Hunting Bill August-October 2003

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DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Eaton
Chester Chronicle 31.10.03 Duke's hunting support is snared by law breaking By David Holmes Chester Chronicle - A RALLY on the Duke of Westminster's estate has had to be moved after he discovered the event promoted law-breaking… While the Duke supports the broader aims of the Alliance to protect the rural way of life he was uneasy at the precise nature of this event because those attending will be asked to sign a declaration which commits them to breaking the law by hunting even if a ban is imposed…. (story)
Daily Post 13.10.03 Hunters take to streets in protest By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff - CHESHIRE'S fox hunting fraternity is to take to the streets in a bid to stop blood sport being banned… The protest has been organised by the Countryside Alliance and will be held at Eaton Aerodrome, Cheshire, on November 1… It is one of 12 meetings being held across England and Wales. Foxhounds, lurchers, greyhounds, beagles, minkhounds, terriers and other hunting and working dogs will all be present… (story)
Daily Post 10.10.03 Duke backs hunt rally By Andrew Forgrave And Sam Lister - THE Duke of Westminster has given his blessing to a public show of defiance by the fox hunting fraternity. A protest hunt is to be held on the Duke's Eaton estate on the Welsh borders, at which riders and followers will pledge to break the law if hunting is banned…. It will involve hunts from Cheshire, Manchester, Mersey-side and North Wales, including the Wynnstay Hunt, based at Bangor-on-Dee… Gregg Metcalfe, from the North West division of the League Against Cruel Sports, has condemned the Eaton protest… (story)
Chester Chronicle 10.10.03 Duke okays hunt rally By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle - THE Duke of Westminster is to host a rally which will encourage hunt supporters to break the law. The Countryside Alliance, which will gather on the Eaton estate aerodrome next month, is gearing up for a fight in case the Government decides to push through Parliament a complete ban on hunting…. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 31.10.03 NOTTS MP'S HUNTING PLEA - Notts Mp Graham Allen has reiterated his plea for the Government to use the Parliament Act to push through the Hunting Bill... (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 31.10.03 MASS MEET WILL SHOW DEPTH OF OPPOSITION - A mass meet of hunting supporters is being held in Tonbridge on Saturday, November 1. This will be attended by people from 20 packs of hounds in the south east as well as gundogs, terriers and lurchers (and their owners) and those who support the hunting way of life... Graeme Worsley, MFH Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Foxhounds, Effingham Lane, Copthorne
Regarding the hunting Bill, civil disobedience would be a justifiable response to any law which is simply based on prejudice... Otherwise it could easily be argued that anti-Catholic laws passed by the Unionist majority in Northern Ireland were justified merely on the basis that a parliamentary majority voted for them. James Shepherd, Grove Hill Gardens, Tunbridge Wells (letters)

Basingstoke Gazette 31.10.03 Call for an end to suffering - I see the Vyne and Craven Hunt will be joining a protest against the proposed Government ban on hunting with hounds next month. I also note their "declaration of non co-operation with any ban", meaning - presumably - their intention to break the law. Shouldn't those who torment and kill our wildlife for "sport", who have pledged to break the law, be finding something more important to break the law for?... Marcia Guess, Action For Animals, Basingstoke. (letter in archive)

Coventry Evening Telegraph 31.10.03 Accusations fly as Lords block Hunting Bill - Fox hunters in Warwickshire have reacted with cynicism after a Bill banning fox hunting ran out of debating time in the House of Lords… fox hunting activists in Warwickshire believe the issue was deliberately not given enough time for proper debate in the House of Lords, and too few Labour peers took part in the debate to meet the required quorum for a vote on the legislation… (story)

Telegraph 31.10.03 Our wonderful aspect - It is with great pleasure that I read (News, Oct 30) that a new hunting Bill has been blocked by the House of Lords.... I am so glad that the Lords have stopped this malicious attack on a wonderful aspect of your country. From: Thomas Shanahan, Fairlight, Australia (letter)

Wells Journal 30.10.03 CHANCE TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR HUNT - Roger Scruton Joint Founder of the Hunting Declaration Initiative (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 28.10.03 JOIN US TO DEFY BAN ON FOX HUNTING - This coming Saturday is Declaration Day, when hunt followers and their supporters all over the kingdom invite those who intend to defy any ban on hunting to declare their intention to do so. The South West Meet will be held at Honiton Showground… A law banning hunting, after the Government's process of consultation and inquiry has produced no argument what so ever for a ban and would constitute a gross injustice to those for whom hunting is not just a recreation but a way of life. ROGER SCRUTON, Joint Founder of the Hunting Declaration Initiative, Chippenham, Wilts (letter)

Craven Herald 31.10.03 … Statistical juggling - Supposing that some, several or even all of the 18 per cent agreeing with the first question are also among the 41 per cent that agree with the second question. Then, surely, in the worst case, the final figure supporting hunting could be as small as 23 per cent!... T Hall, Haw Park, Embsay.
Proper poll … Well said, Peter Hobson, let us have a poll carried out by a democratic organisation and then see what percentage of the public condone this barbaric sport. Daphne Murgatroyd, Marton Road, Gargrave (letters in archive)

Craven Herald 24.10.03 Bored of hunting - In response to the letter questioning the figures given on Countryside Alliance posters, can I suggest that the posters should read: 59 per cent of the public know little about hunting, are enormously bored of the subject and think that it is a shocking waste of Parliamentary time!... Simply visit a kennels, spend a day on foot in our beautiful countryside watching hounds work and talk to the myriad of people who are involved in this activity… Now, ask yourself what should really be occupying our politicians, our protesters and our animal welfare charities. Charlie Reynard, Gargrave Road, Skipton
Simple figures In response to the letter posed by Katie and Josie Timmins: The figure of 59 per cent who said "keep hunting" came from an NOP poll when 18 per cent agreed with the statement that "hunting should be allowed to continue as it is now because it is essentially a matter of civil liberties". Forty one per cent of those questioned agreed with the statement that "allowing hunting to continue under regulation would strike a balance between civil liberties and animal welfare"… SEB Clowes, Lawkland Green, Austwick. (letters)
Craven Herald 17.10.03 I have noticed, like your previous correspondent that the countryside has become littered by the pro-hunt lobby telling us that 59 per cent of the public back hunting. Could I ask the question, where was this poll carried out?... Let's put one fact on record. This is not a ban on hunting going through Parliament. This is a ban on hunting with dogs. What kind of sport is it that accepts one animal being torn to shreds by another? I hunt with a rifle. I never fire unless a clean kill is the outcome… I for one take great exception that because I live and work - and I have always lived and worked in the country - I must support hunting with dogs as outlined by the pro-hunt lobby. This is not the case. Peter Hobson, The Green, Settle. (letter in archive)
Craven Herald 17.10.03 I see that Katie and Josie Timmins are questioning the validity of the Countryside Alliance poll on hunting… They stated the Alliance poll questions were ambiguous and suffered from flawed logic. In a recent BBC Online poll, the question could not have been more straightforward: "Should hunting with dogs be banned - Yes or No"? The result was: yes 25 per cent, no 75 per cent…. B Robinson, Midland Terrace, Hellifield. (letter in archive)
Craven Herald 3.10.03 On travelling to work via our usual route between Skipton and Settle, we have become increasingly aware of a number of signs appearing along the roadside stating that "59 per cent of the public oppose a ban on hunting"… When foxhunters pursued a terrified fox into the playground of the school where our mother worked, their hounds tearing it apart in front of my mother and several onlooking children, we decided that fox hunting is a cruel, unnecessary `sport', a belief, which is substantiated by scientific evidence…. Katie and Josie Timmins, Commercial Street, Settle. (letter in archive)

Post & Times 31.10.03 I RESERVE COMMENTS FOR THOSE THAT DESERVE THEM - Might I reply to R Peddle? My knowledge of hunting was gained in the university of life where my mentors and tutors were the finest of their generation…. I would remind the fox-chasers of the old saying 'If you want to kick a tiger up his backside, you had better have a plan for dealing with his teeth'. Neil Seaton Clowneholme Marston Bank Rocester (letter)
Post & Times 17.10.03 RIDDLE OF A SILENCE Dear Sir, - In recent weeks I have read letters for and against foxhunting, or fox-chasing as one correspondent calls it, though what the difference is, I don't know. I would like to know if Neil Seaton's knowledge is first or second-hand and are his letters all tongue-in-cheek? Are they written and signed by him? (Yes - Ed)…. R Peddle Rocester (letter)
Post & Times 12.9.03 ANTI-HUNT LOT VIOLENT - You will have noticed how letters from most correspondents opposed to hunting are little more than hate-filled diatribes against those who support the freedom to hunt. They appear incapable of putting a case without descending to personal abuse. Unimpressed of Marchington, August 28; and Cynthia Lubacz, September 5, are good examples of the genre. Thus hunting people - hooray-Henrys - "enjoy seeing foxes ripped to bits in front of their glinting eyes" with "slavering, bloodlusting, gaping, weak-chinned jaws"… Far from hunting people being the instigators of violence, it is a fact UK Security Services have upgraded their assessment of the threats posed by animal rights inspired violence to a level higher than the IRA. Peter Presland Mappleton Ashbourne (letter)
Post & Times 5.9.03 WHY ALLOW THIS KILLING? - Having just read an account of two outings by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds in my national newspaper of August 21, I would beg the indulgence of another public 'rant' against the depravity and cruelty of hunting with hounds… The two hunt monitors, employed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, whom the broadsheet reporter accompanied have paid a high price for their defence of the defenceless against these 'non violent' people…. Ordinary, hard working, law abiding, deserving of respect or consideration from the rest of us? I don't think so, Mr Presland. Yes, they reduce one to ranting. Cynthia Lubacz Abbey Green Road Leek (letter)
Staffordshire Post & Times 22.8.03 CARING FACE OF THE HUNT - Regarding Peter Presland's eloquent defence of those who hunt foxes, I must say that he has rather shot himself in the foot by claiming that hunters are the fox's best friends... Just how, if your claim is true, are sick members of the hunting fraternity actually nurturing Britain's fox population?... I suppose Mr Presland and his hooray-Henry pals will next be asking us to believe that they run 'fox hospitals' for poor little beasts who have lamed themselves while successfully fleeing for their lives from a hunt... Unimpressed Marchington (letter)
Staffordshire Post & Times 22.8.03 A STRANGE RESPONSE - At last a foxchase supporter has decided to cease 'running mule' but, not surprisingly, decides to write over 200 words mainly attacking a lady's views on his sport.... His comment about fewer than 10 farmers warning the foxchasers off nearly left me lost for words... Neil Seaton Rocester (letter)
Post & Times 15.8.03 TRACY WAS RANTING - Dear Sir, - In a letter of just 180 words, Tracy Gibbons describes hunting as abhorrent, a blatantly evil activity, a repulsive indulgence, a glaringly horrific practice and hunting people as sick and sadistic, lacking decency and not civilised (Foxhunting Is Wrong, August 8). I suggest such rantings tell us more about her feverish state of mind than ever they do about hunting and hunting people… Contrary to another of her assertions, the vast majority of farmers support the freedom to hunt - 98 per cent according to the latest survey in Farmers' Weekly, as do 59 per cent of the general public… Peter Presland Mappleton (letter)
Post & Times 8.8.03 FOXHUNTING IS WRONG -As an avid reader of your paper I tend to learn something new each week, but not always something pleasant. Having read scores of opinions expressed over the last few years by Cllr Brookes and Cllr Atkins, all of which I agreed with, I was horrified to see their refusals to condemn the abhorrent practice of foxhunting, but delighted to see the spirited letter you printed from Mr Seaton showing these hunters in their true colours. Both councillors are also farmers, but surveys have shown that most farmers are against this blatantly evil activity... Tracy Gibbons Marchington (letter)
Post & Times 1.8.03 PURPOSE FOR BLOODLUST - So fox hunting should not be banned, according to borough councillors David Brookes and Philip Atkins… Name and address supplied (letter)
Post & Times 25.7.03 HUNT UTTERLY CRUEL SPORT - Re the attack on our local MP Janet Dean by Cllr Brookes on her support for the abolition of fox hunting. I will make this letter short and sweet, not like the half page that Cllr Brookes and his co-dignitary Cllr Atkins were allowed... Would the two councillors deny, through these columns, that what I have described is anything short of barbaric, sadistic cruelty in the extreme? Donald Eccleston Westlands Road Uttoxeter (letter)
The Sentinel 11.7.03 ANGER OVER SUPPORT FOR FOX HUNTING BAN - JAMES MCMATH - Tory councillor David Brookes has blasted Uttoxeter MP Janet Dean's support for a total ban on fox hunting and said the Government as a whole had shown "no respect to the democracy and history" of Britain…. Councillor Brookes was supported by fellow councillor and farmer Philip Atkins who said, although he never participated in the hunt, he was against the ban…. (story)

Gloucestershire Gazette 24.10.03 Foxes die in agony - Call me sanctimonious if it makes you feel better about yourself, Maggie Hughes, but I at least accept the harsh realities of life that face all inhabitants of this planet… When are you going to realise that the Hunting Bill is not concerned with animal welfare?... P Berwick, Court Orchard, Wotton-under-Edge (letter in archive)
Gloucestershire Gazette 24.10.03 Leave fox control to nature - I took great interest in the letter in last week's Gazette by R Westland of London and his/her view that, if fox-hunting were to be banned, it would result in the decline or extinction of the fox… I believe that our healthy population of foxes is due more that hunting them is pretty ineffective and also would like to remind R W that foxes and the creatures they evolved from have been around a lot longer than we humans have… Mr ANTI Hunt, Name and address withheld (letter in archive)
Gloucestershire Gazette 17.10.03 Give us a reasoned argument - In echo of Maggie Hughes I am not an urbanite yet am against hunting. Hunt supporters claim that anti-hunt protesters are ignorant of country living as they have no better argument…. In my opinion hunt supporters think they are of a higher social class thus have rights to do what they want because they have money! I challenge hunt supporters to give a reasoned argument. Mrs P Young, Cherry Orchard, Wotton-under-Edge (letter in archive)
Gloucestershire Gazette 14.10.03 Perhaps the hunt has got it right - I have lived all of my 48 years in London but I am a regular visitor to your neck of the woods and a regular reader of your excellent newspaper. I've never been on a hunt (not even to watch) and I have no desire to start now. I have great deal of respect for people like Maggie Hughes and others like her who deplore hunting. However, their logic is flawed. Listening to their arguments you'd be forgiven for thinking that a ban on hunting was some kind of good news day for foxes. It's nothing of the kind. More like, it's a death knell… It you want to continue to enjoy the sight of foxes frolicking in our countryside then you had better start supporting you local hunt. The alternative is too dire to contemplate. R Westland, Alderney Road, Stepney, London (letter in archive)


Telegraph 30.10.03 Bill to ban hunting is blocked by Lords By Andrew Sparrow - Downing Street refused to commit itself to a new Hunting Bill yesterday after the House of Lords blocked attempts to ban the sport. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the Government would "reflect on what has happened" after the current Bill ran out of time in the Lords.... Prince Philip gave his backing yesterday to hunting, shooting and fishing, telling the 25th anniversary meeting of the standing conference on Countryside Sports in London they had a vital role to play in rural conservation. (story)

Guardian 30.10.03 Pro-bloodsport peers block anti-hunting bill - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - A bill to ban hunting with dogs was blocked by pro-hunting peers in protest at the time allocated to its debate… (story)

Times 30.10.03 Hunting Bill runs out of time in Lords BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - LABOUR’S latest attempt to ban foxhunting was declared dead yesterday after it floundered in the Lords. Ministers and peers were locked in angry recriminations after the Government called a halt to debate of the Hunting Bill, claiming that Conservative peers were filibustering. The Tories and pro-hunting Labour peers said the Bill should have been given more time…. (story)

Western Mail 30.10.03 Hunting Bill blocked as Lords run out of time - AN imminent ban on fox- hunting appeared dead in the water yesterday after the House of Lords ran out of time to debate the Hunting Bill…. Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, who watched Tuesday's debate, said, "The House of Lords is arrogantly defying the public mood and the will of MPs. Any hope of compromise is now truly dead." (story)
Western Mail 30.10.03 Row that's been rumbling since Labour swept to power - Duncan Higgitt, The Western Mail - MOVES by Labour MPs to ban fox-hunting have been debated in Parliament ever since Labour swept to power in 1997.... (story)

Western Daily Press 30.10.03 NOT THE FIRST DIRECT ACTION - I NOTE that the Countryside Alliance is heavily promoting and maybe actively supporting a 'Declaration Day' on 1st November. This is an invitation for pro-hunting extremists to declare that they will break any legislation banning hunting… my message to those considering signing the declaration is this: Don't be so silly. David Taylor Lockyers Farm, Dundon, Somerton (letter)

Western Morning News 30.10.03 Fit to hold a gun? DOES anyone residing in the British countryside feel physically safe, now that gun owning hunters are pledging to break the law, if the Hunt Bill succeeds, and the bloodsport is therefore banned? What are we to make of the many licensed gun owners who will turn out on November 1 to support the "register" of would-be criminals? Can they be regarded as "fit and proper persons", to hold such weapons… Sandy Moorhouse, Plymouth (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 30.10.03 GOVERNMENT MUST FOLLOW THROUGH ON THIS PLEDGE - The fact that Camilla Parker-Bowles has a bad back and can't hunt now, Points of view October 21, unfortunately does not remove the seemingly formidable barrier this Government has to overcome in banning hunting with dogs. Prince Charles and Prince William, among other royals and aristocrats, still go out with the Beaufort Hunt…. The fact that it's a cruel and evil indulgence has apparently by-passed their sensitivity towards other sentient beings. C Curran, Tiverton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 21.10.03 BARRIER IS REMOVED NOW THAT CAMILLA CAN'T HUNT Elsie van der Steen, Cecilia Road, Paignton (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 20.10.03 NO SYMPATHY FOR FOX HUNTER … there is now hope the blood-lust pastime will pass into history where it belongs since it has been reported that Mrs Parker-Bowles has had to give up… It is impossible to feel any sympathy for her. ELSIE VAN DER STEEN Cecilia Road, Paignton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 30.10.03 NOW'S THE TIME TO STOP BREEDING DOGS THAT KILL Emma Milne, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London (letter)
Bath Chronicle 30.10.03 FOXES NOT THE ONLY CASUALTIES - EMMA MILNE, The International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 30.10.03 HOUNDS SUFFER DUE TO HUNTING SEASON - On November 1, the official start of the fox-hunting season, hunters plan to declare their intention to break the law once hunting is banned. A statement about the hounds killed by hunts each year would be a more telling declaration… It is high time hunts acted responsibly and stopped breeding litters of puppies as the only sensible and humane response to the legislation that lies ahead. Emma Milne, International Fund For Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London. (letter)


Taunton Times 29.10.03 CAMPAIGNER SLAMS HUNTERS VOWING TO DISOBEY A BAN - A leading anti-hunt campaigner in Taunton Deane has slammed hunting groups who vow to disobey a ban on blood sports. Diana Wilson, chairman of the Conservative Anti-Hunt Council in Taunton, branded the actions of hunters planning to ignore proposed laws as "unacceptable" behaviour…. (story)

Telegraph 29.10.03 Lords kill off Hunting Bill - The Hunting Bill, which MPs had amended in June to ban fox hunting in England and Wales, has effectively been killed off in the Lords after it became clear there was not enough time left to debate it… (story)

Sky News 29.10.03 PEERS BLAME EACH OTHER - An imminent ban on fox-hunting has been delayed after the House of Lords ran out of time to debate the Bill. The Hunting Bill, which MPs had amended in June to ban fox hunting in England and Wales, was effectively killed off in a Tuesday night vote by peers…. (story)

Western Morning News 29.10.03 LORDS REJECT HUNTING BAN - JASON GROVES AND SARAH PITT - Peers last night signalled their determination to fight plans for a hunting ban to the end, as they defeated the Government in a series of votes on the controversial Hunting Bill. The House of Lords, which rejected the principle of a total ban on hunting last week, emphasised their opposition to the Government's plans last night as they fleshed out proposals for an alternative system of licensed hunts…. (story)

Express 29.10.03 Lords kill off Hunting Bill - The Hunting Bill, which MPs had amended in June to ban fox hunting in England and Wales, has effectively been killed off in the Lords when it became clear there was not enough time left to debate it. Peers voted, by 74 to 34, to adjourn the Bill's committee stage to another day. But junior environment minister Lord Whitty warned: "I am advised that it is now impossible to complete the committee stage this session."… (story)

Scotsman 29.10.03 Peers defy Commons over bill to ban hunt - JOHN INNES - PRO-HUNTING peers last night voted to delete the government’s proposed ban on hare coursing…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 29.10.03 Hunting Bill founders as the Lords drag their feet - ANY imminent ban on foxhunting appeared dead in the water after the House of Lords ran out of time to debate the Hunting Bill… (story in archive)

BBC News Online 29.10.03 Peers delay hunting bill - An imminent ban on fox hunting ban seems unlikely after the House of Lords ran out of time to fully debate the Hunting Bill… (story)

Yorkshire Post 29.10.03 Hunters under fire From: W B Thompson, Park House Green, Harrogate - MaY I say that hunts regularly break their own rules, such as digging into badger sets, creating artificial earths, "bagging" foxes to hunt later, leaving carcasses lying about the countryside to encourage foxes, trespassing on land where they know perfectly well they are not welcome. All these are documented and available to those who care to look… (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.10.03 WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO KILL? - What bugs me in this whole debate concerning foxes and deer is that people consider they have a divine right to pick and choose the animals they like and the animals they do not like… T Mattocks Taunton Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.10.03 LOCK HUNTERS UP AS YOBS - Tally-ho! So here we go again, the yobs of the hunting fraternity will break the law should hunting with dogs become illegal. Why am I not surprised at that? The answer surely is to use one of the disused MoD properties to incarcerate the criminals, then call for volunteers from the law-abiding community to guard them. My name would be top of the list and I would do it for free… J Crole Street Somerset (letter)


BBC News Online 28.10.03 Lords reject coursing ban - Peers have "arrogantly" defied public opinion by rejecting a ban on hare coursing, an anti-hunt campaigner has claimed. Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said a House of Lords decision rejecting a ban had killed any hope of compromise on the government's Hunting Bill…. the Upper House has voted by 129 to 59 to remove the part of the bill that would outlaw hare coursing… (story)

Dorset Daily Echo 28.10.03 Hunt decision sparks debate - A HOUSE of Lords vote to fox the government's plans to ban hunting has sparked mixed views in the New Forest…. Ken James of the New Forest animal protection group claimed the Lords' support for licensed hunts, the so-called middle way, was `a muddled way'…. But New Forest Hounds spokesman Graham Ferris said he was delighted with the outcome of the Lords debate… (story in archive)

Western Morning News 28.10.03 HUNTING WITH DOGS 'TO BE BANNED NEXT YEAR' - JASON GROVES LONDON EDITOR - Anti-hunt MPs yesterday stepped up the pressure on Prime Minister Tony Blair to ignore opinion in the House of Lords and press ahead with an all-out ban on hunting with dogs next year. Almost 150 backbench MPs signed a Commons motion calling on the Government to reintroduce the controversial Hunting Bill in next month's Queen's Speech… (story)

Western Daily Press 28.10.03 A REASON WE DRESS 'FUNNY' - Mike Hobday really showed his ignorance in Thursday's Western Daily Press when interviewed about hunting. He obviously has never asked people who hunt why we wear "funny clothes" (his words). The clothes are all designed for safety, warmth and comfort, and have stood the test of time for many centuries…. Chris Weir Stetcholt Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Worcester Evening News 28.10.03 We're responsible for managing wildlife - FROM his latest anti-hunting letter (You Say, Tuesday, October 14) it is obvious that Maurice Brett's argument for a hunting ban is totally void of any realism… Hunting with hounds is one option that offers good control with the same, if not better, animal welfare standards than the alternatives. JON BURGESS, Malvern Link. (letter in archive)

Worcester Evening News 28.10.03 You'd think this was a euthanasia service - ARTHUR Dowty described the anti-hunt movement as a vociferous minority and ignorant of the facts…. Reading Mr Dowty's letter, one would think the pro-hunters fraternity are administering some sort of rural euthanasia service to the sick, lame and wounded foxes…. L SPITERI, Worcester. (letter in archive)


Hull Daily Mail 27.10.03 FOX HUNTERS SEND DEFIANT MESSAGE - The unmistakable sound of horses trotting along the tiny country roads signalled the start of the hunting season - and a message of defiance. It comes as members of Holderness Hunt pledged to continue their country pursuit, even if it is banned by MPs… Next weekend Holderness Hunt members are meeting with others at a mass gathering in North Yorkshire to sign a pledge to defy any future ban…. (story)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 27.10.03 MP backing calls for hunting ban By Clare Cadwallader - A Stourbridge MP has spoken up in favour of a ban on hunting, after peers in the House of Lords made a last ditch attempt to enable hunting to continue under licence. Debra Shipley has called for a close to the debate by ending hunting altogether, after a vote on registered hunting was passed last week…. (story)

Northern Echo 27.10.03 HUNTING - IT is very disturbing that huge numbers of people throughout the country are contemplating signing a declaration stating that they are prepared to challenge an impending law… I would encourage all who value their liberty to stand up and be counted by attending the North-East Meet at Trimdon on November 1 at 10am. - Angela Vaux, North East Regional Chairman, Countryside Alliance. (letter in archive)


Observer 26.10.03 For the record - 'Blair's ally defends right to hunt foxes' (News, last week) said that the Government had the option to use the Parliament Act to force an end to hunting with dogs 'by Christmas'…. In practical terms, that means Christmas next year. (story)

Observer 26.10.03 Wrong is wrong - I was dismayed by your editorial calling for the hunting with dogs Bill to be sidelined on the grounds that there are far more cruel practices… If something is wrong, then it's wrong. Russ Tippins, Newcastle upon Tyne (letter)
Observer 19.10.03 The wrong fox - Animal welfare knows worse scandals - Leader - One of the most hypocritical Bills of modern times returns to Parliament this week when the House of Lords debates the latest proposal to outlaw hunting with dogs…. Each year, hunting with dogs kills 75,000 foxes, more than 1,500 hares, 1,000 mink and 150-200 deer. It seems a lot. But the figures are dwarfed by the hundreds of millions of farm birds and animals cramped wretchedly into cages and bred to grow so fast that their limbs break and vital organs fail… (story)


Western Daily Press 25.10.03 MPS CALL ON BLAIR TO FORCE THROUGH THE HUNTING BILL - More than 150 Labour MPs have got together to press Tony Blair to include the controversial Hunting Bill in next month's Queen's Speech. A dozen South West MPs are among those who have now accepted that hunting with dogs cannot now be banned in this Parliament, but are pledging to keep up the fight… (story)
Gloucester Citizen 25.10.03 MPS PUT PRESSURE ON FOR HUNTING BAN Ministers have been urged by three Gloucestershire MPs to press on with a ban against hunting even if it means overruling the House of Lords. Gloucester's Labour MP Pamjit Dhanda, Cheltenham's Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones and Diana Organ, the Labour MP for the Forest of Dean, are among more than 150 signatories of an Early Day Motion calling on the Government to re-introduce the Hunting Bill in next month's Queen's Speech… (story)

York Evening Press 25.10.03 Safer racing plea - IN response to Dr Campbell's letter (October 18) it is widely recognised foxes are encouraged to breed for the pleasure of the hunts…. Horses are not only injured and destroyed in the Grand National. In incidents at York races, one at a Sunday meeting last month and one at the last Saturday meeting in October, two horses were injured and destroyed. I realise that if it wasn't for racing the beautiful Arab horses would not be bred. I just wish the courses and conditions could be made safer… Ms S Stockton, Bishopthorpe Road, York. (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 18.10.03 Hunt ban tyranny S Stockton's shock at vets supporting hunting owes more to Beatrix Potter and Walt Disney than any sense of animal welfare… A fox is dead by the time the hounds "rip it to pieces". As for the expressed concern for horses being ridden on hunts, then one should surely ban show jumping, National Hunt racing, and eventing… It will not be long before the distinction between the RSPCA and the Animal Liberation Front is very fine…. Dr Duncan Campbell, Albemarle Road, York (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 16.10.03 I thought they cared I WAS amazed to read in the Evening Press about the pro-hunt vets (October 8). Surely, this is contrary to their ethics… To hunt an animal to the point of exhaustion and then witness it being ripped apart is an abomination on God's creatures… S Stockton, Bishopthorpe Road, York. (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Post 9.10.03 'Humane' vets support hunt in Yorkshire - A GROUP of vets which insists hunting is not cruel to animals joined a Yorkshire hunt yesterday. About 30 members of Vets for Hunting, which has about 500 members, travelled from all parts of the country to take part in the Middleton Hunt, near Malton, in North Yorkshire... (story)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald 8.10.03 A hunting we will go - THIRTY veterinary surgeons from across the country joined a Ryedale hunt today. Members of Vets For Hunting, 20 mounted and ten on foot, rode with the Middleton Hunt, starting out from TM Abram stud, Busk Hill, Leavening, Burythorpe, at 8am…. (story in archive) (photo)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 3.10.03 Vets to join Ryedale hunt - MEMBERS of a national group for veterinary surgeons who support hunting with dogs are to join a Ryedale hunt. About 30 people from Vets For Hunting will ride with the Middleton Hunt starting out from TM Abram stud, Busk Hill, Westow, Burythorpe, on Wednesday… (story in archive)


Westmorland Gazette 24.10.03 Alliance happy with Lords' hunting vote - THE Countryside Alliance has welcomed a House of Lords vote this week which will see the Hunting Bill re-adjusted to allow fox hunting to continue, but with regulations… (story)

Somerset County Gazette 24.10.03 Lords vote sets hunt debate on course for collision - THE House of Lords set itself on a collision course with MPs this week after voting overwhelmingly against an outright ban on hunting… (story in archive)

Nottingham Evening Post 24.10.03 NO EXCUSE FOR BREAKING THE LAW - Michael Humphrey of Willoughby on the Wolds, who hunts with the Quorn, assures us that "a law that is not... for a reasonable sensible purpose, is a bad law" (Post, Oct 14)…. Does it also mean that anyone who acts illegally can hide behind this dictate?... NORMAN ELSDON Oakdale Road Carlton (letter)


