people in authority at the meeting appear to have crudely politicised what has always been a splendid family social event. The proliferation of banners with political slogans was offensive enough but spectators were subjected to several minutes of what I consider to be vile party-political demagogic rant in the worst possible tradition over the public address system…. -Paul Connolly, Yew Tree Close, Oakley. (letter in archive)

24.4.05

ELECTION 2005
Sunday Telegraph 24.4.05 British land reforms? Meet the 'Mugabe of the Midlands' - Labour's class warrior has moved on to grander visions since stirring up the hunting debate, but he went to ground rather than talk to Tony Freinberg. Even in a general election campaign marked - and marred - by secrecy and paranoia across the country, Peter Bradley stands out…. Local Conservatives have staged a number of noisy protests against the incumbent. Arriving at a surgery meeting in Shifnal library, Mr Bradley found the area ringed by pro-hunting demonstrators. Many of the same people appeared outside Mr Bradley's campaign headquarters on Thursday to demonstrate against the potential relocation of the local paediatric ward from the Princess Royal Hospital in The Wrekin to Shrewsbury, a 20-mile drive away… (story)

23.4.05

EUROPEANS JOIN CHALLENGE TO HUNTING ACT
Telegraph 23.4.05 Horse dealer challenges Hunt Bill By Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor - A new front opened yesterday in the legal challenge to the Government's hunting ban when a group led by an Irish horse breeder claimed that the Hunting Act 2005 breached European Union law on free movement of goods. The challenge is separate to the claim lodged by the Countryside Alliance that the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales is a breach of European human rights law, although a judge ruled yesterday that both cases should be heard together in early July…. (story)
Western Daily Press 23.4.05 COURT FIGHT TO OVERTURN BAN - Hunt supporters from across Europe are to launch a new bid to overturn the legal ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales. A senior judge yesterday indicated they should be allowed to link up with UK pro-hunt campaigners in a joint High Court battle to begin on July 4….. (story)
Scotsman 22.4.05 European Hunt Supporters Launching Legal Bid Against Ban By John Aston, PA - Hunt supporters from across Europe are to launch a new bid to overturn the legal ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales. A senior judge indicated today they should be allowed to link up with UK pro-hunt campaigners in a joint High Court battle to begin on July 4. The two groups aim to catch the Government in a crossfire of EU law and domestic human rights challenges… Horse dealers and breeders from Ireland who are suffering heavy financial losses are in the European campaign against the ban…. (story)

ELECTION 2005
Telegraph 23.4.05 Boris and Stanley - the double act that is laughing all the way to Westminster By Andrew Gimson - Campaign sketch - The squash match yesterday afternoon at Newton Abbot in Devon between Stanley Johnson and his son Boris was the most eagerly awaited sporting event of the election campaign so far… At the age of 64, he has returned to politics because he is furious about the hunting ban. He is a lifelong environmentalist and campaigner for animal welfare, and regards it as disastrous on both counts…. (story)
Western Daily Press 23.4.05 HUNT SUPPORTERS' BID TO WIN SEATS FOR TORIES - Thousands of hunt supporters are campaigning to get vulnerable Tories re-elected, as well as trying to depose anti-hunt Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, the Western Daily Press can reveal. And the pro-hunt election drive is also ignoring anti-hunt MPs with large majorities, directing supporters in those constituencies to move to seats where the Conservatives are more likely to win. Despite campaign group VoteOK pledging not to announce their target seats, the Daily Press can today reveal its battle plan…. One West Labour MP, who declined to be named, said: "It is concerning, and there's something not quite right about bussing in hundreds of people from miles away just because of something as peripheral as hunting."… (story)
Western Daily Press 23.4.05 PARTIES QUIET ON THE COUNTRYSIDE - The three main parties were last night saying little about hunting, shooting and fishing in the General Election - even though the issues arouse huge passions. Labour's attempts to ban hunting with dogs caused one of the biggest political controversies since the party won its first landslide in 1997…. Meanwhile animal rights campaigners want the hunt ban to be followed by similar action on shooting and angling, measures strongly opposed by many rural people. Yet the manifestos of the main parties say little about countryside sports, despite the intense interest in the subject throughout the West. In fact, the only mention of any of them is in the Conservative document…. The Countryside Alliance sent a detailed questionnaire to all three parties. The answers, from Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, Tory spokesman Tim Yeo and Mr George have been published by the alliance and give further insight into their attitudes (story)
Scunthorpe Telegraph 23.4.05 HOW DID YOUR MP VOTE? - The crucial votes taken by North Lincolnshire MPs in the last Parliament are revealed by the Telegraph today… However, the biggest issue in the last months of the previous Labour Government, which quite literally rocked Parliament when the chamber was invaded by hunt supporters in September, was that of foxhunting. Again, the Labour MPs turned out to support the Government. Edward Leigh voted against the ban in a long-running battle, which was eventually won by the Government and led to a foxhunting ban being introduced in February. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 23.4.05 HUNTING BAN IS HELPING TO TEACH US VALUABLE LESSON - In response to Janet Measham's letter concerning the fox-hunting ban. I would like to reaffirm the truth recognised in the statement "that she is probably talking out the top of her head."… After living most of my life in the country, I decided to move to the town, because I could no longer tolerate the "sheer bloody carnage" that is carried out on a daily basis against wildlife… The hunting ban is leading the way and giving people the opportunity to treat animals with more respect and in doing so we are learning the most valuable lesson, straight from the heart - compassion! ALISON WILLIAMS Vernon Road Kirkby in Ashfield a target=main href="http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=134433&command=displayContent&sourceNode=134095&contentPK=12283066">(letter)

22.4.05

Cumberland News 22.4.05 Hunting ban ‘is killing my lambs’ - A CUMBRIAN farmer says he is worried he will lose more stock to foxes because of the ban on hunting with dogs. Jim Webster, Country Landowners and Business Association president, made the claim after losing one of his lambs earlier this week… “If anyone thought that a ban on hunting would prevent cruelty, I would ask them to visit my farm, and I will be happy to show them the real evidence.” (story)

Western Daily Press 22.4.05 LONG MEMORIES IN THE COUNTRY - Peter Hain is right to say that Labour must target marginals in the West to get an election victory. Unfortunately for him, votes in these, and rural seats across the country have been attacked by Labour policies for years…. To cap it all I remember the look of triumphant disdain on Peter Hain's face when he proclaimed a ban on fox hunting…. Ron Tanner Tetbury Gloucestershire (letter)

Hexham Courant 22.4.05 FALLEN STOCKF - I READ a report by Will Green, on the fallen stock schemes, devised by the Euro Commission, and demanding that all dead animals must be collected from agreed points on farms, throughout Europe, for disposal by whatever means thought appropriate… I wish to stand firmly behind Malcolm and his plea. It is nonsense to allow carcasses of animals to remain on farms awaiting collection, possibly in a putrifying state over summer, inviting the attention of inevitable, disease spreading predators, and exacerbated by the regretable absence of prompt collections, by our erstwhile local, reciprocal, huntsmen and their hounds…. BILL RICHARDSON, Rothbury (letter)

21.4.05

JOHN PRESCOTT IN STAFFORD
Staffordshire Newsletter 21.4.05 Prezza protest - By Jo Mason - PRO-HUNT protesters hurling abuse did not take the smile away from the face of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as he stepped off his battle bus in Stafford. Around 30 Countryside Alliance demonstrators - including one with a loudhailer - tried in vain to outdo the cries from the town’s Labour contingent who had gathered to meet the controversial politician… (story)
The Sentinel 15.4.05 BOOS AND CHEERS AS PRESCOTT HITS TOWN - Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was greeted with a chorus of boos from countryside campaigners on a visit to a Staffordshire police station. Mr Prescott had been visiting Stafford Local Policing Unit to meet the town's new police community support officers yesterday afternoon as part of a pre-election tour around the West Midlands. More than 30 Countryside Alliance protesters turned up outside the station - including one campaigner carrying a megaphone - to greet him…. (story)

The Comet 21.4.05 How a fox might see the chase - AUTHOR Joe Hartwell, who has just published his first book, hit on an unusual way to explore his conviction that hunting is wrong. Joe, who is 45 and lives in Poplar Close, Hitchin, has told the story of a hunt from the fox's point of view. Hunted Down, on sale in local bookshops, started life as a short story but grew into a novel complete with illustrations by wildlife artist Lorraine Sadler… (story)

Derby Evening Telegraph 21.4.05 IS MG RUNNING ON EMPTY? - When the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation announced last week it was pulling out of a deal to buy MG Rover, the death knell sounded for the Longbridge-based car plant… . Robin Johnson went to meet two members of the Derby and District branch of the MG Owners' Club to talk about its legacy… "I had a similar experience," said Don. "I was driving along a country lane near my home and the Meynell Hunt came through, hounds and all. "One of the riders in red came down the lane and pulled up alongside. "'Nice car,' he said. 'Nice horse,' I replied!"… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Cornish Guardian 21.4.05 COLLEGE VISIT FOR TOP TORY - Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Owen Patterson, visited South East Cornwall on Monday afternoon. He was joined by the party's parliamentary candidate for South East Cornwall, Ashley Gray, for a visit to Duchy College in Stoke Climsland, where questions were taken from students and staff. Mr Gray said: "We had a superb question and answer session with many agricultural students, of all ages, and staff taking part. We had a full session, lasting more than an hour, covering a variety of issues ranging from affordable housing in rural areas to the hunting ban…. (story)
Western Morning News 21.4.05 STOP FUDGING RURAL ISSUES - 'Leadership has to come from those who understand the rural way of life and rural business'… On some issues - such as Iraq, for example - we have, whether or not you agree with it, had strong leadership. On rural issues, however, we have had exactly the opposite. On hunting we had a series of fudges while the Government hoped the issue would go away. A consultation process was then set up, which was abandoned, and we ended up with the leadership on the issue being taken up by the back benches…. Let us hope that our prospective parliamentary candidates can provide answers to some of these questions as they try to secure our votes - and that, once elected, they remember the promises they made… (story)
Bristol Evening Post 21.4.05 ELECTION HOPEFUL DID NOT REVEAL HIS ROLE IN HUNT - Kingswood's Conservative candidate Owen Inskip has been criticised for failing to mention his interest in hunting in an election leaflet. In February, pro-hunting and shooting supporters launched a campaign to rob two anti-hunting MPs in the Bristol area of their seats at the General Election. Members of the Beaufort, Vale of White Horse and Old Berkshire hunts are targeting the Kingswood and Northavon constituencies to punish Labour's Roger Berry and Steve Webb for voting to ban hunting with hounds. Mr Inskip is one of six Beaufort Hunt fieldmasters but there is no mention of this in the four-page Kingswood Matters newspaper being delivered to homes in the constituency…. Labour's sitting MP Roger Berry has said it was "disgraceful" for Mr Inskip to keep quiet about his views on hunting and his position in the hunt…. (story)
Southern Daily Echo 21.4.05 Soames fires salvo against fox-hunting ban - SHADOW defence secretary Nicholas Soames fired a salvo at the ban on fox-hunting during a visit to the New Forest. Mr Soames said a future Tory government would create parliamentary time for a Private Member's Bill that would reverse the "mean-spirited" ban on hunting with hounds. He spoke out during a question-and-answer session with students at Totton College…. (story may be in archive)

CHERIE BLAIR DEMO
Worcester Standard 21.4.05 Cherie gives Royal the thumbs up - CHERIE Blair smiled and laughed with Worcestershire Royal Hospital staff as the Labour Party stepped up its campaign to retain the Worcester seat with another high profile visit this week…. She was greeted by the sight of about ten pro-hunt campaigners from the Worcestershire Hunt, some of whom booed as she walked into the children's department and shouted "shame"…. (story)
Worcester Evening News 19.4.05 Blairs out in force for hospital visits - CHERIE Blair praised Worcester nurses' hard work tackling the spread of potentially deadly infections like MRSA. Her comments came during an election campaign visit to the city's Worcestershire Royal Hospital yesterday… A dozen pro-hunting and Conservative protesters forced Mrs Blair to cancel a planned trip to the Royal's crèche…. (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 21.4.05 ANTICS OF PRO-HUNT HARRIET WERE STUPID - I read with horror the article regarding the veterinary student Harriet Sluman who threw an egg at John Prescott's battle bus…. The advocating of torturing wild animals for fun is incompatible with veterinary medicine…. She has the absolute right to protest against any law which she feels to be wrong, but protest should be carried out lawfully and in a dignified manner. Stupid antics, such as eggthrowing, or the tactics promised by the anarchistic Felix the Fox thugs, should simply not take place and, if they do occur, offenders should feel the full force of the law… Julian Brown Nailsworth Stroud (letter)

Leicester Mercury 21.4.05 ATTITUDES LEFT ME SHELL-SHOCKED - Regarding the student vet's idiotic throwing of the egg, doesn't she realise she could blind someone with shattered egg shell (The yolk's on Harriet! Mercury, April 18)? How she can approve of hunting and study to be a vet, I don't understand…. Mrs M G Cook, Leicester (letter)

Western Gazette 21.4.05 STAGGERING HYPOCRISY - I Would like to thank Ian Jenkins, the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Yeovil, for reminding voters (Western Gazette 7 April) that David Laws did indeed vote to outlaw the cruelty of hunting a wild animal with a pack of dogs…. Hunting with hounds has no place in a civilised country, it belongs in the past. Please make sure that it stays there. Vote for the anti-hunt candidate who has the best chance of winning. Do not let hunting back through the ballot box. Helen Weeks, West Coker Hill, West Coker (letter)