Coventry Evening Telegraph 23.10.03 Tally-ho for pro-hunters - Members of Stratford District Council have controversially decided to back the House of Lords attempt to wreck a hunting ban. Councillors voted to register their disgust of the government's proposed full ban on hunting, saying it turned ordinary people into common criminals…. The vote came just as the House of Lords voted to lift the hunting ban and as the Countryside Alliance announced details of its Declaration Day event which the Warwickshire Hunt will attend… (story)

Worcester Evening News 23.10.03 Pro-hunt lobby backs Lords vote - PRO-hunting lobbyists in Worcestershire have supported the House of Lords' decision to throw out calls for a ban on hunting with dogs. Worcestershire hunt spokesman Bob Brierley welcomed the move. He said: "The Lords has made what comes down to a common sense decision,"… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 23.10.03 HYPOCRISY OF HUNT BRIGADE - Reading the Western Daily Press article on October 16, How Can People Be So Wicked And Cruel makes me seriously concerned for the stability of the minds of some members of the horsey community. Reading down the column in order, we have Tony Holdsworth, kennel man for the Beaufort Hunt, showing concern for the bay pony and then having to shoot it. Correct me if I am wrong, but is this not part of his job - either shooting or deciding which hounds are not training well or are too old and must be shot?... M J Maines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 23.10.03 Ban hunting - THE issue of hunting of animals with hounds will again be discussed in Parliament. It is vital that readers write to their MP to insist that they support the necessary legislation to outlaw this cruel and barbaric practice as soon as possible…. PETER BATES, Toothill (letter in archive)

Worcester Evening News 23.10.03 How sporting of the hunters - I HAVE listened to the smug platitudes of the Countryside Alliance pro-hunters. However, I was not convinced especially, when, in an attempt to placate me, I was told, "we only take aged or sick foxes."… a hare will cry like a baby… MARION J LARGE, Worcester… (letter in archive)

Somerset Guardian 23.10.03 DARK DEEDS - The cruel sports fraternity, like other controlling vested interests, never risks being honest about their real intentions, relying on dishonest methods to achieve their aim…. D THOMAS Westbury (letter)

Shropshire Star 23.10.03 Foxes are hounded to death - I write in support of the letter by V Duncalfe, responding to that of Mr Kerswell. A significant number of foxes that do get away from the hounds are nevertheless doomed to die of myopathy and subsequent shock…. S Campbell, Cardiff (letter)
Shropshire Star 7.10.03 Dumping of foxes is so cruel - I'm afraid I must disagree with V Duncalfe, Shropshire Star, September 24. Mr Kerswell is a true countryman, and I find his letters most interesting. You say a healthy wildlife can manages itself, why then all the worry about the wild deer in Scotland? Why were unwanted urban foxes dumped in the Bucknell area this spring? I consider it to be cruel…. A Middleton Bucknell (leter)
Shropshire Star 2.10.03 Better off if it's shot - So Mr D G Morris refers to my recent Shropshire Star letter as "a load of rubbish" and this is followed by a request for "names" to substantiate my accusations… How well I remember an incident on my uncle's farm… To witness that fox coming from the copse with a dozen dogs on its heels, and the pounce and eventual end was horrendous…. Mrs V Duncalfe, Address supplied (letter)
Shropshire Star 24.9.03 Hunt thirst for blood to blame - Reading Mr Kerswell's letter it is quite obvious he has very little knowledge where foxes are concerned. I prefer to accept the findings of two eminent professors from Oxford and Bristol Universities, rather than the utter ridiculous nonsense in his letter… V Duncalfe, Address supplied (letter)
Shropshire Star 10.9.03 Animal will kill for the blood lust - Recent correspondence about foxes show an ignorance of wild animals and their behaviour…. Hunting foxes given them a healthy fear of humans and dogs, not a terror, because a hunted fox which gets away soon recovers its strength… An urban fox would certainly kill and eat a baby if it had the chance, and best the way to avoid such horror is to only allow a truly wild fox population… W F Kerswell, Church Stretton (letter)


Guardian 22.10.03 Peers reverse ban on hunting - Minister threatens enforcement - Sarah Hall, political correspondent - The government warned peers yesterday that they risked creating a constitutional impasse after they rejected a ban on hunting and reinstated proposals allowing regulated hunts. A cross party amendment to the Hunting Bill allowing registered hunting to continue was passed by 261 votes to 49… (story)
Guardian 22.10.03 Peers scent blood as they go in for the kill - Simon Hoggart - The House of Lords began its long assault upon the hunting bill yesterday. Or rather it began its long assault on the pitiful remainder of the old hunting bill which had arrived in shreds from the Commons…. (story)

Independent 22.10.03 Defiant peers throw out total ban on fox-hunting By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - The House of Lords voted to throw out proposals for a complete ban on hunting with dogs last night in an act of defiance towards MPs who want to outlaw fox hunting. Peers "disembowled" a bill banning hunting which had been sent to them by the House of Commons and reinstated clauses which would lead to the registering of hunts… (story)

Telegraph 22.10.03 Whitty fury as peers savage hunting Bill By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent - A fierce row broke out in the House of Lords last night as peers started to tear up the main provisions in Labour's anti-hunting Bill. Lord Whitty, an environment minister, almost lost his temper after being accused of "arrogant" and "disgraceful" behaviour by a Tory peer... Yesterday, at the opening of the committee stage debate, Lord Whitty announced that the Government would not willingly accept any of the 100-plus amendments tabled by backbench peers. The Earl of Onslow interrupted to say that he had never heard such "arrogant disregard" for peers' views.... (story)

Times 22.10.03 Angry scenes as Lords reject hunt Bill again BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - THE House of Lords erupted yesterday as peers yet again overturned Labour’s marathon attempt to ban foxhunting. Ministers and Tory peers hurled abuse at each other across the dispatch box as the Upper House inflicted a series of defeats on the troubled Hunting Bill. In a cross-party assault, Labour’s Baroness Mallalieu, president of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, and the Tory Lord Mancroft won overwhelming backing for their amendments to allow licensed hunting to continue… (story)
Times 22.10.03 Noble hounds in hot pursuit of a single word POLITCAL SKETCH BY ANN TRENEMAN … In the Lords, meanwhile, it was hunting. Yes, here they were again, gnawing away on their favourite subject and talking of dogs, foxes, rats, hares, rabbits, squirrels… (story)

Sun 22.10.03 Peers vote to save hunts (story) 22.10.03 England fox hunting ban reversed - LONDON, England (AP) -- The House of Lords on Tuesday reversed a complete ban on fox hunting in legislation approved by the House of Commons, and sent it back to the Commons for another vote… (story)

BBCi 22.10.03 Fox hunting ban rejected by Lords - A complete ban on hunting with dogs has been rejected by the House of Lords…. (story)

Western Morning News 22.10.03 LORDS REJECT BAN ON HUNTING - Defiant peers last night threw out the Government's plans for a total ban on hunting with dogs - setting up a constitutional clash with the House of Commons… (story)
Western Morning News 22.10.03 PEERS SCUPPER BEST LAID PLANS Peers last night put the future of the controversial Hunting Bill back in Tony Blair's court, as London Editor Jason Groves reports - Their Lordships were distinctly out of sorts yesterday. Having been kept up until five in the morning to discuss the controversial Foundation Hospitals Bill they were in no mood to be charitable to the Government's Hunting Bill when they reconvened in the afternoon… (story)

Yorkshire Post 22.10.03 Peers throw out ban on hunting - Pro-hunt peers succeeded last night in reversing the complete ban on hunting backed previously by MPs. A cross-party amendment to the Hunting Bill allowing registered hunting to continue was passed by 261 votes to 49, majority 212. (story)

Gloucester Citizen 22.10.03 HEAD-ON CLASH NEARS OVER HUNTING - The near-inevitable clash between the House of Commons and the House of Lords over fox hunting moved a step closer when peers threw out MPs' overwhelming calls for a total ban on hunting with dogs… (story)

Western Daily Press 22.10.03 BLOW FOR BLAIR AS LORDS VOTE TO THROW OUT TOTAL BAN ON HUNTING - Tony Blair's plans to end all forms of hunting suffered a severe setback last night when the House of Lords voted overwhelmingly against a complete ban on blood sports…. (story)


Ananova 21.10.03 Peers throw out hunting ban - Pro-hunt peers have succeeded in reversing the complete ban on hunting backed previously by MPs. A cross party amendment to the Hunting Bill allowing registered hunting to continue was passed by 261 votes to 49 - a majority of 212… (story)

Western Morning News 21.10.03 BLAIR SUPPORTER JOINS HUNTING BILL OPPONENTS - Tony Blair faces fresh embarrassment over the Government's plans to ban hunting with dogs today when one of his closest political allies speaks out against the move. Millionaire peer Waheed Alli, who was appointed to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister, is one of several Labour peers set to speak against the Government's Hunting Bill when it returns to the Lords for detailed consideration…. (letter)

Guardian 21.10.03 Peers plan to amend hunting bill - Plans to outlaw hunting reveal the "blind prejudice" of MPs and the "duplicity" of the government, the Conservative leader in the Lords claimed today… (story)

BBC News Online 21.10.03 Lords rejects hunting ban - The House of Lords has thrown out MPs' overwhelming calls for an outright ban on hunting with dogs… The vote reinstates the plans for a registration system originally proposed by the government but later rejected in the House of Commons… (story)
BBC News Online 21.10.03 Hunting row returns to Lords - Peers risk creating a "constitutional impasse" if they ignore MPs' calls for an outright ban on hunting with dogs, the government has warned. Environment Minister Lord Whitty made the comments as the Hunting Bill returned to the House of Lords in the latest stage of the long-running hunting row…. (story)
BBC News Online 21.10.03 Hunt deadlock looms By Nick Assinder BBC News Online political correspondent For ordinary citizens it must be one of the most perplexing and unedifying examples of Parliament in action. The sight of a government having to send a bill back to the Lords over and over again as peers refuse to accept the will of MPs seems absurd… No one doubts that feelings are running extraordinarily high on this issue. Both the pro- and anti-hunt lobbies are well organised and perfectly capable of launching large, disruptive protests to back their causes…. (story)
BBC News Online 21.10.03 Timeline: Hunting row - There is a long history of attempts to ban fox hunting - here are some of the key moments, and a look forward to what might happen next… (story)

Western Daily Press 21.10.03 LACS DEMOS ARE PEACEFUL Sir - I found the recent letter from J Parkes a prime example of people in glass houses. He insinuates that the League Against Cruel Sports condones violence. Nothing could be further from the truth - all LACS demonstrations are non-violent and are conducted peacefully, without exception… Has he forgotten already the disgraceful scenes outside the Houses of Parliament during the second reading of the Hunting Bill when a pro-hunt mob attacked police… Jean Turner Plymton Plymouth (letter)

Guardian 21.10.03 New fence for hunt ban - The hunting bill goes into committee stage at the House of Lords today and once again we are hearing cries that the bill poses a threat to civil liberties. But what is the "liberty" hunt supporters wish to preserve? It can only be the liberty to pursue an activity that 80% of the public thinks is cruel… John Rolls, RSPCA, Douglas Batchelor, League Against Cruel Sports, Phyllis Campbell-McRae, International Fund for Animal Welfare (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 21.10.03 FOXHOUNDS IN TRAINING FOR LIFE AFTER THE BAN! We are given the impression that foxhounds need to be hunting all of the time, that they exist for no other purpose. A recent BBC television programme, Inside Out, emphasised this point when the hunt master repeated, more than once, "they are wired to hunt". Shortly after the programme, I spoke to a hunt master, asking him what hounds do between May and August… he told me that they "lounge around the kennels getting fat"… They don't need to be out hunting all of the time, despite what we've been told…. Y Nicola, Tiverton (letter)

Western Daily Press 21.10.03 HUNT PUZZLER - The article about the man who joined the crusade to save the West's hunts was interesting and puzzling. It took Mr Barrington 20 years to change sides. He must have followed a fair few hunts before he saw the light. As he says "it slowly dawned on me". Does that mean there is hope for us "lower working class" people, who, it seems, are full of envy… Pamela Dean Stroud Gloucestershire >(letter)
Western Daily Press 20.10.03 MORE RABBITS WILL SUFFER - Well it looks like Jim ` still has it wrong. Fewer foxes equals more rabbits, rabbits which if not killed by a "swift bite to the back of the neck" by a fox suffer a possible slow, lingering death by shooting… R Lee Witney Oxfordshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 18.10.03 BARBARIC HUNTS WILL BE BANNED - As a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, I was saddened to see that Jim Barrington, once chief executive, has opted to be wined and dined by Captain Ian Farquhar in the beautiful Cotswolds… Hunting will be banned. Rosemary Davies Address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 18.10.03 BARRINGTON IS NO LOSS TO US So you think the loss of Jim Barrington, in your reporter Tristan Cork's words, will "be seen as a major blow to the anti-hunting campaign"?... His "conversion" to the pro-hunt side was never surprising to those who knew him. He is now paid to support the pro-hunting side and therefore his views can be seen as tainted… Neil Lea, Wolverhampton, West Midlands (letter)
Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 17.10.03 'Foxes don't suffer' claim at conference by Steve Barton - habitats possible for wildlife. That was the view of experts in the field of animal welfare and countryside conservation made this week. Jim Barrington, Secretary for the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, was joined by co-founder of Vets for Hunting Dr Lewis Thomas and ecologist and conservationist Desmond Hobson at the conference at the Hare and Hounds Hotel in Westonbirt on Tuesday…. Martin Scott, from Quenington is the ex-master of the Vale of the White Horse hunt and has 56-years hunting experience. He said: "There are so many different aspects to it all at the moment but the animal welfare one is the most pertinent because it's not being addressed by the Government…. (story in archive)
Western Daily Press 15.10.03 WHY I SWAPPED SIDES TO JOIN THE CRUSADE TO SAVE WEST'S FOXHUNTS - For a decade and a half, Jim Barrington led the national campaign to ban hunting. But yesterday, as the war over how to kill a fox enters its last round, he launched a devastating attack on his former comrades. The former chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports sat alongside West hunt leader Captain Ian Farquhar at a Cotswold hotel and called for hunting with dogs to be preserved… In a scathing response to LACS chiefs who said they were absolutely confident hunting would be outlawed by January 2005, Mr Barrington said: "I'm aware they think that, but then I know people who believe that fairies live at the bottom of their gardens." Mr Barrington spoke at a meeting organised by three of the West's biggest hunts, the Vale of the White Horse, the Berkeley and the Beaufort, at the appropriately-named Hare and Hounds Hotel… (story)
Western Daily Press 15.10.03 SHOOTING? IT COULD JUST BE THE CRUEL WAY - A Fresh row erupted yesterday over two conflicting reports on levels of cruelty involved in shooting foxes. Hunt supporters welcomed a report by the Middle Way Group, the parliamentary lobby campaigning for a compromise in the row, which said that around half of all foxes shot were merely wounded and would suffer for hours or days before they died… (story)

Worcester Evening News 21.10.03 Hunting and God's Creation - IN future, Geoffrey K Ryland will do well to get his facts right before he puts pen to paper and scores a few own goals (You Say, Saturday, October 11). The letter to which K Ryland referred was my response to an earlier ridiculous claim by pro-hunting supporter A Cook…. L SPITERI, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 21.10.03 Hunting and God's Creation - TWO letters on the subject of blood "sports" and both of questionable truth and ethics (You Say, Tuesday, October 14)…. As to the matter of hunting being used to maintain the vitality of the fox population by killing the sick and lame, Hitler had the same idea about the mentally ill… BEN EATON, Stourport-on-Severn (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 21.10.03 Sacrifice for entertainment - IF John Burgess reads my letter again, he will see that I was not questioning the counting of votes but rather the areas in which the polls take place…. M J LARGE, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 20.10.03 Vets' views on hunting - MAURICE Brett (You Say, Saturday, October 11) sought to undermine the clear evidence produced by the highly reputable NOP polling company. Their research found the majority of veterinary surgeons do not want to see hunting banned… JON BURGESS, Malvern (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 15.10.03 A feeble show of support - K FLEMMING raises an interesting point (You Say, Thursday, October 2) regarding opposition to hunting. The current Countryside Alliance poster campaign makes use of the slogan "59 per cent of the public say keep hunting"… Various trips around Worcestershire have revealed a placard count of less than 30 in total and two large posters… it is a pretty feeble show of support, given the hype that preceded the campaign…. A REECE, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 14.10.03 No need to say sorry - JON Burgess seems to think that by dismissing any counter argument it will somehow make his own argument more credible… Mr Burgess described one of my recent anti-hunt responses as "making no logical or constructive contribution to the debate." He then offered his own contribution by claiming that the majority of British vets approve of hunting because 500 biased vets said so… L SPITERI, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 14.10.03 A lack of knowledge - JUDGING by his or her letter (You Say, Saturday, October 4) I realise that R A Lane lacks any real knowledge of coursing… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 14.10.03 Hunting issue really about class hatred - I DO not hunt, shoot or engage in that most cruel country sport of angling, but I defend the freedom of those who wish to participate in these activities. This corrupt government, "the best that money can buy" accepted a £1m donation to the Labour Party to ban hunting…. Your vociferous minority who continually peddle their anti-hunting views display a total ignorance of the facts. ARTHUR DOWTY, Ombersley, Droitwich. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 14.10.03 Conclusion must be... just leave foxes alone! - YET again, John Burgess repeats the claim that hunting somehow "manages the fox population" and that it "avoids unnecessary cruelty" (Evening News, Monday, October 6) and yet he must know neither is correct…. MAURICE BRETT, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 11.10.03 Religion used as a weapon I SEE that the anti-hunting lobby is now trying to bring religion in as a weapon against fox hunting… Concern for the fox has always been a secondary by-product of their protestations - my belief is that their main target has always been the huntsman. GEOFFREY K RYLAND, Chaddesley Corbett, Kidderminster. (letter)
Worcester Evening News 11.10.03 Research unreliable - JON Burgess says that "the majority of vets supports a continuation of hunting with hounds". I assume he was referring to a poll of vets conducted in 2001 during which vets were telephoned and asked to take part in an interview on hunting. The same poll that was condemned by Professor Nancarrow of Bristol Business School, Marketing Research as "inconsistent and inconclusive"..... MAURICE BRETT, Bromsgrove (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 10.10.03 Well, that's fine by me - FROM her letter (You Say, Wednesday, September 24) it would appear that I have obviously upset Miss Bonomini… Miss Bonomini doesn't believe God supports hunting. Well, that's fine by me, because I'm not religious, and don't want to be if she's in the congregation. ALAN COOK, Moreton-on-Lugg (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 6.10.03 Hunt more humane than a gun - I TRUST that my letter in response to Mrs M Large (You Say, September 27) will answer the questions regarding veterinary support for hunting raised by Simon Taylor…. R A Lane (You Say, September 27) believes that if hunt supporters were to witness a fox being killed by hounds they might change their view about hunting. An arguable point, but they would also have to see a fox a fortnight after being wounded by shotgun to make a informed decision… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 2.10.03 Only minority in favour of hunting - HUNTERS say vets support hunting, even though millions of citizens with excellent education believe a vet's top priority is to alleviate and stop an animal's pain and suffering. What gullible fools we are… K FLEMMING, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 27.9.03 If 500 vets is a majority then I'm a March hare - AFTER reading Jon Burgess' letter (You Say, Friday, Sept 12) about hunting and vets, it occurred to me that his claims did not appear to add up... Apparently there are around 16,000 vets in practice. If 500 is a majority of 16,000 then I'm a mad March hare... SIMON TAYLOR, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 27.9.03 Here are your answers, Mrs Large - MRS M Large requests clarification on a number of points regarding coursing and hunting (You Say, Saturday, September 20). Veterinary support for hunting was clearly established by an independent poll which found that 55 per cent of all vets and 63 per cent of rural vets support hunting on the grounds of animal welfare... Mrs Large questions my feelings for the hare. Well, I marvel at the beauty of this great athlete and I do whatever I can to help secure its future in our countryside. JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 27.9.03 Thoughts on the fox - JON Burgess (You Say, September 2) writes dispassionately of the insensibility and death of a fox being rarely witnessed by hunt followers.... if they were allowed to see the end of a successful hunt - particularly when a fox goes to ground - I am sure they would have second thoughts. R A LANE, Stonehall Common. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 24.9.03 God has been roped in by the foxhunters - AFTER reading A Cook's letter (You Say, Wednesday, September) I now realise why hunting should continue - because God approves!... Wake up and smell the roses, A Cook .God is not on your side and neither are any logical sentient human beings. L BONOMINI (MISS), Upper Colwall, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 20.9.03 Looking more deeply at hunting - I READ with interest the letter (You Say, Thursday, September 11) from Paul Rone-Clarke on hunting. .... Anyone seeking some perverse enjoyment from killing will find hunting with hounds a complete waste of time. Hounds catching and killing their prey is rarely witnessed by hunt followers. When a fox is caught, insensibility and death happen in seconds with none left wounded to face a lingering death.... if he's prepared to look a deeper into hunting and other country sports, I'm more than happy to help him do so. JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter)
Worcester Evening News 19.9.03 He's offended by tough words - JON Burgess resents any counter-arguments against his beloved blood sport … Ultimately, it doesn't matter if the pro-hunting lobby manages to defeat the Government, because this barbaric pursuit has no place in the 21st Century. If that makes me prejudicial, so be it…. L. SPITERI, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 17.9.03 Hunting scarlet is practical, it's not fashion - IN his letter (You Say, Monday, September 8) L Spiteri continues to show his obsession about hunting people in scarlet coats with remarks about "out-dated costumes" and so on. Hunting clothes are all about protection and have nothing to do with fashion… A COOK, Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 12.9.03 Most vets approve of hunting - THE anti-hunting letter (You Say, September 5) from L Spiteri is riddled with errors and has a total disregard for the facts. The majority of vets supports a continuation of hunting with hounds on the grounds of animal welfare… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 11.9.03 Something bothered me about fox hunting - I FOUND myself listening with interest to a pro-hunting lobbyist in Worcester town centre recently. I nodded in mute agreement to what was being said…. It dawned on me several days later. It was that anyone should seek to gain pleasure from inflicting pain. For me that is what it boils down to…. I have to admit, it is not the fate of the fox that worries me after all. It is the hunters themselves that I have a problem with…. PAUL RONE-CLARKE, Diglis, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 8.9.03 I enjoy eating meat but abhor cruelty to animals - IN reply to Alan Cook (You Say, August 25) as a Christian I enjoy eating meat, just as much as the next person, but I totally abhor all wanton cruelty to animals…. L SPITERI, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 5.9.03 Hunting has no place in 21st Century - JON Burgess described my recent anti-hunt contribution as a hotch-potch of prejudice and ignorance… Mr Burgess and I both know that for every pro-hunt poll, there is a corresponding poll against hunting…. L SPITERI, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 25.8.03 What he really hates is the scarlet coats - I SEE that L Spiteri (You Say, August 11) is back on his soapbox having a pop at Jon Burgess and hunting. Using words like barbaric and bloodthirsty and insinuating country sports are like the slave trade is very offensive and insults the intelligence of any decent person, whether they are pro or anti-hunting.... In You Say can be read his cherished memories of rabbits being knocked on the head and fish hooked and gutted... what he really hates are the hunt followers in scarlet coats. ALAN COOK, Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 20.8.03 Anti-hunt hotch-potch of prejudice and ignorance - THE letter from L Spiteri (You Say, August 8) is a hotch-potch of prejudice and ignorance. To begin with, there is no majority in favour of a hunt ban. Poll after opinion poll shows the public does not want hunting to be made illegal.… Because the miners and steelworkers were made redundant by an uncaring Tory Government is no reason for hunt servants to be put out of work by an uncaring Labour Government. Two wrongs simply don't make a right… JON BURGESS, Malvern (letter in archive)


Express 20.10.03 Fox hunting row set to blow up again - The political row over fox hunting is set to blow up again in the House of Lords tomorrow. Peers from all sides of the House will attempt to amend the hugely controversial Bill - which bans hunting - and instead allow registered fox hunts, with hare coursing and stag hunting under licence…. Mark Shotton, master of the hunt in Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency in the North East said: "I just wish people would realise that if fox hunting is banned, everything will be killed by the guns, which is what has happened in Scotland…." (story)

Times 20.10.03 Lords plan warfare in revenge for expulsions BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - MINISTERS are preparing for a stand-off with the House of Lords that could put a dozen flagship Bills in jeopardy…. In potentially the biggest rebellion, the Conservatives are planning to spend months debating the Hunting Bill next session, even though the Government has announced that it will use the Parliament Act to force it through. The objection of peers once again to a hunting ban, although technically futile, will create a logjam which could put in danger any or all of the legislation announced in next month’s Queen’s Speech…. (story)

BBC News Online 20.10.03 Q&A: Hunting Bill - BBC News Online explains what will happen to the Hunting Bill…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 20.10.03 MAJORITY OPPOSE FOX HUNTING - Please be clear, there will not be thousands following Mr Clayton and the hunting fraternity of Leicestershire and, indeed, England. Mr Clayton has finally admitted it. Quote: "It isn't about animal welfare, it's about class prejudice," which translated for ordinary people means: "Us upper class toffs and our brainwashed servants believe we have the God-given right to ride around the countryside killing innocent animals."… D Small, Leicester (letter)


Observer 19.10.03 Blair's ally defends right to hunt foxes - Anti-hunt 'mantra' drilled into Labour members from youth, says peer - Kamal Ahmed, political editor - Support can come from unusual quarters. In his smart fourth-floor office in the heart of London, Waheed Alli, millionaire Labour peer and friend of Peter Mandelson, explains why he will break with his party's traditional position this week and declare any ban on hunting to be an illiberal act based on intolerance, rather than a desire to tackle animal cruelty…. (story)

Luton on Sunday 19.10.03 Fox numbers - MADAM – Unlike most boys I spent my earlier years roaming the local countryside…. stop fox hunting and you sign the death warrant of the countryside fox. Let the animal lovers address their thoughts to this obvious outcome and cease the present vociferous myopic sentimentality… (letter)

Luton on Sunday 19.10.03 Privileged nurse - MADAM – Protect us from a ‘social worker’ who enjoys bloodshed… since when did ‘country people’ live on a council estate in Luton? Phillip Ewington Mill Lane, Barton (letter)


Telegraph 18.10.03 Peers seek to reverse hunting ban - Peers are poised to reject attempts by Labour backbenchers to outlaw all forms of hunting… (story)

Western Morning News 18.10.03 PEERS TARGET HUNTING BILL - Lords introduce amendments in eleventh hour bid to wreck ban.…. (story)
Western Morning News 18.10.03 LORDS PLAN TO DERAIL MPS' HUNT BAN HOPES … The House of Lords has given the strongest indication yet that it is prepared to fight the Government's controversial Hunting Bill all the way by proposing a raft of amendments… Mink hunting would also continue if it was proved that controlling them meant fish stocks were protected…. Tom Yandle, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said people who opposed hunting had to understand how they managed the deer population…. (story)


Chester Chronicle 17.10.03 IN AN article earlier in the year it was claimed that '500,00 rural dwellers took to the streets of London for a Liberty and Livelihood march'. Where this figure came from is anyone's guess, as even the event organisers claimed it was 400,000. Also, a poll by MORI revealed that the marchers were totally unrepresentative of the countryside, with fewer than half counting themselves as truly rural dwellers…. G METCALFE North West League Against Cruel Sports Support Group, PO Box 359, Chorley (letter)

The Citizen (Lancaster) 17.10.03 Hunters are raising a smokescreen - IN RESPONSE to the pro-hunting letter published last week, I wish to point out some obvious rebuttals to the smokescreen…. The pro-hunters also miss the most important issue of all - that foxhunting remains a pointless bloodsport for which there should be no room in today's society… Martin Watson, Lancaster Animal Rights Group. (letter in archive)

Gloucestershire Gazette 17.10.03 Morality of fox-hunting - Since David Drew, MP for Stroud, is a member of a government that thinks it's perfectly acceptable to murder innocent human beings in other countries I'll thank him not to lecture me on morality. If Mr Drew feels a little uneasy about a few foxes being despatched efficiently by some dogs… then he should follow my example. I don't go hunting…. On my list of priorities the welfare of vermin certainly doesn't rate higher than that of humans. It comes a long way down the list, several places below pensioners, housing and jobs. P Berwick, Court Orchard, Wotton-under-Edge (letters in archive)
Gloucestershire Gazette 17.10.03 Lords as good as party mates Further to his remarks about hunting and the House of Lords in last week's Gazette, I would like to make the point to David Drew MP that, despite being elected to the House of Commons, there are a lot of people who did not vote for him and never will. Consequently he cannot possibly claim that his own views, or even the views of those who "fill his postbag" are completely representative either - or moral…. Mr Drew's government has wasted a disproportionate amount of time and public money on the issue of hunting… Belinda Holley, Whitecourt, Uley (letter in archive)
Gloucestershire Gazette 14.10.03 Bring this to a conclusion How I agree with our hard working MP David Drew on the matter of the unelected, unrepresentative House of Lords regarding hunting with dogs (Gazette, October 3). It is high time this fiasco was brought to a head… S R Grimes, Oakfield Way, Sharpness (letter in archive)


Northampton Chronicle & Echo 16.10.03 Hounded out by anti-hunt lobby … Ann Dawson and Tony Russell are swapping their equestrian farm for an 11th-century pile in Umbria, saying they are "disenchanted" with the changing English country way of life. Mr Russell, 58, said fox hunting had been part of his family for generations, but that plans to ban the sport had led him to shut down Flecknoe Farm, where he breeds horses for hunting…. "They are putting the wellbeing of a small furry animal ahead of the livelihoods of real people…" (story)

Leicester Mercury 16.10.03 HUNTERS CALL FOR FAIR DEAL BY DAN PARKINSON - Campaigners today warned "you ain't seen nothing yet" after staging a city centre demonstration to save fox hunting. Protesters say they are now planning to bring thousands of hunt supporters to Melton in November for a major rally as they fight a Parliamentary Bill proposing an outright ban on fox hunting… More than 100 placard-waving campaigners stood behind police railings and unfurled 100ft banners reading, "A fair deal for all hunting". A lone horseman from the Quorn hunt paraded in front of the cheering crowd wearing a Tony Blair mask. Michael Clayton, of the Cottesmore Hunt, warned the protest was "just the tip of the iceberg"…. (story) (photo)