Tivyside Advertiser 21.4.05 Keep dogs on leads by M Newton, Crymych - In view of the ban on the use of natural predators to control pest species in the countryside, it might be as well if those who live close to, or walk their dogs in the open countryside were aware of the "other methods" that may now be used…. I do not hunt, but I have lived all my life in the countryside and have seen the results of these "other methods" and they are far less humane than hunting…. (letter in archive)

Somerset Guardian 21.4.05 COME CLEAN ON HUNTING VIEWS - For as long as he has been our MP in Wansdyke, Dan Norris has been at the forefront of the hunting debate. He has taken more than a few hits from aggressive prohunt people for his troubles. In this context it's not just a surprise that his Conservative and Liberal Democrat opponents have not made their views on hunting known - it's extraordinary…. I nonetheless assume the Tory candidate is a prohunter and therefore prepared to lose a significant number of votes in Wansdyke where the vast majority object to this outdated and uncivilised activity. ZOE PAPADOPOULOS, Ashgrove, Peasedown St John (letter)

North Devon Journal 21.4.05 HUNTING ACT IS A FARCE - What a farce the Hunting Act is. My dogs can hunt accidently. I can let my dogs hunt as long as no one is using them to. I can intend them to hunt as long as no one is using them to… The only thing I can't do is use a dog to hunt. Of course I won't do this but no amount of videos or surveillance gear could prove it if I did. You've got to see the funny side of it. GILES BRADSHAW, Whippenscott, Rose Ash. (letter)

North Devon Journal 21.4.05 ONLY ONE PARTY BACKS FOLK IN THE COUNTRYSIDE - The Countryside Lobby faces a simple choice at the General Election, it appears. A Conservative Government returned would see time for a Countryside Management and Cruelty Bill to be presented and for facts, not emotion, to be debated in relation to all aspects of the hunting issue… Consequently, if you support respect in the countryside and countryside ways, the Conservative option is the only one which can bring back some respect for you, your views and your pursuits. PHILIP MILTON, Joy Street, Barnstaple. (letter)

20.4.05

BBC News Online 20.4.05 Police praise for hunt behaviour - Hunt supporters and opponents in the South West have been praised for their reaction to the ban on hunting…. Assistant Chief Constable Richard Stowe said: "I'm very pleased and would like to congratulate both sides on the way they have behaved." He said everyone had acted responsibly and sensibly…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 20.4.05 WILY FOX'S CATCH OF THE DAY - A booming rabbit population in the centre of Lincoln has attracted three foxes which are now living in the area. Security guards at the University of Lincoln now regularly spot the wily trio prowling the grounds in search of prey…. Adrian Whitehead, a member of the Blankney Hunt, said that the city-dwelling fox population suffered because there wasn't the same level of natural selection which occurred in the wild. "A rural fox, especially in an area that was hunted, would normally be quite fit and healthy with a nice glossy coat," he said…. (story)

ELECTION 2005
Reuters 20.4.05 Rural Britons take hunt ban anger to the ballot box - Jeremy Lovell - Reuters - WROXETER (Reuters) - Rural Britons are in revolt and mounting a determined but almost certainly doomed bid to stop Tony Blair's Labour party winning an unprecedented third term in elections next month…. "The ban typified everything that is wrong with this government. It is an unnecessary and cowardly attack on a minority," said Patrick Webster, chairman of the 170-year-old Albrighton Hunt in the northwestern county of Shropshire… Galvanised by the hunt ban, a body calling itself Vote-OK is targeting more than 130 marginal Labour constituencies to support opposition pro-rural candidate… (story)
Times 20.4.05 Doorstep Damian, the reporter at your beck and call - Winning over Leo Blair Sr is a tall order for Tory hopeful BY DAMIAN WHITEWORTH - POLITICIANS. They’ll try anything. In Shrewsbury I witnessed a young Tory candidate trying to persuade Tony Blair’s father to vote for him… The Tory in question is Daniel Kawczynski, 33. At 6ft 8½in, he claims that if he is elected he will be the tallest MP the House has ever seen…. Mr Kawczynski believes that there will be a strong reaction against Labour over the hunting ban. “I don’t hunt but I am very supportive of the hunts. The part the issue will play in the campaign is to motivate a lot of Conservatives who did not vote last time.”… (story)
Times 20.4.05 A tower block and a wind farm: two hideous monuments to Blairism - SIMON JENKINS - John Prescott is like a Hull tycoon depositing his industrial dirt on the workers’ gardens… Mr Blair’s legacy to rural Britain is no less totemic. His banning of hunting will forever be a black-letter day in most country calendars, but is at least reversible. In its place the uplands of Britain are being industrialised. Already some 1,200 wind turbines are up and running…. (story)

Western Daily Press 20.4.05 SCANDAL OF CROOKS DUMPING DEAD ANIMALS IN WEST'S BEAUTIFUL FIELDS - Concerns were yesterday raised over the number of animal carcasses being illegally dumped on private land across the West. Farming experts fear that law changes are tempting the desperate and unscrupulous to dispose of remains by fly-tipping, landing innocent landowners with hefty collection bills…. Anthony Gibson, regional director of the NFU, told the Western Daily Press there had been a 'slight increase' in the dumping of animal remains since November's rule changes…. Many hunts are still performing their traditional role of taking dead animals, he said, but this is also facing a great deal of uncer tainty…. (story)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 20.4.05 Unloved dogs - Even more distressing than Look North weatherman Paul Hudson's jacket was an item on the way the now-criminalised bloodsports types are simply chucking their dogs out on to the street…. Sid Brown, Glenhurst Road, Shipley (letter in archive)

Sunderland Echo 20.4.05 Townies putting their oar in - I WONDER if Kathleen Surtees (Echo, March 17), who explained how the Hunting with Dogs bill allegedly became an issue which pitted working man against aristocracy, really understands the full issue of debate which has been raging. Or is this just another example of "townies" putting their oar into something they know very little about? We must not underestimate the importance of the issue – thousands of people owe their livelihoods and their way of life to the industry… MJ Thompson, Deptford, Sunderland (letter)

19.4.05

ELECTION 2005
Coventry Evening Telegraph 19.4.05 Bill speaks out after poster hoax - A spoof poster has angered Bill Olner, who is Nuneaton parliamentary seat for Labour. The "to let" sign on his office is in fact a dig at his support for anti-hunting laws. Mr Olner said: "It won't shake my resolve in the views I have about fox hunting…" (story)
Times 19.4.05 Take that, you (foxhound) bitch - I've just arrived by plane and battle bus at Okehampton Hospital in the Devon West and Torridge constituency… On arrival Charles Kennedy was met by the usual Lib Dem faithful, but also by a determined Tory counter-demo of a similar size. This is one of the seats where pro-hunt supporters have been helping Tory candidates - one of the Conservative demonstrators had with him a three-year old foxhound bitch with a blue rosette on its collar…. Posted by Greg Hurst Guardian 19.4.05 Remapping the borders - Jonathan Freedland - Tony Blair, borrowing from his late mentor Roy Jenkins, used to say the last century was the Conservative century: the Tories ruled for 70 of those 100 years. The 21st would, by contrast, belong to progressives…. In Wales, the picture hardly looks brighter. Those close up anticipate just one Tory gain - David Davies, a livewire with extravagantly rightwing views on social issues, to take Monmouth off Labour. Foxhunting has emerged as a lead issue there, with hunt followers rallying to Davies's flag…. (story)

Western Mail 19.4.05 Toll of lambs killed by foxes - What a sad view Mike Hobday, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports, must have of the Welsh countryside (Letters, April 6), particularly from within the confines of his office desk in south-east London. Clearly, he has no rural knowledge and what spark there is has been marred by his own prejudice. Mr Hobday states that a Welsh Assembly report concluded, "That lamb losses to foxes were only 3%." No report exists, neither was its draft discussion document concluded or finally published, as the rural affairs committee was unable to come to any conclusions. He knows this to be the case… FRANK ISSACS, Howard Street, Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taff (letter)
Western Mail 6.4.05 Hunt drags on - There has been a flurry of letters on hunting in the Western Mail recently, which despite making for entertaining reading, are misleading. Let's make this clear: Foxes are not a threat to lambs and sheep in Wales. They are scavengers and it has been proven that deliberately dumping sheep carcasses encouraged fox populations - giving hunters plenty of animals to chase…. MIKE HOBDAY, Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports (letter)

Western Morning News 19.4.05 LET'S GIVE TONY BLAIR A SHOCK - Blair and his government, frightened of and financially "in hock" to the animal rights lobby, have treated country people as fair game, giving hours of precious Parliamentary time to the "farcical Hunting Act" (WMN, January 31), while kicking a Health Care Hygiene Act into touch until next winter…. Aux armes mes citoyens. Give Blair a shock. Dr Christopher Maycock, Crediton (letter)

Western Morning News 19.4.05 Cruelty to animals - WE are, of course, all horrified about the story of the boys caught throwing stones at the duck and her eggs. I have to say, though, how can we be surprised? These young thugs are a product of a society which is desperately fighting a government ban to dress up and have a fun afternoon chasing a fox to death…. Paul Nelson, Croydon (letter)

Western Morning News 19.4.05 WHAT A TRAGIC GOVERNMENT - Is this the craziest Government that we have ever had? Our Government spent days debating whether it is legal to smack (not beat) a disobedient child…. Hunting with dogs is banned, but it is still legal, on religious grounds, to kill cattle and sheep without them first being humanely stunned… Paul Gluyas, Stithians, Truro (letter)

News Shopper 19.4.05 To the point - ALL SET FOR MEETING: With the Hunting Bill recently coming into force there has never been a better time for finding the truth about foxes and whether they interact with badgers or not. The West Kent Badger Group is hosting a talk by Trevor Williams from The Fox Project charity on Saturday at Platt Village Hall, starting at 8pm…. ALEX HILLS, Media Liaison Officer, West Kent Badger Group (letter)

South Wales Evening Post 19.4.05 ONE ERROR - SIX NEW FACTS - In reply to Adrian Simpson (Have Your Say, March 28), who claims that my letter was totally devoid of facts, I will agree with him on one point. I was incorrect in suggesting that 100,000 dogs are shot every year… I have just checked with the League Against Cruel Sports website and it claims there that, currently, 3,000 hounds are shot every year…. I see dogs as pets and companions - the hunts-people obviously see a foxhound as a commodity that is to be disposed of quickly if it shows no interest in the kill or if it gets too old to keep up with the rest of the pack…. George Barwick, Woodcote, Killay, Swansea (letter)
South Wales Evening Post 6.4.05 FOX-HUNTING IS OUTDATED - Adrian Simpson (Have Your Say, March 28) claims that my earlier letter was "totally devoid of facts". I was incorrect in suggesting that 100,000 dogs are shot every year. That was a typographical error on my part - it should have been 10,000. I have just checked with the League Against Cruel Sports website and it claims that 3,000 hounds are shot every year…. It surely exposes the pathetic insincerity of the Countryside Alliance's "concern" for all those poor hounds that will have to be put down if the new legislation is successful in putting an end to hunting with dogs…. The whole business of fox-hunting is sad, sadistic and grotesquely outdated. George Barwick, Woodcote, Killay, Swansea. (letter)
South Wales Evening Post 28.3.05 WORKING TO REPEAL ACT - George Barwick (Have Your Say, March 7 ) is long on propaganda and misinformation and totally devoid of facts…. If Mr Barwick had spoken to farmers about drag-hunting he would realise that few of them in Wales would tolerate it because if it is of no purpose, it doesn't control foxes or provide a vital fallen stock collection service…. Mr Barwick's fantasy that 100,000 hounds are shot every year is ludicrous! There are only 25,000 hounds in the country and this gross misinformation is indicative of just how lacking in fact Mr Barwick's letter is… Adrian Simpson, Director for Wales for the Countryside Alliance, Napier House, Spilman Street, Carmarthen (letter)
South Wales Evening Post 10.3.05 MOTIVE IS CLASS HATRED - George Barwick urges us to believe that hunting is so obviously cruel that it barely deserves comment….The question should be: "Why make a criminal of someone who carries out an activity which causes no harm whatever to your fellow citizens?" The answer to that question is, of course, the mad idea that hunting is the preserve of the idle rich. It is not and never was, but Labour MPs have admitted that their motive was class hatred… Clive Rees, Alexandra Road, Swansea (letter)
South Wales Evening Post 7.3.05 NOT CRUEL? COME ON! - Some of your readers probably feel the fox hunting issue has been comprehensively covered so that there is little left to be said. However, as the pro-hunting mob is so determined to fight the law that bans hunting with hounds, the debate is going to continue, for some time…. The claim that hunting isn't cruel is so ludicrous that it barely deserves comment. Does any intelligent person believe that chasing a fox until it is exhausted to be then torn apart by the hounds, is not cruel? George Barwick, Woodcote, Killay (letter)

18.4.05

Western Morning News 18.4.05 BAD WEATHER FAILS TO DAMPEN CANINE SPIRITS - Strong winds, fog and relentless rain could not keep the dogs down at the Companion, Terrier And Lurcher Dog Show, held yesterday. The event is run by the Stoke Hill Beagles who, despite the recent ban on hunting with dogs, have managed to maintain the social side of their group…. (story)