Telegraph 16.10.03 Inside politics By Rachel Sylvester - Hell's flames will burn brighter for Blair and IDS now MPs are back …. Meanwhile, the flames of the hunting Bill are still flickering. The Government has already been defeated on the issue once in the Commons, when MPs voted for an outright ban rather than Mr Blair's preferred option of regulation…. (story)

Rugby Advertiser 16.10.03 Ms Cummings has distorted the truth... again! - ONCE again Ms Cummings distorts the truth for her own ends. The hunting posters say ‘59% say keep hunting’ which is what those polled responded, when asked if hunting should be banned, licensed or allowed to continue as now… David Bragg, Bilton Lane, Long Lawford. (letter)


BBC News Online 14.10.03 Pro-hunt demonstration in city - Over 50 pro-hunt campaigners have gathered outside Nottingham Magistrates Court to protest about the proposed new hunting Bill… Lobbyists from six local hunts presented letters of protest to the Chairman of the Magistrate's bench… (story)
BBC News Online 14.10.03 Pro-hunt rally at court - Pro-hunt campaigners say widespread civil disobedience will follow if a proposed hunting bill is passed by Parliament… Representatives from four main East Midlands fox hunts presented letters of protest to officials at the magistrate's court. A protest spokesman said thousands of people will be forced to break the law if the current hunting bill is passed… (story)

Telegraph 14.10.03 Years ago homosexual acts between consenting adults carried out in private were against the law… It was a bad law - intolerant, inhumane and unenforceable… The prospective law to ban hunting with dogs is a similarly bad law and deserves to be similarly disobeyed. From: Gemma Dewhurst, Whitchurch, Shropshire (letter)
Telegraph 13.10.03 Civil disobedience can be a duty - Unless Douglas Batchelor (letter, Oct 11) of the League Against Cruel Sports can pledge that all members of his organisation are warned, on pain of expulsion, not to indulge in trespass and intimidation during fox hunts, it is chutzpah to criticise Lord Skidelsky for justifying civil disobedience.... J. Monk, Walton on the Naze, Essex (letter)
Telegraph 11.10.03 A call for anarchy ... It is rather alarming for a legislator to be advocating anarchy. Perhaps Lord Skidelsky should consider finding something else to do with his time. Douglas Batchelor, League Against Cruel Sports, London SE1 (letter)
Telegraph 8.10.03 By Robert Skidelsky - There are dark mutterings in countryside circles of civil disobedience if the Bill in the House of Lords to ban hunting with dogs, going through the committee stage later this month, becomes law…. The truth is that a simple appeal to the "prejudices of the people" cannot be a basis for acceptable law-making in any but a very simple, homogeneous society…. I would say that a law is invalid, giving rise to a right of resistance, if it is simply based on prejudice. The right of resistance, that is, is independent of the electoral cycle. It is based on the nature of the law, not on the chances of its being repealed. The usefulness of civil disobedience, on the other hand, must rest on a careful judgment about the chances of its success in making the law inoperable… Lord Skidelsky is Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University. He sits on the cross benches in the House of Lords (story)

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 14.10.03 Followers of the hunt will never surrender - UP until Saturday, September 27, anyone travelling between the Sywell roundabout on the A43 to the village of Holcot may have noticed a sign saying "Welcome to Pytchley Hunt Country". That sign was removed by, I suspect, local hunt saboteurs… This present Government sets a pretty poor example I have to say, in this case supporting the anti-hunt protesters in their activities…. J Stephenson, Sywell Road, Holcot.(letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 14.10.03 ALLIANCE MARCHERS MUST FEEL THEY WERE DUPED So, at last, we see the true face of the Countryside Alliance. It's a purely hunting group… The proposed Honiton meeting, Echo, October 7, is shameful. Bridget Cook, Scott Avenue, Burnthouse Lane, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 14.10.03 HUNTSMEN BEHAVING LIKE SPOILT TODDLERS OVER BILL - I am not at all surprised to read that huntsmen are prepared to defy the law if a hunting ban is implemented, Echo, October 7. The supreme arrogance that is shown is a common thread that runs throughout those that are determined to continue in their cruel sadistic pursuits…. E Smith, Church Road, St Thomas, Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 14.10.03 ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS NEED TO TURN FOCUS ON RITUAL SLAUGHTER - So it seems foxhunting is to be outlawed - yet another infringement on a section of the hard-pressed rural population by a wholly urban Government… How can members of Parliament allow the ritual slaughter of thousands of domestic animals each week just to appease some ethnic minority groups who come to live in our country. The number of foxes being caught by hunting is insignificant by comparison… The fox's fate is positively humane when compared to the mullah's sword. N T K Cawrse, Horrabridge, Devon (letter)

Western Morning News 14.10.03 LOGICAL CASE FOR BAN ON HUNTS IS LONG LOST - It is significant that your correspondent R A Gagie recently had to go back to 1947 Country Life to quote an "incident" concerning the Quorn hounds… Research by Richard Course (ex-chief executive, League Against Cruel Sports) showed that, in extreme cases, the maximum time for a fox to die when caught by hounds was six seconds. Usually a great deal less. Compare this to wounding by shooting, snaring, gassing, poisoning or mange…. Only this prejudiced Government would try to justify the £1 million received from the so-called animal welfare societies, by continuing to waste time flogging this very dead horse. No cruelty has yet been proven. Patrick J Ellis, Chulmleigh Devon (letter)


Oxford Mail 13.10.03 We have nothing to hide, say hunt groups - Oxfordshire countryside over the weekend. Newcomers Meets were held by the Old Berkshire Hunt in Letcombe Regis near Wantage on Saturday and The Heythrop in Chadlington near Charlbury…. Packs from the county will be taking part in mass meets on Saturday, November 1, including Newbury Showground and Badminton Park, near Tetbury, starting at 10am…. (story in archive) (photo)

Western Daily Press 13.10.03 PREJUDICE BASIS OF THIS LEGISLATION - Mass rallies are planned for November 1 when supporters of hunting will gather throughout the land to sign a nationwide declaration…. In a statement on a BBC regional news programme a spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports condemned any future lawbreaking of this sort as anti-democratic. Their spokesman said nothing, however, about the illegal activities of the anti-hunting fraternity, which has for some years now subjected hunting people following a legal pastime to intolerable levels of violence. Any comments made by the league on these acts have appeared to be made with reluctance and have rung as true as Sinn Fein's condemnation of IRA violence in Northern Ireland… John Parkes Sherborne Dorset (letter)


Independent on Sunday 12.10.03 Hunting ban will be delayed again By Andy McSmith, Political Editor - Fox hunting and other blood sports are to survive for another year. The Government's legislative programme is so congested that business managers are ready to abandon the latest attempt to bring in a ban... (story)


Guardian 11.10.03 Thank you to Scarlett Thomas for her article on the Countryside Alliance's campaign... As a nurse, I find the campaign offensive... Sheena Stewart, Worcester
I couldn't believe it ... a Burchill rant that I could agree with. Then I looked at the picture, and it wasn't her but Scarlett Thomas. More, please. Cherri Gilham, Wandsworth, London SW18 (letters)
Guardian 4.10.03 Gonna take a sentimental journey - Scarlett Thomas - Anyone who travels on countryside roads in England will by now be familiar with Pat, a "50-something" nurse who, according to the posters and placards that suddenly seem to be everywhere, "loves hunting". "Barbaric?" asks the poster... Sorry, Pat, but, yes, you are barbaric. And Bob, I don't care what social class you are part of, you're as barbaric as Pat.... • Julie Burchill is away. (story)

Yorkshire Post 11.10.03 Time for meaningful reform of the Lords From: JC Dales, Church View, Brompton, Northallerton - There will always be more urban politicians than rural... The UK upper house is being reformed. Will there be a similar majority of jumped-up politicians committed to one party? If so, the Lords will simply rubber-stamp the Bills, and only tinker with the small print. The lower house has forfeited public confidence by ignoring the facts made available to them on hunting, using instead for their majority votes, class warfare and bigotry... (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 11.10.03 COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE MEETING IS DISGRACEFUL - I expect the meeting of the Countryside Alliance in Honiton will be policed for their protection. How ironic, as they will be discussing ways of breaking the law.... Mrs Maxine Floyd, Salway Close, Cullompton (letter)


Gloucester Citizen 10.10.03 'TESTER' HUNTS BID FOR SUPPORT - Hunting enthusiasts will hope to see some new faces this weekend as part of a national initiative to 'dispel the myths' about bloodsports. Five local packs of hounds have already been involved in National Newcomers and Free Hunting Week, the aim being to increase awareness of hunting among the public at large… Nicky Driver, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Hunting is still seen to be too much of a closed shop - the idea of National Newcomers is to make it easier for people to get involved… Members of the Cotswold Hunt distributed over 1,000 leaflets in Cheltenham last weekend, where, according to Nicky, there was plenty of interest… But Dan Sidley, of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said newcomers to hunting would not be shown the true picture…. (story)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 10.10.03 MP sympathises with hunters but will not break law - NORTH Wiltshire MP James Gray said he would sympathise with illegal activity by fellow hunters breaking any law banning bloodsports… He made his remarks at a Countryside Alliance meeting in Blackpool as part of the Tory party conference. (story in archive)

Worcester Evening News 9.10.03 Hunt ban bid `biased' - GOVERNMENT plans to ban hunting with dogs are driven by class prejudice, the Tory party conference has been told. Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff made an outspoken attack on Labour at a fringe event hosted by the Middle Way Group… (story in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 10.10.03 HUNTING CROWD NO BETTER THAN FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS If a bunch of football hooligans were to meet in a public place to discuss tactics on how to break the law, they would be cautioned and moved along. Will this happen to the very public meeting of the Countryside Alliance on November 1, Echo, October 7?... Phillip Cook, Tale, Honiton (letter)

Hereford Times 10.10.03 Hunting posters distract drivers - IN describing the so-called `vandalism of the lunatic fringe' (Hereford Times, September 25), Donald Haden for the Ledbury Hunt does not tell the whole story…. the green and red posters that have sprung up throughout the country are dangerous to road-users, distracting drivers' attention and obstructing visibility…. J INGHAM, Hereford (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 25.9.03 Sign set alight - A PRO-HUNTING campaign poster was set alight by vandals on the M50 near the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire border… Spokesperson for the Ledbury Hunt, Donald Haden said: "The vandalism of this poster reflects a disturbing attempt to curtail freedom of expression, and shows just how intolerant of any opposition or debate a lunatic fringe of anti-hunt activists appear to be." (story in archive)

Hereford Times 10.10.03 Issue is not town v country HOW can J Harrup accuse me of being ignorant of the countryside when he doesn't know me or my background? I have lived in the countryside for 30 years and my husband, who is as adamant as I am, was born into a farming family… I agree there are far more important issues but this Government promised in its manifesto there would be a ban on hunting so those that voted them in have a right to expect the ban… BARBARA BODKIN, Mansel Lacy, Hereford (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 11.9.03 What the polls really said - THE Countryside Alliance's stated strategy is to unleash a flood of letters to the media over hunting… As always, your pro-hunt correspondents plead that they simply want the facts to be considered. However, they all fail to say that the poll they claim shows "59% want hunting to continue" gave respondents three options - two involving hunting continuing and one banning it… more embarrassing for them is the fact that the most popular option was a complete ban. E J Dowling, Silver Fir Close, Hereford. (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 11.9.03 More important issues to debate - I CANNOT allow to go unchallenged, the comments made by Barbara Bodkin in the Hereford Times (August 28), that a ban on fox-hunting would be democratic. Although I personally do not hunt, it simply is not good enough, and is definitely not democratic, to dismiss a section of society as `evil and cruel' and having no feeling for wild animals; it is, in fact, irrational and bigoted, born of ignorance about the countryside… J HARRAP, Tupsley, Hereford (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 28.8.03 Stop the hunting ban Bill now - banned. All recent polling has shown a marked decline in the number of people who might support a ban, both Yougov. and NOP recording that figure falling below 50% and the latest NOP poll recording 59% in favour of the continuation of the sport… GRAHAM LANGER, Belpha, Pontrilas. (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 28.8.03 Statistics of the silent majority - Ms Greaves is right to say that 59.5 million people did not march in London last year, but is wrong to draw the conclusion that this means they support a ban on hunting. In an NOP Poll in December last year over 59% of those asked said that hunting should be allowed to continue… Jonathan Jackson, Hephill, Lugwardine, Hereford (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 28.8.03 Elector numbers - In reply to the letter from Jacqueline Greaves, government statistics available on the internet inform me that the total number of parliamentary electors presently in the UK is only 44,363,353. Mrs G K Herbert, Linley Green, Broseley (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 28.8.03 More say `no' - Does GK Herbert (letter August 7) not know the population of the country? Half a million pro hunt people attending the Countryside march last year? We have approaching 60 million people here, most of whom support the ban on fox hunting… BARBARA L BODKIN, Mansel Lacy, Hereford. (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 14.8.03 Majority want hunting banned - IF Mr GK Herbert of Linley Green believes the views of the British population regarding foxhunting is represented by half a million people attending a countryside march… Does he not realise that there are nearly 60 million people in Britain which means that the 5.5 million silent democratic majority were not in Trafalgar Square in March last year. Jacqueline Greaves, Rose Cottage, Old Dinnmore Hill (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 7.8.03 Ignoring views of half a million - Jacqueline Greaves, on the subject of banning foxhunting, cites "democracy" as a good reason to stop the practice. How, then, does she equate this with the Government ignoring the views of more than half a million people who, at their own expense and often considerable personal inconvenience, travelled from all parts of the country to register their support of the practice by attending the Countryside March last year?... G K Herbert, Linley Green (letter)


Melton Times 9.10.03 NEW BOOK HELPS FIGHT TO SAVE FOX-HUNTING - THE fight to save foxhunting is being given an added boost following the release of a book by Stathern author William Venator. The 36-year-old published the novel himself and says he hopes it will change the views of those who are opposed to hunting…. He said: "I went hunting for the first time not so long ago and I have an interest in political affairs and I put the two together." But William says his book addresses the wider issue of individual liberty – hunting just happens to be at the centre of his debate…. (story)


Telegraph 8.10.03 High priority The House of Lords is due to consider amendments to reconstitute the hunting Bill to reflect the form in which it was presented to the Commons for licensed hunting on October 21. This Bill criminalises exercise of the age-old freedom of a lawful pursuit that occasions injury or risk only to those who participate, but none to others… Lord Campbell of Alloway, London SW1 (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 8.10.03 VIEWS ARE HYPOCRITICAL - To the writer of the letter Carry On Hunting (Viewpoint, October 2), I simply pose this question using his own logic. Believing, as he does, that loving and caring for animals encompasses eating, shooting and hunting them, would he, by this same reasoning - if he has a wife and children whom he loves and cares for - be happy to eat or shoot them?... So, yes, the writer is incapable of loving and caring for animals…. Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 3.10.03 HUNTING IS NOT A JOB - Regarding the Earl of Yarborough whinging over a possible fox hunting ban and babbling on over the pedigree hounds… Job? What job is he doing? I thought it was an entertainment to go hunting, killing young cubs - silly me…. Yes, horse racing may well be on the agenda to be stopped - there is a lot of cruelty involved in that so-called sport… Mrs E A Nichols, High Street, Boston (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 2.10.03 - CARRY ON HUNTING, I SAY - I Hope I am permitted to answer P Wickham's anti-foxhunting letter, dated September 24. Is this the same P Wickham, from Animal Aid, who not so many weeks ago was accusing the people of Grimsby of being cruel for eating and catching fish… I enjoyed the article in the Telegraph about the Earl of Yarborough and the abundance of wildlife in that area, which comes as no surprise… Latest figures show that 59 per cent of British people now want to keep fox-hunting, as a tradition at least. That too is not surprising. I have little interest in fox-hunting, but hope they do carry on… Les Green, Patrick Street, Grimsby (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 24.9.03 DRAGGING OUT THE FOX HUNT DISCUSSIONS I Was interested to read the remarks made by Lord Yarborough regarding fox hunting… why doesn't he consider drag hunting… Why is it that whenever drag hunting is put to the hunting fraternity it is met with a wall of silence from people who are normally so vociferous?... It is time to call it a day unless drag hunting is on the agenda. Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 19.9.03 BEWARE THE FOLLOWERS OF THE HUNTERS IN RED - Following your interview with the Earl of Yarborough, I would like to raise a few points. As a regular user of the road through Brocklesby Park, I think the Earl of Yarborough does a great job of looking after the wildlife in the area… This should not be surprising however, because for the last 400 years, his family have been breeding the best hounds, presumably by only breeding the very best ones and weeding out the weakest…. Although the sight of the huntsmen with hounds is very impressive and very traditional, they bring along a dangerous menace - the hunt follower…. Ian Albiston, (Address supplied) (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 16.9.03 'BAN WOULD RUIN THE COUNTRYSIDE' - The leader of the Brocklesby Hunt has supported the Earl of Yarborough's concerns about the future of the historic group. John Goode has been the hunstman at Brocklesby for seven seasons, but has been involved with hunting with dogs since he left school. He thinks that if the sport is banned, it would completely ruin the countryside and mean the deaths of hundreds of hounds… (story)


North Yorkshire Advertiser 7.10.03 - CATTERICK Beagle pack opened its hunting season at the weekend as members await a decision by the House of Lords on whether the sport will be banned. Joint master Major Blair Radford said that if hunting was banned, the 26 hounds in the pack may have to be destroyed…. (photo)

Western Morning News 7.10.03 READERS should be wary of pro-hunt claims. J Rumble (WMN August 19) would have us believe that hounds would be unlikely to follow an aniseed trail… the Oxford Drag Hounds use 7.5 couple (15 hounds) from the fox hunting Bicester and Whaddon Chase… Stephen Lancaster, Boscastle (letter)
Western Morning News 23.9.03 How about hunting the facts? ….J Rumble (WMN, August 19) would have us believe that hounds would be unlikely to follow an aniseed trail instead of a fox. This assumption is not correct.The Oxford Drag Hounds, for example, use an artificial scent together with 15 hounds from the Bicester and Whaddon Chase Foxhounds. … Stephen Lancaster, Boscastle, Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 7.10.03 Invalid question - THE pro-hunting Countryside Alliance claims that 59 per cent of people "want to keep hunting" - an extraordinary figure, considering a poll conducted by MORI (December 2002) revealed that 80 per cent of the British public consider all forms of hunting with dogs to be cruel… Josey Sharrad, Campaigns Officer IFAW (letter)

Western Morning News 7.10.03 TORMENT OF FOXES VIOLATES CIVIL LIBERTIES - There is no intellectual argument in favour of a civil liberty that involves another creature, let alone one that means deliberately tormenting another creature…. I speak for all those who've come across a digging-out in Devon and got home distraught; watched their beloved fox cubs savaged by hounds while the hunters laughed at their tears… I want my rights, and I'm sick of hearing the situation being willfully reversed as these people whitter on about going to the Court of Human Rights. Rose Dalziel, Lamerton Tavistock (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.10.03 FOX HUNTING IS DOOMED - The recent front page article on hunting simply confirms my view that hunting with dogs is doomed. The support of North Wiltshire MP James Gray for hunting will prove fatal to it, as he is the kiss of death… Don Rogers Corsham Wiltshire (letter)


Exeter Express & Echo 6.10.03 IT'LL BE UNDEMOCRATIC OF MPS TO BAN FOX HUNTING - Points of view frequently publish letters from the League Against Cruel Sports and others of the anti-hunting lobby, that because a majority in the House of Commons have voted against hunting that this represents majority opinion in this country and that this is democracy…. If there were to be a referendum on hunting, my considered opinion is that perhaps a quarter of the population would wish hunting to be banned, with three-quarters made up of 'in favour of hunting', 'don't knows' and 'couldn't care less one way or the other'…. It is patently obvious that the League Against Cruel Sports and their supporters are intolerably intolerant. W Lewis, Rackenford, near Tiverton (letter)


Telegraph 4.10.03 'Class war' behind vote against hunt By Graham Tibbetts - Voters believe anti-hunting Labour MPs are motivated by class war rather than animal welfare, according to an ICM poll published yesterday. The survey, commissioned by the Countryside Alliance, found that 44 per cent of those questioned believe that inverted snobbery was behind Labour seeking an outright ban on hunting with hounds.... (story)

Western Daily Press 4.10.03 SO WHO'S TRYING TO OUT-FOX WHO? When the House of Lords committee sits twice in a fortnight this month, to talk about the Hunting with Dogs Bill, Peter Anderson, a man who has devoted his life to seeing that the bill becomes law, knows it will be a futile exercise. But remarkably, he doesn't care. For the West head of the League Against Cruel Sports is prepared to bide his time.... But to Alex Connors in her specialist winter riding boot store in the pretty village of Nettleton in Wiltshire, the complexities of Parliament are a world away. And she resents that.... Peter Anderson, and the League Against Cruel Sports, are thinking ahead too... "We are the League Against Cruel Sports, not just the League Against Hunting. We're already looking at issues like the treatment of greyhounds... And we're going to step up our campaign against game shooting... (story)

Western Morning News 4.10.03 JASON Groves claims (WMN, September 29) that Tony Blair will have to decide whether to "force through" the Hunting Bill by use of the Parliament Act.... As an anti-hunt campaigner for the past 25 years - several of which were spent living on Dartmoor, where several farmers were members of my then group - I would much rather trust the Speaker to ensure that democracy is finally upheld, than to trust Tony... Sandy Moorhouse, South West Against Bloodsports, Plymouth (letter)


Chester Chronicle 3.10.03 Both sides defiant as fox-hunting debate continues to rage - THE battle over fox-hunting looks likely to go all the way after peers sided with the hound in a parliamentary debate… Greg Metcalfe, a spokesman for the North West League Against Cruel Sports, said: 'We expected to get beaten in the debate at the House of Lords, we always do…" Farmer Randle Cooke, the joint master of the Cheshire Hunt, said:… 'If hunting becomes illegal, then I will break the law. I am fighting for the long-term future of hunting.'… (story)

Kent/Sussex/East Grinstead Courier 3.10.03 MUST WE KILL THE BELOVED HOUNDS? My Mother used to say ??we??re over-governed and under-ruled??. Since then things have got far worse. You people that are so keen and determined to ban hunting aren??t interested in all the hounds that will be put down as a consequence… These animal welfare organiaations, such as the RSPCA, are only interested in darling little foxes, not their victims and the possible death of thousands of hounds… Mr JS Clarke, Plaw Hatch Lane, Sharpthorne (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 3.10.03 HUNTS SHOULD OFFER REAL DATA - The statement that the hounds catch only the old and infirm foxes makes hunting seem more cowardly and barbaric than ever: Hounds on the scent do not check the birth certificates of their prey. Where Polly Thomas (Courier, September 26) misses the point is that so many people find it repulsive that this activity can be enjoyed as a sport…. Clive Pearl??s comments about the abolition of hunting being about social prejudice are absurd…. JD May (Mrs), Haymans Hill, Horsmonden
Dave Wetton and his band should have thought through the consequences of what they are advocating (Courier, September 26)… Poison and snares will be more widely used, foxes will be present in much greater numbers with more predation on farm livestock and wild species…. This beautiful and benign countryside is due to, and not in spite of, farming and field sports practised over hundreds of years. James Shepherd, Grove Hill Gardens, Tunbridge Wells (letters)


Western Daily Press 1.10.03 BAN ON HUNTING WON'T BECOME LAW - WEST MP - The controversial Government bill on hunting will fail to become law next month, and hunting might never be banned, a senior Tory frontbencher claimed last night. That is the startling view of West MP James Gray, who said that despite their promises to anti-hunt campaigners, ministers will only allocate two days in the House of Lords later this month.... (story)

Guardian 1.10.03 Mr Blair, we're here to help... the man, like the other delegates pouring out of Gordon Brown's Labour conference speech, faces only a depressing wall of protesters. "Bring the soldiers home," they shout angrily, waving placards reading, "Enough is Enough" and "B Liar" and "Gay hunters have rights too."... in truth it's not always clear who is being serious and who isn't, what with the Countryside Alliance's hip new leaflet, "Miners 4 Hunting, Nurses 4 Hunting, Teachers 4 Hunting".... (story)
Telegraph 30.9.03 Conference snapshots By Benedict Brogan - 'Poofs for hunting!' - The cry greeting delegates as they approach the conference hall every morning. It comes from Mark Law, 35, from West Sussex, who rides out with the Chiddingfold, Leaconfield and Cowdray. Yesterday he was waving a sign declaring "Gay hunters have rights too" and wearing the kind of tight silver top his mother might have put on a turkey... (story)
Sun 30.9.03 (Richard Littlejohn) FOXHUNTING enthusiasts turned up at the Labour Conference on Harley-Davidsons to try to drown out debate in the hall. I wasn’t aware so many motorcyclists went hunting and I shouldn’t think Blair was either... If they think it’s cruel now, just wait until the Berkeley Hunt takes to the chase on 1500cc motorcycles and quad bikes with the local chapter of the Hells Angels in tow.... (story)
Western Morning News 30.9.03 BECKETT IGNORES CRISIS IN DAIRYING - Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett was last night accused of "fiddling while Rome burns" after she failed to address the crisis gripping the Westcountry dairy industry in her keynote speech to the Labour Party conference… Mrs Beckett also failed to address other key problems facing rural communities - most notably affordable housing and transport - and made no mention of the controversial Hunting Bill, which her department is steering through Parliament. (story)
Western Mail 29.9.03 Miner puts on hunting hat to defend his sport Carl Yapp, The Western Mail - DAI MORRIS is not the typical red tunic, black hat-wearing fox hunter. But this ex-miner - the epitome of the Welsh working class - is so concerned about plans to ban hunting with hounds that he's taking his fight to the heart of the Labour party this morning, and along with others will campaign in favour of the sport outside the conference in Bournemouth…. Mr Morris, who worked for 17 years at Coed-Ely colliery in Tonyrefail, in the Rhondda, until it closed in 1986, says, "I may not be what most people think is a typical hunter, but that's another misconception about our sport. I've been hunting since I was about nine-years-old and I'm currently a member of the Pentyrch Hunt…" (story)
Western Morning News 29.9.03 BLAIR FACES A WAVE OF FURY AND RESENTMENT - The threatened closure of Appledore Shipbuilders last night looked set to make life even tougher for Tony Blair as he prepares for his most difficult party conference as Labour leader… Hunt supporters have also vowed to make their presence felt this year, with a series of high profile demonstrations.... Dozens of hunt supporters swapped their horses for motorbikes at the conference yesterday in an unusual demonstration designed to underline the threat to the country pursuit from the Government's Hunting Bill…. Pro-hunting posters and banners were erected on all the main approach roads to Bournemouth yesterday and delegates were greeted by hunt supporters at Bournemouth Station…. (story)
Western Daily Press 29.9.03 BROWN FACES PRESSURE OVER FUEL HIKE - Tony Blair faces his toughest conference as Labour leader knowing his week at Bournemouth is stuffed with booby-traps…. Meanwhile the spectre of hunting will be hanging over the entire week with a series of demonstrations. (story)
Telegraph 27.9.03 Bikers hunt Labour - A couple of years ago, John Prescott outraged the pro-hunting lobby by sneering at the "contorted faces" of their supporters at the Labour conference in Brighton. This year, he'll have to delve even deeper into the Prescott (dys)lexicon. For tomorrow, Bournemouth is to be invaded by hundreds of leather-clad bikers protesting against the Government's proposed hunting ban. "Bikers 4 Hunting" will bring the town centre to a noisy halt, before proceeding to the seafront for a rally outside the conference centre. "I object to the way this Government is trying to tell people in the countryside how to live their lives," says Sarah Ellis, a Gloucestershire biker who has followed the Beaufort Hunt since childhood.... (story)
Bournemouth Daily Echo 26.9.03 Tractor protest by pro-hunting lobby by Jenna Weekes - COUNTRYSIDE protesters have pledged to try to keep disruption to a minimum when they drive tractors through Bournemouth at rush hour throughout the Labour Party Conference. Police are urging the public to be patient as protesters from the Countryside Alliance prepare to drive four tractors through the main routes into Bournemouth during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Sunday afternoon to Thursday evening trailing banners supporting their right to hunt… Hoping to challenge stereotypes of people whot hunt, some 100 bikers representing the Countryside Alli-ance will rev onto Bournemouth Seafront on Sunday holding pro-hunting placards…. (story in archive)

Taunton Times 1.10.03 PUNISH PRO-HUNT RABBLE IF THEY BREAK THE LAW - Over the past weeks, pro-hunt posters have appeared throughout the locality and across the country… The extreme members of the Countryside Alliance who are gaining alarming momentum within the ranks are prepared to interfere with water power and food supplies… The Tory party which is closely allied to the Countryside Alliance is guilty of the same practice of sticking posters… There is no political mileage for Labour by cosying up to the Countryside Alliance. None of them voted this party into power, come down hard on any lawbreakers and punish them. ALAN FOYLE Taunton (letter)


Daily Post 30.9.03 Hunt campaigners to fight protesters - ANTI-HUNT protesters in North Wales are waging war on on their rivals through a campaign of vandalism and criminal damage. Around a dozen pro-hunt posters and placards put up close to roadsides have been slashed with knives or daubed with red paint… Ricky Proffit, master of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt, said: "The criminal damage of these posters reflects a disturbing attempt to curtail freedom of expression, and shows just how intolerant of any opposition or debate a lunatic fringe of anti-hunt activists appear to be… (story)

Western Morning News 30.9.03 THREATS OF SABOTAGE AMOUNT TO TERRORISM - Threats from the hunters to sabotage reservoirs, communications infrastructure and food supplies, if they are stopped from killing our wildlife for amusement, are now a regular feature on their Internet sites and through their e-mail systems. As an anti-hunt campaigner, I see these messages daily… The Countryside Alliance should come clean right now, and tell readers whether it knowingly allows individuals who are threatening violent acts against this country to have membership, and also whether it has given the names of such people to the police. Sandy Moorhouse, Stoke, Plymouth (letter)

Western Morning News 30.9.03 Whose prejudice? - IN Tuesday's debate on hunting, many of their lordships claimed that the Hunting Bill was motivated by class prejudice. But those who oppose hunting have only ever argued the case from the animal welfare perspective… Ivor Annetts, Tiverton (letter)