Western Morning News 18.4.05 OFF-ROAD DRIVERS ARE FACING FARMLAND BAN - PETER HARRISON - Farmers were warned yesterday that they could lose out on vital income from allowing their land to be used by off-road drivers and riders… The rules laid out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs allow certain activities to take place on farmers' land. Those considered acceptable and thus allowed to continue without restriction include walking, bird spotting, fishing, game shooting, deer stalking and drag hunting. But in a report entitled Guidance Issued On Non-Agricultural Land Use, all motorsports are described as being: "inconsistent with land being considered as remaining in agricultural use". Rules disqualify land managers from being entitled to the single payment subsidy…. (story)

ELECTION 2005
Western Morning News 18.4.05 HUNT SUPPORTERS IN CHASE FOR VOTES - Conservative candidates across the country are welcoming the backing of hunt supporters, who say they will do all they can to get the ban on hunting with dogs overturned. Rebecca Short talks to those involved… The website for Vote-OK, the organisation set up by Charles and Chipps Mann, is aiming to co-ordinate help for candidates who have taken an interest in the hunting debate… Tamsin Banks, of the Four Burrow Hunt, near Redruth, said people were signing up in droves to help…. George Bowyer, master of the Fitzwilliam in Cambridgeshire, said he had no problem getting people involved, with about 80 regularly helping in three constituencies… Geoff Peters, joint master of the Cotswold Vale Farmers, has told his supporters: "If you can find time to hunt, you can find time to campaign. If you can't make the effort to help get rid of this unjust law you will not be welcome to hunt next season."… Another group, Fight The Ban, has emerged as a new enemy to the Government over the ban… Spearheaded by a logo featuring a silhouette of Felix, a fox in hunting gear, it features the logo "Felix Says - Keep Hunting" and details of the campaign's website, www.FightTheBan.com (story)

PRESCOTT'S BUS EGGED
Harborough & Lutterworth Mail 18.4.05 Pro-hunt rider throws egg at Deputy PM - A 20-YEAR-OLD veterinary student from Weston by Welland was arrested on Wednesday (Apr 13) for throwing an egg at Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Harriet Sluman, a passionate fox hunting supporter who hunts with the Woodland Pytchley, disrupted the Labour election campaign in Northants yesterday afternoon… (story)
Western Daily Press 15.4.05 AN £80 FINE FOR THROWING ONE EGG AT JOHN PRESCOTT? IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY! - It may have cost just a few pence to buy, but yesterday the Bristol University student who threw an egg at John Prescott's battle bus was hit with an £80 fine. Harriet Sluman was arrested and held for more than an hour after sending yolk splashing across the Deputy Prime Minister's election vehicle. But last night she remained defiant, saying: "I don't regret a thing."… (story)
Telegraph 15.4.05 Hunt girl hurled egg at 'goading' Prescott - By Nick Britten - When John Prescott began "baiting and goading" a group of 70 hunt supporters from the comfort of his election battle bus, it was more than 20-year-old Harriet Sluman could stand…. "I had gone along to support my local hunt, the Woodland Pytchley hunt, and to protest about university top-up fees. Obviously Tony Blair and John Prescott ignored us as they came in but, while they were there, we made our voices heard…." (story)
Daily Mail 14.4.05 Two Jags up to his old tricks again by DAVID WILKES, Daily Mail - When protesters descend on the campaign trail, John Prescott is always eager to enter the fray. But last night the Deputy Prime Minister was being blamed in some quarters for revelling in the battle a little too much. A 20-year-old veterinary student was arrested and held for more than an hour for throwing an egg as Mr Prescott crowed from the comfort of his election battle bus. Harriet Sluman was among a group of 70 demonstrators kept behind barriers a hundred yards from where Mr Prescott was visiting Labour supporters with Tony Blair. She was handcuffed and led away in tears after throwing an egg at Mr Prescott's bus… (story)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 14.4.05 - POLICE have fined two protesters who were arrested following egg-throwing incidents during Prime Minister Tony Blair's whistlestop visit to Northamptonshire. An 18-year-old man from Holcot and a 20-year-old woman from Weston-by-Welland, near Corby, were both charged under section five of the Public Order Act and issued with £80 fixed penalty fines by Northamptonshire Police. They were arrested during yesterday's visit by Mr Blair and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, to a Labour election rally at the Pemberton Centre in Rushden…. (story)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 14.4.05 Two arrested as PM rolls into town - A TIGHTLY controlled team of Labour supporters shepherded Tony Blair into his Northamptonshire appearance, making sure the Premier was seen next to a crowd of cheering New Labour fans on the country's television screens. But the tight controls did not stop problems outside the building where two hunt supporters were arrested for throwing eggs at John Prescott's battle bus…. (story)
Western Daily Press 14.4.05 STUDENT ARRESTED FOR THROWING EGG AT PRESCOTT'S BUS - West student and pro-hunt protester Harriet Sluman was arrested yesterday after throwing an egg at the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's battle bus. The 20-year-old Bristol student, who was campaigning against top-up fees and the hunting ban, was apprehended by officers and pushed against a wall… Protester Martin Garner said: "He was laughing as it drove. He always does this to us, he is a very provocative man and he does not understand our cause."… (story)
Leicester Mercury 14.4.05 PROTESTER HURLS EGG AT PRESCOTT'S BUS - A student vet protesting against Government policy was fined for hurling an egg at John Prescott's battle bus. Police handed 20-year-old Harriet Sluman an £80 penalty for throwing the egg as the deputy Prime Minister left a campaign rally…. Miss Sluman is a follower of the Woodland Pytchley hunt and said her fine would not stop her protesting in future…. (story)
BBC News Online 13.4.05 Hitting back By Mark Mardell - Chief political correspondent - As Tony Blair and John Prescott left Rushton, they were greeted by boos and jibes from hunt protesters. The Deputy Prime Minister, travelling in his silver bus, returned the compliment by calling out on the loudspeaker: "What nice people. Right to roam, right to roam." An egg was thrown at Mr Prescott's bus and the police made one arrest…. (story)
BBC News Online 13.4.05 Missing issues By Mark Simpson - Hunt supporters have finally tracked down Tony Blair. A noisy group of around 70 protesters greeted the PM as he arrived in Rushden, Northamptonshire, for a campaign event… (story)
BBC News Online 13.4.05 Pair fined for rally egg-throwing - Two people arrested after eggs were thrown at John Prescott's battle bus in Northants have been fined and released. An egg hit Mr Prescott's vehicle as he left a party rally in Rushden after a speech by Tony Blair on Wednesday… (story)

Western Daily Press 18.4.05 TALLY HO! AGAIN, BUT WHISPER IT! - So Charles Mann, fox hunter, and Tory MP James Gray, fox hunter, are spurring on an "army" of campaigning fox hunt supporters in an effort to oust Labour MPs… what stirring battle cry do we hear from the leaders? "Go undercover and never mention hunting"? What sort of person would support a cause deemed to be so frowned upon by society that it must be hidden with such furtive deception?... Gill Purser Cheltenham Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 18.4.05 TRUST POLICE TO BE FAIR ON HUNTS - P Richardson does not appear to have a high opinion of the police if he feels they are incapable of being impartial in upholding the law. As police resources are finite, of course they have to prioritise their work: put another way, if P Richardson is the victim of a robbery or violent assault, would he not think this should take priority over an infringement of the Hunting Act? Most people I know would…. Lionel Hutt Keynsham Somerset (letter)

17.4.05

Sunday Telegraph 17.4.05 'The Tories would walk it with a different leader' By Melissa Kite - Gordon Brown is a snake, Oliver Letwin a reindeer and Charles Clarke an elephant. Those were some of the kinder opinions expressed by members of The Telegraph focus group as they weighed up the intensifying election campaign with more than a hint of irony and derision… Julie Myrtle, 38, a car-rental sales woman, who voted Tory last time, said: "I'm more likely to vote Conservative than I was last week. Quite a lot of my friends are hunting people and they are saying, 'You have got to vote Conservative.' "… (story)

Scotland on Sunday 17.4.05 Unacceptable face of country sport - THE revelation that animal cruelty in the form of hare-coursing has ‘returned’ to the Old Course at St Andrews (News, April 3) is probably no revelation at all. The horrific picture of a greyhound inches from a clearly terrified hare, running at full tilt across a field, which accompanied the article, will no doubt have caused many readers to wince. The sad fact is that wildlife crime of one sort or another persists in the countryside and will never stop while there are human beasts out there with cruelty ingrained in their nature, ready to engage in such activities…. (story)

Sunday Telegraph 17.4.05 - The RSPCA itself says that culling grey squirrels through shooting "increases the chances of wounding without killing". Hunting foxes, mink and hares with hounds, which kills instantly, is wrong but shooting the above is acceptable. Where is the RSPCA's logic? David Nixon, Stoke-on-Trent (letter)

16.4.05

Guardian 16.4.05 Hunting with dogs has been banned for two months - but the chase goes on and no one has been prosecuted - Owen Bowcott … The two monitors, Graham Floyd and Ed Shephard, were standing on a grass verge alongside a public road scanning the fields beneath Exmoor with video cameras and binoculars. The sounds of a hunting horn and dogs baying drifted up from the valley below…. Ill-tempered hunt followers charging around on quad bikes may not fit the stereotype of a venerable rural pastime but the meeting held by the Tiverton Staghounds on Wednesday otherwise appeared almost unaffected by the ban…. The impact of the ban is hard to discern. Only one hunt, the Royal Artillery, which uses Ministry of Defence land, has transformed itself into a drag hunt. Police in Tiverton are investigating a complaint against the neighbouring Quantock Staghounds after the League Against Cruel Sports handed in a video showing six dogs chasing a deer… (story)

Mirror 16.4.05 R.I.P ROVER - Fury and tears as Rover closes after 101 years By Clinton Manning … Ray, 67, from Harborne, Birmingham, said: "A great British institution has today died. It's heart-wrenching to see so many people who now don't have as job here. If the Government had spent the same amount of time on this as they had debating foxhunting then this great British symbol might still be here."… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Western Daily Press 16.4.05 HUNTS TOLD TO TOE THE TORY PAR TY LINE - Hunt supporters in the West are being "press ganged" into helping the Tories at the election, with the threat that if they don't they won't be welcome at hunts next season, it was revealed yesterday. Hunt masters in the region are telling their supporters to get involved with the Vote OK organisation - and if they refuse they could be ostracised from the hunts in September…. Now the joint-master of one West hunt, the Cotswold Vale Farmers (CVF), said that if they wanted to hunt later this year, hunt members had no choice but to join the campaign…. That was seized upon by anti-hunt groups as evidence of "yet more intolerance". A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said: "The League is proud to be an all-party organisation, and we welcome people from all political parties…." (story)
Western Daily Press 16.4.05 BACKING FOR POLL CHIEF - A Leading Conservative has defended his decision to appoint a prominent hunt master as his electoral agent. The agent promoting Tory shadow rural affairs spokesman James Gray, who is hoping to retain his North Wiltshire seat, is Major Jonathon Seed, master of the Avon Vale hunt, near Chippenham…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 16.4.05 IN POWER, WE'LL ACT ON THE ISSUES THAT REALLY MATTER - In our final interview with the three main party leaders, political correspondent Mel Atkinson questions Conservative Michael Howard… QWould a future Conservative government reintroduce fox hunting? If so, why? AThe Hunting Act will have an enormous economic and social impact on the countryside and rural livelihoods. The Conservative government will introduce a Bill to repeal the ban. There will be a free vote…. (story)
Western Morning News 16.4.05 TORY FOCUS FALLS ON FARMING AND RURAL LIFE - The culling of badgers in areas where bovine TB was rife could begin within days of a Conservative Government being elected, the party's shadow secretary of state for agriculture and rural affairs revealed yesterday. Shadow agriculture minister James Paice made his pledge at an organic farm in the North Devon countryside which has lost just over 50 animals from its milking herd to bovine TB…. Earlier in the day, Mr Paice was with Stanley Johnson, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Teignbridge, to meet farmers, pony keepers and conservationists on Widecombe moor. Mr Johnson, who arrived on horseback, said: "It is wonderful to be here today - especially on horseback riding from place to place. Rural life is under threat and if we can keep a viable agriculture we will have done a service to the inhabitants of Dartmoor as well as the country as a whole. The other parties have no understanding - they have smashed hunting - it is a class driven war; they don't realise they have struck a terrible blow…" (story)

Western Daily Press 16.4.05 HYPOCRISY OF THE HUNT SUPPORTERS - I must say that I found the letter from Mr B Pullen (Your Say, February 22) regarding the alleged hypocrisy by Chris Rundle most interesting, yet unsurprising. Why is it that the hunting fanatics believe that the debate over hunting has to be polarised to extremes?... It's also interesting that the antihunt campaigners have always been clear about the reason for a ban - cruelty - whereas the hunters constantly alter their arguments… Name and address supplied. (letter)

South Wales Evening Post 16.4.05 KEEP HUNT BAN IN FORCE - I Urge all those who wish to keep the hunting ban in force, to vote and support candidates who have consistently supported a ban. Conservative leader Michael Howard has pledged that a Tory government would publish a bill repealing the ban within one month of taking office… Diane Lewis, Cwmavon, Port Talbot (letter)

15.4.05

Cambridge Evening News 15.4.05 Country debate for footy ace Vinnie - FORMER football hardman Vinnie Jones is set to oversee an evening of countryside debate. Vinnie, now Hertfordshire Agricultural Society president, will be on hand to open this year's Food and Farming Question Time…. The event will be hosted at the Herts County Showground in Redbourn on Friday, May 27…. To register for the event please contact the show office on (01582) 792626 or email info@hertsshow.com (story)