Worcester Evening News 29.9.03 It's not her that is hated, rather killing for fun - IT does appear that the Countryside Alliance is being deliberately obtuse and confrontational with their latest piece of advertising in favour of hunting…. MRS MARILYN BROWN, Great Witley, Worcestershire (letter in archive)


Bedfordshire on Sunday 28.9.03 Shallow mentality - I oppose a ban on hunting because: - Lord Burns stated there was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to reach views about cruelty... I do not hunt and consider that some fox hunts are a nuisance, however I consider that this should be between them and me as a landowner.... At the 'Winnie the pig' protest several Labour MPs approached the pickets and stated: 'We are going to destroy you because of what you did to the miners and steelworkers'. This indicates a disappointingly shallow mentality.... G Smith, Old Milton Farm, Thurleigh (letter)

Luton on Sunday 28.9.03 Not a fox lover - I write regarding the fox-hunting debate. What is obvious to a neutral party is that this is all self-interest on one side and emotionalism on the other. A complete ban on hunting would certainly lead to the eradication of the fox as an English species... I have no particular love of the fox because while I worked at The Bird in Hand pub, High Street North, Dunstable, I had a Flemish giant rabbit that was the Don Quixote of the rabbit kind... eventually a fox paid us a nocturnal visit when our barmy rabbit discovered that more than valour and energy were required to repel this predator and preserve life. A Fountain, Ashcroft, Dunstable (letter)


Northern Echo 27.9.03 Effect of hunt ban minimal says study - A REPORT on the impact of a ban on hunting on a North Yorkshire district concludes it is unlikely to have more than a minimal impact on the local economy. Councillor Mike Bury wanted Harrogate Borough Council to urge the Government to rethink its strategy on the issue, saying a ban would decimate the rural way of life while stretching police resources across the country.... "In terms of the effect on the rural economy within the Harrogate district, it is considered a ban on hunting with dogs would be minimal," the report says. "However, the impact on police resources and the potential damage to police public relations is considered to be an issue." (story in archive)

Leicester Mercury 27.9.03 MY FOXY SOLUTION - I note that there has been a lot of letters about hunting, both for and against, both sides quoting percentages in favour of whichever group is writing. It seems to me the answer is simple. As it is such an emotive issue, why doesn't the Government hold a referendum and settle it once and for all... K L Bates, Leicester (letter)


Lincolnshire Echo 26.9.03 RENEWING THE CLASS WAR - The issues of Lord Archer and hunting (September 20) are yet again evidence of the Labour party's class war. Bring back Maggie or even William Hague! MAURICE SCOTT, Brattleby (letter)

Western Daily Press 26.9.03 LIKES AND DISLIKES OF COUNTRY FOLK - David Marshall believes real country people "abhor the killing of wild animals with dogs". Well, I've been checking. I found quite a few who think Defra is "bloody dreadful". I found one or two who "hate those damn geese and filthy mess they makes everywhere", and I know one sheep farmer who hates the French and said: "You'll never catch I eating blinking lamb."… I can't find one who "abhors" anything, particularly "big-bottomed besoms". One did say: "I should be so lucky!"… Andrew Banks Park Street Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 19.9.03 COUNTRY FOLK ABHOR KILLING - As usual, Mr Banks has got it wrong. Real country folk abhor the killing of wild animals with dogs for fun. Real country folk despise the chinless wonders and big-bottomed besoms that pursue this activity… Thank goodness those days are over… David Marshall Bathampton Bath Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 26.9.03 LORDS MUST SEE HUNTING WILL GO - Listening to coverage on Radio 4 of the Parliamentary debate on hunting, we heard the same old issues - tradition, jobs, country versus town… The Lords must accept that hunting will go…. Pamela Dean Whiteshill Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)

Worcester Evening News 26.9.03 Fears for the future of foxhounds and jobs - SO, New Labour will ban foxhunting. That seems a certainty. But what will become of the dogs, let alone all those facing the loss of their livelihoods and homes, to mention just a couple of realities?... JOHN E WILLETT, Future Of Rural Society, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. (letter in archive)


Forester 25.9.03 ARSONISTS ATTACK PRO-HUNT POSTER - Arsonists are believed to be responsible for a fire which destroyed a massive pro-hunt poster at Redmarley. The poster, which was 20ft by 8ft, was on a trailer in a field near the Redmarley junction of the M50. It showed a nurse saying "Now they love me, now they don't"…. (story)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 25.9.03 Riddle of shocking anti-hunt leaflet - EXTREME pro-hunting propaganda circulating in North Yorkshire could be part of a smear campaign, according to the Countryside Alliance. A leaflet, which includes a graphic photograph of a dead dog covered in blood from an apparent head wound, was sent to the Evening Press, claiming to be a message from the Countryside Alliance. But the organisation said it had absolutely nothing to do with the poorly-spelled material… Countryside Alliance spokesman James Bates said he believed the leaflet was the work of animal rights activists… Anne Holmes, of the League Against Cruel Sports, which vigorously opposes hunting, said she did not think an anti-hunting group was responsible. "It could have been written by an extreme pro-hunting group or someone with a warped sense of humour," she said. (story in archive)

Times 25.9.03 JPs reply to attack on their integrity - As one of the JPs who told your reporter that I shall resign if the Government bans hunting, I should like to assure Mr Mike Borshell (letter, September 18) that my decision has nothing to do with “social status”... RICHARD HOWARD-VYSE, Town Farm, Langton, Malton YO17 9QP.
The commitment, motivation and service of some of our 28,000 lay magistrates are called into question by Mr Borshell. The selection procedures for magistrates are rigorous, and the training provided is substantial and continuous — so that in England and Wales there is a first-class summary justice system dispensed locally by the people, for the people.... RACHEL LIPSCOMB, Chairman, Magistrates Association, 28 Fitzroy Street, W1T 6DD.
The judicial oath taken by all justices on appointment commits us, inter alia, to “do right to all manner of people after the Laws and Usages of this Realm . . . ” Any magistrate who has a conscientious objection to applying the law as it stands has two choices: where the objection is minor and the occurrence is infrequent he can merely refrain from sitting on such cases; where, however, the objection is so fundamental that it affects his overall willingness, competence and impartiality he should resign.... MICHAEL BROWN, Marrick, 5 Hendon Close, Highbridge, Somerset TA9 3LB (letters)
Times 18.9.03 JPs and a hunting ban - It is estimated (report, September 15) that about 10 per cent of lay magistrates overall, and up to 25 per cent in rural areas, are ready to quit the bench if Parliament votes for a ban on hunting. To many of us this only confirms that the appointment of some lay magistrates may be based on their capacity for defending the social status quo rather than enforcing the law... MIKE BORSHELL, 17 The Stewarts, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire CM23 2NT (letter)

Western Gazette 25.9.03 HUNTING DIVISION CLOSE CALL - The countryside is full of posters proclaiming that 59 per cent of the population think hunting should be allowed. Whether this figure is correct or not, it is clear that the division in the nation is much closer than that in the House of Commons… As the nation appears equally divided why should Government impose a ban?... If an unrepresentative majority in the House of Commons imposes legislation this will be closer to Parliamentary dictatorship than democracy…. John Rawlins, Bishops Caundle, full address supplied. (letter)

Western Daily Press 25.9.03 BARBARIC AND BLOODTHIRSTY - With the subject of hunting with hounds being debated in the House of Lords recently, once again the pro-fox-hunting fraternity have become extremely vocal in defence of their barbaric and bloodthirsty hobby… the current favourite "reason" for opposing a ban on hunting with dogs is that if the practice is outlawed many people will lose their jobs. How my heart bleeds for them…. with reference to Lord Bragg's opinion that many people who are anti-hunting share the "fantasy that the fox is a cuddly and harmless little furry animal", I am sure I speak for the majority of hunt protesters in saying that we would feel the same were the fox an 'ugly' creature. Karen Lees Warminster, Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 25.9.03 WHO ARE TRUE COUNTRY FOLK? So, the hunting lot call themselves 'true country people' now. I assume this is to distance themselves from country people who do not share the pleasure 'true country people' derive from pursuing and killing wild animals…. And what about these posters claiming '59 per cent of the public say keep hunting'. From which part of space was that plucked?... Hunting and killing animals for fun is not acceptable in our society... S J Harding Wellington Somerset (letter)


Horncastle News (24.9.03) Hunt lovers would miss the blood-letting - The recent letter ‘Hunting will save wildlife’ (News, September 10), predictably amounts to yet another regurgitation of worn out myths and blatant propaganda. I, on the other hand, being unburdened by a vested interest, prefer to look at the facts…. for approximately every fox killed by hunts - some 20,000 per year - a hunt hound also loses its life, callously culled at half its natural age because it has out-lived its usefulness…. Drag-hunting is of course the answer to preserve the hounds, the horses, the pageantry et al, but the truth is the hunting fraternity would miss the fox and the blood-letting. PATRICIA WICKHAM, Caistor (letter)
Horncastle News 10.9.03 Hunting will save wildlife Ref: Paul Marriott’s letter (News, August 6). It is sad he will be celebrating the demise of our quarry species ie; deer, fox and hare. The feral mink will be allowed to carry on killing our vulnerable wildlife. Could he please tell us any other means of rural fox control that is more humane than hunting…. HENRY FOSTER Woodhall Spa (letter)
Horncastle News 6.8.03 I will celebrate when hunting is banned - I am writing in response to the letter by Henry Foster on the banning of hunting. Mr Foster and his like are completely wrong in that they say by banning the hunt it will lead to increased animal cruelty. I absolutely fail to see how this is so. Hunting with dogs is itself a cruel and vile practice… PAUL J MARRIOTT, (Address supplied) (letter)
Horncastle News 9.7.03 Hunting ban will lead to cruelty - Re: the Hunting Bill (Horncastle News, July 2), the Countryside Alliance has given proof to Alan Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, that banning hunting will cause animal cruelty and not create animal welfare…. Our Deputy Prime Minister is reported as saying at a Labour dinner: “I have nothing against hunting - it’s those ******* in red coats I can’t tolerate.” We all need protection against people such as these. HENRY FOSTER Horncastle Road, Woodhall Spa (letter)

Leicester Mercury 24.9.03 ENDANGERED SPECIES - The Lords debate has once again focused clearly on the issues over the never-ending battle over hunting. The choice is between the 59 per cent of the country, whether they hunt foxes or not, who defend the right of those who believe in it to continue to do it, and the 41 per cent who want the Government to dictate what they should do, simply because they think it is smart to disapprove of it. Do we really trust this Government that much?... David Davidson, Osgathorpe. (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 24.9.03 Claims of the pro-hunting fraternity are dubious - I am responding to J Curtis' fanciful letter (September 10) where he/she claims, amongst other things, that animal rights protesters release mange ridden foxes into the countryside to decimate the rural fox population… I have witnessed foxes being dug from their earths, beaten with sticks and placed in bags, only to be released in front of the hounds and chased for anything up to an hour; I have witnessed hounds over-running swans nests and killing their young; I have been on the receiving end many times of death threats, physical attacks and general intimidation from the hunt and hunt followers… Steven Maunders, Chiseldon
Swindon Evening Advertiser 17.9.03 No big support for hunting on march - REFERENCE the J Curtis letter (Sep 10) the reason I quoted a 1978 letter from James Lees-Milne of the National Trust, was as an independent witness of the Beaufort protecting foxes, deer and hares, for hunting. This still goes on today… a MORI poll found that only 27 per cent of those on the big anti-hunting march to London supported hunting… REV H W JONES, Priors Hill, Wroughton (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 17.9.03 I feel contempt -I WAS intrigued but puzzled as to why J Curtis (Wed's Adver) feels that a ban on hunting with dogs would have any effect on the management of the countryside. He is one of those misguided people who thinks that the hunting fraternity are made up of country people who love the countryside and its wildlife…. Philip Beaven, Merton Avenue (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 10.9.03 The hunting fraternity preserve countryside - RE the Rev Bert Jones letter September 3… A recent poll showed that 59 per cent of people asked opposed the total banning of hunting… If the right to hunt, shoot and control the countryside is taken away (and it would start with the banning of hunting), then I am positive that the likes of Rev Jones would not spend many hours up to his knees in muddy water, clearing out a pond for otters to overcome mink, or spend many hot afternoons in a wood clearing the rides for horsemen…. J CURTIS, Wootton Bassett
Swindon Evening Advertiser 3.9.03 An unholy lot ON September 16 the House of Lords will be voting on the Hunting of Foxes Bill… The hunting fraternity claim to be controllers of pests, in fact they are killers of our wild creatures for pleasure. (Rev) BERT JONES, Wroughton (letter)

Northern Echo 24.9.03 HUNTING - JOE Townsend (HAS Sept 18) complains that the Countryside Alliance poster showing a nurse in hunting gear did not feature a plumber…. Nursing is a caring profession and if there's anything less caring than pursuing a terrified animal to the point of exhaustion and then enjoying the spectacle of it being torn to pieces by dogs, I don't know what is… I also question Joe Townsend's claim that "hundreds of thousands" go hunting. It's a rich man's game, which makes me also question the basic character of this publicity material. - T Kelly, Crook. (letter in archive)
Northern Echo 18.9.03 HUNTING - HOW typical of Lis Key, International Fund For Animal Welfare, in her letter (HAS, Sept 13) to try to twist the purpose of the Countryside Alliance poster depicting a nurse who hunts. Far be it from exploitation of the nursing profession, it is purely to show that people who hunt are just like you and me and come from all walks of life… The millions of pounds generously donated to IFAW that is spent opposing hunting would be far better spent trying to protect the endangered species of the world, and not the fox, who has to be controlled, and has been successfully for centuries by hunts. Please note I say controlled and not wiped out. - Joe Townsend, Northallerton. (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 13.9.03 ALLIANCE OF DOUBLE STANDARDS - How ironic that the Countryside Alliance should choose a nurse as the face for its latest poster campaign to promote hunting... It is the hunters who are guilty of double standards: they value the nurse because she is a hunter. They do not value the hunter because she is a nurse. Lis Key, International Fund for Animal Welfare (letter)
Northern Echo 13.9.03 HUNTING - Lis Key, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), London. (letter in archive)
Argus 13.9.03 Hypocrites - -Lis Key, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Albert Embankment, London (letter)


Western Morning News 23.9.03 LABOUR MADE NO COMMITMENT TO A HUNTING BAN - Your article (WMN, September 8) made some factual errors. It implied that a ban on hunting should be pursued with haste because of a Labour Party manifesto commitment. This is untrue. The Labour manifesto at the last election promised sufficient time to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion. It did not commit to a ban…. Country and towns people of whatever persuasion value and respect the rule of law. When many thousands lose respect for that system anti hunt politicians should ask themselves why, and whether the route which they seem hell bent on pursuing is the right one. Simon Hart Chief executive designate Countryside Alliance London (letter)
Western Morning News 23.9.03 DRAGHUNTING NO SUBSTITUTE FOR REAL THING - Peter Edwards (WMN, September 8) claims that in the event of a total ban on hunting, hunts could "convert to draghunting"… As a purely equestrian sport in its own right - a cross between a point-to point and a "fun ride" - draghunting has its adherents, but it is not "hunting" in any sense of the word… It has few, if any, attractions for the foot-follower… Any pack turning to hunting the clean boot would have to get rid of all its hounds and replace them with a much smaller number of bloodhounds… Draghunting needs lots of open grassland - three three-mile draglines is about the minimum for a decent day, which demands nine miles of continuous pasture or other suitable land over which farmers are willing to have 30 or more horses galloping. Hunting, on the other hand, takes place in all kinds of terrain, and is conducted at a much slower overall pace… The Cambridge University Draghounds, for example, cover the same country as ten foxhunts… over one third of all British hunts (foxhounds in upland areas, beagles and minkhounds) are followed exclusively on foot. Can Mr Edwards explain how draghunting can replace these?.... Jonathan Marshall, Lydeard St Lawrence Taunton, Somerset (letter)
Western Morning News 23.9.03 FORGET CLASS-WAR ARGUMENT - Much of Peter Edwards' anti-hunt article was taken up with promoting the class-war basis of his case… An annual subscription of £20 and a cap of £2 a day for foot followers is not an expensive outlay these days. Classing these people amongst the rich and powerful establishment is ludicrous… The rich and powerful townies are more likely to be found slaughtering pheasants on a Saturday morning than out with hounds in the Westcountry. No doubt they will be the next target of the class warriors, unless the anglers present an easier mark. J Ward-Hayne, Modbury SouthDevon (letter)
Western Morning News 23.9.03 No endorsement … there is one claim in Peter Edwards's article that must be challenged. He implies that the Government has a mandate to ban hunting. No Government, however large its majority, can claim a mandate on any specific issue but only on a range of issues… Alexander Markin, Penzance (letter)
Western Morning News 10.9.03 We're not toffs - PETER Edwards appears to think that all or most hunting people are rich toffs. That is not my experience… In the late sixties and early seventies my late wife and I used to hunt with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. Again we found that in the winter the great majority of followers were local farmers and such like… John Montague, Exeter (letter)
Western Morning News 8.9.03 WHY PRO-HUNT LOBBY 'MUST NOT BREAK LAW' - Last week hunt supporters warned they would be justified in breaking the law if their sport is banned… The constant threat by some hunters to break the law is simply not justifiable given the democratic validity of the Commons vote… As someone who lived on Dartmoor for many years before moving to Plymouth, I experienced the local hounds chasing across my (well-fenced) garden on several occasions… Hunters are not representative of country people; they are a small, relatively wealthy and powerful group, whose power within communities depends on social networks such as those provided by the hunts, and which is being challenged full-on for the first time…. The citizens of this country must obey the law in this matter or face the consequences. And that means all of us. (story)

Western Morning News 23.9.03 PLENTY OF WAYS TO KEEP BUSY WITHOUT KILLING - To answer K J Parsons' question, how in the event of a ban on "hunting with dogs" would he deal with a failing business. Perhaps he could try to influence these barbaric hunters to become more civilised and go "draghunting"… I have seen a beautiful deer being chased on Exmoor by the hunters (and their followers) who all get pleasure from being in at the kill when the poor animal is ripped to pieces by the hounds…. Marjorie Bull, South Brent (letter)

Western Morning News 23.9.03 OF COURSE THIS 'SPORT' IS CRUEL - Does hunting, or rather, its imminent demise, cause some sort of damage to the brain cells? I ask because the letters you print from the hunting fraternity seem to be getting more and more absurd… Now they propose to sue everyone who labels them as "cruel"… Lena Holgate, Newton Abbott (letter)

Western Morning News 23.9.03 Time to bow out - Your article (WMN, September 13) under the heading "Lords prepare to block Hunting Bill" made me very angry. How dare the Earl of Arran say: "This is a class-driven Bill against the perception of privilege"… What right has this aristocrat to challenge and defy the will of our Members of Parliament?... John Phelps, Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 23.9.03 SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE SOON-TO-BE REDUNDANT SABOTEURS - In the midst of all the talk of rural people losing their livelihoods as a result of Blair's hunting ban, why does no one spare a thought for the hunt saboteurs? This dedicated band turn out in all weathers to shout abuse at the hunting fraternity and now their sport will be no more. They will have to picket battery hens and fields of sheep - not very exciting at all…. I have suggested to some hunt saboteurs that they transfer their attention to drag hunting, but they were unimpressed and said it wasn't the same - the thrill just wasn't there, and anyway there are not enough drag hunts to satisfy demand… Nor can Blair ignore the problems as he usually does by saying that these unfortunate people don't matter as they don't vote for New Labour in any case. How would he feel if someone decided to ban, say, aeroplanes on environmental grounds and he could no longer go to Barbados for his summer holidays? It doesn't bear thinking about. M Hunter, South Zeal, Devon (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 23.9.03 HUNTING BILL OVERSHADOWS ISSUES - The House of Lords has begun its debate on the Hunting Bill. The Bill, which the majority of the UK population does not want to see become law, has already taken up a vast amount of parliamentary time at the expense of other far more important issues… The debating time by MPs dedicated to banning hunting - over 85 hours in the past year, plus two public inquiries - this is more than twice the effort and time spent on BSE, the Foot-and-mouth epidemic and all other rural issues combined. Mrs Mary Sanderson, Irby upon Humber, Grimsby (letter)


Worcester Evening News 22.9.03 Hunting costs nothing in tax - MP Peter Luff points out that the anti-hunt lobby has spent £30m of our taxes trying to ban hunting. The hunting fraternity, on the other hand, receives no handout from the Government for keeping some of the foxes in good health to enable them to dispose of millions of rats, mice, moles, rabbits and other vermin by eating them…. I've written previously that I'm neither for nor against hunting. But, on re-consideration, it's my opinion that hunting with dogs is a more economical method of keeping vermin under control… PETER ALCOCK, Upton Snodsbury, Worcestershire. (letter in archive)


Darlington & Stockton Times 20.9.03 Alliance plea to Government: listen to the Lords on hunting by staff of The Darlington & Stockton Times - A CAMPAIGN to stop hunting being banned is hotting up. The Government should listen to the Lords on the Hunting Bill, the Countryside Alliance said this week. A survey of 1,016 voters asked: "If the House of Commons votes in favour of the Hunting Bill but the House of Lords amends it, do you think the Government should?" The majority of voters (52pc) said that the Government should heed the House of Lords... (story in archive)

Lincolnshire Echo 20.9.03 ARCHER AND HUNTS ARE THE QUARRY - They are the proverbial thorns in the side but no matter how hard the Government tugs, these prickly fellas are going nowhere. The intractable issues of fox-hunting and House of Lords reform returned to haunt New Labour again this week.... (story)

Telegraph 20.9.03 A perfect day - cubbing, then off to open Bugthorpe Show - By Clarissa Dickson Wright ...Hunting in Yorkshire is bred in the bone, and the Bedale has a splendid reputation for good hounds, fine horseflesh and formidable women - all true.... I travelled along with a resolute master and a red-headed, energetic terrierman called Kevin, as well as a small girl called Abbey, who was keen to explain that the only reason she wasn't mounted that day was that her pony had trodden on her face.... (story)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald 17.9.03 Blowing the countryside's trumpet - THE pendulum is swinging back for the rural economy, believes leading countryside advocate and television personality Clarissa Dickson-Wright. The star of Clarissa and the Countryman, chatting over a cup of tea at last Saturday's Bugthorpe craft and horticultural show, said she detected a new attitude towards the countryside particularly by urban dwellers… On the ongoing hunting issue, she says that even if parliament decides to impose a ban, it will still continue… (story in archive)
York Evening Press 15.9.03 Clarissa blows trumpet for countryside …Clarissa Dickson-Wright, formerly of Two Fat Ladies fame, and now star of Clarissa And The Countryman, spoke out while opening the Bugthorpe Craft and Horticultural Show… "If you live in the countryside these days you feel everybody in Westminster is against you, whether it's hunting or everything else…." The BBC star had enjoyed an early morning hunt before arriving to open the show… (story in archive)


Wolverhampton Express & Star 19.9.03 I would break hunt law says magistrate - A Staffordshire magistrate and huntsman said he would consider breaking the law to carry on with his hobby if fox-hunting was banned by the Government. Chris Jackson, a farmer from Abbots Bromley, near Lichfield, made the shock announcement as the Hunting Bill was given its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday… His comments came as three huge pro-hunting posters were ripped down in Staffordshire…. (story)
Times 15.9.03 Judges to hear hunt cases for rebellious JPs BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - JUDGES may be called in to hear prosecutions of foxhunters amid an uprising by rural magistrates over the issue. District judges who preside over important cases in magistrates’ courts are being lined up because the first cases are expected to become “show trials”.... Chris Jackson, 56, a magistrate, huntsman and farmer from Rugeley, Staffordshire, says that he would take part in illegal hunting but has no intention of quitting the bench. He said: “I believe it will have more impact if the Lord Chancellor has to sack me.” (story)

Cumberland News & Star 19.9.03 PRO-HUNTING MAGISTRATES MAY BE BANNED FROM HEARING CASES - CUMBRIAN magistrates could be barred from sitting on foxhunting prosecutions because of the views they hold on the issue – if a ban becomes law… There are fears that around 10 per cent of magistrates will be forbidden to sit in cases and that figure could be as high as 25 per cent in rural areas such as Cumbria…. (story)

Hull Daily Mail 19.9.03 MP PRESSES FOR HUNT BILL - Veteran city MP Kevin McNamara today warned the Government it must "stop mucking about" and put an end to the long-running fox hunting saga… However, there is fierce opposition to a complete ban from East Yorkshire MPs David Davis and Greg Knight… (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 19.9.03 HUNTS VOW TO CONTINUE FIGHT - Hunt supporters in the Weald were dealt a severe blow on Tuesday night when it was made clear the government will force through the anti-hunting bill…. Staunch supporter of the Ashford Valley Hunt Sue Palmer, whose husband John serves on the committee, was adamant: "They will never ban hunting, I live in hope of that…" Members of The Old Surrey Burstow West Kent Hunt have said they are angry but not surprised. Hunt master Graeme Worsley said: "I expected Lord Whitty to tell peers they must not challenge the Commons' vote for a complete ban on hunting with hounds. He was told to say it. It is all part of politics. Whether they do what he says is another matter."… (story)

Westmorland Gazette 19.9.03 Former MP lobbies for fox hunting in the Lakes - Former Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Lord Michael Jopling this week led calls for the Hunting Bill to be amended so fox hunting could be allowed to continue in the Lake District…. Lord Jopling described the proposed Bill as “intolerant, prejudiced and illiberal”, and suggested that all foot-packs, such as the Coniston Foxhounds, Lunesdale Foxhounds and North Lonsdale Foxhounds, remain unaffected by any legislation…. (story)

Malvern Gazette 19.9.03 & Ledbuy Reporter 19.9.03 Hunts vow to fight on - HUNTSMEN say they will fight for their right to continue with the sport in the face of Government plans to ban it… Donald Haden, of the Ledbury Hunt, said: "Although 59 per cent of the population in a survey said keep hunting, the Government seem hell bent on ignoring this."… (story in archive)

Wilts & Glos Standard 19.9.03 Hunting ban likely, despite protests - A BAN on foxhunting looks more likely despite protestations against the Hunting Bill by the House of Lords…. Jo Aldridge, from the Beaufort Hunt believes the changes would not protect animal welfare or benefit the countryside…. Paul Richardson, from Cirencester Animal Rights group said: "It doesn't make any difference to us which way it goes through as long as it goes through…. Mark Hill, joint master of the Vale of the White Horse Hunt said the Bill would have a damaging impact on the countryside…. Gill Purser, from the support group for the Cotswold Abolition of Hunting movement said: "The will of the Commons has to prevail otherwise there's no point in having the democratic set up we've got…" (story in archive)

Guardian 19.9.03 Hunt pledge - In the debate on foxhunting in the Lords, Larry Whitty revealed the government's true colours... the Union of Country Sports Workers pledges to challenge any such legislation in the countryside and the courts until we prevail. Kieron Moore, Chairman, Union of Country Sports Workers (letter)

Yorkshire Post 19.9.03 From: Michael Stephen Mycroft, The Laurels, Wilton, Pickering - With reference to a recent letter ("High time the persecution of country folk ended, Yorkshire Post, September 12) I would like to make the point that it is really an issue of whether the present Government is acting in a fair and democratic way to its electorate... (letter)
Yorkshire Post 12.9.03 High time the persecution of country folk ended From: Dorothy Cope (address supplied) - If only the Members of Parliament voting to ban fox hunting would each spend a day with a hunt they would then have a better idea of what they are trying to ban.... The sooner this Government leaves the rural community alone to run its own affairs the better. (letter)

Yorkshire Post 19.9.03 Josey Sharrad, campaigns officer, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London. (letter)
Shropshire Star 17.9.03 Alliance's results are misleading - Josey Sharrad Campaigns Officer, IFAW (letter)
Manchester Evening News 17.9.03 THE pro-hunt Countryside Alliance claim that 59 per cent of people want to keep hunting (Viewpoint, Postbag Sept 8). That is an extraordinary figure… Josey Sharrad, International Fund For Animal Welfare, London (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 17.9.03 COUNTYSIDE ALLIANCE POLL BASED ON FLAWED LOGIC - The pro-hunt Countryside Alliance claims that 59 per cent of people 'want to keep hunting'. This is an extraordinary figure, considering a poll conducted by MORI (December 2002) revealed that 80 per cent of the British public consider all forms of hunting with dogs to be cruel… the 59 per cent figure was derived from an ambiguous question: its three given options included the term 'under regulation'… The analysts noted that 'given this potential confusion, responses to this question should neither be counted as supporting hunting nor being against it'… Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare, London (letter)

Gloucestershire Gazette 19.9.03 We'll fight for right to hunt - Since this Labour Government first came into power 6 years ago there have been numerous attempts to ban hunting with dogs… What does it take to persuade members of this Government that despite being our elected representatives they are not always right? We have fought this battle for over six years and will fight it for another 600 if necessary. Henry Berkeley, Selsley (letter in archive)

Leicester Mercury 19.9.03 REINING IN HUNT LOBBY - Still the "Countryside Alliance" can only rehash the same old arguments in support of this cruel pastime, hunting… this petulant minority has devised a "cunning" plan of non-payment of council tax and car tax… As the police are also partially funded by council tax, may I suggest we put them to greater use by situating them on routes between rural and urban areas in order to confiscate all vehicles without a tax disc, a punishment further compounded by the withdrawal of buses!... Miss Sam Verity, Leicester. (letter)

Leicester Mercury 19.9.03 BAD SPORTS! - John Bycroft (Mercury, September 15) said that two of his family make their living from the country sport (fox hunting)…. He and his family can go drag hunting to their hearts' content… G A Wright, Leicester. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 15.9.03 COUNTRY STRIFE - They are the rural radicals vowing to bring civil disorder to Britain. Lee Marlow meets a huntsman turned Real CA activist. Wherever John Bycroft goes in his big, bad-boy pick-up truck, people pip their horns and wave. "Good on yer mate," they shout, and stick their thumbs up and smile… John was born in Ashby, chases foxes with the Cottesmore Hunt and grew lettuces in a greenhouse the size of a football pitch in Lincolnshire before selling up five years ago… The second reading of the Hunting Bill begins tomorrow in the House of Lords. If the Lords decide not to ban hunting, John fears MPs will steamroller the legislation through the Commons. Then, it gets dirty. People in the countryside, he predicts, will rise up to fight for what they see as an erosion of their way of life... Paul Adams, of East Midlands Hunt Saboteurs' Association, says the Real CA's threats of law breaking disruption will "remove what little veneer of respectability hunting had in the first place''…. (story)


Kentish Express 18.9.03 Protestors kept back - PRO-HUNTING demonstrators were kept well away from the VIP opening of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. A crowd of protestors 30 to 50-strong gathered on a bridge across the railway near Sellindge, waving placards and blowing hunting horns. The peaceful protest, organised by the Countryside Alliance, was aimed at Prime Minister Tony Blair. But Mr Blair was not in Kent, having earlier opened the new line in London, leaving Transport Secretary Alistair Darling to face any protest... A large banner mentioned the Ashford Valley hunt. Another claimed 59 per cent of the public did not want hunting banned.... (story)

Horse & Hound 18.9.03 Lords get heated about hunting - Holly Kirkwood - An inevitable clash unfolded in the House of Lords on Tuesday over the Hunting Bill, with many as 60 peers down to speak. Pro and anti members took turns to convince the House of their opinions in a session which lasted well past 11pm.... (story)

Telegraph 18.9.03 Minister breaks ranks - A minister broke ranks and told the House of Lords yesterday that he would vote against the Bill to ban hunting in England and Wales. Lord Rooker, minister of state in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, made known during question time in the Lords his opposition to the move to outlaw hunting.... (story)

Birmingham Post 18.9.03 Pro-hunt Bishop warns of jobs loss By Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Post - A fox hunting ban could destroy rural jobs and end traditional country ways of life, the Bishop of Hereford has warned. Speaking in the House of Lords, the Bishop said the Bill, which could end hunting forever in the Midlands, should never have come before Parliament… (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 18.9.03 COUNTRYSIDE: Hunt 'won't be the last' - FEARS that this could be the last year of the city's Fitzwilliam Hunt have today been shrugged off… George Bowyer, joint master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, refused to believe that the end could be in sight for the traditional sport… (story)

Cumberland News & Star 18.9.03 War of words erupts over proposed ban on fox hunts - A CALL from the Countryside Alliance to stop a hunting ban being forced through Parliament has been dismissed by a Cumbrian anti-blood sport campaigner…. Elaine Milbourne, Cumbrian spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said that the public was in favour of a ban on hunting with dogs. “The Coun tryside Alliance’s poll would inev itably say that the Lords should have a say,” she said… (story)

Telegraph 18.9.03 Unjustified hunting plan - You report (Sep 17) that Labour MPs are growing restive at "the delay in implementing Labour's manifesto commitment on banning hunting". No such commitment was made. The manifesto referred to "resolving" the issue of hunting, not to banning hunting with dogs... Paul Burgess, Lyndhurst, Hampshire (letter)

Telegraph 18.9.03 Overwhelming the legal system - The police have warned that the Government's stated aim of enforcing a total ban on hunting with dogs is unenforceable. As a magistrate in a small rural community, I would find it difficult to enforce such a ban through the court system.... Rory Macdiarmid, Frome, Somerset (letter)

Leicester Mercury 18.9.03 MOST OPPOSE FOX-HUNTING - What do the fox-hunters mean in their latest postal campaign, seen repeatedly in the Leicestershire and Warwickshire areas, by saying "59 per cent agree with hunting"?... respected polls carried out by organisations such as Mori resulted in 72/73 per cent against fox-hunting and would have covered a large area, including town and country folk. Janet Cummings, Rugby (letter)

Western Daily Press 18.9.03 SHE KNOWS NOTHING AT ALL - Referring to the letter from Mary Ratcliffe, Sticking Up For Animals, August 27. Here's another person writing about something she knows nothing about. She says in her letter: 'Until reading a detailed account of this sport, my personal knowledge had been very limited.' Then she goes on to say: 'From all I have read since the present Government has promised to ban foxhunting...' It's like saying: "I know how to build a wall because I've read how to do it."… D Tinsey Cranham Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 27.8.03 STICKING UP FOR ANIMALS …As I write, the season for cub hunting has begun…. The wanton destruction of these beautiful little creatures is carried out in the early hours of dawn… Their earth is destroyed, and these helpless, terrified cubs are driven into a bloodthirsty circle of mounted hunters and newly-initiated hounds, encouraged to maul five to six-month-old cubs to a truly agonising death…From all that I have read since the present Government has promised to ban fox hunting, the pro-hunting lobby has stepped up its bullying and intimidation towards Members of Parliament who oppose it… Mary Ratcliffe Old Town Swindon (letter)

Western Gazette 18.9.03 MALICIOUS NONSENSE - It is no coincidence, that at a time when a Bill to ban foxhunting is currently going through Parliament, that we get disproven allegations of foxes attacking children. Not one alleged case of a fox attacking a child has ever been verified. One case turned out to be a scratch from a cat, another was a German Shepherd and the latest case which Murray Stoddart refers to in his letter to the Western Gazette (11 September), was a small scratch ?? not a bite… By claiming ??anxiety?? over a fox ??killing a child??, it seems to me, that the pro-foxhunting Mr Stoddart is indulging in a piece of malicious nonsense. Helen Weeks, 15 West Coker Hill, West Coker. (letter)

Western Gazette 18.9.03 CHALLENGE TO LIBERTY - At the risk of repetition let me say that non-hunters have the most clout when they write or speak up for the cause of hunting. As a town dweller I see the case of fox hunting as one of liberty rather than an issue of cruelty levels on the best way of maintaining land. I consider I have no right to pontificate on rural matters that I am ignorant of ?? and neither has this Government ?? which incidentally has then (so far) gone against its own conclusions…. J. S. Harper, Wareham, address supplied. (letter)

Berwick Advertiser 18.9.03 Let hunting debate return where it belongs - Having spent time away from home recently I have just picked up on the furore surrounding the erection of pro hunting signs and the vandalising of these signs. Let me make clear at the outset I deplore vandalism from whatever source for whatever reason. Secondly may I make it equally clear that my attitude towards hunting is genuinely neutral…. Where I take issue with the hunting lobby is in the way they seem to have hijacked the whole of rural affairs as part of their cause… I have lived full time in the countryside (not just here) for twelve years and have been professionally associated with rural affairs for twice that time, including two periods with the veterinary service of the old MAFF, in both Cumbria and Northumberland. I consequently regard myself as reasonably well informed about rural matters, but open to enlightenment by rational argument. ALEC DAVIES, Flodden Fold Cottage, Branxton Buildings, Cornhill-on-Tweed. (letter)


Shropshire Star 17.9.03 Hunt ban could see death of the fox - The fox could be wiped out as a species in upland areas like Mid Wales if Parliament presses ahead with a ban on hunting with dogs, a former Montgomeryshire MP has warned. Lord Hooson said last night people would decide that it would be better to get rid of foxes altogether, probably by poisoning, if they could no longer control them by hunting… (story)

BBC News Online 17.9.03 Peers reignite hunting clash - Peers have reinforced their opposition to MPs' plans to outlaw fox hunting - despite an appeal for the two Houses of Parliament to compromise over the issue.... Baroness Byford, a member of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, and Tory front bench spokeswoman, described the bill as a "buy off".... But Tory Earl Onslow, who opposes the measure, argued that hunting was all about adrenalin, claiming a young woman had once told him it was "better than an orgasm and lasts a lot longer".... (story)

Guardian 17.9.03 Minister vows to ban hunting by next election - Sarah Hall, political correspondent - A law to ban hunting will be on the statute book by the next election, Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, promised yesterday as Labour peers argued against the legislation during a marathon House of Lords debate. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there would be "some form of legislation", but he refused to be drawn on whether the government would invoke the Parliament Act, which has been used only three times since 1949....Yesterday, as the bill received its second reading, the Labour peer Lady Mallalieu, QC, president of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, indicated that she would break the law to continue to pursue the sport. The "vindictive little bill" would ensure that "I and my family and friends will be made criminals, and so will many others," she said... (story)

Independent 17.9.03 Government 'will force hunting ban through defiant Lords' By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - Hunting will be banned despite vociferous opposition from peers who are planning to block the legislation, a minister signalled yesterday. Lord Whitty, an Environment minister, gave the Government's strongest indication yet that it will use the Parliament Act, a rarely employed technical device that allows the Commons to force legislation through the Lords.... Baroness Byford, a former member of the Quorn hunt, and the Tory spokeswoman on the hunting Bill, said that it was a "sell out", which would result in more foxes being killed each year... (story)

Telegraph 17.9.03 Ministers to force through total ban on foxhunting By George Jones, Political Editor - The Government paved the way last night for foxhunting to be banned outright in England and Wales as soon as next year after abandoning attempts to reach a compromise based on a licensing system.... (story)
Telegraph 17.9.03 Yesterday in Parliament - Reports by Michael Kallenbach, Parliamentary Correspondent - Labour peers attack 'vindictive little Bill' to ban foxhunting...
Frank Johnson: Lords sketch (stories)
Telegraph 17.9.03 Hunting sabotaged - Sorely in need of something red and juicy to satisfy the appetite of its supporters in the House of Commons, the Government has made plain its intentions on the future of foxhunting. The Lords, which yesterday considered a badly mangled Bill from the Commons, can save its breath. The diktat from 10 Downing Street is absolute: hunting is to be made unlawful.... This decision is not courageous but craven. And because love of liberty among all voters is still strong in this land, it will in the longer run exact from the Labour Party a heavy price. (story)

Times 17.9.03 Hunting will be banned next year BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - FOXHUNTING looks set to be banned next year after the Government served notice that it was ready to invoke ancient procedures to force through the will of MPs. Ministers told the House of Lords yesterday that they fully intended to use the Parliament Act to push through a total ban.... (story)

Yorkshire Post 17.9.03 Lords set for clash over ban on hunts The Lords last night looked set for a head-on clash with the Commons over banning foxhunting... Baroness Byford, for the Tories and a former member of the Quorn Hunt, described the Bill as a "buy-off – a cold calculating attempt by the Government to mollify its backbenchers, to give them something they want in the hope that they will thereafter accept a few things they obviously do not want"... (story)

Sun 17.9.03 Hunts ban law threat - A BAN on fox hunting will be forced through next year if the House of Lords try to block it... (story)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 17.9.03 MPS FIRM AGAINST FOXHUNTS North Lincolnshire MPs have stood firm in their fierce opposition to foxhunting, and warned the Government to resolve the issue once and for all… Brigg and Goole MP Ian Cawsey said: "We have got to have some sort of tale to tell on this one…" (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 17.9.03 LORDS FACE NEW HUNTING BATTLE - DAVID BYERS PARLIAMENTARY CORRESPONDENT - The Government may now force through a total ban on fox-hunting - after the move was rejected in the House of Lords. In a debate stretching late into the night, peers lined up to condemn the Government's Bill, saying it would infringe civil rights in the countryside…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 17.9.03 LORDS IN HUNTING ROW - Peers have showed their frustration over Labour's proposed hunting ban during a marathon debate… (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 17.9.03 LINCOLNSHIRE ECHO - COMMENT - Lincolnshire MP Edward Leigh believes that "99 per cent of the population don't give a damn about hunting". Mr Leigh is undoubtedly exaggerating. But the sentiment he is trying to express is probably true…. What a shame that such a narrow-minded piece of legislation should have become such an important issue for a Labour Government. (story)

Gloucester Citizen 17.9.03 LORDS ON COURSE FOR COLLISION ON HUNTING - The House of Lords is on a collision course with the Commons over the controversial issue of a ban on hunting with dogs…. (story)

Scotsman 17.9.03 Lords set to revolt over hunt bill - THE Lords looked set last night for a head-on clash with the Commons over banning foxhunting, with peers lining up for a marathon debate over the government’s hunting bill, which has been on New Labour’s political agenda since 1997… (story)

Western Morning News 17.9.03 TOTAL BAN ON HUNTING WITH DOGS IS 'CERTAIN' - JASON GROVES LONDON EDITOR - The Government yesterday issued a blunt warning to peers that a total ban on hunting with dogs would be forced through regardless of the level of opposition in the House of the Lords…. (story)
Western Morning News 17.9.03 PEERS ARE IN NO MOOD FOR THREATS - Farms Minister Lord Whitty came in for a rough ride yesterday as the Lords debated the Hunting Bill. London Editor Jason Groves watched peers give strongly-held views on both sides of the argument…. Many peers prefaced their remarks with the statement that although they opposed a ban on hunting they had never actually taken part in the activity themselves. There was no need for Lord Whitty to do the same. He may be the Farms Minister but it is doubtful whether the noble lord could tell one end of a horse from the other, let alone ride one across country in pursuit of a fox… After years of trying to avoid a final decision on hunting the Prime Minister will have to decide whether to go with the gut instincts of his backbenchers or the reasoned arguments of the House of Lords. Yesterday the Lords made that decision just a little bit harder. (story)

Belfast Telegraph 17.9.03 Peer urges foxhunting ban AN Ulster peer has called for a Bill banning fox hunting to be extended to Northern Ireland. Lord Laird was speaking at the second reading debate on the controversial Hunting Bill in the Lords last night…. (story)

Western Daily Press 17.9.03 £30M BAIT TO SNARE HUNTS - Anti-hunting campaigners were yesterday accused of spending up to £30million on their campaigns in just six years, as the House of Lords discussed bloodsports. The compromise parliamentary Middle Way Group said the spending by the RSPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the League Against Cruel Sports was a "vast, wasted fortune"….
As the controversial Hunting Bill was considered in the Lords, bloodsports supporters chartered a barge which chugged up and down outside Parliament… Environment Minister Lord Whitty… admitted most foxhounds would not make suitable family pets but suggested some could be retrained as farm animals….
British Telecom became embroiled in a bizarre row between hunting supporters and anti-hunt campaigners last night. The telecom firm said it would be taking action after hundreds of their telegraph poles were used to display pro-hunting posters across the West…. (story)

Birmingham Post/Mail 17.9.03 MP sparks fox hunting money row - Jonathan Walker - Animal rights campaigners responded with fury yesterday after a Midland MP and peer accused them of squandering "a vast, wasted fortune" in the campaign against fox hunting. Charities have spent more than £30 million on a campaign which will fail to save the life of a single animal, according to Peter Luff (Con Mid Worcestershire) and Baroness Golding, former MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme. But they were accused of getting their facts wrong by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and RSPCA…. (story)
Horse & Hound 16.9.03 Anti-hunt campaign costs £30million - Sarah Cripps - Anti-hunting groups have spent £30 million on their campaign, claims the Middle Way Group, whose publication coincides with the Second Reading of the Government's Hunting Bill in the House of Lords today.... (story)
People 14.9.03 £120 TO SAVE A FOX FROM HUNT - ANIMAL rights charities are accused of spending £30MILLION on campaigns to ban fox hunting - or £120 on each of Britain's 250,000 foxes. The Middle Way Group of pro-hunting politicians said: "It's a vast, wasted fortune."... (story)

Cambridge News 17.9.03 KNOW YOUR PLACE - From Mike Michalak, Swaffham Road, Burwell - AS a so called urban type ( News, September 13), surely J S Harper realises he or she is more detested than a dose of saddle rash by the hunting fraternity. Country types who don't know a sugar beet from a parsnip constantly tell us that city and suburbanites have no right to express an opinion and are lower than an earthworm…. (letter)
Cambridge News 13.9.03 Whose liberty next? From J S Harper - Pightle Close, Harston - YOU beat me to it! ("Not enough jails", Letters, September 10). As an urban type, I had kept out of the fox-hunting debate - until I realised non-hunters actually have more clout! A hunting ban would be an ominous precedent - whose liberty will they take next?... (letter)

Argus 17.9.03 Hunt them out …there have been many nasty confrontations between the hunting fraternity and hunt saboteurs… When such cases have come to court, aggrieved hunt opponents have often been shocked at the result, suspecting the magistrates have a bias in favour of hunting. Such suspicions are now reinforced with the report that, in the event of a hunt ban, some magistrates plan to resign … The Lord Chancellor should root them out and sack them. -Peter Allen, Worthing (letter in archive)


Horse & Hound 16.9.03 CA "barges" in on hunting debate - The Countryside Alliance reinforced the strength of support there is for hunting by floating a barge past the Houses of Parliament as the House of Lords was preparing for the second reading of the Hunting Bill.... (story)

(poss. Crediton, Culm Valley, Tiverton Gazette) 16.9.03 PEERS SET TO DISCUSS HUNT BILL - Groups opposed to hunting have claimed that the sport is doomed, regardless of events in the House of Lords. Peers are today due to debate the Hunting Bill for the first time…. (story)

Guardian 16.9.03 Peers say only a 'fix' will ban fox hunting - Michael White, political editor - The government will need to create even more "crony" peers as well as expel the 92 remaining hereditary members of the House of Lords if it is to push a total ban on fox-hunting through the upper house, opposition peers warned last night... (story)

Sky News 16.9.03 FOX HUNTING BILL DEBATED - The long-running row over the future of fox hunting is moving up a gear as more than 50 peers debate the controversial Bill outlawing the sport.... (story)

ITV 16.9.03 Lords challenge fox hunting ban - The long-running row over the future of fox hunting continues as more than 50 peers debate the controversial Bill outlawing the sport…. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said a total hunting ban would threaten the conservation of Britain's countryside. (story)

Western Morning News 16.9.03 POLITICAL EYES TURN TO HUNT DEBATE - Peers are today expected to debate controversial hunting policies long into the night as the Hunting Bill enters the House of Lords for the first time…. The debate is expected to centre on civil liberties, rather than the issue of animal welfare… (story)
Western Morning News 16.9.03 BLAIR FACES HUE AND… Has the PRIME MINISTER COME TO REGRET HIS PROMISE TO INTRODUCE A BAN ON HUNTING? - IN JANUARY Lord Jenkins of Hillhead died. Shortly before his death, he was visited by a devoted admirer, one Tony Blair by name… "Tony," he reportedly said. "If you invoke the Parliament Act, it will be the most illiberal act of the century." And the cause on which he warned his proteg?? to stay his hand? Mr Blair's reply supplies the answer. "Roy, I wish I had never heard the word 'hunting'. We are in such a mess. I do not know how we are going to get out of it."… Lord Jenkins was not a hunting man. He knew, however, that, in enforcing the views of a largely urban lobby upon a substantial, law-abiding section of the electorate, New Labour could be seen as abusing and exceeding the power vested in it… It is not the propriety of hunting which has seen opposition to the proposed ban climbing to well over 50 per cent of the electorate, but the recognition of the right to such self-determination and of the worth of tradition, whether comprehensible or no. (story)
Western Morning News 16.9.03 TALLY HO - Ah, the first chills of autumn ripple across the dewy grass. Time to jump head-first once more into the hunting debate. Before you don your attitude, let's just recap what fox-hunting actually is, or isn't. It isn't a way of keeping anti-social rural pests under control, and never was…. Over the hunting issue, ignorant armies continue to clash by night…. Hunting people don't hate foxes any more than footballers hate footballs, they need them and even nurture them… If the hunt doesn't want to disappear into the bloody pages of the history books beside whaling and big-game shooting, it has to accept and bow to the spirit of the time. No more killing… (story)
Western Morning News 16.9.03 COUNTRY TRADITIONS ARE BEING ASSAILED …. People who live miles apart from one another yet count one another neighbours must rely on public transport or must drive miles or meet up and trade information in the school playground, in the village shop, in the pub or, at church on high days, and, on occasion, at meet of the hunt, at the point-to-point or at the races… Since New Labour came to power, we have seen public transport dwindling to a level of inaccessibility unmatched in Europe, a grossly prejudicial tax on petrol preventing country-dwellers from enjoying the commonplace amenities of humane and civilised life, live pub music all but outlawed, pubs, schools and post-offices closing, and hunting - and thereby point-to-points and steeplechasing - whimsically threatened with extinction… (story)

Femail 16.9.03 Fox-hunting ban may be overturned by Lords - The long-running row over the future of fox hunting moves up a gear today when more than 50 peers debate the controversial Bill outlawing the sport… (story)

BBC News Online 16.9.03 Peers debate Hunting Bill The future of hunting with dogs in England and Wales comes under the spotlight again on Tuesday as the House of Lords debates a controversial bill outlawing the sport… Lord Hurd, the former Tory home secretary, said he did not believe peers would reject the bill outright "because that will just provoke the use of the Parliament Act". … The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said a total ban would threaten countryside conservation as research suggests that land owners who take part in field sports are more likely to invest in caring for the countryside than those who do not. (story)
BBC News Online 16.9.03 Timeline: Hunting row - There is a long history of attempts to ban fox hunting - here are some of the key moments, and a look forward to what might happen next… (story)
BBC News Online 16.9.03 Do you support a fox hunting ban? The future of hunting with dogs in England and Wales is due to be debated again by the House of Lords on Tuesday… The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received: … (story)

Leicester Mercury 16.9.03 Labour MPs in Leicestershire say they hope that the Government will strong-arm a total ban on hunting through - despite almost inevitable opposition in the House of Lords tonight… (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 16.9.03 HUNTING DEBATE - The long-running row over the future of fox hunting moves up a gear today when more than 50 peers debate the controversial Bill outlawing the sport… (story)

Manchester Evening News 16.9.03 Peers warned over hunting Bill - MANCHESTER MP Keith Bradley today urged peers not to sabotage the latest bid to ban the "barbaric" sport of fox hunting…. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 16.9.03 MP'S CALL ON HUNTS - Tory Mp Patrick Mercer has broken ranks with his party by calling for fox-hunting to be licensed. The Newark MP said some groups were "essentially cruel" and had to be outlawed. Although he opposes Government moves to ban the sport, which will almost certainly be blocked by the House of Lords tonight, he would support moves to impose a license…. (story)

The Sentinel 16.9.03 MP: FOX-HUNT BILL A TEST FOR LORDS - A Stoke-on-trent MP says the House of Lords should be completely overhauled if it refuses to give the go-ahead for a full ban on hunting with dogs. Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley says the Lords would not reflect British society if it threw out Government plans to ban the bloodsport… (story)

Newcastle Journal 16.9.03 Hunt ban could force JPs to quit By Liz Hands, The Journal - Rural magistrates in the North say they could be forced to quit if a foxhunting ban is brought in. Justices of the Peace who are also hunt supporters, believe they will be put in an untenable position if they have to preside over cases where people have broken any future ban…. Michael Loyd, a farmer at Threepwood, near Haydon Bridge, has served as a magistrate at Hexham for 20 years, but yesterday he said that as a member of the Haydon Hunt, he would have to reconsider his position if a ban were brought in… But, Anne Holmes, spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said yesterday: "These people have had no qualms about punishing people who have attempted to disrupt this barbaric sport so, when the riding boot is on the other foot, they will have to uphold the law…." (story)

Burton Mail 16.9.03 Pro-hunt campaign 'will not be halted' by ANDY ANDERSON - COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have vowed "no surrender" to their opponents after accusing anti-hunt protesters of vandalising posters in the Burton area. Pro-hunting messages claiming the majority of the public to be in favour of the activity have been damaged across the county in the past couple of days – with the House of Lords due to renew debate on the subject today… The Countryside Alliance has condemned the damage to the posters as an attempt to curb freedom of expression. Spokesmann Peter Presland said: "This shows how intolerant of any debate a lunatic fringe of anti-hunt activists appear to be…" (story)

Crediton, Culm Valley, Tiverton Gazette 16.9.03 PRO-HUNT BANNERS 'ILLEGAL' ON EXMOOR - Hundreds of pro-hunting banners put up across Exmoor as part of the Countryside Alliance's National Action Weekend were put there illegally… But under the terms of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, it is illegal to put advertising material on National Parks without permission, and anti-hunt campaigners are demanding they are taken down…. (story)

(poss. Crediton, Culm Valley, Tiverton Gazette) 16.9.03 Where do the figures come from? ALTHOUGH I do not support hunting I do not actively protest against it and I keep my personal opinions to myself. But I was outraged by an in-your-face sign while driving home from Tiverton. The sign said that 59 per cent of the public wanted to keep hunting. Where do these people get their figures from?... Mrs S A Banks Nomansland (letter)

Western Morning News 16.9.03 HUNTING GOES AGAINST GRAIN OF RESPECT FOR ALL CREATURES - What makes the pro-hunters 'tick'? How can they get pleasure from chasing a wild creature for hours on end hoping to see it caught by the hounds (not just one who "deals with it") and ripped to pieces?... Mrs M W Burns, Bodmin (letter)

Western Morning News 16.9.03 Ban hunting - MUCH has been made of the fact that hunting dogs will have to be put down if hunting is banned, but the fact has also been reported that these dogs are put down when they are too old to hunt or if the puppies are considered unsuitable…. If we are a civilised society, how can we condone the terrorising of one animal by horse, hounds and people until it is concerned and savaged to death?... P E F Kuhfeld, Tavistock (letter)

Western Morning News 16.9.03 Liberty issue - PHYLLIS Campbell- Macrae's misuse of language (WMN, August 19) to justify unfair anti-hunting legislation is typical of an attitude that must worry any one who values the liberal basis of our democracy . It is disingenuous of her to state that MPs who voted for an outright ban on hunting were acting on any kind of "mandate" at all… Jonathan Higgins, Dartington Totnes (letter)
Western Morning News 9.9.03 WHERE IS MANDATE FOR A HUNTING BAN? I find it strange that the director of International Fund for Animal Welfare UK (which is based in America), of all people, raises questions concerning the "democratic process"… she claims that those MPs who voted for a ban on all forms of hunting… were "acting on the mandate of their constituents". How does she know that? We should remember that, in the last election, the Labour Party, of which most of those MPs are members, received less than 25 per cent of the votes cast!... It is not the safety of MPs which is at risk, but it is their reputation and integrity. G Mannell, Truro (letter)
Western Daily Press 9.9.03 A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY - Few would disagree with your correspondent Nigel Henson, the director of communications, Countryside Alliance, that it is healthy for our democracy that politicians hear the views of those they represent… It is not clear from the article what percentage of the rural population has voted Nigel Henson their spokesman but if MPs do have 30 per cent of their constituents voting for them it is 30 per cent more than members of the House of Lords. C P Harrell Pill Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 2.9.03 EFFORT TO SMEAR HUNT SUPPORTERS - It is rich indeed that the director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare should accuse people who hunt of 'riding roughshod over the countryside', since this is precisely what anti-hunting MPs, at IFAW's urging, are doing!... let us nail the falsehood that these MPs have the 'mandate' of their constituents behind them for a ban. They don't, because they can't: most of them were elected by fewer than 30 per cent of their constituents so they just cannot pretend to speak for the majority of their electorate on hunting. Nigel Henson Director of Communications Countryside Alliance (letter)
Western Morning News 2.9.03 LET MANGLED HUNTING BILL SINK LIKE A STONE - The anti-hunting faction has never hesitated to lobby vigorously, to demonstrate, or to resort to illegal actions of sabotage of a lawful activity. So it is a bit rich for Ms Phyllis Cambell-McRae of the International Fund for Animal Welfare to write sniffily (WMN, August 19) about a few misguided MPs being given a rough ride by opponents of a ban who do, after all, represent 59 per cent of the population... J Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)
Western Daily Press 13.8.03 POLICE SHOULD TAKE ACTION - - It is of grave concern that extremists are trying to harass and intimidate MPs and Ministers who are in favour of a ban on fox hunting. The people who ride roughshod over our countryside seem to believe they can do the same to our democratic process… Phyllis Campbell-McRae Director The International Fund For Animal Welfare (letter)

Manchester Evening News 16.9.03 It’s time hunting was consigned to the history books - A cruel ‘sport’ - CONTRARY to the views of the Countryside Alliance (Viewpoint, Postbag, Sept 8), few people today would consider that it was illiberal to legislate against those who are cruel to animals or humans…. Anti-Cruelty, Cheshire (letter)


Guardian 15.9.03 Blair warned not to mix Lords reform and hunting - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - Tony Blair was warned yesterday not to use plans for Lords reform due to be published this week as badly needed political cover to override peers objections to a ban on fox hunting... An indication of government thinking on whether to use the Parliament Act would come in the Queen's Speech in November... Mr Blair has not been an enthusiast for deploying the act, but knows a group of influential backbenchers, led by Gerald Kaufman, will put huge pressure on him not to abandon the fox hunting cause... (story)
Telegraph 15.9.03 Hunting 'backlash' if Blair defies peers By George Jones Political Editor - The Government's legislative programme could be thrown into chaos in the run-up to the next election if Tony Blair forces through a ban on hunting, Lady Mallalieu, the pro-hunting Labour peer, said yesterday. She urged Mr Blair not to use the Parliament Act to put a ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales on the statute book if, as expected, the House of Lords blocks it.... But Peter Hain, Leader of the Commons, indicated that the Government was ready for an all-out confrontation with the Lords on hunting. He told Sky News yesterday that the Commons had made its view "overwhelmingly clear" that it wanted a "ban on cruelty to animals".... (story)
Western Morning News 15.9.03 HUNTING IS 'DOOMED' REGARDLESS OF PEERS - Anti-hunt groups yesterday claimed the future of the sport is "doomed" regardless of events in the House of Lords… Kevin Hill, a spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare said: "We are totally prepared for the fact that the Lords will try and wreck this Bill. But realistically all they can do is delay it. Hunting with dogs is doomed."… (story)

Gloucestershire Echo 15.9.03 UGLY SIGNS HAVE THEIR PURPOSE - Madam - I write in response to Brian Hughes' letter concerning Gloucestershire being plastered with pro-hunting posters (Echo, September 10)…. I have, in a roadside field, three signs. They are brash, garish, arresting and, yes Brian, just plain ugly, but they are there to communicate my love of the countryside and its traditional activities and serve to remind us all of how fragile the countryside is and what it could degenerate into if our country sports are outlawed… Better a limited period of incongruous signage than long-term ruin, surely? Chris Adams, Naunton (letter)
Gloucestershire Citizen 11.9.03 POSTERS SPOIL COUNTRYSIDE - I don't have strong views about hunting but I'm saddened to see that Gloucestershire is once again being plastered with pro-hunting posters…It's strange that the Countryside Alliance, which claims to love our country, apparently condones such uglification… Brian Hughes, Cheltenham (letter)


Western Morning News 13.9.03 LORDS PREPARE TO BLOCK HUNTING BILL Government plans to ban hunting with dogs will move a step closer next week when the Hunting Bill is debated in the House of Lords for the first time.... (story)
Western Morning News 13.9.03 CAMPAIGNERS PLAN SUBTLE BARGE PROTEST ... The Countryside Alliance has arranged for a barge to be moored in the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament bearing a banner highlighting public opposition to a hunting ban.... (story)