Western Daily Press 15.4.05 VIDEO TO HELP POLICE - Police chiefs and anti-hunt groups have teamed up to produce a training video for officers to help them spot illegal hunting, it was revealed yesterday. The 30-minute film was produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the League Against Cruel Sports and is being distributed to forces across the West…. Nigel Yeo, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "I think it complements the materials that have already been issued to police officers working on enforcing the Hunting Act… (story)

ELECTION 2005
South London Press 15.4.05 Winners last time face battle at the ballot box -THE seven politicians who represented constituents in Croydon, Sutton, Tandridge and Epsom until Parliament was dissolved last week will be battling it out on May 5. This is what they have been up to over the past four years: CROYDON NORTH: Malcolm Wicks… He has been a vehement supporter of government legislation to outlaw hunting with dogs… (story)
Western Daily Press 15.4.05 FELIX PROTEST TRIES TO OUTFOX GOVERNMENT - Campaigners behind the mystery "Felix the Fox" character said last night an army of protesters is planning civil disobedience "the likes of which has never been seen before". The web-based campaign has already caused a stir in the hunting community, after its largescale launch at last month's Cheltenham Festival. But speaking exclusively to the Western Daily Press, Felix warned the PrimeMinister that hunt supporters were beingmobilised for "the widespread civil disobedience Tony Blair fears… Penny Little, from Protect Our Wild Animals, said those behind the Felix campaign were "thugs"… (story)
Western Daily Press 15.4.05 TORY LEADER'S NOT ON TOP OF HIS GAME AT THE LINE-OUT - Red-faced Conservative leader Michael Howard yesterday chanced his arm at rugby during a fly-by visit to the West - but found himself too far to the right… Asked whether the hunting ban would be a key issue in the Forest of Dean, Mr Howard acknowledged the strength of feeling in the area…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 15.4.05 TORY LEADER PUTS HIS SHIRT ON POLL SUCCESS - He May be good at playing political ball games, but yesterday when Tory leader Michael Howard visited Hartpury College Sports Academy his rugby skills showed room for improvement… A group of pro-hunt protesters and others from Unison had gathered at the college, but did not have the opportunity to talk to the politician…. (story)
Telegraph 15.4.05 Anti-hunt MPs are quarry for campaign group By Charles Clover - Focus on Monmouth - Drivers tooted and waved as they crossed the bridge over the Usk yesterday and saw the tall frame of David Davies, the Conservative candidate, and the blue election billboard being erected by members of Monmouthshire hunt. The speed with which Tory posters have sprouted along major roads - in the absence of Labour or Liberal Democrat publicity - is evidence of a new alliance between pro-hunting campaigners and candidates who may unseat an anti-hunting Labour MP…. Vote OK, run from an outbuilding on the Oxfordshire farm of Charles Mann, a veteran of the countryside marches, offers support to candidates who want the law banning hunting changed…. (story)
Times 15.4.05 A tale of two elections: out of sight or out of your mind BY MARY ANN SIEGHART AND SIMON BARNES - The three main parties are focusing on only a quarter of seats in this election. Even in these marginals they are mainly concerned about voters identified as potential ‘switchers’: the rest of us are less likely than ever to receive so much as a leaflet. Two Times writers describe life on opposite sides of the divide … Greg Hands, the Conservative candidate, wants to help me so much that you would think he was standing for the local council, not for Westminster… Recently a bunch of hunt supporters was bused in to deliver 30,000 leaflets on behalf of Mr Hands… (story)

Shropshire Star 15.4.05 Hunt ban not about welfare - In response to the letter "New Act is important for the welfare of animals": 1) Fox numbers may fall if there is a fall in food, but what makes you think there will be? The country is overrun with rabbits, but a decrease would mean more lambs and chickens eaten…. To see the true face of hunting go to a hunt with an open mind. Except it is now too late to do this legally. Craig Bryant, Clive (letter)

14.4.05

BBC News Online 14.4.05 Dead fox stunts 'rise' after ban - More dead foxes are being strung up in public since the hunting ban came into force, according to anti-blood sports campaigners. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) claims there has been a recent spate of what it calls "sick stunts" - such as foxes hung or dumped in popular areas, apparently for the public to find them. The Countryside Alliance, which backed fox hunting before the ban, says it does not condone such acts and said there was no evidence of who was behind them… (story)

Horse & Hound 14.4.05 Hunting hits the ski slopes - Hunting enthusiasts have been raising awareness of their cause across the ski slopes of France, to the delight of the local community - Three scarlet-clad skiers caught the eye of a Horse & Hound reader on the slopes of La Plagne, France recently. The intrepid trio were Daemon Edwards, joint-master of the Vine and Craven; Duncan Cinnamon, who will hunt the pack's hounds next season; and Jack Bucknell, a former joint-master of the Garth and South Berks. “When Jack asked us to bring our scarlets, I was a bit dubious — especially as I don't ski very well,” said Edwards (pictured on left with Duncan Cinnamon), still fragile after sustaining broken ribs in a fracas with saboteurs. “But we put on our hunting clothes, had a meet at a pub, and got a superb reception all day.”… (story)

Clitheroe Advertiser & Times 14.4.05 Warm welcome from school youngsters - LANCASHIRE County Council's Cabinet Member for Education gave a rendition of "The White Cliffs of Dover" to pupils at Pendle Primary School on Friday. Lancashire County Coun. Alan Whittaker was invited to the school along with leader of the Council Nora Ward following the warm welcome received by pupils who visited the council's debating chamber in February…. Councillors also joined in with the pupils' debate on foxhunting, the result of which was a very close vote in favour of a ban on foxhunting…. (story)

ELECTION 2005
Gloucester Citizen 14.4.05 'MISTAKE' BY THE HUNT SUPPORTERS - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael said pro-hunt campaigners had made a mistake thinking they were "above the law". Visiting Sharpness Docks and the Stroud constituency yesterday with Labour candidate David Drew, Mr Michael - who has been targeted by hunt supporters - said the ban on hunting with dogs had been a success. "I think it's very significant that we have not seen the hunting fraternity and the Countryside Alliance since the election was called," he said from the docks, a short distance away from the home of the Berkeley Hunt…. Mr Michael, who later knocked on doors with Mr Drew - who also voted for the ban on hunting - said that many hunts had adapted to life without "the need for an animal to be killed"… (story)
Western Morning News 14.4.05 LABOUR 'SNUBS' RURAL AREAS - Tony Blair was accused of "abandoning the countryside" last night after the Labour manifesto failed to offer any new ideas to tackle the problems faced by rural communities…. Stanley Johnson, Conservative candidate for Teignbridge, said the failure to address issues such as bovine TB represented a "dreadful dereliction of responsibility" by the Labour Party…. "We have already seen that the only topic in the countryside that Labour was interested in was hunting. Now that they have banned that - and I can still hardly believe that a government deliberately set out to destroy people's livelihoods - they have nothing to say…" The Labour manifesto confirms existing government commitments to do more to tackle the affordable housing crisis in the countryside and to do more to promote local food in schools and hospitals. But it has nothing to say on the rebuilding of communities like Exmoor, which have been hit hard by the hunting ban. The 2001 pledge not to place restrictions on angling and shooting has been quietly dropped… (story)

Crewe Guardian 14.4.05 Doomed victims death isn't sport - MAY I please, through your columns, say that, having seen a few seconds of hare coursing on BBC TV News recently, I cannot comprehend how anyone can support this barbarous activity…. Ray Stafford, Lea Avenue, Crewe (letter in archive)

Streatham Guardian 14.4.05 The urban blood sport - I read with horror about the cowardly attack on Dulwich man Andrew Greenwood on the 176 bus in Camberwell… I find it strange that our Government can spend virtually two entire parliaments on fox hunting and yet is unable to deal with this new inner-city blood sport…. RALPH ATKINSON Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for UKIP Dulwich & West Norwood (letter)

IFAW LETTER
The Shields Gazette 14.4.05 HUNTING ACT 'SUCCESS' FOR LAW - Josey Sharrad, Campaigns Officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare (UK). (letter)
Shropshire Star 8.4.05 800 foxes killed is victory for Act - Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare (UK), London (letter)
Worcester Evening News 5.4.05 Hunting law is working - JOSEY SHARRAD, Campaigns Officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare (UK).(letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 5.4.05 THE HUNTING ACT IS NOW WORKING - Josey Sharrad Campaigns Officer International Fund for Animal Welfare (UK) London (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 2.4.05 FOX-HUNTING ACT IS WORKING PROPERLY - Recently the Countryside Alliance has announced that 800 foxes have been killed by hunts within the law since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force in February. This is being hailed as a victory for hunting but instead is a victory for the law… this means that they have been killed by shooting rather than having been subjected to the cruelty of being chased and then torn apart by a pack of dogs…. It's abundantly clear that the act is working. Josey Sharrad, campaigns officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare (UK), 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD (letter)

Western Daily Press 14.4.05 COMPASSION FOR GOD'S CREATURES - Following the letter from DC Allen regarding God's view on hunting. Of course it isn't mentioned in the Bible, neither are any of the other atrocities committed against animals because when the Bible was written these atrocities were unknown… Marlene Thompson Address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 14.4.05 BLAIR CANNOT PUT THINGS RIGHT HERE - I am extremely worried about our Prime Minister's apparent thirst for warmongering and killing. Since this Government has been in office, our nation has been involved in five different wars…. In between all this, there were eight million animals slaughtered in 2000 due to foot-and-mouth disease. Again this was due to the Government's inability to cope with the problem. We now have thousands of horses and foxhounds to be killed due to the ban on fox hunting. This law was brought in to appease the backbenchers who were against the war in Iraq…. L H Lippiatt Address supplied (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 14.4.05 PRIORITY FOR MICHAEL HOWARD - Prospective voters may be interested to know that the Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard MP, has stated that revoking the ban on hunting with dogs is a priority for him… With a large majority in the House of Lords who would support such a move, hunting could be legal again by the summer if this were to happen…. JO FORSYTH, Lyme View Close, Torquay (letter)

Banbury Guardian 14.4.05 - HAVING read Ann Wylie’s narrow-minded myopic and totally bigoted view on fox hunting (Banbury Guardian, April 14) I draw the conclusion that she knows very little about the countryside and absolutely nothing about foxes. I suggest she reads a book called The Hunting Game written by renowned farmer and TV personality Robin Paige… R Crain, Cherry Road, Banbury (letter)
Banbury Guardian 7.4.05 DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE ‘FRIENDLY’ HUTSMEN - I MUST point out to A M Jervis (Your View, March 24) that nowhere in my letter (Your View, March 10) did I imply that there are only feudal landlords and downtrodden serfs (his words) in the countryside. That is patently ridiculous. However, the arrogant attitude of the hunt en masse has definite feudal overtones, clearly resented by many… Anne Wylie Queen’s Road Banbury (letter)
Banbury Guardian 24.3.05 MORE FOXES WILL DIE UNDER THE ALTERNATIVE - IN response to Ann Wylie’s letter (Your View, March 10) I have to say that she displays breathtaking ignorance of the people who live and work in the countryside. If she believes that we are either feudal landlords or downtrodden serfs, then she really is living in cloud cuckoo land…. The point which Ms Wylie clearly missed, by the huntsmen displaying dead foxes which had been legally killed by alternative methods, was that more foxes will be killed (and injured) than by traditional fox hunting. A M Jervis, Winderton, Banbury (letter)
Banbury Guardian 10.3.05
VIDEOS EXPOSE REAL CRUELTY - THE excellent anonymous letter "Fox hunting out of date" (Your View, February 24) confirms my view that many who live and work in rural areas are afraid to speak out against those who may be their employers or landlords…. It will be a sad day for democracy if the Government, having had this ban on their manifesto for decades, gives in to these feudal throwbacks whose activities have been exposed by the invention of the video camera. Anne Wylie, Queen’s Road, Banbury (letter)

13.4.05

ELECTION 2005
BBC News Online 13.4.05 Are the parties doing enough for rural areas? - Rural affairs are likely to come under the spotlight during the election following the recent ban on hunting with hounds…. Are the political parties promising enough for rural areas? What should they concentrate on? Do you live in the countryside? Who will get your vote? Send us your comments and experiences. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:… (story)

Western Daily Press 13.4.05 IT IS UP TO POLICE TO UPHOLD LAWS - In reply to Mrs Cook (Your Say, March 21), I do not think we can really compare the chance sighting of a burglar entering a neighbour's house with so-called hunt monitors. In the first case, of course, any responsible person would call the police - it is their job to apprehend criminals. In the second instance, however, it is not the responsibility of people to take it upon themselves to deliberately follow fellow citizens in the vain hope that they just might break the law, thus giving them the opportunity to report what they consider to be transgressions to the police… D M Harvey Dursley Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 21.3.05 THIS LAW HAS TO BE ENFORCED NOW - So, Diana Harvey (Your Say, Feb 25) expresses distaste for people who will "snitch" on hunters' wrong doings. Has it not occurred to her that if these people are as lawabiding as we are told they are, there wouldn't be a need for evidence to be collated? Oh, and if I see a burglar breaking into her house, would she rather I didn't let the police know?... Mrs Jennifer Cook Honiton Devon (letter)