BBC News Online 13.9.03 Hunting posters attacked - Supporters of hunting in Staffordshire and Cheshire claim vandalism to their publicity posters are part of a systematic attack. Three giant posters in the region have been ripped up.... (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 13.9.03 MPS LAUNCH PLAN TO TACKLE RURAL HOUSING - A Group of rural Labour MPs, chaired by Stroud's David Drew, has launched a 15-point plan to tackle the shortage of affordable homes in the countryside... Mr Drew denied Labour's seminar was an attempt to win over rural dwellers who are becoming increasingly hostile towards the Government because of issues such as fox hunting. "We do a number of seminars like this. People are very emotive about fox hunting and they come at it from both points of view," he said. "But its importance in the countryside is very small compared with issues such as what are we going to do with transport because it clearly is not working in the countryside."... (story)


Westmorland Gazette 12.9.03 D-day looming for fox hunting bill By Ellis Butcher - THE bill which could spell the end of fox hunting or lead to major changes in the country tradition continues its movement through parliament next week…. Jill Grieve, of the Countryside Alliance, said it believed the Lords would adjust the bill into a “more workable, licensing and registration” system… Ernie Shepherd, 75, who is joint master and field master with the Coniston Foxhounds, said there was a sense that it could be the last season…. (story)

Darlington & Stockton Times 12.9.03 What freedom? In her letter Angela Vaux… also implies in her letter that she approves of hunting with dogs. So does being torn apart not impair the freedom of foxes and hares, or does freedom apply to some animals but not others?... many activities were once deemed to be 'traditional' - slavery, burning anyone suspected of witchcraft, putting little boys up chimneys, wife-beating, the right of the lord of the manor to deflower a bride on her wedding night .... PATRICIA TRICKER, Arrathorne, Bedale (letter in archive)
Darlington & Stockton Times 29.8.03 Our rights - There is little wonder that many hunting people feel they are being unfairly treated by the Government's attempts to legislate against the traditional way of life of a sizeable minority of rural Britain, while they have committed British forces to fight on foreign soil to uphold the freedom of the Iraqi people to live in a democratic society that tolerates minorities… ANGELA VAUX, Brettanby Manor, Barton, Richmond. (letter in archive)

Gloucestershire Gazette 12.9.03 Hunt supporters are writing to Lords - The second reading of the Hunting with Dogs Bill, to make this unlawful, is coming before the House of Lords soon and I, like many others, have written to one of its members… Gabriel Hutton, Chairman, Berkeley Hunt, Chestal House, Dursley Editor's note: The Gazette has received numerous letters - far too many to publish - from people saying they have written to members of the Lords. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 12.9.03 TIME TO SPIN THIS BAN OUT - The Prime Minister has said there will be no more spin. If this is so, then the proposed ban on hunting should be lifted at once… Jimmy Graham Berkeley Gloucestershire (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 12.9.03 SO MUCH FOR DEMOCRACY Hella Gamper (Courier, August 29) is quite right and fully entitled to say that the majority of the people wish to see a decent society… Regarding the fox hunting issue, the elected House of Commons has voted in sufficiently large numbers to change the existing law and to ban the activity… Tim Cooper, Langton Road, Langton Green (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 12.9.03 HUNT ARGUMENT MORE CREDIBLE - Regarding Tim Cooper??s letter (Courier, September 5), I did not say that I had converted large numbers of the public to hunting. I said that increasing numbers were treating the intemperate subjectivity of the anti hunting arguments ?? if you can call them that ?? with greater scepticism…. James Shepherd, Grove Hill Gardens, Tunbridge Wells (letter)

East Grinstead Courier 12.9.03 NOT ASHAMED OF WHAT WE DO - The accusations by Hella Gamper (East Grinstead Courier, September 4) of attacks on anti-hunt protestors and pets by members of a hunt are somewhat hypocritical. Hunt supporters are regularly attacked in the hunting field, as well as receiving constant harassment at home with phone calls in the middle of the night, hate mail on a daily basis, and attacks to property…. Graeme Worsley, Effingham Lane, Copthorne (letter)
East Grinstead Courier 5.9.03 SAME PRINCIPLE FOR HUNTING - In the 16th and 17th centuries a favourite occupation among those who like to set the world to rights by hurting someone else was to identify some defenceless old person as a witch… Nowadays those among us who feel that since witches are now protected they must vent their anger somewhere else can find a modern version of King James?? Witch Finder General in the ranks of Old Labour backbenchers (from city constituencies) who will stomach any outrage, any misuse of parliament, if it will stop people from hunting with dogs, and particularly if they put on pinks and ride on horses… Ms Gamper (East Grinstead Courier August 28) appears to take another view, which is her right. But she does not have the right to try to mislead by implying that a majority of people in this country are against hunting… Roy Smith, Dormans Park, East Grinstead (letter)


Hereford Times 11.9.03 Hunt ban protest looms large - CAMPAIGNERS for traditional countryside pursuits turned swathes of Herefordshire red, white and green last weekend as part of their protest against a hunting ban… Clare Rowson, Countryside Alliance regional director for Herefordshire, said: "Opinion polls have indicated that 59% of the public are opposed to an outright ban on hunting…" (story in archive)
Western Morning News 10.9.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS' ILLEGAL POSTERS - Hundreds of banners put up across moorland at the weekend to garner support for the pro-hunting campaign were placed there illegally, it has emerged… under the terms of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, it is illegal to put advertising material on National Parks without permission… Sandy Morehouse, an anti-hunt campaigner from Plymouth, said: "These posters are advertising material and as such are totally illegal on National Parks…. Dartmoor is plastered with them. Every single one should be taken down."… Alison Hawes, regional director for the South West, said: "If some of the banners were put up without permission then that clearly reflects the anger felt in the Westcountry about the current hunting legislation…" (story)
Western Morning News 8.9.03 HUNT BANNERS GO UP AHEAD OF LORDS VOTE - Hunt supporters put out banners and flags at the weekend - ahead of next week's House of Lords vote on the controversial Hunting Bill. As part of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance's National Action Weekend, people in Devon and Cornwall were urged to "turn the countryside red and green" with posters of support… (story)
Manchester Evening News 8.9.03 Country alliance hunt for backing - Carl Palmer - CAMPAIGNERS have targeted Manchester with a giant colour poster in a new bid to rally support for hunting… CA member Vinie Faal, from Wythenshawe, said: "The green represents the Countryside Alliance and the red is for anger… The banners are being erected as part of a National Action Weekend, with a wave of posters, banners and car stickers so that everyone can get involved and show their support." (story)
Sunday Sun 7.9.03 Pro-hunt poster are targeted - The Countryside Alliance has vowed a war of attrition on saboteurs who are damaging pro-hunt billboards and posters. The Alliance, who represent fox-hunters, says a damaged billboard at Lilburn Estates Farming Partnership on the A697 near Wooler, Northumberland, was probably attacked by anti-hunt supporters…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 6.9.03 PRO-HUNT LOBBY ROLLS INTO ACTION - Countryside campaigners will be busy this weekend highlighting their support for hunting in a major campaign against a possible hunting ban. The Countryside Alliance has made this weekend National Action Weekend and is encouraging members and supporters to put up posters and banners all over the country to raise awareness of the campaign... (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 6.9.03 THE CASE FOR HUNTING - Henry Berkeley, master of the Berkeley Hunt, argues why there should be no ban on hunting... (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 6.9.03 THE CASE AGAINST - Gill Purser of the Cotswolds Support Group for the Abolition of Hunting said: "There is no justification for setting a pack of dogs onto an animal..." (story)
Coventry Evening Telegraph 6.9.03 Hunt takes battle to the party - Supporters of fox hunting will add a chorus of hounds and working dogs to the traditional steam engines, railway engines, narrow boats and trade stands at this week-end's Shackerstone Festival. Members of Atherstone Hunt say they will be attending today's event at Shackerstone, near Twycross in Leicester-shire, to help raise people's understanding of hunting with dogs. As part of the Countryside Alliance's national action weekend the hunt will be manning a stand and hoping to speak to passers-by about the current Hunting Bill and their livelihoods, which they say are under threat… (story)
(probably Exeter Express & Echo) 5.9.03 COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE FIGHTS HUNT BAN WITH BANNER DRIVE BY PAUL MATTHEWS - A banner campaign will be launched in Devon this weekend as part of the Countryside Alliance's fight to stop the outlawing of hunting. Giant red and green banners will be placed around the county to raise awareness about the threat posed to rural life by the Hunting Bill... (story)
Western Morning News 4.9.03 BANNERS PLEA TO HUNT SUPPORTERS - Countryside campaigners are urging hunt supporters to buy banners and flags as part of a demonstration against a possible hunting ban. This coming Saturday and Sunday is the Countryside Alliance's National Action Weekend, to coincide with the second reading of the controversial Hunting Bill in the House of Lords on September 16… (story)
North Devon Journal 4.9.03 HUNTING BATTLE GOING ON - Countryside campaigners are stepping up their battle against a hunting ban. The Countryside Alliance wants people to display red and green banners this weekend as part of an ongoing campaign against a possible ban on hunting.... (story)

Berwick Advertiser 11.9.03 …Your bold correspondent who writes with such derision but withholds his/her name and address is typical of those who wish to ban hunting. The letter displays complete ignorance of the subject…. DAPHNE PARDOE, Chatton (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 11.9.03 It is time for hunting to be banned forever - may I comment on just a few points regarding the Countryside Alliance? Firstly the large billboard of crass deception. We do not hate those who are so bereft of conscience that they can derive pleasure from the suffering of a defenceless creature; we pity them; and hate what they do… I never thought that I would live to see the day when the individuals right to hunt fellow sentient beings in the most barbaric manner, unfit for any century let alone this one, would be lauded as an action of high principle. Denis Harrison, Toothill (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 11.9.03 ANGLERS ARE LET OFF HOOK - I'm delighted that Defra Minister Alun Michael appears to read the letters pages of the Western Daily P re s s… I've seen no evidence published for him to claim, with confidence, that hunting with dogs is cruel. However, in the last six months, we've had scientists presenting evidence that fish feel pain… Why then is the minister so determined to ban hunting, when other members of his party and Government are repeatedly asserting that angling is safe with Labour? Donald Salmon Bristol (letter)


Cambridge News 10.9.03 NOT ENOUGH JAILS From Nick Richardson, Pheasant Rise, Bar Hill - IF HUNTING is banned from the countryside, it will mean our already overworked police force will have to venture into the countryside, to arrest the hunting people who don't stop doing it, but things won't be too bad, at least the cameras will still catch the hapless motorists, who dare to go 2mph faster than the roadside sign says…. (letter)


Western Morning News 9.9.03 Freedom issue …If this proposed hunt ban were to become law, the environmental illiteracy of the antis will have triumphed over conservation. The right to hunt is threatened not by moral indignation but by a highly politicised agenda that hunting has to go at any cost… If Tony Blair and his Government fail to respect personal freedom they are in direct conflict with democracy, reminiscent of Hitler's rise to power under the guise of National Socialism in the 1930s. W T Sweet, Mawgan, Helston (letter)


Western Morning News 8.9.03 RURAL SUMMIT TO BE STAGED IN CITY - JASON GROVES - The Labour Party will make a fresh attempt to boost its battered image in the countryside this week by staging a one-day rural "summit" in London… The "rural policy seminar" was originally billed as a high-profile event, but now looks set to be a relatively low-key affair, with few senior ministers attending…. Gary Streeter, Conservative MP for South West Devon, said that rural voters would judge Labour on its "record of failure" in the countryside… "Actions speak louder than words and by their actions over the last six years, Labour have let down everyone living in the countryside - whether it was their response to foot and mouth, the crushing of hunting, the lack of support for farmers or the lack of action to tackle the affordable housing crisis…" (story)


Horse & Hound 7.9.03 Black woman is "face of hunting" - Pippa Roome - The Countryside Alliance launched its latest poster campaign yesterday fronted by a black hunt follower Sarah Lake, 30, from Pembrokeshire.... (story)
Western Mail 5.9.03 Hunters highlight 'prejudice' - Steve Dube, The Western Mail - A BLACK woman who rides with a Welsh hunt is being used as a poster girl to highlight claims of prejudice against the hunting community. Sarah Lake, 30, from Pembrokeshire, whose husband is a farmer, is fronting the advertising campaign led by the Countryside Alliance in support of fox hunting…. Sarah first hunted with the North Cotswold and now goes out twice a week in the hunting season with South Pembrokeshire… National Farmers' Union Cymru spokeswoman Leigh Roberts said the campaign, following on from the poster of a huntswoman who is also a nurse, was an excellent idea… (story)
Western Daily Press 5.9.03 NOT-SO-SNOOTY LOOK OF A HUNTING FAN - Hunt supporters yesterday laun-ched a bid to explode the myth they are a bunch of titled toffs. The Countryside Alliance has recruited foxhunting enthusiast Sarah Lake to front its campaign to dispel assumptions that riders come exclusively from the landed gentry, the aristocracy and the upper classes....But last night the League Against Cruel Sports dismissed the campaign, claiming foxhunting is rife with prejudice... Paul Tillsley... alleged that only last week an ugly incident flared at the Devon and Somerset Staghounds' hunt when a news photographer of Greek Cypriot origin was verbally abused... (story)
Western Mail 5.9.03 More hunting per square mile in Wales than in rest of the United Kingdom - Paul Carey, The Western Mail - THERE is more hunting per square mile in Wales than any other part of the UK. Farmers regard foxes as vermin that prey on their new-born lambs... (story)
Telegraph 4.9.03 Black woman is new face of the hunt - A new Countryside Alliance poster drive features a campaigner who grew up in Slough and wears denim not tweed. Sally Pook reports - Sarah Lake is as far removed from the traditional image of a member of the hunt as can be... Mrs Lake, who is married to a farmer, developed her passion for riding while growing up in Slough. After school she worked in an eventing yard and began hunting at the age of 18 with the North Cotswold. She now hunts twice a week with the South Pembrokeshire. Her daughter, Jessica, nine, hunts with her and her sister, Michelle, 25, rides with the Beaufort Hunt.... Derek Laud was appointed the first black master of foxhounds four years ago. The homosexual venture capitalist was elected joint master of the New Forest Foxhounds.... (story)
Times 4.9.03 Black woman in pro-hunt advert BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - A BLACK huntswoman is the latest face in the Countryside Alliance’s campaign to save hunting with dogs. Sarah Lake, 30, who lives near Tenby, West Wales, is to feature in an advertisement aimed at what the group sees as the prejudice of Labour MPs who wish to ban the sport. Mrs Lake, who rides with the South Pembrokeshire Hunt, also hopes that her picture will show that huntspeople come from all walks of life.... (story)


Shropshire Star 6.9.03 We'll break law, say county's huntsmen - Defiant Shropshire huntsmen today sounded the battlecry for their sport and said they were prepared to break the law in order to save their livelihoods.... Andrew Vernon, 24, master of the South Shropshire Hunt, said he would openly flout a hunting ban and was prepared to withhold his council tax payments in order to stop the bill going through.... Lindsay Hill, 44, of Bishop's Castle, said she and her husband Oliver, 43, master huntsman with the United Pack, would lose their livelihood and their home if hunting was banned.... (story)


Independent 5.9.03 Commandos of the countryside - Pro-hunting activists are gearing up for a big weekend of national protest, with the militant wing muttering darkly about sabotage and terrorist-style attacks. Is this just 'pub talk', or is something more sinister afoot? Paul Vallely investigates... Foxhounds and beagles will invade the Piazza at London's Covent Garden as their handlers lobby metropolitan passers-by about how their livelihoods and way of life will be under threat if any ban becomes law.... Edward Duke was briefly chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, where he is remembered as "loud, brash, and a bad listener". After he left he became associated with a hard-line splinter group, the Real CA... "There's a lot of people who'd like to do something militant to protest at the way a minority is being walked over," says Frank Houghton Brown, master of the Middleton Hunt, where Edward Duke rides. "But at the moment I don't believe there is much happening."... "Ninety-nine per cent of it is just pub talk," says Janet George, a larger-than-life Shropshire farmer who quit the Alliance to form the more hardline Countryside Action Network... Fox-hunters were one of the few enemies New Labour felt it was safe to have. Nowadays, with only 2 per cent of the population believing that hunting should be top of the Government's list of concerns, Tony Blair is not so sure.... (story)


Kentish Express 4.9.03 PM facing pro-hunt demo - HUNT supporters and farmers in East Kent are preparing to lobby Tony Blair when he makes a surprise visit to the area later this month… The Countryside Alliance is planning a strong presence when Mr Blair comes to the area… (story)


Western Morning News 3.9.03 BURNS REPORT FAILED IN ITS TASK …The Home Secretary's objective in setting up the inquiry was the "better to inform the debate". Sadly, recent debates in the House of Commons show that in that respect it has failed miserably. There are none so blind as those who will not see and there are others who are not averse to being economical with the truth in attempting to argue their case. Reading Mr Silk's letter (WMN, August 26) I am not sure into which category he falls! G Mannell, Truro (letter)
Western Morning News 2.9.03 RESPONSIBLE MEDIA HELPS TO IMPROVE REGION'S LOT - I write as a reader, an adopted Westcountryman and an admirer of the Editor and staff of the WMN. I find the unfortunate remarks by Jonathan Silk about the Western Morning News an affront to the newspaper and its leaders.... Mal Treharne - With the Countryside Alliance during foot and mouth Somerset
Clear opinions - RSPCA executive Jonathan Silk in his reply (WMN, August 26) to your comment column of the previous Friday, attributes conclusions to the Burns Report that the report does not contain.... Jonathan Higgins, Totnes, Devon (letters)
Western Morning News 26.8.03 CLAIMS OF HUNT CRUELTY SUPPORTED BY SCIENTISTS - Astonishing ignorance is displayed in your comment column (WMN, Friday, August 8) with the assertion that "accusations of cruelty were never substantiated" against hunting…. to say that the RSPCA "fell mysteriously silent" during the foot and mouth outbreak, reinforces this ignorance. In the South West alone we spent £85,000 on providing straw and feed for farmers who could not move their animals, with our inspectors working 4,000 man hours to give help…The Western Morning News champions itself as the Voice of the Westcountry. Your comment writer was clearly elsewhere in the UK during the foot and mouth outbreak. Jonathan Silk RSPCA South West Regional Manager Exeter
WMN readers in farming communities will be incensed by the gratuitously offensive nature of Mr Silk's last paragraph… the column which so riled Mr Silk drew accurate compassion between the consistent, high profile political and public posturing by the RSPCA hierarchy on hunting with its comparative silence on the animal suffering caused by the government's handling of foot and mouth. And we stand by that - Editor. (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.9.03 I DIDN'T HALT MY PROPOSAL - Your article about the response of pro-hunt activists to the Hunting Bill was interesting but, for the record, I did not withdraw my proposals for a registration system for hunting… I withdrew my proposed clause after the vote for the "complete ban", as the list of specific banned activities was no longer appropriate. Alun Michael Rural Affairs Minister Defra London (letter)


Horse & Hound 2.9.03 Alliance denies unrest plan - The Countryside Alliance has denied recent newspaper reports that it will encourage hunt supporters to embark on a campaign of civil resistance, including refusing to pay council tax and TV licence fees in the event of a ban. The reports referred to a leaked document that outlines plans for civil unrest, extending as far as an “invasion” of Chequers.... (story)

Newcastle Journal 2.9.03 Free help for supporters Bygraeme Whitfield, The Journal - Foxhunting supporters in the North-East could receive free legal support in a campaign of civil disobedience in an attempt to derail the Government's ban on hunting… a team of pro-hunting lawyers has been put together to defend for free anyone taken to court as part of a hunt protest - although convicted protesters would have to pay any fine. The Countryside Alliance has stopped short of encouraging members to break the law, but said it would give legal and other support to those who accept the consequences of their actions… (story)

Western Morning News 2.9.03 HUNT CAN'T COMPARE WITH BIG CATS' CHASE - To educate Mrs D Palmer, there is no similarity between a leopard chasing a gazelle, or a lioness pouncing on a wildebeest, and hunting with hounds.... R A Eagle, Paignton (letter)
Western Morning News 25.8.03 HIGHLIGHT THE LAW OF NATURE - Instead of hounding Animal Health Minister Ben Bradshaw (which in my opinion will achieve nothing), I wish the pro-hunting people would instigate a campaign to win over the minds, if not the hearts, of the anti-hunting people. I envisage, on hoardings all over the country, some of the lovely pictures one sees in wildlife magazines of, say, a leopard chasing a gazelle or a lioness pouncing on a wildebeest... Mrs D Palmer, Bideford Devon (letter)


Northampton Chronicle & Echo 1.9.03 Hunt carries on despite threat - MEMBERS of a Northamptonshire hunt have vowed to launch their new season as normal despite the threat of an outright ban on the activity. The Grafton Hunt, based in the south of the county, has planned a full timetable of events for the season, which begins on September 4…. The hunt is planning to take part in National Action Weekend on September 6 and 7, a protest organised by the Countryside Alliance… (story)

Oxford Mail 1.9.03 Outrageous comments - Chief Constable Peter Neyroud meets a group of Oxfordshire hunters led by Lord Hurd and says it is not his business to police a hunting ban (Oxford Mail, August 26). That is an outrageously political statement… He says: "It's an absolute no-win situation for police." What nonsense! Only a small hard core may break the law. The two or three in charge of the hounds will be prevented from hunting, and that will be that…. PETER BUNCE, Church End, Haddenham (letter in archive)
Oxford Mail 26.8.03 Ban on hunting 'hard to police' by Monica Sloan - Outlawing hunting would be an "absolute no-win situation" for police, according to Oxfordshire's top officer. Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Peter Neyroud has spoken out after meeting hunt supporters from the county… A group of hunters from across Oxfordshire, led by former Foreign Secretary and Witney MP Lord Douglas Hurd, met Mr Neyroud to warn that a complete ban on fox-hunting would be unworkable in Oxfordshire…. Jessica Leigh-Pemberton master of the Old Berks Hunt, was also at the meeting. She said: "It's unworkable and unjust…" In the interests of balance, Penny Little, local spokesman for Protect Our Wild Animals, is now requesting a meeting between Mr Neyroud and anti-bloodsport groups… Judy Gilbert, local co-ordinator for the League Against Cruel Sports, added: "It's a last desperate attempt to try to save their bloodsports…" (story in archive)

Cumberland News & Star 28.8.03 Hunters not prejudiced - MRS Milbourne suggests (News & Star, August 22) that prejudice, when referred to by Tom Fell et al, suggests some kind of superiority complex on behalf the hunt and those like me who do not hunt but oppose a ban… As the Burns inquiry did not find hunting to be cruel, having drawn on experience from all quarters and applied appropriate reason, I’d say that prejudice sounds like an appropriate term. MARK RICHARDSON, Great Broughton, Cockermouth (letter)
Cumberland News & Star 22.8.03 …Tom Fell, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, and others of his ilk, always claim a hunting ban is based on prejudice, as if those who hunt are in some way superior and the rest of us look on in envy… ELAINE MILBOURN, Torpenhow, Wigton
Let democracy speak - I NOTICE that Tom Fell and the Countryside Alliance are up to their usual tricks again Running scared huh? Maybe they know how hares, foxes and stags feel, then…. So keen on democracy? Then support the majority view of people and their MPs in this country and support a ban on blood sports… JUDY BELFORD, Port Carlisle (letters)


Yorkshire Post 30.8.03 Hunt supporters are fighting for freedom From: Simon Hart, chief executive, Countryside Alliance. It has become increasingly obvious that a large majority of Labour MPs are determined to try to force through a total ban on hunting with dogs. This could trigger the emergence of a civil resistance movement the like of which the UK has not seen before... Most Labour MPs were elected by fewer than a third of their constituents so they cannot pretend to the support of the majority of their voters for a hunting ban... In his speech to the US Congress in July, the Prime Minister said: "We are fighting for the inalienable right of human kind… to be free. Free to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others. That's what we are fighting for. And that's a battle worth fighting." Hear hear, Mr Blair – but perhaps your MPs should first practise at home what you preach abroad. (letter)


Western Morning News 28.8.03 'HARD EDGE' TO HUNT DEFIANCE - The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance plans to continue its opposition to the Government's Hunting Bill with a more "hard-edged" campaign of defiance during the autumn, it emerged yesterday… (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 28.8.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS RENEW BATTLE OVER BAN - The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance plans to continue its opposition to the Government's Hunting Bill with a more "hard edged" campaign of defiance during the autumn… (story)


Leicester Mercury 27.8.03 THIS IS DEMOCRACY - I was very disturbed to read the letter from Ian Kilgour (Postbag, August 16) headed "Still in the hunt"… The Commons has already made its decision and it cannot be altered by the House of Lords. Mr D A Randle, Wigston. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 16.8.03 STILL IN THE HUNT - With reference to "Hunting and democracy" (Mercury Postbag, August 6), might I remind the writer of the poll tax introduced by a previous government… Ian Kilgour, Thurcaston (letter)


Western Daily Press 26.8.03 PROTESTS WILL DO NO GOOD - Your article of August 18 telling readers of hunters' plans to boycott the payment of various taxes sounds like a lot of hot air… And I would think the proposed disrupting of milk supplies by blockading dairy centres will make hunters very unpopular with the farmers they had looked to for support…. Name and address supplied (letter)


Western Morning News 25.8.03 HUNTERS IGNORE BAN THREAT - The Devon and Somerset Staghounds met at the weekend - ignoring the shadow of the Hunting Bill currently before Parliament which threatens to ban the sport. Sarah Pitt reports on a day which provided a strong sense of occasion for an Exmoor community... (story)

Telegraph 25.8.03 Hunting down the law - With regard to Michael Sissons's article concerning the morality of defying the law if a hunting ban takes place in England (Leader, Aug 22), the Conservative Rural Action group (Crag) was formed with the purpose of championing the rights of rural people to live their lives with as little interference from the state as possible... (letter in archive)
Telegraph 25.8.03 Defending democracy - I was one of so many who "did their bit" in the Second World War, alluded to by Martin Scott (Letters, Aug 23). We did this to help preserve democracy, not anarchy, which he advocates to defend his blood sport... (letter in archive)
Telegraph 25.8.03 Fighting for our rights - Martin Scott believes that those who fought and died for our freedom did so to give him the right to disobey laws passed by Parliament with which he disagrees... (letter in archive)
Telegraph 22.8.03 Civil disobedience - Michael Sissons (Opinion, Aug 22) gives an excellent argument why a large number of us will do what we shall do. If this Government is hell-bent on banning hunting rather than looking after the sick, education and so many more important matters, I will, along with many others, not only consider a programme of civil resistance but will resist such illiberal law in every way possible... Martin Scott, Cirencester, Glos (letter)
Telegraph 22.8.03 When civil disobedience is the just response to an unjust law By Michael Sissons - It is no accident that in Britain we have good law. We have over the years achieved, through the evolution of a tolerant democracy buttressed by just and tested mechanisms, sensitive checks and balances, a unique degree of consensus in supporting our laws... There is no consensus to ban hunting in this country. Roy Jenkins, a great reforming home secretary, said that such a ban would constitute the most illiberal Act of modern times, and that it would be a constitutional affront to use the Parliament Act to achieve it.... (story)

Telegraph 22.8.03 Facing women's wrath - I fear that Ian Beattie (letter, Aug 20) got his information about "irate, egg-carrying farmers" ambushing Ben Bradshaw at the Game Fair from a misinformed source. The people wishing to talk to the junior minister were an assorted bunch of women (non-egg carrying) representing "Families for Hunting" - and, yes, he did make a hasty exit under the back of a tent.... Sally Merison, National Coursing Club, Winchester, Hants (letter)
Telegraph 20.8.03 Winning the argument - Robin Page was astonished that our rulers fell over themselves not to meet him at the Game Fair at Harewood House… While some may take pleasure from splattering politicians with farm products, such action is not going to win votes - or the argument in Parliament. Ian Beattie, Gilling West, North Yorkshire (letter in archive)


Yorkshire Post 23.8.03 A brush with ignorance From: Mrs K Robinson, Midland Terrace, Hellifield, near Skipton. ... Way back, shortly after the Second World War, the Government of the day, a Labour one if memory serves me right, introduced a bounty payment, on production of a fox brush, to the person or organisation having caught it.... Tony Banks summed up what a waste of time and money the Burns Inquiry and Alun Michael's consultation process on the themes of cruelty and utility had been when he said the vote to ban hunting was "totemic" – nothing whatsoever to do with cruelty and utility.... I am intrigued by the thought of what reaction there would be from the salaried staff of various animal welfare organisations should they achieve their aim of bans on hunting, shooting and fishing. Surely they would be redundant. Oh happy thought, for that would be of their own doing. (letter)


Gloucester Citizen 22.8.03 TORMENTED BY TERRIBLE CRUELTY - Full marks to S. R. Grimes ("Foxes thrown to hunt pack," August 11) for coming out with the truth about what foxhunting does to the animals involved in it… Attempts by the friends of Henry Berkeley, and like-minded devotees of what John Wesley in the 18th Century described as "savage diversion" to promote their cause by bring hounds into Yeovil and other town centres, convinces nobody that this is an acceptable tradition… KATHERINE WATSON (MISS), Rushton Drive, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire (letter)