12.4.05

Derby Evening Telegraph 12.4.05 FROM ROYAL DATE TO KING OF THE ROAD - After their big day on Saturday, Charles and Camilla began their honeymoon at the Balmoral estate in Scotland. But it was the start of just another working week back in Derbyshire for lorry driver Andy Woolley… On Saturday afternoon, he was chatting to the happy couple in Windsor Castle over a glass of champagne… The 33-year-old, like many of the others who travelled down from the county, had been invited to the wedding by Charles and Camilla because they are involved in the Meynell Hunt…. As a staunch member of the Countryside Alliance, at the reception, Andy made a particular point of keeping an eye out for one of the guests - who since imposing a ban on fox hunting was not the most popular with people living in rural Derbyshire. "I deliberately stood next to Tony Blair," said Andy. "But I didn't talk to him…" (story)

EXMOOR DELEGATION TO ALUN MICHAEL
Mid Devon Gazette 12.4.05 MINISTER'S HUNT QUIZ - Delegates from West Somerset and Mid Devon travelled to London to meet Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael to talk about how the hunting ban has affected local business… Cllr Pugsley said the Minister was 'sympathetic' and was left in no doubt over how serious the situation was. He said: "The Minister understood and acknowledged Exmoor may be a special case and he said he would listen… " (story)
Western Morning News 8.4.05 GOVERNMENT ASKED TO GIVE AID TO EXMOOR - Work is continuing on the preparation of a case to be made to the Government for help for Exmoor in the wake of the hunting ban. The work follows a plea to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael made by a delegation of businesses from Exmoor last month. The delegation was jointly headed by West Somerset District Council leader Coun Steven Pugsley who is also Exmoor National Park Authority chairman, together with the National Park Officer Dr Nigel Stone… (story)
Western Morning News 24.3.05 STABLE OWNERS SAY MINISTER'S REMARKS MISS THE MARK - Claims this week from Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael that the horse industry is "vibrant" have been rejected by a Westcountry stable owner who has already put a plea for help to the minister…. Kevin Lamacraft, who runs a stable hiring out hunter horses on Exmoor, said he had to disagree with Mr Michael, particularly in the wake of the hunting ban…."In the first two weeks after the hunting ban we did not have one horse go out from our stables. The two weeks after that we had about four horses a week - in other words eight in the last month. Normally we would be averaging 35 a month," said Mr Lamacraft… (story)
Western Morning News 22.3.05 MINISTER PRESSED FOR HUNT BAN AID - The financial plight faced by moorland communities in the wake of the hunting ban was yesterday put to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael by a delegation from Exmoor…. (story)
Western Morning News 21.3.05 HUNT BAN 'WILL LEAVE A LARGE HOLE IN LOCAL ECONOMY' - A delegation of businesses from the Exmoor area will meet Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael today to ask for government help in the wake of the hunting ban. The businesses and representatives of local government will point out to Mr Michael that the absence of hunting will leave a large hole in the local economy….. (story)
Somerset County Gazette 18.3.05 Hunting ban: group to meet minister - BUSINESS people and politicians from West Somerset are to meet a Government minister on Mon-day to press for help for the local economy in the wake of the hunting ban. During a scheduled 45-minute meeting with Alun Michael, Rural Affairs Minister, they will give personal accounts of the impact the ban is having on businesses and on the people they employ…. (story in archive)

ELECTION 2005
Mid Devon Gazette 12.4.05 KENNEDY TILTS AT TORIES - Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy was the first of the main players to hit the area to launch his party's education manifesto in the week that May 5 was finally announced as the date for the General Election… Of the ban on hunting with hounds, Mr Kennedy criticised Tony Blair's government for the way it handled the debate…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 12.4.05 HUNTING BAN IS TOP ISSUE FOR FARMER WHO SAYS IT'S A WAY OF LIFE - For Devon farmer and huntmaster Raymond Burrough, the fox hunting ban is at the top of his list of election issues… "The ban is ridiculous," said Mr Burrough, a supporter of the East Devon hunt…. Ben Bradshaw, who is seeking re-election with the Labour Party in Exeter and is a supporter of the ban, has been targeted by hunt supporters and has even received a death threat…. Last September, an ugly mob turned a peaceful pro-hunt demonstration in Exeter into a near riot when Countryside Minister Alun Michael left a conference at the city's Thistle Hotel…. Conservative Angela Browning, who is making a bid to be re-elected, will be hoping to attract pro-hunt supporters on polling day. She has voted against the ban and promises that a Conservative government would scrap it if it was voted to power…. David Nation, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate in the constituency, said: "I think there is growing evidence that a middle way involving the licensing of hunts, with appropriate regulations to ensure no inhumane practices are followed, might have done more for the welfare of the fox than an outright ban."… However, Green Party hopeful Colin Matthews said that he fully supported the ban and believed it was a cruel bloodsport. (story)
Guardian 12.4.05 Election 2005: Campaign issues - Jerome Monahan … The environment… The Green party promises to tax polluting businesses and has a strong commitment to improving public transport. This contrasts most with the Conservatives, with their desire to reduce pressures on motorists and protect traditional country pursuits such as hunting with dogs… Since the passing of the legislation banning hunting with dogs, there are likely to be plenty of angry Countryside Alliance people out there with good access to plenty of fresh farm produce…. (story)

Western Mail 12.4.05 Help over fallen stock - A RANGE of measures have been agreed to alleviate the failure of the fallen stock collection service in parts of Wales. They include reduced charges for scheme members who deliver carcasses direct to the collector, re-direction to alternative collectors, a "pragmatic" and helpful approach by enforcement agencies and the establishment of intermediate collection centres at strategic points in North Wales…. (story)

Grimsby Evening Telegraph 12.4.05 MOVING ON - I Refer to the excellent letter by Don Atkins (Telegraph, March 30)… The banning of fox hunting proves that we are moving in the right direction and I hope, that in time, other cruel sports will eventually be outlawed…. Fred Jillson, Yarborough Road, Grimsby. (letter)

Gloucestershire Echo 12.4.05 PRO-HUNTING SIGNS CAUSE ROAD HAZARD - I have been incensed by the signs objecting to the hunting ban. Slogans have been spray-painted on roads and weedkiller has been used on grassland at vantage points so that drivers read 'No Ban'. Now there are yellow and black signs with foxes on. When driving on the A436 past Oddington, the hazard sign warning drivers to lower their speed because of the narrow bridge had been obscured by one of the latest yellow and black pro-hunt signs. It's one thing making a point but surely putting people's lives at risk is stupidity?... Joanna Davies, Stow-on-the-Wold. (letter)

Western Morning News 12.4.05 Demagogues responsible - VARIOUS animal rights groups are crowing that it has been their constant lobbying to abolish field sports that has brought about the despicable hunt ban. In fact, this unenforceable, pernicious legalisation has been perpetrated by a bigoted band of political agitators, crawling with envy, malice and class hatred holding their government to ransom by appealing to the prejudices and passions of the backbench mob… W T Scott, Mawgan (letter)

Western Mail 12.4.05 Hunting for an MP of action - I HOPE I will meet all the candidates for the General Election on my doorstep. They are welcome. My first question will be: "What are you really going to do about hospitals, roads, litter, thugs, speeding drunks, drugs, schools, transport, abortion, police numbers, illegal immigrants, prison, pensions, pensioners, council funding, water costs, council tax, fuel tax, income tax, defence, housing, small businesses, libraries?..." My second question to them will be: "If elected, will you waste another full term discussing hunting?" Ted Andrews, Dock Street, Penarth (letter)

11.4.05

ELECTION 2005
Guardian 11.4.05 We'll prosper without Tory renegades - The prime minister must make up his mind which side he is on - Roy Hattersley … Surely he now realises that most of the mistakes of the past eight years were the result of pandering to people who - whatever the fashions of the moment - were fundamentally opposed to everything in which the Labour party should believe? The most obvious (though not most important) example is foxhunting. Had Blair stuck with party, there could have been a clean kill in 1997. Seven years of fancy footwork - meant to placate the blood sports lobby - ended with his defeat by his own party. Then the foxhunters, for whom he had fought so hard, turned on him as if he were personally responsible for the ban he had opposed… (story)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 11.4.05 Walkers in fear of hunt - On Saturday, March 26 my husband I and our German Shepherd went to Notgrove, near Bourton On The Water, and were trying to find Guiting Power Woods… I was speaking on my mobile to my daughter when two Land Rovers came speeding down the bridleway and forced us to leap out of the way… Then we were blocked in by two quad bikes, again with two people on each. Later, we saw horses and riders, plus the pack of foxhounds, coming back up the bridleway and I realised we could have been mistaken for hunt monitors…. J Cutting, Grange Park, Swindon (letter in archive)

9.4.05

Derby Evening Telegraph 9.4.05 LOCALS ATTEND ROYAL WEDDING RECEPTION - A Group of Derbyshire people will be among the hundreds attending the wedding reception of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles today. Thirteen people involved with the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were invited… (story)

Yorkshire Post 9.4.05 Strange priorities From: Graham Pascoe, Stutton, North Yorkshire. THE Identity Cards Bill was dropped because of lack of Parlimentary time…. Labour has not made enough time for this important legislation but did make 700 hours available to ban hunting. What a disgrace. What a stupid set of priorities. (letter)

8.4.05

Western Morning News 8.4.05 BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR HUNTS - BUT NOT FOXES - Six weeks after the hunting ban, the general feeling in hunting circles is positive and it's business as usual - but with concerns in some quarters for the long-term effect on the fox population. Pat Bawden, joint honorary secretary of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said: "We are still meeting and will continue throughout April in the normal way, carrying out deer management, research and observation within the law…." Spooners and West Dartmoor had its last hunt for the season on Easter Monday, and Master of Foxhounds Guy Morelock said: "The outlook is very positive. The hounds have adapted well to hunting a trail with rapid progress…" Caroline Jackson Gali, of the North Cornwall Hunt, said: "We are still very upbeat. Since the ban we have been out flushing with two hounds for fox control, which is working well, and we will continue until the season closes…" (story)

Western Morning News 8.4.05 Extra at races - THE Countryside Alliance has joined with Exeter Racecourse to hold a Countryside Race Day on Tuesday… The day includes demonstrations and a stallion parade, plus a parade of hounds led by the South Devon Hunt… (story)

Somerset County Gazette 8.4.05 Poet walk skips his inspiration - WALKERS on a new footpath, to be inaugurated this weekend to celebrate Samuel Taylor Coleridge, will not see Watchet's striking statue to the poet's most famous work - unless they make a three-mile detour. The Coleridge Way has been hailed as the antidote to the loss of business in West Somerset following the hunting ban… (story in archive)

The Sentinel 8.4.05 WILDLIFE PIONEERS REIN IN THE CROWDS - Staffordshire Wildlife Trust's Leek group was once described by the trust's hierarchy as an "unorthodox bunch of wild horses who need reining in."… "… while we were attending Werrington Carnival some years ago, an irate lady accused us of being 'those people who preserve foxes so that other people can hunt them',…. (story)

Wells Journal 8.4.05 THE HUNT WAS THE MAIN ISSUE - I feel sure we could debate the issue of killing wild animals forever, Geoff Loxton (letters, March 31), but perhaps you could re-read my last letter as the main issue I was trying to make was how sad it was to have the hunt promote themselves in the city of Wells… Rosemary Cullen, Knowle Lane, Wookey, Wells (letter)
Wells Journal 8.4.05 KILLING ANIMALS IS NOT A NEW PHENOMENON - Geoff Loxton of Ston Easton is quite correct that "killing" wild animals is not a new phenomenon, although like many he hides behind the word "culling" in the hope that the persecution he advocates and has practised is somehow more acceptable… Adrian Coward, West Horrington (letter)
Wells Journal 8.4.05 NA T U RAL BALANCE Has Geoff Loxton ("Cull is necessary", March 31) not heard of the balance of nature?... Michael Woods, Wedmore (letter)
Wells Journal 18.3.05 SAD STATE OF HUMAN RACE - While appreciating your readers have no doubt heard enough on the subject of fox hunting, I must say one last thing on this. Wells has always been known for its beauty and its magnificent cathedral, but now it will be remembered for the large hunt promotion which had publicity as far away as Australia. How very sad this is. Surely this has only tainted Wells. Why did we let this happen through our streets?... Why do so many people get enjoyment from killing animals? What ever has gone wrong in their lives? Rosemary Cullen, Knowle Lane, Wookey (story)

Yorkshire Post 8.4.05 A blow to tolerance From: Gordon Rees, North Parade, West Park, Leeds. BECAUSE I abhor cruelty, I am a passionate supporter of fox hunting. Gassing, poisoning and shooting are the real cruelties of hunting. The central tenet of the anti-hunting people is that the fox is torn apart alive, which it is not. When caught by hounds, the fox dies within seconds, and it is the dead, inert corpse that is torn apart, just as it is the dead, inert corpse of a human being that is consigned to the flames at a crematorium…. (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 8.4.05 GOING TO TOWN OVER HUNTING - In response to Gregory Edge's letter (March 11) and the remarks about "townies" stopping foxhunting. The townies were quite willing to help during the foot and mouth crisis… Each year during May, for one day only there is a charity canoe paddle for Guide Dogs for the Blind called the "Doggy Paddle"… This year, it has had to be cancelled through the refusal of one of the landowners to grant access to his section of the river, in response to the ban on foxhunting. his action not only points out the sad "I'll take my ball away if you don't let me play" attitude, but highlights the access problems people face when trying to enjoy innocent pastimes…. Steve Adams, Egginton Road, Etwall. (letter)