News Post Leader 22.8.03 THE HUNT WAS FAR FROM POPULAR - READING the letter from Richard Dodd of the Countryside Alliance (News Post Leader, August 7) I couldn't help but be reminded of the morning some years ago when I lived in North Northamptonshire… I battened down the hatches in my cottage and watched in amazement and disbelief as the pack - all thoughts of Mr Reynard forgotten - laid into the neighbouring pasture of lambing ewes until driven off by physically by the farmer… DAVID WILLIAMS, Milburn Road, Ashington (letter)
York Evening Press 20.8.03 Freedom to hunt - John Haigh, Regional director, The Countryside Alliance, Front Street, Thirsk. Updated: 10:12 Wednesday, August 20, 2003 (letter in archive)
Leicester Mercury 14.8.03 NO MANDATE FOR HUNT BAN - D A Randle (Postbag, August 6) states that a democratic country is governed by the will of the people or by their elected representatives. Does this mean that once elected the representatives can do whatever they like?... Even assuming New Labour had campaigned on the single issue of fox hunting (which they didn't), they had the explicit support of roughly a quarter of the electorate…. Matthew Forman, Wigston (letter)
Lakeland Echo 12.8.03 Hunting lobby have four targets - Tom Fell, Regional Director for Cumbria at the Countryside Alliance, Grange over Sands, Cumbria (letter)
News Post Leader 8.8.03 WE WILL CAMPAIGN FOR THE RURAL COMMUNITY - RICHARD DODD Regional Director for the Northeast at the Countryside Alliance, Belsay, Ponteland. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 8.8.03 HUNTING WOULD BE FIRST TO GO - It seems to me that Kay Chapman, of the Countryside Alliance, talks in riddles... She also wrote of civil rights and individual freedom. I would never class hunting as civil and what of the individual rights and freedom of the fox?... G A Wright, Leicester (letter)
Leicester Mercury 6.8.03 HUNTING AND DEMOCRACY - I refer to the letter from Kay Chapman, of the Countryside Alliance, "Fighting for our freedom"… The people's representatives in the House of Commons have voted overwhelmingly for fox hunting to be banned…. D A Randle, Wigston (letter)
Morpeth Herald 4.8.03 Still campaigning for the freedom to hunt - RICHARD DODD, Regional Director, Countryside Alliance, Belsay (letter)
Northumberland Gazette 1.8.03 Hunt fight is still winnable - Regional Director for the Northeast at the Countryside Alliance, Belsay, Ponteland (letter)
(Crediton, Culm Valley, Tiverton Gazette) 29.7.03 Fight to retain hunting - Alison Hawes South West Regional Director Countryside Alliance (letter)
Leicester Mercury 29.7.03 FIGHTING FOR OUR FREEDOM Kay Chapman, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Wells Journal 24.7.03 STILL FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM TO HUNT Alison Hawes South West Regional Director Countryside Alliance (letter)
Western Daily Press 24.7.03 NEVER SUBMIT TO UNJUST LAWS - Alison Hawes, South West Regional Director, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Tavistock Times 24.7.03 Four key targets in bid to retain hunting - Alison Hawes, South West Regional Director, Countryside Alliance (letter in archive)
Exeter Express & Echo 23.7.03 CAMPAIGN CONTINUES FOR THE FREEDOM TO HUNT - The fight for the freedom to hunt is still winnable and it is important not just for those who hunt but for everyone who values civil rights and individual freedom… We will be campaigning, and campaigning relentlessly, not just for the hunting community, not just for the rural community but for everyone in our society who values freedom, fairness and the proper working of democracy. Alison Hawes, South West regional director, Countryside Alliance (letter)


Western Morning News 19.8.03 Seven years of spin - I CAN still remember the Churchill government and in my view the current administration is the worst I have lived under. The Iraqi war has brought to a head seven years of spin and will surely lead to their downfall…. Their obsession with hunting over the really important issues merely reflects their incompetence. Michael Howard, Newton Abbot (letter)


Western Daily Press 18.8.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS SET FOR BOYCOTT ON LICENCE BILLS - Hunt supporters yesterday revealed plans to boycott payment of council tax, car licences and BBC licence fees…. (story)
Western Morning News 18.8.03 THREAT OF TAX PROTEST OVER BAN ON HUNTING - NATHAN PYNN - Plans to boycott the payment of council tax, car tax and the BBC licence fee in protest at a ban on foxhunting have been unveiled in a confidential document prepared by the Countryside Alliance and leaked to a Sunday newspaper. In the document, Simon Hart, chief executive of the alliance, admitted that his group had reluctantly decided that it could resort to breaking the law if the proposed ban on hunting with hounds is made law… The Western Hunt in North Cornwall was officially established in 1863. Hunt master Ben Sparrow, said civil resistance was "perfectly reasonable" if the government in power was imposing itself against the will of the people…. The former master of Torrington Farmers Hunt, Rory Knight-Bruce, said he did not think a council tax boycott would be a good idea because it would hit local services. But he did say that if hunting would was made against the law, he would be prepared to risk going to prison by continuing with the sport…. (story)
Newcastle Journal 18.8.03 Hunt supporters make tax threat By Liz Hands, The Journal - Hunt supporters in the North are set to take part in a campaign of "civil resistance" against the proposed ban on hunting with dogs… Richard Dodd, regional director for the Countryside Alliance, said last night he was sure hundreds of people across the North would be prepared to break the law to get their message across… (story)
Sunday Times 17.8.03 Hunt protesters plan tax boycott - DAVID LEPPARD - THOUSANDS of people will boycott the payment of council tax, car licence tax and the BBC licence fee under plans by hunt supporters to launch a campaign of “civil resistance” against the proposed ban on foxhunting. The threat of law-breaking by thousands of otherwise respectable middle-class citizens is revealed in confidential documents prepared by the Countryside Alliance and leaked to The Sunday Times.... (story)
Sunday Times 17.8.03 Leading article: The hunters’ last stand - Tens of thousands of normally law-abiding people are planning a campaign of civil unrest.... The reason why the issue matters, even for those who do not support hunting, is that the govenment’s ban represents another attack on people’s liberties.... It is indicative of the ever-tightening grip of a controlling society. New laws, many from Brussels, increasingly control what we can or cannot do.... Government intrudes on what used to be considered our private sphere, regulating our behaviour and demanding with menaces information about every jot and tittle of our lives. Hunt supporters are saying enough is enough, that somebody has to take a stand against this assault on our liberties. And they have a point. (story)

Leicester Mercury 18.8.03 MACABRE RITUALS OF HUNTING - In Postbag (August 11), Ian Kilgour wrote that he had read the Burns Report… Has he also read the report of findings of concrete chambers used as artificial earths to ensure a supply of animals for blood sports?... Even Janet George, co-founder of Countryside Action Network, admits some hunts do this and said she totally disapproved… G A Wright, Leicester (letter)
Leicester Mercury 11.8.03 HUNTING DEFENDED - I reply to the letter from K Schofield, of the RSPCA (Postbag, August 1). I do not hunt, but hope that my country interests have given me some understanding of the subject and I support hunting as an integral part of the countryside… Mr Schofield's description of hunting, based on the findings of the Government inquiries, is emotive, inaccurate and irresponsible. It is typical of the jargon used within the animal-rights movement…. Ian Kilgour, Thurcaston. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 1.8.03 I'M AGAINST ALL CRUELTY - Mr McCormac (Mercury Postbag, July 25), like so many others who seek to defend the barbarism of the outdated pastime of hunting, highlights other areas where animal abuse occurs by criticising intensive farming and abattoirs… as a vegetarian, may I point out to him that animals in abattoirs are killed for food, unlike hunted animals, which are killed for fun…. Ken Schofield, Leicestershire RSPCA branch secretary (letter)
Leicester Mercury 25.7.03 CRUELTY FOUND IN THE ABATTOIR - In my comparison of the of hunting foxes and the rearing and butchering of young animals, I would take into consideration that the fox sometimes escapes, and on the occasions when caught, is torn to pieces by the dogs - a messy, but quick death.... Philip McCormac, Burbage (letter)
Leicester Mercury 21.7.03 FOOD FOR THOUGHT - In reply to Mr McCormac (Postbag, July 17) comparing eating meat and fox-hunting: Foxes are tortured and killed for pleasure… Danny Stowell, Loughborough. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 17.7.03 ONE MAN'S MEAT? Do those people who protest against fox hunting go home and tuck into a lamb chop which requires someone to butcher a young animal for them?... Philip McCormac, Burbage (letter)

Cambridge News 18.8.03 Yes, it's hypocrisy - From A Henderson, Thornton Close, Girton - I AGREE wholeheartedly with G W Lawrence (Letters, August 4) regarding the hypocrisy surrounding the fox hunting debate, whilst so many people in this country still persist in buying eggs, chicken and pork which have been reared in the often appalling conditions associated with intensive factory farming. (letter)
Cambridge News 5.8.03 CRUELTY TO CHICKENS From G W Lawrence, Histon Road, Cottenham - I REFER to Christopher South's column of July 18, specifically his item about cruelty to animals. The attitude of those in the House of Commons who would ban fox hunting, which involves a few thousand foxes a year, while ignoring the millions of animals so cruelly treated in the food chain is breathtaking in its hypocrisy… (letter)
Cambridge News 29.7.03 SHOW COMPASSION From Pat Griffin, Animal Aid Cambridge, Bakers Lane, Linton - WHILST I agree with Christopher South that there is far more cruelty in the meat industry than ever takes place on the hunting field ("Food for thought in cruelty debate", News, July 18), he fails to recognise that we cannot control the coverage we get. Mr South may not remember the "protest marches, the mass demonstrations, and the emotional scenes in the House of Commons" about live exports, but I and hundreds of other animal rights protesters do… Our next protest will be at Dover docks on Saturday, August 2 at noon. To join us ring Compassion in World Farming… (letter)


Observer 17.8.03 'This has nothing to do with foxes... it's a glorious bit of class war' - Decca Aitkenhead - I spent the past fortnight back at home in the village where I grew up... I hadn't been back for more than a year, but appear not to have missed a beat, because exactly the same conversation is still going on from where I last left off. What can be done to save fox hunting? This is Beaufort Hunt country, and even as it melts in summer heat, the talk is still of the hunting season, and how to stop ignorant, prejudiced, urban fools from interfering with it... I mumble the usual cowardly something about stopping animals being tortured. But then, what do you say to the man who runs the farm shop, and is worrying about where it might end? You lot will be out to ban shooting, too, he says.... I think they might be secretly enjoying their beleaguered status, an experience so unprecedented for them as to be exciting. Like middle-class girls who take up lap dancing for the edgy thrill of it, they might as well enjoy it for now, because happily, when the sport is banned they will find out what being hard done by feels like for real.... (story)


Scunthorpe Telegraph 16.8.03 HORROR AT HORSE FAIR CONTINUING - Good for you, Linda Harrison (Viewpoint August 8). As horse owners for many years, I and my family totally share her horror. We were relieved Brigg Horse Fair had been stopped by North Lincolnshire Council... Are the many people who have waxed lyrical about keeping the horse fair on, I wonder, the same ones who are screaming for a ban on foxhunting?... Cockfighting, bull-baiting an badger-baiting are all illegal, and hunting with dogs hopefully soon will be... Sue Cannon, High Street, Flixborough (letter)


Argus (Eastbourne) 15.8.03 Prescott delivers the cash - Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott ignored heckling from hunt supporters to deliver more than £100,000 to a deprived East Sussex neighbourhood. Mr Prescott was barracked in Hastings by placard-waving lobbyists from the Countryside Alliance opposed to a Government ban on hunting…. (story in archive)
Argus 14.8.03 Prescott visit met by protests by Tom Pugh - Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was heckled by placard-waving protesters today during a visit to Sussex. The demonstrators were pro-hunt campaigners from the Countryside Alliance who chanted "Ban the ban" and "Go home Mr Prescott." … (story in archive)

Westmorland Gazette 15.8.03 Fox hunters take defiant stance - FOX hunters warned that they would not take any hunting ban lying down as they gathered for the Vale of Rydal sheep dog trials and hound show yesterday (Thursday). Calls were made to lobby the House of Lords while masters and hunt supporters spoke of defiance and rebellion against any legislation…. (story)
Westmorland Gazette 8.8.03 Fox hunting faces dog trial By Ellis Butcher - MEMBERS of the county’s fox hunting community gather at Rydal Park next week as the future of the sport remains in doubt, writes Countryide Reporter Ellis Butcher. Fourteen packs including hunts from Derby, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the North East are due at the Vale of Rydal Sheepdog Trial and Hound Show on the outskirts of Ambleside…. Coniston Foxhounds chairman and master Roger Westmoreland said he would carry on even if legislation was introduced as did Alison Bolt, of the North Lonsdale fell pack…. Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said the show amounted to “promoting hunting” and was “the perfect way to put tourists off the Lake District.”… (story)

Post & Times 15.8.03 FOXHUNTERS' BEASTLY ACT - In her letter to the Post & Times, August 6 issue, Mrs Langley recalls a childhood experience of a fox acting like a fox when it killed the poultry in her cabin. But her following remark betokens a certain carelessness down in Surrey, and an inability to profit from experience: "This scene was to be repeated many times"…. W H Simcock Butterton Leek (letter)
Post & Times 8.8.03 FOX LEFT TRAIL OF BLOOD - With regard to the letter from Kurt Gibson (aged 14) regarding fox hunting. If Kurt had experienced - at the age of seven years - opening up a hen cabin one morning and finding nothing but blood and feathers instead of 30 beautiful hens, he would, I think, change his mind... Mrs M Langley Ansell Grove Carshalton Surrey (letter)
Post & Times 8.8.03 FOX LEFT TRAIL OF BLOOD - With regard to the letter from Kurt Gibson (aged 14) regarding fox hunting. If Kurt had experienced - at the age of seven years - opening up a hen cabin one morning and finding nothing but blood and feathers instead of 30 beautiful hens, he would, I think, change his mind... Mrs M Langley Ansell Grove Carshalton Surrey (letter)
Post & Times 25.7.03 DECISION PLEASES ME - Dear Sir - I am writing to say I am pleased to hear the Government has decided to ban fox hunting. This cruel, barbaric so-called sport should have been banned years ago, and the people who take part in it are certainly not animal lovers.... Kurt Gibson (aged 14) Wallbridge Precinct Leek (letter)


Kentish Express 14.8.03 Hunt fans ambush Prescott visit - FARMERS and hunting fans from across Kent ambushed John Prescott outside Eastwell Manor hotel near Ashford last night. Dozens of countryside supporters turned out at the country hotel to declare their opposition to Mr Prescott’s plans to build 30,000 houses in Ashford over the next 30 years…. (story)

Helston Packet 14.8.03 MP explains his fox hunting vote by Heather Robson - Helston's MP Andrew George was tackled on his anti-fox hunting stance during a meeting with huntspeople at the Cury Hunt kennels on Tuesday…. "I think it's a pity the Government missed a trick and didn't vote for regulation which would at least have given these people a sporting chance to demonstrate their form of hunting was less cruel than pest control. I also argued strongly in parliament for a compensation package for livelihoods lost. Parliament needs to take responsibility for those directly affected."… At the kennels, Mr George, who was accompanied by RSPCA officer Les Sutton, spoke to huntsman John Harris and joint hunt masters Ian Williams and Lyn Anderson… (story in archive)
Western Morning News 13.8.03 WOUNDS HEALING IN HUNTING RIFT - CLARE MORGAN - A truce appears to have been reached between a Westcountry MP and members of a local hunt. Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives yesterday visited Cury Hunt Kennels, near Helston…. Families for Hunting spokesman Cecilia Bisson, who is the sister of Western Hunt Master Ben Sparrow, said: "It went as well as we could have expected. He spent about an hour and 20 minutes which was a little bit longer than he had promised us…." He said that he was in favour of strong regulation of hunting, which would effectively be a ban for many hunts, but not for those who could prove it was the most humane way of controlling the fox population. He said that he was also in favour of the idea of compensation for those who would lose their livelihoods in the event of a ban, such as kennel men and some farriers…. (story)

Northern Echo 14.8.03 FOXHUNTING - YOUR many correspondents who oppose foxhunting (HAS, July 21) are ignorant of the relationship between man, his animals and other creatures that live in the countryside… Thomas Conlon, Spennymoor. (letter in archive)


Yorkshire Post 13.8.03 Frederick Engels, New Labour and hunting... From: Sue Catling, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Calder Valley, Cromwell Bottom Drive, Brighouse .... It is widely acknowledged that Labour's class-war instincts stem from the writings of those two original Champagne socialists Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. So it may come as a surprise that Engels is most unlikely to have supported Labour on the hunting issue. In fact, Engels himself was a keen huntsman with the Cheshire Hunt... So what does all this tell us about new Labour? On hunting – that the proposed ban is, at the very least, extremely ill-thought out. And on hypocrisy – plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? (letter)


Western Morning News 12.8.03 Divide and rule ….If this regionalisation is expanded to include areas like Cornwall, and perhaps Devon, the Government will undoubtedly have achieved their aim to divide and conquer. They have already set friend against foe, brother against sister, cousins against aunts and uncles, and families against families. Look at hunting. That is nothing more than a nasty, underhand class war of use to no one except them, and least of all the fox…. Tess Nash, Mawgan, Cornwall (letter)

Western Daily Press 12.8.03 WILDLIFE IS NOT FOR THEIR SPORT - Several members of our so-called aristocracy have vowed to ignore any hunting ban and risk imprisonment. While the mental image of lords and ladies queuing up to empty their slop buckets is most appealing, one wonders how these poor people work out their priorities and what exactly they mean by "losing their civil liberties"…. Jean Turner Plympton Plymouth Devon (letter)

Worcester Evening News 12.8.03 Why CA chief is a decent man - I AM obliged to counter the accusations levelled by Helen Smart (You Say, Thursday, July 31) against Countryside Alliance chairman John Jackson. John is an intelligent and caring individual, a member of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. He too spent much time supporting the rights of decent people to live their lives responsibly in a manner they choose. Helen Smart is very mistaken if she thinks anyone from the Countryside Alliance has ridden roughshod over the democratic process…. AUDREY STEEL, Chairman of Worcestershire Countryside Alliance (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 1.8.03 Definition of `decent' - JOHN Jackson of the Countryside Alliance claims that the organisation represents decent people. His definition of "decent" differs considerably from mine…. HELEN SMART, St John's, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Llanelli Star 10.7.03 DECEIVED OVER HUNT DEBATE John Jackson, Chairman, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Rutland & Stamford Mercury 4.7.03 Hunting Bill a waste of time - JOHN JACKSON Chairman Countryside Alliance (letter)
Leicester Mercury 30.6.03 HUNTING BILL IRRELEVANT TO NEEDS OF ELECTORATE John Jackson, Chairman, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 28.6.03 HUNTING BILL LEGISLATION IS AN UNSAVOURY MESS - Despite the fact that recent developments have comprehensively discredited the Hunting Bill, the whole unsavoury mess returns to the Commons on Monday for its third reading.... The whole process has been characterised by political deception and incompetence. John Jackson, Chairman, Countryside Alliance, 367 Kennington Rd, London (letter)
Western Daily Press 28.6.03 HUNTING BILL IS A REAL TIME-WASTER - John Jackson Chairman Countryside Alliance London (letter)


Western Morning News 11.8.03 HUNTERS COME TO TOWN TO PROMOTE THEIR CAUSE - The countryside came to town in the centre of Yeovil on Saturday as dozens of countryside campaigners from Dorset and Somerset set up shop outside the post office to fly the flag for country pursuits… Present in the town centre were representatives of four local packs of hounds, including the Cattistock, Blackmore & Sparkford Vale, Taunton Vale Harriers and Park Beagles, along with their foxhounds, harriers, beagles, ferrets, greyhounds, gundogs and terriers…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 11.8.03 Spreading the word - THE countryside was brought into Worcester city centre by the pro-hunt lobby to spread its message…. Volunteers from the Countryside Alliance and other groups involved in the preservation of hunting such as the Worcestershire Gun Dog Society, Worcestershire Fox Hounds and the North Ledbury Hunt, were out on High Street answering questions and distributing literature….

Telegraph 11.8.03 Horse hypocrisy - Sir - The RSPCA (letter, Aug 8) is "deeply concerned" at the suffering of "huge numbers of horses" during the research behind the production of the first cloned horse. However, it has shown no concern, nor suggested a sensible solution, for the huge number of horses, and hounds, that may be destroyed if foxhunting is outlawed in accordance with the society's wishes.... Jean Philpott, Ripple, Kent (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 11.8.03 IT'S TIME FOR AN END TO 'SPORT' - There are plenty of people who appreciate/respect the countryside who don't hunt… As with fox control, we move on, it's time for hunting to go. PAMELA DEAN, Whiteshill, Nr Stroud (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 11.8.03 FOXES THROWN TO HUNT PACKS - In reply to your article on fox hunting and blooding of young hounds, I would like to ask Henry Berkeley first what has happened to the older hounds?... I have seen foxes dug out by the terrier men and thrown to the waiting packs of dogs and hunt followers… I would also like to ask Henry Berkeley, Master of the Berkeley Hunt, how he can know what the fox likes and doesn't like? S. R. GRIMES, Sharpness (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 11.8.03 PHILOSOPHY OF HUNTING ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH In reply to Fiona Cameron's passionate defence of hunting with hounds (The Citizen, August 4), may I ask why she could not experience the same thrills and enjoyment of the countryside from a drag hunt?... SHEILAH FIELDING, Kempley Green, Dymock (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 11.8.03 WHY LINK RURAL FUN WITH DEATH? - I Was annoyed to read the article by Fiona Cameron about the joys of fox hunting… Perhaps Fiona Cameron could tell us why she objects to drag hunting. Could it be that she enjoys seeing the kill? MRS B. LANGFORD, Lansdown Road, Gloucester (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 4.8.03 'IT MUSTN'T BECOME A ROMANTIC MEMORY' ….I don't want hunting to become a romantic memory, a dreamy image shimmering through chance smells or old pictures, because it is such an alive passionate thing and I love it…. There are scenes of tenderness too. One of our masters has been seen sharing, with scrupulous fairness, his Mars bar with his horse…. Last year we had the great Countryside March. London filled with people from all walks of life who if they did not themselves hunt, supported the rights of those who do to be heard. We were all ignored. In the spring there was an even bigger march for Peace and that was ignored too… On our side we have energy, honesty and hope - those are the weapons which will win through (story)


Western Morning News 9.8.03 HOUNDS' MOMENT OF GLORY - There was a reassuring air of familiarity about yesterday's Honiton Show, says Mark Daniel... Yesterday, the representatives of 42 packs of foxhounds, harriers, staghounds, minkhounds and beagles were seen at their dry and pristine best.... "I refuse to believe that the Government will condemn these lovely animals without mandate by invoking the Parliament Act," said Nicky Driver, of the Countryside Alliance... Bicester huntsman Patrick Martin agreed.... (story)
Western Morning News 8.8.03 SHOW IS A SMASH HIT IN IT'S NEW SURROUNDINGS - A real winner - that was the verdict on the new-look Honiton Agricultural Show as a record attendance sweltered in midsummer sunshine... The West of England Hound Show has long been an integral part of the Honiton Show, and this year its emphasis was on survival, with a bill to ban hunting passing through Parliament. Hunting folk from all over the country, Ireland and America attended, and were adamant that their way of life would continue. One of the main arena attractions was the parade of the Cotley Harriers, the local pack, with its current master, Edward Eames and hunt staff... (story)
Western Morning News 7.8.03 PRIDE IS KEYNOTE AS HOUND SHOW BAYS DEFIANCE - Packs of hounds from all over the country converge on Honiton today for the annual West of England Hound Show - aware that if a hunting ban goes through it could be the last. While tens of thousands of hunting people have sworn to continue their way of life despite legislation, official hound shows would face a very uncertain future… Alistair Jackson, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, summed up the attitude. "I am proud to be part of an ancient tradition that means so much to so many people,"… Alison Hawes, regional director of the Countryside Alliance in the South West, who is expecting a busy schedule today, said last month's demonstrations outside Parliament saw protesters gather with a shared air of determination and commitment to see through the campaign to save hunting… (story)

Bolton Evening News 9.8.03 What a nerve to take this hunting stance - WHAT a nerve of Dr Gibson to insinuate that campaigners against hunting with dogs are ignorant... If we cannot be compassionate to animals, heaven help the human race... I doubt Dr Gibson would recognise humanity if he fell over it. Mrs K M Kay Boonfields Bromley Cross Bolton (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 5.8.03 Why humans must come first - YES, I am arrogant! Arrogance is a usual response to ignorance, something I regret most of your correspondents display in their arguments against freedom of choice. God's creatures also include human beings, do they not?... I am proud that I pursue my choice of activity in a decent, humane and proper manner, without harm or injury to none but the prey, for that is what vermin are… I am all for humanity, but I believe humans must come first. Dr G C Gibson, Czech Republic (letter in archive)


Darlington & Stockton Times 8.8.03 Hunting - Sir, - I would like to thank Trevor Nicholson for his letter(D&S Aug 1) proving my point so admirably. He, like so many Parliamentary backbenchers, is totally blinded by prejudice to the facts re. hunting with dogs, and I make no apology for repeating them once again. Fact. - the Scott Henderson inquiry into hunting, back in the 1950s , found no evidence for a ban on hunting… this is a ban on all hunting with dogs and will effect every dog owner in the country. If you allow your dog, albeit perhaps by accident, to chase a hare, fox , deer, or any one of a number of other mammals, you will be breaking the law, and people like Trevor Nicholson will be only too happy to report you to the police. This Bill must not be allowed to reach the Statute book JOE TOWNSEND West Rounton, Northallerton.
Trevor Nicholson overstates the case when he says that democracy is under threat (D&S letters, July 1). Democracy is not…. Mr Nicholson says that the pro-hunting lobby is encouraging the hunters to break the law. He seems to forget that the anti lobby have in the past, broken the law by the use of brutal attacks on law-abiding hunters…. A E EATON, Turker Lane, Northallerton. (letters in archive)
Darlington & Stockton Times 1.8.03 Letters: Democracy at stake - Further to Messrs Ellerby and Townsend (D&S letters, July 18) it is rather sad to see that fox hunting supporters cannot accept the will of the nation and are encouraging fox hunters to break the law when this outdated and cruel pastime is banned…. Democracy is at stake. Who will be the next minority to threaten the Government? TREVOR NICHOLSON, Mill Lane, Leeming (letter in archive)


North Devon Journal 7.8.03 DIFFERENT VIEWS ON HUNTING DEBATE - There have been several letters in the Journal recently concerning the Hunting Bill. I am appalled and disgusted that so much parliamentary time has been given to the debate on this Bill when there are far more important issues affecting this country that need to be addressed... If the Hunting Bill becomes law, and if hunts are forced to disband, hundreds of dogs face euthanasia, to save the lives of a few foxes, many more of whom, I am sure, die on our roads every year than are killed by hunts. MRS DUERDEN, Watertown, Appledore.
SEVERAL members of our so-called aristocracy have vowed to ignore any hunting ban and risk imprisonment by carrying on with their sport... The hunts, with their insatiable appetite for killing, must be made to realise that our wildlife does not exist solely to provide them with their 'sport.' Legal protection for these animals is long overdue. JEAN TURNER, Dean Road, Plympton. (letters)

Western Daily Press 7.8.03 ENCOURAGING AN UNHEALTHY TREND - Recently, I erected a pair of Countryside Alliance posters on my land, picturing a nurse and a plumber, with the words 'Fifty-nine per cent say keep hunting'. By dusk, they were torn down. French philosopher Voltaire, who said: 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it' and, more recently, the likes of John Mortimer and the late Lord Roy Jenkins would have been aghast at this kind of rabid intolerance…. Dickie Green, Ashbury, Swindon, Wiltshire (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 7.8.03 FALSE TRAIL ON FOX FACTS - D. Yates is right (Letters, July 24) - the field is kept back from a kill…The arguments for hunting are false. Come on, Mr Yates, admit it! You do it purely for fun. M. A. THOMPSON Farleys Lane Hucknall (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 7.8.03 BARBARITY IN THE FRAME - I totally endorse Cassie Kent's condemnation of Dennis Yates' love of fox hunting and the smokescreen of words he employs to justify the unjustifiable… T. FELL Newfield Road Sherwood (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 6.8.03 DELIBERATE DISTORTION - At the risk of being accused of knowing absolutely nothing of fox-hunting or country life by L. Caxton, of Wollaton Vale, I would like to comment on his letter (Post, July 28). To say fox-hunting is humane is nonsense and is a deliberate distortion of the facts… BRIAN BLYTHE Rivermead, West Bridgford (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 5.8.03 ANTI-HUNT 'PROPAGANDA' - I am sorry to disappoint Cassie Kent, (Post Letters, August 1) but it was not me pictured in the Post recently. Her comment only confirms that those who have lost the argument always resort to insulting their opponent… I can only assume the claim she makes that "a programme was shown recently on television containing undercover footage of foxes still being bred for the benefit of the hunt" is… , a figment of her imagination… DENNIS A YATES The Hewarths Sandiacre (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 4.8.03 I BELIEVE RSPCA - According to L. Caxton (Letters, July 28) only his/her word and vast knowledge is the gospel and everything else is propaganda. What tripe!... CASSIE KENT High Road Chilwell (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 28.7.03 FOX-HUNTING IS HUMANE - Judging by their letters to your paper (July 21), M. A. Thompson and Cassie Kent know absolutely nothing of fox-hunting or country life. Talk of breeding foxes in captivity and releasing them 24 hours before a hunt is utter nonsense… L. CAXTON Wollaton Vale Nottingham (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 24.7.03 Foxes no longer bred so hunters can kill them - Both M. A. Thompson and Cassie Kent (Letters, July 21) have swallowed the bait disseminated by the anti-hunt brigade when they claim that foxes are bred specifically to be released for the benefit of the hunt. I am the first to admit this did happen in the past but it has long been a specific offence and any hunt found to be engaging in this illegal practice would be banned…. Finally, I do not know which hunt Mrs Thompson's daughter rode to, but all I can say is that in over 20 years of following The Quorn, South Notts, The Belvoir and The Meynell, no member of my family has ever witnessed a kill. In fact, the field is deliberately kept away, so I view the claim of what she saw with some suspicion, especially if it was her first occasion. DENNIS A YATES The Hewarths Sandiacre (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 21.7.03 Send them to jail - I wondered how long it would be before Dennis Yates started bleating in defence of himself and his fox-hunting mob… As for the threats of civil disobedience if hunting is banned, fine. They should end up in prison. It's the only place they should be. CASSIE KENT High Road, Chilwell (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 21.7.03 FOXES ARE BRED JUST FOR THE KILL - Mr Yates (Letters, July 11) is wrong. Anti-hunt protesters do not object to him enjoying himself. We object to killing innocent animals for fun, especially the autumn hunting when young hounds are taught to kill fox cubs… My daughter followed a fox hunt just once and was sickened by what she heard and saw. She now goes drag hunting which offers the same thrills and enjoyment and generates jobs and income without killing… M. A. THOMPSON (Mrs) Nottingham (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 15.7.03 BEWARE BIGOTRY! May I suggest that Ray Gillett's grossly intolerant attitude to fox hunting is shared by many people in this country (but perhaps not as many as he thinks). I happen to feel that it should not be banned. This is not because I necessarily support fox hunting but because I am worried what will be next on the agenda of these militant people… R. K. PICKSLEY Ingram Road Bulwell (letter)
Nottingham Evening Post 11.7.03 BAN ON HUNTING WILL DO NOTHING TO PROTECT FOXES - Misguided class hatred of anti-hunt bigots is rearing its ugly head again. Instead of hiding behind the excuse that the fox is the object of your objections to hunting Mr Gillett (Letters, July 7) why don't you admit that it is the sight of a group of people (legally at the moment) enjoying themselves which is the real reason for you venting your spleen… Any disruption caused will be a price worth paying to safeguard jobs and a way of life that people like you, Mr Gillett, can never be expected to understand. DENNIS A. YATES The Hewarths Sandiacre (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 7.7.03 DISRUPTION THREAT SHOWS ALLIANCE'S SELFISH COLOURS - The Countryside Alliance is showing its true selfish colours by threatening to disrupt the nation's power supplies and traffic flow. Its love of killing animals just for fun is as outdated as bear-baiting and cock-fighting… RAY GILLETT Blake Road Stapleford (letter)

Hereford Times 7.8.03 Too much time wasted on issue - I AM appalled by the personal attacks on Paul Keetch by Virginia Taylor, Hereford's Tory candidate and Bill Wiggin, Tory MP for Leominster, stating he could not be bothered to represent his constituents in the fox hunting vote… So Mr Wiggin cares about fox-hunters but not about sending British troops to war…. CAROLINE WILLIAMS, Kings Acre Road, Hereford (letter in archive)

Amesbury Journal 7.8.03 Hunting with dogs is a sport that has had its day - IN Postbag, July 17, Heather Read stated that hunts leave vixens to rear their cubs…. If the dog fox is killed, the chances of the litter being reared is greatly reduced, and even more so if the vixen is killed… Hunts kill hundreds of healthy dogs in a year, some quite young because they are not good hunters, and some when they become too old to run with the pack (but not too old to live in retirement)…. FRANKIE HORAN, New Forest Animal Protection Group
Go and watch: hunting is not cruel - RICHARD HARVEY (Postbag, last week), like all anti-hunting people, really does need to get his facts right (if he did, then I suggest he would not be anti)…. A typical pack of draghounds needs a far bigger country in which to operate to find enough suitable ground to hunt over. For instance, the Berks & Bucks Draghounds need the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hants, Oxon and Wilts just for themselves…. Also, it would simply not be possible to untrain foxhounds from hunting the fox to chase after a bit of smelly old sock!... MALCOLM SCOBIE, Park Lane, Wilton
Insights into what the fox may feel - STEVE Hewer's sarcasm (Postbag, last week) actually does seem to be based on the assumption that urban dwellers know all there is to know about the countryside… His knowledge surpasses that of hunt followers, and also of scientists. He actually knows what foxes feel when they are being pursued… Perhaps Steve would now like to tell us what the fox feels when entering the hen run, and why he decides to kill about 20 times as many hens as he needs for his supper. MALCOLM READ Broadmead Farm West Grimstead
Video other forms of pest control - DAVID Tibbles (Postbag, July 24) should video all other forms of pest control before condemning hunting with hounds… HEATHER READ Grately
Drag hunting: like kissing your sister - A LATE MP for Romsey once said drag-hunting was like kissing your sister!... foxes are not all dear little furry animals. MAUREEN ARCHER Russell Street Wilton (letters in archive)
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 OK, let me monitor hunt for the season ….those who support hunting, when faced with criticism of their activities, revert to accusations that their opponents are ignorant on the subject. In this instance, it was Heather Read (Postbag, last week) who used this tactic when referring to full-time hunt monitor Peter White…. After watching the countless scenes of suffering inflicted on deer and foxes, witnessed at first hand by Peter, perhaps she might reconsider her choice of words… I should like to make the following suggestion to the Masters of the Wilton Hunt, and indeed to other fox- and hare-hunts that operate in the Salisbury area. If you really have nothing to hide, then let me attend your hunt throughout the forthcoming season and allow me unrestricted access to record on film what hunting involves. I would have no objection to a hunt official accompanying me at all times if that was a condition laid down by the hunt…. DAVID TIBBLES, Meadow Court, Fordingbridge (letter in archive)
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 Memorable hunts - THE remarks made by Mr White regarding hunting (Postbag, July 10), when he stated that "Foxes are chased for up to three hours over 15 miles", deserve comment… While not doubting Mr White's integrity, hunting over this time and distance in this area, where the country is divided by roads and the accompanying traffic, plus the fact that most of the farmland in the hunting season is sown with winter corn, would be nothing short of a miracle…. NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter in archive)
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 Foxes enjoy outwitting hounds - DAMIEN McCabe's letter (Postbag, last week) is all too typical of the prejudice and, in particular, the ignorance, that has driven the determined attempt to ban fox-hunting…. I reckon that my boyhood was better spent running through the woods behind the hounds than in an internet "chat room". MALCOLM READ Broadmead Farm West Grimstead (letter in archive)
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 'Sport' element objectionable - HAVING read the various correspondence on the hunting debate (Postbag, last week), it's difficult to know who to feel more sorry for - the hunters or the hunted. Such was the compassion for foxes positively oozing from the letters of Heather Read and Anne Mackenzie (both pro-hunting) that it's hard to believe they can bring themselves to chase the poor creatures round the countryside at all… CHRIS LOCK, Kingsmead, Great Wishford
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 'Benefits' include a healthy fox population …Anne Mackenzie helpfully informs us, in two letters, no less (Postbag, last week), that foxhunting, aside from its many other wonderful benefits, leaves us with a healthy population of foxes, as it weeds out the diseased and old animals. But these foxes are vermin! I don't want a healthy population of cockroaches in my house… Might I politely suggest that she take up women's boxing instead? That way, she could still endure the entirely legal thrill of chasing an opponent, while there is always a remote chance that her opponent might actually fight back, leaving her with nowhere to run in front of a baying crowd. DENNIS PRICE, Cliff View, Netheravon
Amesbury Journal 23.7.03 Have the bottle to admit the 'sport' is a pleasure - I AM against hunting and shooting, which boils down to killing animals for pleasure… ROBIN RICHARDS, Hawthorns, Hyde (letter in archive)
Salisbury Journal/Avon Advertiser 17.7.03 Hunting people are not cruel - they know how to care for animals - I OBJECT to Peter White (Postbag, last week) calling hunting people cruel and bloodthirsty. Hunting people know how to care for animals, giving their horses and hounds interest and exercise to add to their wellbeing. So pardon me, Peter White, if I call you a cruel man to want to take all this away from some of the best-looked-after animals in this country, whose enthusiasts have studied and improved their breeding over generations… HEATHER READ, Monxton Road, Grateley
17.7.03 I THOUGHT the prominence you gave to the hunting issue was timely, given the impact it could have on the rural community in this area… And Tony Blair knows full well that a ban is impractical, hence his protracted attempts to find a compromise. BARNEY STRATTON, Highgrove Cottage, Stockton, Warminster
NOW that Labour backbenchers have forced through a total ban on hunting, they might like to reflect on the true implications of such a ban. Foxes certainly will not benefit…. If animal welfare is the main issue of this debate, then this senseless ban must be overturned. ANNE MACKENZIE, Salisbury Street, Cranborne
PETER White's attack on hunting is typical of the misinformation perpetuated by the anti-hunting lobby…. ANNE MACKENZIE, Salisbury Street, Cranborne (letters in archive)
Salisbury Journal/Avon Advertiser 17.7.03 Hunting ban is well overdue - SO, we are finally going to see a ban on foxhunting and other barbaric pastimes? About time, too!... DAMIEN McCABE, Lumley Walk, Amesbury (letter in archive)


Guardian 6.8.03 Farmer tells 'rural army' to invade Labour - A Staffordshire farmer is urging a "rural army" of countryside campaigners to infiltrate the Labour party in an attempt to defeat a ban on hunting. Peter Brady argues that if every hunt supporter who took to the streets of London in last year's protest march were to join the party, Labour would be overwhelmed… (story)
Cumberland News & Star 6.8.03 TROJAN PLAN FOR PRO HUNT LOBBY By Natalie Wilson - FOX-hunting supporters are being urged to mount a ‘Trojan horse’ style attack on Cumbrian branches of the Labour Party… (story)
Northern Echo 4.8.03 Pro-hunting group calls on supporters to join Labour by Rob Merrick - SUPPORTERS of fox hunting are being urged to join local Labour parties in the region in a last attempt to save the sport. A new organisation, called the Rural Army, has set up a website to persuade activists to take out constituency membership at a cost of £2 a month…. Mark Shotton, master of the South Durham Hunt, in the Prime Minister's Sedgefield constituency, said: "I don't think it is possible to change these people's views. But there are a lot of hunt supporters who, like me, are already staunch Labour supporters. But they will change next time. I can see this costing Labour a lot of votes." (story in archive)
York Evening Press 4.8.03 Hunt supporters in takeover bid - HUNT supporters are being urged to take over the constituency party branches of North Yorkshire's three Labour MPs in a "Trojan Horse" attack. A new organisation, called the "Rural Army", wants activists to spend £2 a month to join up in York, Selby and Scarborough and Whitby. The campaign is being run from a website,, which has a direct link to the Labour Party website's membership section… A Labour Party spokesman confirmed that there was little the party could do to prevent hunt supporters joining up, although he warned that the party had rules forbidding "disruptive" behaviour at local party meetings. (story in archive)
Western Morning News 28.7.03 SUPPORTERS URGED TO JOIN LABOUR - Government's policy on hunting by launching a "Trojan Horse" attack on the Labour Party. A new organisation, called the "Rural Army", is encouraging hunt supporters to join the Labour Party in an attempt to persuade Tony Blair to drop the Government's controversial Hunting Bill…. Rural Army founder Peter Brady said that with traditional Labour membership dwindling, hunt supporters could quickly gain a major influence in local constituency organisations if they joined in numbers… (story)

Western Morning News 6.8.03 HUNTERS JOIN REGISTER AND SWEAR TO DEFY BAN - PAUL ANDREWS - Hundreds of Westcountry hunters are among the thousands nationwide who have signed a "declaration" stating their intent to defy any ban on the sport. Nearly 3,000 people have now signed the Hunting Declaration - available on the Internet - agreeing to take part in illegal hunts if an outright ban is introduced… (story)


Reading Chronicle 5.8.03 MP Salter asks for police protection - ANTI-bloodsport MP Martin Salter asked for police protection at an advice surgery in Calcot after threats by extremist hunt supporters. Militant pro-hunt group the Real Countryside Alliance claims its has drawn up a hitlist of MPs who openly call for an end to hunting and plan to harass them and cause countrywide disruption. And Reading West's Mr Salter feared a small faction of the group's supporters would badger constituents using the surgery on July 11… (story)

Bolton Evening News 5.8.03 Hunting with dogs is cruel and barbaric - HUNTING with dogs is a cruel, barbaric and unnecessary pastime…. Also, as a dog lover, I object to the thousands of hounds that the hunt kill each year. Many of them are very young (under a year) and are killed because they do not show blood lust… (Name and address supplied) (letter in archive)


Western Morning News 4.8.03 MP BRADSHAW HOUNDED BY HUNT SUPPORTERS - Exeter Labour MP and junior environment minister Ben Bradshaw had to be whisked away from a public event when huntsmen started to call him "a coward and a bully"… Garry Corbett, master and huntsman of the Northern Counties mink hounds, said: "We went up to Mr Bradshaw with a lovely old foxhound and asked if he wanted it to be put down. He didn't respond. He still refused to speak to us and things got a little heated. He was called a coward and a bully. Then he ran off to the Country Landsowners' Association enclosure with his team of minders. When we also got into that enclosure, he disappeared under a tent flap."…. (story)
Financial Times 2.8.03 Politics sharpens the fun of the fair - Stephen Killick looks forward to some serious pro-hunt lobbying at this year's Country, Land & Business Association Game Fair… The CLA Game Fair is now one of the world's bigest. Spread over three days, invariably in the grounds of some stunning country house, it began as a meeting place for gamekeepers and an assortment of country folk who felt their way of life was under threat as far back as the late 1950s… There will be parades of hounds every day starting with the Northern Counties mink hounds…. "It is all about putting on a united front and showing how much the hunting, shooting and fishing community actually contributes to the countryside," says Tim Bonner, senior spokesman for the Campaign for Angling… (story)
Yorkshire Post 2.8.03 30,000 hunt supporters 'ready to break the law' - UP to 30,000 hunt supporters will ignore the law and continue hunting if their sport is banned, the Government was warned yesterday... The warning came as thousands of hunt supporters gathered at Harewood House, near Leeds, yesterday for the first day of the three-day Game Fair, the leading annual national event for field sports organised by the Country Land and Business Association. The Countryside Alliance, which boasts more than 100,000 members, says it cannot advocate breaking the law but will support individual members who do so if taken to court... James Craven, 32, from near Wetherby, who rides with the Middleton Hunt, has already signed the declaration, but believes a hunting ban will not get onto the statute book.... Richard Emmott, 35, a full-time huntsman with the York and Ainsty (South) Hunt, stands to lose his job and home if it is banned.... "We tried to talk to Ben Bradshaw and he just totally ignored us..." John Bycroft, committee member with the Union of Country Sports, predicted thousands of job losses in the event of a ban.... (story)
Yorkshire Post 2.8.03 Defiance is the mood at countryside celebration - IT IS billed as a celebration of country life, but the mood was more defiant than celebratory. The huntin', shootin' and fishin' brigade are a worried bunch of people, if the mood at the Game Fair at Harewood House, near Leeds, yesterday was anything to go by.... across. Their anger was directed at Tony Blair, at Westminster, at MPs, and at politicians in general for threatening the centuries-old tradition of hunting... (story)
Telegraph 2.8.03 Angry huntsmen give chase to Bradshaw - Ben Bradshaw, the junior environment minister, fled from a group of huntsmen at the Game Fair yesterday... Garry Corbett, master and huntsman of the Northern Counties mink hounds, said: "We went up to Mr Bradshaw with a lovely old foxhound and asked if he wanted it to be put down. He didn't respond..." (story)
Telegraph 2.8.03 The Archers faces wrath of the real country folk By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - The Archers, Radio 4's 52-year-old story of country folk, came to the Game Fair, the annual celebration of field sports, yesterday and received a gentle ticking off for its portrayal of rural life. The Telegraph staged a debate of the proposition, "The Archers is an everyday story of country folk"…. the majority of interventions from the floor homed in determinedly on the non-portrayal of hunting… In response, Mr Harvey promised that The Archers would do more on hunting, a sport he had never taken part in himself… (story)
Times 2.8.03 Protesters flush out minister - Pro-hunting protesters prepare to put their point yesterday to Ben Bradshaw, the Animal Health and Welfare Minister, at the opening day of the Game Fair at Harewood House, near Leeds. The anti-hunting minister was later shielded by police officers from some 50 jeering protesters... (story)
Newcastle Journal 2.8.03 Hunt supporters ready to risk jail By Liz Hands, The Journal - Hunt supporters in the North say they are ready to go to jail if a ban on hunting with dogs is imposed. The defiant stance comes as campaigners drum up support at the Game Fair - the leading national event for field sports, organised by the Country Land and Business Association, at Harewood House, near Leeds... Sally French is a keen member of the Haydon Hunt along with her partner, John Hutton. She said: "If the Haydon Hunt organised an illegal hunt I would be willing to take part in it. I'm sure a lot of people are willing to sign up for this…." "I can totally understand how people would feel so upset that they would decide to hunt anyway," said Angie Vaux, regional chairman of the Countryside Alliance yesterday… (story)
York Evening Press 2.8.03 Game for a great time by Liz Todd - Celebrities from TV soap rivals Emmerdale and Coronation Street were taking part in a Yorkshire-Lancashire clay pigeon shooting competition... The first day of the fair, which continues today and tomorrow, set out in style with great weather and crowds flocking to the event... Chris Jackson, a spokesman for The Countryside Alliance, which was represented at the fair, said: "It's all going extremely well, it's a real success." (story in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.8.03 THERE'S NO FREEDOM TO ABUSE OUR WILD ANIMALS All hunting is cruel and barbaric and is nothing more than animal abuse. Why should we be able to chase a wild animal to death for so-called sport?... Kathy Moyle, Collins Park, East Budleigh (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 1.8.03 DON'T INSULT COUNTRY FOLK OVER THE HUNTING ISSUE - May i please apologise to Echo readers who are heartily fed up with hunting letters on these pages, but feel I must reply to Mr G Paddon…I do not know if it escapes his notice, but my address is actually in a very rural area surrounded by farms and farmers, who I count as very good friends… You are right, Mr Paddon, never will I understand the mentality of anyone who wants to justify the pursuit, torture and eventual bloody end of a hunt. It disgusts me. Mrs Jennifer Cook, Tale Common Head, Honiton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 1.8.03 HUNTS AND RETIREMENT HOMES FOR OLD HOUNDS - Hunts have never asked the RSPCA to accept redundant hounds. They love their animals and care for them in their retirement homes for aged and infirm hounds…. DW Fanson, Beacon Lane, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 28.7.03 LEARN TO OBSERVE WILD ANIMALS, NOT KILL THEM -Oh dear! Self-professed countryman Mr G Paddon is wringing his hands in frustration at us poor city folk who simply cannot understand the ways of the countryside and, in particular, the subtleties of hunting… My formative years were spent in rural Dorset where I learnt to respect nature and those who quietly observe it and to distrust many of those who shout about their love of the countryside only as a convenient cover for participating in their particular brand of bloodsport. Dr John Pamment, Clyst Heath, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 24.7.03 I SAW RED OVER 'RANSOM DEMAND' FOR VILE SPORT - J Cook may have been amused by Mr G Paddon's letters but I read his latest and saw red because the gist of it was like a ransom demand. What he is saying is that hunters should be allowed to continue with their vile sport or they will inflict something much worse on the beleaguered foxes… G R Holwill, Stoke Hill Crescent, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 24.7.03 CLEARLY HUNTING FAILS TO CONTROL FOX POPULATION - In Points of View, July 12, T A Canham states that his/her supply of eggs had dried up because a fox had bitten off the heads of his/her chicken… , it would appear that he/she does not think the huntsmen are doing a very good job in controlling the cute little foxes. R Wills, Chard Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 24.7.03 WHY ENCOURAGE 'PEST' WITH ARTIFICIAL EARTHS? Can Mr G Paddon answer this? If the fox is such a wild and vicious animal and such a pest, why do so many hunts encourage artificial earths as they admit to doing? Mrs Maxine Floyd, Salway Close, Cullompton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 21.7.03 MP SELLING POLICIES TO DISILLUSIONED ELECTORATE - I must take issue with Jennifer Cook, MP is entitled to have a view on fox hunting, Points of view, July 17, not in relation to her thoughts on fox hunting but in relation to her assertion that "...Mr Bradshaw is often in the daily papers and Echo, working for his constituents..."I agree that Mr Bradshaw is often in the papers but rarely, if ever, is he working for his constituents… Peter Cox, Alphington Conservatives, Ide Lane, Alphington (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 19.7.03 BLOOD SPORT CANNOT BE ALLIED TO CONSERVATION - How heartily I agree with J Cook's letter, Points of view, July 12, ridiculing Mr G Paddon's hopelessly inconsistent defence of fox hunting... Dr John Pamment, Clyst Heath, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 19.7.03 CONTROLLED BREEDING IS NOW NEEDED FOR HOUNDS I could not agree more with J Cook's letter... Jenny Tucker, Tything Close, Newton St Cyres (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 17.7.03 MP IS ENTITLED TO HAVE A VIEW ON FOX HUNTING - Again my attention is caught by Mr G Paddon's assertation that Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw's views on hunting are to be discounted as there are more important issues for him to be dealing with, Points of view, July 12. This is rich coming from a man who continuously and repeatedly defends his passion for the blood sport…. Jennifer Cook, Tale Common Head, Honiton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 16.7.03 PERHAPS THE HUNTERS CAN NOW CHASE THE CRIMINALS - At last a fox hunting ban is imminent and as J Cook so rightfully stated in Points of view July 12, the Mr Paddons of our society will have to get their entertainment elsewhere... The Mr Paddons can go and chase the criminals with their hounds. That way the hunters could still have their sadistic fun and rid society of the so-called criminals... Jennifer Sclater, Leypark Crescent, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 15.7.03 WHY WRITE ABOUT HUNTING WHEN IT'S UNIMPORTANT? Dear old Mr G Paddon, champion of "the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable" is at it again. So, Mr Paddon, if the subject of fox hunting is so unimportant, Points of view, July 12, why do you spend so much time writing about it? Christine A Enefer Clyst St Mary (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 12.7.03 MP SHOULD WORRY ABOUT MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS - Exeter mp Ben Bradshaw has given us his views on fox hunting, Points of view, July 5. His views are beyond me. We only need to look around at life in general to see the things Mr Bradshaw should be concerning himself with, for instance child abuse and killings... Mr Bradshaw, you need to get your priorities in order. G Paddon Pathfinder Village Tedburn St Mary (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 12.7.03 I COULDN'T SLEEP AT NIGHT IF I HAD HUNTED AN ANIMAL For years G Paddon's letters on the fox hunting issue have amused me... they're so obsessed with killing animals for fun... how can anyone sleep at night who has pursued an animal, tormented it, then torn it to pieces? I couldn't live with that, Mr Paddon. J Cook Tale Common Head Honiton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 12.7.03 MY SUPPLY OF EGGS WENT WHEN FOX GOT CHICKENS - Reference Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw and the proposed ban on fox hunting, Points of view, July 5, would he care to tell us from where we will get our fresh farm eggs? My supply has dried up because a cute little fox has got in with the chickens and bitten off all their heads. TA Canham Dorset Avenue Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 11.7.03 WHAT HAPPENS WHEN NO MORE FOXES ARE LEFT? - Can i through Points of view tell Mr G Paddon what his mother should have told him as a child: "Two wrongs do not make a right". To say that hunting is for the benefit of the fox is frankly absurd.... G R Holwill, Stoke Hill Crescent, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 7.7.03 HUNTING BILL WILL SUBJECT FOXES TO MORE SUFFERING - If the Hunting Bill becomes law, foxes will be subject to much more suffering. Foxes are very vicious and dangerous animals and need to be controlled if hunting with hounds is outlawed… G Paddon, Tedburn St Mary, Exeter (letter)


Western Daily Press 2.8.03 HUNT SHOULD GET NEW JOBS - Sir - I was brought up on a farm in North Devon, in the heart of stag-hunting country. I have ridden with the Somerset and Devon Staghounds. Several years ago, I changed my way of life and became very interested in conservation.... It's just a matter of time before hunting with dogs is banned, but real country people could, like me, find jobs in conservation... Name and address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.8.03 LORDS SHOULD END CRUELTY - In spite of the fact that MPs have overwhelmingly voted for a complete ban on cruel and barbaric blood sports, in a few days' time hunts and their followers will be out chasing and killing animals for entertainment... Neither they - nor anyone else - should have the temerity to hold up a Bill which is designed to end the abuse of animals and the massive cruelty inflicted on so many unfortunate creatures by hunting and hunters. Name and address supplied (letter)


Times 1.8.03 Huntsmen pledge to defy law if ban is imposed BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - NEARLY 3,000 huntsmen and women are ready to break the law and defy any ban on their sport. They have signed a declaration saying they will take part openly in illegal hunts... Supporters of hunting are using today’s opening of the Game Fair, the leading national event for fields sports organised by the Country Land and Business Association, as a recruiting ground for martyrs to the cause.... The hunting declaration is being organised by the right-wing philosopher Roger Scruton, Steve Hill, a former terrierman with the Heythrop Hunt, and Michael Markham, a former businessman turned farmer.... Hunting sources say they believe police will try to embarrass huntsmen by bringing prosecutions against landowners such as the Duke of Devonshire, who told The Times last year that he will allow illegal hunting on his 12,000-acre Chatsworth estate... (story)

Western Daily Press 1.8.03 WE WILL ADAPT TO CHANGES IN THE COUNTRY - Some 50 years ago, the country way of life dramatically altered, as people left the arduous task of work on the land and moved to towns… However, with the possibility of fox hunting being abolished, we have strange protestations and threats coming from those who purport to know what is best for the countryside - mostly newcomers!... Name and address supplied (letter)

Post & Times 1.8.03 HOUNDS ARE VICTIMS TOO - Kindly permit me to expand on the issues arising out of the article about and letter from Mr Marcus Hayes which appeared in your issue of July 9. I urge Mr Hayes to note that, according to a MORI poll, 74 per cent of British people think hunting is inhumane, and yet he continues fervently to support the cruelty… Finally, I ask Mr Hayes to recall last year's foot and mouth outbreak when there was a ban on fox hunting. It is claimed that the pastime is necessary to control numbers of foxes, but scientists found no increase in the number of foxes during the year. This was the conclusion of the Mammal Society, an independent scientific society - its Chairman, Stephen Harris, stating that "hunting plays no role in regulating fox numbers. Foxes regulate their own numbers." WH Simcock Clayton House Butterton Leek (letter)
Post & Times 25.7.03 TORY'S VIEW 'BIZARRE' Dear Sir - I have not met a single person in the Moorlands - regardless of their politics - who does not think it bizarre for Marcus D Hayes to tell you that banning fox hunting is "to kick the countryside in the teeth". W H Simcock Clayton House Butterton (letter)
The Sentinel 18.7.03 ARROGANCE - BREATHTAKING - Mr Marcus Hayes spoke to you last week of what he described as "the breathtaking arrogance" of the government, which has recently decided to rid our country of the ghastly practice of hunting animals with hounds. Is it not arrogant of Mr Hayes - especially as he wishes to seek election to Parliament - to defy a decision made by an overwhelming number of elected MP's… W H Simcock Clayton House Butterton Leek (letter)
The Sentinel 11.7.03 IGNORANCE OF RURAL LIFE - Like Labour locally, Labour nationally with its yet-again proposed fox hunting ban, has failed to understand the countryside. If anything for the last three years the rural way of life has been under threat from a Labour Government that knows nothing about the countryside, and cares little for the people who live in it…. Marcus D Hayes Chairman Moorlands Conservative Association Leek (letter)
The Sentinel 11.7.03 HUNTING BAN CLOUDS CRISIS - Local Tory chairman Marcus Hayes accused the government this week of "kicking the countryside in the teeth", following the latest debate in the House of Commons on fox hunting…. (story)

Evesham Journal 1.8.03 My legal points on hunting and crime - TWO legal matters particularly took my attention this week: the first regarded the proposed ban on hunting with dogs. This has elicited various statements to the effect that the police will find it impossible to enforce a total ban… I am confident that the decent upstanding people who go hunting will have no hesitation in ceasing their activities once the bill that the commons passed so overwhelmingly has become law… SAM BERRINGTON, Rye Close, Bourton-on-the-Water. (letter in archive)

Evesham Journal 1.8.03 Management of the manmade country - Simon Foxall (Letters 24/07) needs to be reminded of the realities of the countryside. The British countryside is largely manmade, having been shaped and formed over centuries by farming and sporting practices… Everyone involved in the hunting debate including Government, land management and farming organisations and even the League Against Cruel Sports agrees that fox populations need to be managed and controlled…. Peter Hewitt, Ledbury, Herefordshire (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 24.7.03 Lame excuse from the pro-hunt lobby - I was, as usual, outraged to hear yet another lame excuse for a pro-hunt argument in the Journal (10th July), this time being put forward by Baroness Golding, Peter Luff and Lembit Opik. What is this obscene arrogance that dictates a fox must be hunted or it will have to be shot? How about leaving them alone?... Simon Foxall, East Side, North Littleton, Evesham (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 24.7.03 One question that is still hounding me! - The All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group (Letters, 10 July 2003) show great concern for foxes dying slowly of shotgun wounds. Howcome the Middle Way are not worried about the foxes who are attacked in their lairs by the hunt's terriers and left to die slowly from their wounds there…. Sally Mande, South Littleton, Evesham (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 15.7.03 IS AN INCREASE IN SUFFERING WORTH IT FOR A HUNT BAN? Baroness Golding, Peter Luff MP, Lembit ?-pik MP All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group House of Commons, London (letter)
Worcester Evening News 14.7.03 Are we really going to let animals suffer? - BARONESS GOLDING, PETER LUFF, LEMBIT ÖPIK, Co-chairmen, All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, House of Commons. (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 14.7.03 Put hunt with cock-fighting - BARONESS Golding, Peter Luff MP and Mebit Opik MP… would have us believe that foxes have to be killed by one means or another. They don't… As for the suggestion that up to 79 per cent of all foxes which are shot are wounded -- I'd love to know how they gathered their evidence…. when hunting with dogs is banned, this bloodsport can take its place in history alongside cock-fighting and bull-baiting. (Name and address supplied) (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 12.7.03 SHOOTING IS MORE CRUEL Baroness Golding Peter Luff MP Lembit Opik MP Co-chairs, All-Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group (letter)
Bolton Evening News 11.7.03 Put hunt with cock-fighting - BARONESS Golding, Peter Luff MP and Mebit Opik MP claim (Letters, Bolton Evening News) that a ban on hunting with dogs will result in an increase in animal suffering, because, according to them, "shooting would undoubtedly replace hunting"…. Claims regarding losses caused by foxes are largely based on mythology… when hunting with dogs is banned, this bloodsport can take its place in history alongside cock-fighting and bull-baiting. (Name and address supplied) (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 10.7.03 Stance on welfare of animals is an illusion - Baroness Golding, Peter Luff MP, Lembit Opik MP (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 10.7.03 Still scope for the middle hunting way - Baroness Golding, Peter Luff MP, Lembit Öpik MP, Co-chairs., All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 9.7.03 Legislation by passion out of order - MANY MPs voted to change the Government's regulatory Hunting Bill into a ban on hunting with dogs, maybe because they harbour an illusion that animal welfare would be improved -- despite all the evidence to the contrary. Others don't care about the evidence at all. To quote pro-ban MP Tony Banks, "passions and subjectivity rule the day". What a dreadful basis for legislation… We draw the depressing conclusion that the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports want a ban on hunting with dogs even if a ban increases animal suffering… Baroness Golding, Peter Luff MP, Lembit Öpik MP, Co-chairs All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group c/o Lembit Öpik MP, House of Commons, London (letter in archive)