Worcester Evening News 8.4.05 Why Lords have crucial role in British way of life - MRS Williams blames the "unelected" House of Lords for causing so much time to be spent on the hunting issue as though the Lords have no role in our constitution and therefore no right to take a different view from the government… It is a fundamental role of the Lords to guard against "elective dictatorship", and particularly so when, as in this case, a legislative proposal is aimed at a cultural minority for reasons that are clearly more to do with prejudice, political spite and reward for large financial contributions to the Labour Party than anything else… PETER PRESLAND, Secretary, Hunting for Tolerance, Birmingham. (letter in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 8.4.05 LIB DEMS SIT ON HUNTING FENCE - The Liberal Democrat candidate for Exeter, John Underwood, claims, Letters, April 5, that I said in a letter to constituents in Exeter about hunting with hounds that "The Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates for Exeter opposed it (the ban)." What I in fact said was that he and the Conservative candidate opposed the Hunting Bill…. I do hope the Lib Dems are not going to spend the whole of this campaign in personal mud-slinging, but will concentrate on the important issues facing Exeter and the country. Ben Bradshaw MP, House of Commons, London (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 5.4.05 MP'S HUNT BAN LETTER WRONG - Ben Bradshaw claimed, Echo, March 31, that I have made a personal attack upon him. I couldn't let this piece of 180 degree spin pass without comment. At the time of the final hunting vote the Express & Echo quoted me as saying I support a ban, but I think there should have been compensation… Thankfully the evidence suggests people are tiring of New Labour's propaganda war. I look forward to them making their own judgement on May 5. Jon Underwood, Parliamentary candidate Exeter Liberal Democrats (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 31.3.05 CITY'S MP AND RIVAL IN WAR OF WORDS ON HUNT BAN - A war of words has erupted between the Liberal Democrats and Labour in a pre-election row over a letter about the fox-hunting ban. Exeter Lib-Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Jon Underwood is calling for an apology over a letter sent by Labour MP Ben Bradshaw to constituents. It says that Dr Underwood opposed the Bill banning hunting. But Dr Underwood insists that is not the case and he has always backed a ban, although he felt compensation should be paid to those affected…. Mr Bradshaw, a supporter of the ban, staunchly denies the accusations and says that he had a copy of the letter approved by the House of Commons' Serjeant at Arms…. Mr Bradshaw said: "I'm saddened that Dr Underwood does not want to debate the issues but to attack me personally. He made quite clear at the time that he opposed the Bill because he wanted compensation to be paid to hunters. The choice was this Bill or no Bill. I am the only one of the main candidates in Exeter to support it, or who would have supported this Bill." (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 8.4.05 OPINION POLLS NOT INFALLIBLE - I fear John Phelps may have lost the plot, Letters, April 4. Of course, many townsfolk enjoy country pursuits including hunting - anything to get out of our dreary cities. He fails, however, to address the central thrust of my argument that opinion polls are not infallible and that they do depend on the number of those actually canvassed. But quite what the relevance to the argument about the steady erosion of our freedoms in this country has to do with South African hunts escapes me. … Richard M Holloway, Mount Dinham, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.4.05 HUNTERS DRAWN FROM BIG CITIES - Richard Holloway, Letters, April 1, disapproves of my opposition to hunting with hounds. He believes I am a townie and thinks I need to get a life… Membership of the two South African hunts is drawn from the big cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg. How is it possible for them to learn about hunting when, according to Mr Holloway, it is beyond the ability of "townies" from the small city of Exeter to understand traditional country pursuits? John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 1.4.05 TOWNIES ERODE OUR TRADITIONS - Mr Phelps, Letters, March 16, once again allows his emotions to override his judgement. I don't know precisely how many people actually took part in the two Hyde Park rallies to protest against a hunting ban. Police numbers conflicted with those provided by the organisers. They were in the many thousands, that's for sure. What I do know is that the Countryside Alliance comprises a large number of those who enjoy wide-ranging country pursuits including hunting of various kinds and just want to get on with their lives… I'm glad, however, that Mr Phelps attends hunt meetings so that he can savour aspects of England's traditional way of life which are fast being eroded by political correctness and by townies, of which he is most likely part. As the youngsters say, I think he needs to get a life. Richard M Holloway, Mount Dinham, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 16.3.05 PRO-HUNTERS ARE MOSTLY TORIES - Richard m Holloway, Letters, March 11, asks why I assert that the majority of hunting people are Conservative voters. I am surprised your correspondent questions this well known fact. According to Mori some 80 per cent of those who participated in the two great Hyde Park rallies vote Conservative…. Mr Holloway is also wrong to think I spend too much time in an armchair and that I should get out more. I do attend hunt meetings and visited Sticklepath on Boxing Day and the Honiton meet on February 19 which received extensive coverage in the Echo… John Phelps, Argyll Road , Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 11.3.05 MOST HUNTING PEOPLE ARE NOT CONSERVATIVE VOTERS -John Phelps asserts, Points of view, March 4, that the majority of hunters, hunt supporters and members of the Countryside Alliance have always voted Conservative. Where he gets this information remains a mystery to this reader. I used to hunt three days a week on Exmoor (foxes, not stags). My fellow hunters were a mixture of a few toffs but many more quite ordinary country folk, including local tradespeople, who in fact voted for the Lib Dems and indeed old Labour… I believe that this experience and my research is a better substitute than Mr Phelps's armchair socialism, and that he should check his facts before sounding off on a subject about which he appears to know very little. Perhaps, too, he should get out more. Richard M Holloway, Mount Dinham, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.3.05 LABOUR WON'T LOSE MANY VOTES OVER HUNTING BAN - According to Richard M Holloway, Points of view, March 2, Adolf Hitler banned hunting with hounds in 1934 and, 70 years on, Tony Blair was the next leader to do so. Blair, not being a dictator, had no authority to impose a ban on hunting…. it is well known that the majority of hunters, hunt supporters and members of the Countryside Alliance, have always voted Conservative… The worst that can happen to Labour is that a few people will now vote for the Liberal Democrats in order to express their displeasure at seven years' procrastination and prevarication by the Government in enacting the legislation for a ban. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 2.3.05 IS BLAIR BRITAIN'S WORST PM SINCE LORD NORTH? - In 1934, vegetarian Hitler banned hunting with hounds. Seventy years on, Blair was the next leader to do so. He threw the ban at his backbenchers as a sop to get them off his back over his war on Iraq, the legality of which is now being openly questioned by his own attorney general, Lord Goldsmith. It is hoped that Blair's cynicism will be remembered by the countryside vote at the May election… Richard M Holloway, Mount Dinham, Exeter (letter)

7.4.05

Belfast Telegraph 7.4.05 Bring ban on fox hunting to Ulster call By Michael McHugh - The League Against Cruel Sports today urged local Westminster election candidates to support a ban on fox hunting. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK which allows the practice, although there is evidence of widespread public opposition…. (story)

Kentish Express 7.4.05 Riding the stormlocal farmers' markets - MORE than 300 horse-riders set off across some of the best of the Kent countryside on Sunday for the annual Wye Sponsored Ride that has raised more than £147,000 for charity over the past 28 years. Organised and run by the East Kent Hunt with hundreds of man hours freely given by volunteer hunt supporters and huge support from local landowners, the ride covered 10 miles with 30 optional jumps that attracted riders from across the South East… (story)

ELECTION 2005
Western Daily Press 7.4.05 WEST SET TO BE THE UK'S KEY BATTLEGROUND - It was becoming clear last night that the politicians are not going to get through the General Election campaign without getting mud on their boots. The West is set to be one of the key battlegrounds, and all three main political parties know their fate rests in your hands…. Foremost in the West is the hunting ban, and campaigners are targeting Labour constituencies such as Monmouth and Stroud by encouraging people to vote for Conservative candidates who oppose the ban… (story)
BBC News Online 7.4.05 West Midlands: Ohio of Britain? By Patrick Burns - With its cluster of marginal seats the West Midlands can be seen as this country's version of the "swing state" which proved decisive in November's United States Presidential Election… Worcester may have voted Labour in the last two general elections, but the Tories will be battling to recapture the seat from Labour's Mike Foster, whose original Private Member's Bill to outlaw foxhunting with hounds culminated in the eventual ban. Pro-hunt campaigners plan to campaign for any candidates deemed capable of deposing anti-hunt MPs in Labour marginals…. (story)

Western Daily Press 7.4.05 HOW SHEEP CAN WORK AS A TEAM - If Mrs Wigley's house backed onto a field where my ewes were lambing then I think she'd see a different picture to the one she describes in her letter (No Myth When It Comes To The Fox, Your Say, April 2). Instead of foxes working as a team, she would see my ewes working as a team… it's quite common to see other ewes moving in to keep guard and clean up a first-born lamb while the mother gives birth to the next… We cannot allow the fox to be used as a scapegoat for man's inadequacy. Gill Purser Clapton-on-the-Hill, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 2.4.05 NO MYTH WHEN IT COMES TO THE FOX - Sir - I am very much against foxhunting with hounds but, in all fairness, I must take issue with David Thomas of Westbury… I rented out several acres of land to a shepherd. His flock of sheep was under my eye from the house. I had a clear view of the first lambing. Several times, I saw a fox waiting in the hedge cover for a ewe to be distracted by the birth of her second lamb, then come in to take her first, newborn, live lamb…. Once, I saw two foxes, who seemed to be working together. One of them worried at the ewe's head, when she was down lambing, while the other dragged out and away the lamb that was head and front legs partly delivered. I have seen foxes predating healthy, live new and part-born lambs. It is not myth. Mrs A Wigley, Sherborne, Dorset (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.4.05 ALL GOD'S CREATURES - With reference to a challenge by David C Allen to me, for scriptural authority that hunting is inconsistent with the Christian ethic. Christians try to follow Christ's example. He was not violent or cruel, just preaching, healing and exposing those who misused the word of God… Rev H W Jones Wroughton Swindon (letter)

A M Jervis wrote: "The huntsman practically stands alone in regarding the fox with respect and affection". Who needs enemies when you have friends who are willing to set dogs on you to tear you limb from limb? Brian Lewis Duns Tew
Banbury Guardian 7.4.05Your reader asked how the hunting hounds knew the difference between a fox scent and a ‘fox- based’ scent (Your View, March 31). The answer is very simple – they don’t!... As someone who’s been training my own dogs to follow scents for ten years in working-dog training, I know you CAN re-train these hounds to follow other scents, but this takes time… That is why hunts that tell you they are using ‘fox-based’ scents are really killing a fox and dragging it around, so that the hounds will still pick up, and hunt, any real fox scent they come across…. Y Street Okehampton Devon (letters)

Western Mail 7.4.05 Michael assiduous - The main premise of Roger Dillon's letter criticising MP Alun Michael is flawed… As a councillor for St. Mellons, I work closely with Alun Michael. He is very assiduous in looking after the interests of the area… Curious, then, that Mr Dillon only seems to know about Alun's work on the Hunting Bill. As a lifelong campaigner against cruelty to animals I'm proud Alun puts his constituents first but also had the tenacity and courage to carry through legislation to ban hunting… RALPH COOK, Cardiff County Councillor for Trowbridge and St Mellons, Chairman Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports, St Mellons, Cardiff (letter)

Western Gazette 7.4.05 WORDS AND VOTES NOT IN ACCORD - In last week's Western Gazette you quoted David Laws MP warning residents of huge rises in their council tax following revaluation of their properties… He has also expressed his regret to the hunting community that the sport had been banned. Yet he voted with Labour MPs last September to ban hunting…. Ian Jenkins, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Yeovil Constituency (letter)

Somerset Guardian 7.4.05 USE BALLOT TO EXPRESS VIEW - J D EVANS, Staunton Lane, Whitchurch Village (letter)
Bath Chronicle 6.4.05 DON'T USE THUGGERY TO OVERTURN LAWS - I See that, yet again, fox hunting people have attacked our MP Dan Norris with eggs… By all means let the fox hunters use the ballot box to express their views. But don't try to overturn democracy through thuggery. JD EVANS, Staunton Lane, Whitchurch (letter)

6.4.05

ELECTION 2005
Times 6.4.05 His first port of call is the marginal Portland BY DAVID CHARTER, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT TONY BLAIR went to Labour’s most marginal seat yesterday after calling the general election in a sign that he was determined to defend every one of his party’s 408 seats…. Within two hours of finally naming the date for the general election the Prime Minister flew by helicopter to the key constituency of Dorset South. The rural seat held by Jim Knight on a margin of just 153 votes is expected to be one of the most hotly contested…. But as he left he was heckled by a woman hunt supporter who shouted: “You won’t win because of hunting.”… (story)
Western Daily Press 6.4.05 SMILE PLEASE, WE'RE ON THE ELECTION TRAIL BY MATTHEW GEORGE POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - Tony Blair yesterday pledged to fight for every seat as he came West to launch his bid to win a historic third term. The Prime Minister flew by helicopter to South Dorset - Labour's most marginal seat… Later, two hunt supporters mounted the first protest of the campaign, with Dorset Police saying a women with a young boy was prevented approaching the PM, although she was not arrested…. (story)
Glasgow Herald 6.4.05 Blair admits there is still much to do - CATHERINE MACLEOD, UK Political Editor - THE prime minister launched Labour's general election campaign yesterday against a backdrop of fluctuating opinion polls and predictions of a hung parliament… Mr Blair then left Downing Street to take a helicopter trip to Dorset South, Labour's most marginal seat, where Jim Knight has a majority of only 153… He was whisked to his first campaign visit by a hired helicopter which landed at Portland heliport – where seven Tory supporters greeted him, waving Conservative placards. Two hunt supporters tooted their hunting horns at him as he left, while a handful of other protesters held up makeshift placards reading "B LIAR"…. (story)
Glasgow Herald 6.4.05 Ballot box beckoning for Scottish agriculture - DAN BUGLASS - THE general election will have little immediate impact on the Scottish agricultural industry…. Farmers are not particularly party political, but they do care about the countryside. To invest more than 700 hours of parliamentary time in banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales, not to mention the parallel Scottish exercise, seems a dubious legislative choice….(story)
Western Morning News 6.4.05 THREE PARTIES WITH - As the General Election campaign finally gets under way, London Editor Jason Groves profiles the six Westcountry seats at the centre of the political battle… FALMOUTH & CAMBORNE …Hunt supporters angered by Ms Atherton's prominent role in banning their beloved pursuit have pledged to help the opposition, so those visiting Cabinet Ministers could get a rough ride…. TAUNTON - WESTCOUNTRY folklore has it that the defeat of Lib-Dem MP Jackie Ballard in 2001 was the direct result of her outspoken advocacy of a hunting ban… Jeremy Browne is determined not to repeat Ms Ballard's mistakes. Mr Browne, a former head of the party's national press office, has been entrenched in the seat for several years and has worked the rural areas hard - stressing his own pro-hunting credentials…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 6.4.05 More than 800 foxes legally killed - THE letter from Marion Large (Worcester News, Monday, March 28) confirms the Hunting Act has not and never was intended to save one fox. More than 700 hours of valuable Parliamentary time have been wasted to produce this comedy of errors…. JON BURGESS, Malvern (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 28.3.05 Satisfying blood lust - MEMBERS of the hunting brigade have always denied that they enjoy killing foxes and that they are satisfying a blood lust but that they are controlling a pest and hunting is the most humane way of doing it…. Yet what did they do? In one weekend, 91 foxes were killed, presumably by shooting. They triumphantly crowed that they were operating within the law. What hypocrisy!... MARION J LARGE (Mrs), Worcester (letter in archive)

Yorkshire Post 6.4.05 Hunts are not exempt from keeping hounds under control From: Ms Robbie Beechey, Eastfield Lane, Kellington, Nr Goole. In reply to John Grice's letter (April 4), it doesn't matter what a dog has been bred for generations to do, all dog owners are required by law to keep their dogs under control at all times… Taking a rifle along to shoot a fox that has been chased by a pack of hounds does not make hunting legal – no more than two dogs may be used to flush a fox out for shooting. Use any more and it is in breach of the Hunting with Dogs Act…. I believe that the same hunt supporters who have enjoyed using the hounds' skills as part of their sport should now take responsibility for them and rehome them so that they can live out their natural life in a stimulating and comfortable environment…. (letter)
Yorkshire Post 4.4.05 Poor fox now hounded all the year round - From: John Grice, The Close, Durkar, Wakefield. WHAT a strange world Mr Beechey and his like live in (Letters, March 25). Evidently all dogs, hounds – call them what you will – have to be controlled, regulated, all natural instincts have to be curbed…. The foxhound, harrier, beagle, etc has to forget his sophisticated nose and learn to follow an artificial scent. If he can't learn to do this, well, he will have to be put down. What a shambles: compassion for foxes, none at all for hounds if they can't toe the line… (letter)
Yorkshire Post 31.3.05 Hunting ban 'shame' of MPs From: Richard Linkogel, Cowling Hill, North Yorkshire. SO hounds should be "individually trained to resist a fox's scent", according to Robbie Beechey…. The Hunting with Dogs Act has nothing to do with so-called animal cruelty; it was drawn up entirely to satiate the class prejudice of the far Left, in return for their co-operation in the run-up to the next election…. For all the time spent debating hunting, we would have been better served by these politicians if we gave them each a mop and told them to clean a hospital ward. Shame on them (letter)
Yorkshire Post 25.3.05 PUTTING HOUNDS OFF THE SCENT From: Robbie Beechey, Eastfield Lane, Kellington, Doncaster. A COMMONLY-held belief is that if a hunt sets out to exercise the hounds without intending to hunt foxes, and comes across a fox scent which causes the pack to set off out of control, chasing and killing the fox, then they are acting within the law, as this an accident, and without intention… it would be foreseeable negligence on my part, just as it would be if I let my border collies loose in a field of sheep and they then followed their instincts and herded them. They move as a pack. If I am in a situation where I can't control them completely off the lead, then they have to be on the lead. That is the law as it applies to dogs. A pack of foxhounds is no different. If they are taken to be exercised in a place where foxes are likely to be around, then it is negligence, not an accident, if they find and chase a fox…. There are supposedly a large number of hunt supporters. They should individually take these hounds during the coming closed season and retrain them on a one-to-one basis – extremely time-consuming, very difficult, and, in some cases, an impossible task…. (letter)

RSPCA ACCUSED OF FAILING TO REHOME HOUNDS
Amesbury Journal 6.4.05 Hunt season - THE traditional end of the hunting season is upon us… Rehoming hounds is not an option. The RSPCA attempted to rehome 11 foxhounds from the Three Valleys vermin pack in Kendal earlier this month, but admitted that it had failed to rehome a single one!... WILL DAY, Address supplied (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 6.4.05 Hounds not in new homes yet - I see the RSPCA have broken their promise again. They have failed to re-home 11 foxhounds in Kendal after promising the government and people of this country that they could find homes for 25,000 foxhounds. The 11 hounds belong to the Three Valley's pack in Kendal and were supposed to be re-homed. But a week later the RSPCA admitted they could not re-home a singe hound…. D Evans Trench, Telford (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 25.3.05 RSPCA HITS BACK IN HOUNDS ROW - The Rspca has answered claims by the Countryside Alliance that it failed to re-home 11 foxhounds. This week the Countryside Alliance, the pro-hunting organisation, alleged the RSPCA had failed in its commitment to re-home redundant hounds following a ban on hunting with dogs. They said RSPCA representatives in Kendal, Cumbria, offered to take all 11 hounds from the Three Valleys Vermin Pack, which decided to disband after the Hunting Act came into force. But they claim the RSPCA could not re-home any of the dogs. But the RSPCA has said it is still waiting for permission from the hunt to find the dogs new homes as it is impossible, and illegal, for anyone to re-home animals without the owners' consent…. (story)
Western Daily Press 25.3.05 HUNT SLAMS RSPCA ON PET FOXHOUNDS - The Rspca and the Countryside Alliance were embroiled in a bitter row last night over the future of thousands of foxhounds. The Alliance claimed the RSPCA had backtracked on an agreement to re-home any foxhounds which might otherwise face being put down as hunts and packs around the country scale down or quit altogether… The row began when the Alliance claimed the RSPCA had failed to re-home 11 foxhounds in Kendal, Cumbria. It had said it would take on the hounds from the Three Valleys Vermin Pack, which has decided to disband following the hunt ban… (story)
Western Gazette 24.3.05 REHOMING PLEDGE IS 'PIE IN THE SKY' - The Rspca has failed to re-home 11 foxhounds in spite of its repeated commitment to the Government and the public to re-home 25,000 redundant hounds following an outright ban on hunting with dogs, says the Countryside Alliance. RSPCA representatives in Kendal originally announced that they would be able to take all 11 hounds from the Three Valleys Vermin Pack, which decided to disband as a result of the Hunting Act coming into force. Just over a week later, they admitted that they would not be able to re-home a single hound. Instead, the hounds have been re-homed by neighbouring foxhound packs…. (story)
Telegraph 22.3.05 RSPCA fails to rehouse foxhounds By Charles Clover - The RSPCA has failed to find new homes for 11 foxhounds despite a widely publicised offer to do so for 20,000 hounds expected to be made redundant by the Hunting Act…. three weeks after contacting the RSPCA, the Three Valleys foxhounds, run by Christopher Johnson and Stephen Crawford, of Kendal, Cumbria, are still waiting for an offer of new homes. Mr Johnson said: "We are just a small foot pack; what are they going to do if some of the big packs start giving up?"… (story)

Shropshire Star 6.4.05 Hunting is an issue of cruelty - W Kerswell "scoffed" at suggestions that hunting with dogs is about cruelty. Your correspondent stated that it is only about the anti's opposing the toffs…. In 1993 the Flint & Denbigh Hunt (in my area) had to shoot 24 of their hounds for running amok and killing sheep. Hounds have also been known to kill pets. In fact they killed my friend's cat a few years ago… Judi Hewitt Denbighshire (letter)

5.4.05

ELECTION 2005
BBC News Online 5.4.05 Candidates prepare to woo voters By Chris Rogers - The political parties in the South West are now off and running in the 2005 general election race…. Another thorny problem candidates may have to contend with will be the ban on hunting with hounds. The ban may already be in place, but in the South West, with its vast rural areas, there remains a residual anger which could surface during the campaign and ruffle a few political feathers…. (story)
BBC News Online 5.4.05 Election Issues: Rural Affairs By Tom Heap - Rural affairs moved up the political agenda in the past few years with the mass demonstrations against fox hunting led by the Countryside Alliance. There were accusations that the government was out of touch with feelings in rural areas. But as we approach a general election there are a number of misconceptions that need knocking down…. Hunting is not a major vote decider even in rural Britain. Rural areas are not dominated by the Conservative Party…. Among a small core of those who own land or work closely with it, the hunting ban has entrenched a sense of being ignored and oppressed by the urban elite - in effect the Labour Party… (story)
BBC News Online 5.4.05 Do you welcome the hunting ban? - Hunting with dogs is now illegal in England and Wales after a ban on the activity came into force on Friday. Thousands of hunt supporters have vowed to continue, with the Countryside Alliance saying many hunts will be out in force over the weekend when they will try to keep within the law by drag hunting or shooting foxes…. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:
What the British nation are failing to comprehend is that this debate is it is not solely about the killing of a fox, it is about heritage, livelihood and a rural way of life…. Gus Jones, Romsey, England
I did hunt yesterday be it trail hunting and will continue to hunt for as long as I am able to either sit on a horse or be taken in a car… Sarah Mallam, Somerton, Somerset
It's good that the hunt ban has come into action because its just so cruel!... Megan Hilliard, Derbyshire
(& many others) (story)

Carlisle News & Star 5.4.05 POINT TO PROVE By Anna Burdett - THOUSANDS of people turned out to Dalston Point-to-Point to show their support for Cumbrian hunters on Saturday. Families from all over Cumbria were attracted to the traditional meeting by the good weather and their desire to support the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds just weeks after a hunting ban was imposed…. (story)
Carlisle News & Star 4.4.05 Popular point - THOUSANDS of people turned out to Dalston Point-to-Point on Saturday to show their support for Cumbrian hunters. Families from all over Cumbria were attracted to the traditional meeting by the good weather and their desire to support the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds just weeks after a hunting ban was imposed… (story)

Western Mail 5.4.05 Call for leniency in fallen stock scheme during lambing - Steve Dube, Western Mail - MAGISTRATES are being urged to sympathise with farmers who bury their casualty animals. The farming unions say the frequent failure of the new Fallen Stock Scheme means that burying dead animals is better than allowing them to decompose on farms for days or even weeks… (story)

Western Daily Press 5.4.05 CALL TO QUERY FALLEN STOCK PRICES - Calls for a fairer pricing system to be adopted by the chaotic National Fallen Stock Scheme are increasing. With a new deadline approaching for wouldbe operators to submit tenders, the NFU says the six-month old scheme needs a radical overhaul. Its demand comes in the wake of reports of farmers being charged more than the nominal collection fees they were first quoted. In some areas contractors are working office hours yet refusing to collect any animal more than 12 hours old, while in other areas, notably North Wales, producers are waiting up to five weeks for collection…. >(story)

Bath Chronicle 5.4.05 PRO-HUNT THUGS DOING MORE DAMAGE WITH GRAFFITI - The thugs mentioned in a recent letter are probably the same thugs who are responsible for desecrating a number of traffic signs in the Green Ore area near Wells…. What does the graffiti 'hunt on' mean anyway? Does it mean carry on hunting or there is a hunt taking place? If so where and when? I'd like to know so I can turn up with my flashlight and bucket of eggs…. the pro-hunt fraternity are not exactly renowned for their caring attitude so I doubt if an apology will be forthcoming for the cowardly attack on Dan Norris. At least hunt saboteurs are brave enough to carry out their attacks broad daylight… CHRIS STILLMAN, Wellow Tyning, Peasedown St John (letter)

Western Daily Press 5.4.05 DOWN WITH FOXES, FOR THE BIRDS' SAKE - I have just spent a cold, miserable night trying to get my Brown China geese to come into their house for safety. But in spring a young goose has only thoughts of love and just carried on ignoring my pleas and swimming up and down the ditches that surround our grounds. Result: one dead in field next door, one disappeared, suspected eaten by fox, two frightened ones left. Tonight Mr Fox will be back…. if the fox is not kept down, we will soon have no birds left at all on this land. Name supplied Wedmore Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 5.4.05 POLICE ARE FAILING IN ENFORCING LAW - At last the law banning the hunting of animals by hounds has come into force. A law which all those who deplore cruelty feel should have been enforced long ago… A worrying point, however, is that the police do not seem to have any interest in enforcing the law. I suppose this is not very surprising when one takes into account the number of magistrates, judges and others in positions of power who are members of the hunt…. if they are determined to carry on regardless, then perhaps the law needs to be tightened up. Peter Hine Wellington Somerset (letter)

The Sentinel 5.4.05 800 KILLINGS IS NOT A BOAST - The Countryside Alliance has not 'boasted' about killing 800 foxes since February (Letters April 1). It has simply confirmed that hunts continue to provide fox control services to land owners and that the numbers involved are higher than might have been expected had a ban on hunting not taken effect in February…. Jocelyn Coyte also appears to have a problem with rats. Why can she not accept that others have similar problems with foxes?... PETER PRESLAND West Midlands chairman Countryside Alliance (letter)
The Sentinel 1.4.05 HEAVY PRICE OF SLAUGHTERING FOXES - What can one say to those Country Alliance cads who boast of killing 800 foxes since February 18 this year - which surely will amount to more when one takes into account the offspring left to starve? I venture to say, "bravo! Your proud claim to that awful state of bitter 'upmanship' leading to the unnecessary slaughter of our country's wild dogs will this time result in 8,000 rats being given full rein to multiply… JOCELYN COYTE Hanford (letter)

The Sentinel 5.4.05 FOX HUNTING BAN IS CONFUSING - In The Sentinel on March 25 was an article attributed to the Countryside Alliance which announced that 800 foxes had been killed since February 18 when the ban came into force. So, in five weeks 800 foxes have been killed, unlawfully. I am confused. These guardians of our pleasant land, who would have us living in some kind of abyss without their existence, have previously stated that fox hunting is not about killing foxes…. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

4.4.05

Malton & Pickering Mercury 4.4.05 Defiant hunt gathers at Black Swan - MORE than 300 people – including more than 40 mounted on horses – gathered at the Black Swan in Pickering where a hunt met for the first time for 60 years on Easter Saturday. The pub invited the Saltersgate Hunt to meet there on Easter Saturday for what is believed the first time any hunt had met there since 1945. Before moving off, a minute's silence was held in memory of hunt supporter Maurice Brown, whose funeral had been held that week…. (story)

EAST KENT ATTACK
BBC News Online 4.4.05 Hunt attackers ID still a mystery - Police investigating an assault on an anti-hunt campaigner say they are still unable to identify the attackers. The attack happened at Crundale, near Ashford, on 19 February - the first East Kent Hunt meeting after the ban on fox hunting with dogs became law… The East Kent Hunt condemned the attack and said the people involved were not part of their organisation…. (story)
Kent Messenger 17.3.05 'Hunt' assault suspects caught on camera - DETECTIVES have made a fresh appeal for information into an alleged assault on a hunt protestor during clashes after a meet. Video stills have been released of five men police want to question over the incident at Crundale, near aSHFORD, following the Elham-based East Kent Hunt meeting on February 19, the day after the Government's hunting ban came in to force. An anti-hunt supporter, also known as a hunt monitor, was taken to the William Harvey Hospital with a broken rib and bruising following the incident… It has been confirmed that members of East Kent Hunt do not know the men wanted for questioning….(story)
Kent Messenger 17.3.05 Did these men brutally attack hunt protestor? - DETECTIVES yesterday (Wednesday) made a fresh appeal for information to an assault on a protestor during clashes after a hunt meet. Video stills have been released of five men police want to question over the incident at Crundale, following the East Kent Hunt meet on February 19 the day after the Government's hunting ban came in to force…. (story)
Kentish Express 17.3.05 'Hunt' assault five caught on camera DETECTIVES made a fresh appeal for information this week into an assault on a hunt protester during clashes after a meet. Video stills have been released of five men police want to question over the incident at Crundale, following the Elham-based East Kent Hunt meeting on February 19, the day after the Government's hunting ban came in to force… (story)
BBC News Online 16.3.05 Gang sought over fox hunt assault - A gang who punched and kicked a hunt saboteur in the head at a meeting of the East Kent Hunt last month are being sought by police…. It was the hunt's first meeting after the ban on fox hunting with dogs was made law. As part of their investigation into the assault, Kent Police have issued photographs of the five suspects they wish to speak to… (story)

Guardian 4.4.05 Nick Palmer - Labour, Broxtowe - What is your proudest achievement since the 2001 general election? As a member of the animal welfare core group, helping insist on delivering the ban on hunting with dogs… (story)

Western Morning News 4.4.05 ELECTION HOPEFULS ON THEIR MARKS FOR START … Taunton Lib-Dem MP Jeremy Browne has spent months trying to bolster the party's support on Exmoor, where many people were alienated by the anti-hunting stance of former MP Jackie Ballard. He said: "I think we will win, but I also think that it will be close." (story)

Bristol Evening Post 4.4.05 BULLYING OVER HUNT VOTE HAS TO STOP - It is most disturbing that hunt supporters from Badminton continue to harass MP Dan Norris and pelt him with eggs while he carries out his constituency business, just because he voted to end the cruel practice of hunting with dogs… What is also shameful is the silence on this matter from Owen Inskip, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Kingswood, who is the Hunt Fieldmaster of the very same hunt supporters and bullies who harass Mr Norris… Claire Egan, Fishponds.
ONCE again, we have a hunt supporter writing columns of words in defence of animal lynching ("Fox-hunting ban is about party politics, not animal welfare", Open Lines, March 29). I use only one word in my opposition to hunting with dogs, and that word is "cruelty"… Hugh Welsford, Portishead (letters)

2.4.05

Telegraph 2.4.05 Redwood takes knife to Labour's red tape By George Jones, Political Editor - Motorists would be given a five-minute "grace" period before being ticketed by parking wardens and controversial new EU rules banning food supplements would be shelved under Conservative plans for cutting bureaucracy announced yesterday. Time would also be provided for a Bill repealing the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales…. (story)

Mirror 2.4.05 CRUCIFIED - Fox strung up 'in protest at hunting ban' By Jeremy Armstrong - A FOX was found "crucified" beside a popular country walk. And the rambler who discovered it strung up on a fence believes it was a sick message from extremists opposed to the hunting ban. Nick Hazlewood, 32, made the discovery during a walk with girlfriend Rowena Burgin, 25. He believes it was left at a spot which is popular with ramblers, families and children to make the point that foxes should be killed despite the ban…. (story)
Carlisle News & Star 30.3.05 Grisly sight that ruined a walk - SORRY to have to send such a distressing picture to you but I thought it was important to do so with the recent debate about the hunting legislation and the “tragic” news to all our local hound packs…. I was quite disgusted and almost very ill to find this fox crucified on a barbed-wire fence by a so-called hunter…. Nick Hazlewood, Hillary Grove, Harraby, Carlisle (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.4.05 WHY HUNT ISSUE WON'T GO AWAY - The hunting season comes to an end across the West this week. As the Countryside Alliance gears up for the election and its latest challenge to the ban in the House of Lords, Wessex regional director DELLY EVERARD explains why the fight goes on THE Government went back on its promise of introducing anti-hunting legislation based on "principle and evidence"….Next time you are a victim of crime in a rural area, just remember that more time and money could have been spent preventing it if certain MPs were more interested in the welfare of people than in banning hunting (story)

Guardian 2.4.05 Animals' right not to suffer - Alison Hills (The limits of human dominion, March 30) says debates on animal rights could be solved by opting for a moderate view that "rejects harming animals except when the benefits to them and us are sufficiently great". Yet who decides this? Pharmaceutical or cosmetics companies which seek to profit from animal testing? Or the government, which seeks to use animals for its own benefit, as shown by the recent hunting debate?... Adolfo Sansolini, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
Since the concept was first used in 1849 Cruelty to Animals Act, the answer has been "when the suffering is not unnecessary"… What causes suffering in one species may not cause it another. The important point is to ascertain how the particular animal perceives its circumstances - a matter for thorough, unsentimental research. One of the most frustrating points to emerge from the debates over the future of hunting was how little research had been done on the extent to which foxes suffered when hunted… Christopher Price, Country Land and Business Association
Yet again, factory-farming horrors are listed against the "lesser" cruelties of hunting. Most campaigners for the hunt ban know a great deal more than Alison Hills does about the agony that is intensive farming, having investigated it, marched against it, written and stood at freezing docklands against it….. Rosina Dalziel, Tavistock, Devon (letters)

Western Daily Press 2.4.05 BEATEN DOG STORY WAS UNBALANCED - I've just read the article about the dog apparently beaten to death on a travellers site in Over Lane. I found your article to be very unbalanced and bordering on racism. There is no doubt that the dog was brutally killed, but the circumstances behind the incident are that the dog was pulled off a baby boy who it was savaging…. The problem was that word had got back that the baby boy had died, so some of the younger traveller males decided to deal out rough justice…. Also, your paper defends the Hunt who savage foxes on the pretext that they are protecting farmers interests. You also support farmers shooting people to death who commit burglary. Is it that you put animals above travellers' children?... Name and address supplied
We stand by our story which was written on all the facts available to us at the time. As further information became available we updated this important story. We totally refute allegations of racism and of either defending or attacking the hunt. We present a balanced view on all stories but are never afraid to stand up for animal rights. The Editor (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.4.05 SPORT OR SPITE? Re: your article on the pro-hunt Lechlade farmer (Mar 30) targeting pro hunt MPs during the next General Election. Perhaps readers might take into account the boast by the Countryside Alliance that huntsmen have shot 800 foxes since the hunting ban. Was this for sport, or spite? Rev H W Jones, Swindon. (letter)

1.4.05

Derby Evening Telegraph 1.4.05 HUNT IS LOOKING FOR A NEW HOME BY KATIE SANDALL - Aderbyshire hunt is planning to move out of the place which has been its home for more than 30 years. The Meynell and Staffordshire Hunt houses its kennels and stables on a site off Ashbourne Road near Sudbury. But in recent years horses have been unable to stay at the stables due to rising noise levels as a result of the growth in traffic using the nearby A515 road. It has also become harder to exercise hounds at the site, again due to the increase in traffic and the concern for the animals' safety when they are let out to run around…. (story)

Telegraph 1.4.05 Notebook By W F Deedes - "Any chance of seeing lambs soon?" I asked the small farmer who has been feeding a dozen of his sheep off a stretch of my grass. "Afraid not," he said. "Too many foxes in the wood."… A reminder, I thought, that foxes are not half as cuddly and innocent as the animal-loving lobby recently sought to persuade us. (story)

Guardian 1.4.05 New Labour lines up countryside role for Charles - Tony Blair is planning to offer Prince Charles the role of "countryside tsar" in a third-term Labour government, the Guardian has learned…. Labour insiders also hope that the prince will help mend fences with rural voters, disenchanted by the government's handling of foot and mouth, BSE and fox hunting…. The prince is understood to have made it a condition of taking the job that a third term Labour government would reverse its ban on fox hunting. One Downing Street source said: "Tony's very relaxed about it, so long as it can be re-branded as a sport for the many, not the few."… (story)

Surrey Mirror 1.4.05 Hunt ban also helps badgers - ADELE Brand was spot on when she addressed some of the myths that exist in relation to foxes and the reasons given to justify fox hunting (Letters, March 23). There is absolutely no scientific basis for the claim that hunting foxes controls their population…. Raymong Ings chairman East Surrey Badger Protection Society, Godstone Road, Caterham (letter)
Surrey Mirror 25.3.05 Let us learn to live with local wildlife - AS a wildlife scientist who grew up in a rural area of Tandridge, I am frustrated and angered by the attempts of the hunting lobby to mislead the public over fox ecology. Odd as it may seem, killing foxes does not necessarily alter the density of the species in a given area. There is evidence that new foxes will simply move into the vacated territory… As Mrs Bernard's letter illustrates, the debate has too often been "how do we kill foxes?" not "what is the best way to live alongside foxes?"… Let us all reject the negativity of the hunting lobby and find a better, more sustainable relationship with our local wildlife. Adele Brand Nasmith Road, Norwich (letter)
Surrey Mirror 11.3.05 Hunting is fastest way to kill foxes - IN RESPONSE to the "I plan to protest" letter from Sonia Odds about hunting after the hunt ban, I would like to point out that killing foxes is not illegal. There does appear to be a huge amount of confusion about this bill and many hunt protestors appear to believe that the hunt ban has made killing foxes illegal. It has not…. The hunt ban now means that it is illegal to kill a fox with a pack of dogs, which was actually the fastest and cleanest means of killing foxes. Of course, if all those with firearm certificates were crack shots who never missed and always killed outright it might be a viable alternative. Sadly that is not so… Abigail Bernard, (Mrs) Oxted (letter)
Surrey Mirror 4.3.05 I plan to protest with a placard - I WAS sickened by the letters excusing breaking the law on hunting. I am in my 70s but I am going out next Saturday. Although I can't run fast any more I am going to stand in the road in Burstow with my placard saying "YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW. STOP KILLING FOXES"…. Sonia Odds, Cheyne Walk, Horley (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.4.05 BLAIR ON A LOSER - Even the most stalwart Blair supporter can see he has become the biggest vote loser to the New Labour Party. Due to a multitude of bad judgements and his personal attitude to the electorate, he personally is losing support from all sections of the community, from the robbed pensioners, to the shoddy school meals parents; from ethnic migrants and the hunting fraternity, to the neighbours of travellers. Hugh Cameron Heswall Merseyside (letter)

Harborough Mail 1.4.05 Beware these spiteful actions - WHAT a strange country this has become. While we allow known terrorists out of custody to walk free and remain in this country to plan death and destruction among us, as well as giving them benefit handouts of £1,000 per month, we have a government that seeks to criminalise law-abiding country folk for enjoying a centuries-old tradition…. J C Stephenson, Sywell Road, Holcot (letter)

Worcester Evening News 1.4.05 Lords were to blame - BOB Brierley has got his facts all wrong. Mr Blair was not the reason that so much time was given to the Hunting Bill. It was the unelected House of Lords… E WILLIAMS (Mrs), Worcester. (letter)