Hunting Bill November 2003

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Observer 30.11.03 Stop telling me what to do - Why do our rulers always want to boss us about? It's time to stand up and start causing trouble - Henry Porter … Never was the clearer example of impotence mutating to venomous control freakery than the proposal - now to be made in a Private Member's Bill - to ban hunting with dogs. The MPs who stood by and watched their leader invade a sovereign country and did nothing to hold him to account when the pretext for that invasion was proved to be flawed, now turn their second-rate, feckless minds to the hunting ban, in the belief that they are doing something to improve the moral decency of the country. Forgive me if I'm unimpressed with the party in government. But I simply do not see how a Labour MP who has gone along with Blair deserves to be in Parliament, let alone in the position to limit my freedoms…. (story)

Scotsman 30.11.03 We Will Bring Foxhunting Saga to An End, Says Hain By John Deane, Chief Political Correspondent, PA News - The Government will bring an end to the long-running saga over whether hunting should be banned, House of Commons leader Peter Hain insisted today. Mr Hain did not say exactly how the issue will be resolved, nor set out a timetable… Interviewed on BBC 1’s Breakfast with Frost, Mr Hain was asked whether a hunting Bill will be forced through during the current Parliament. Mr Hain replied: “Nothing will be forced through. There is an issue unresolved here…" (story)


Darlington & Stockton Times 29.11.03 Hunt protestors ambush rural minister at market towns launch HUNT supporters protesting against a proposed ban on their sport greeted Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael when he arrived in Thirsk to throw his weight behind a special event underlining the value of Yorkshire market towns. About 30 protestors who want a Bill to outlaw hunting kept out of the Queen's Speech, which describes the Government's programme of future legislation, gathered at the entrance to Thirsk racecourse last Friday for the launch of the Action for Market Towns regional network…. (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 29.11.03 HUNT DEBATE IS SO BORING …I am getting sick and tired of the incessant stream of letters about hunting, for or against. It has got to the point now that as soon as I realise it's yet another one, I stop reading it and move on to the next… Name and address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.11.03 HOUNDS DON'T HAVE TO DIE A recent picture caption in the Western Daily Press said that thousands of foxhounds would be shot should hunting be banned. We are told there are 59 per cent pro-hunt supporters in this area. Surely, among those, there should be enough people to give these dogs a home?... Miss F Hamilton Address supplied (letter)


Somerset County Gazette 28.11.03 Hunting ban left on hold - LEGISLATION to ban hunting with dogs could be years rather than months away after the Government failed to include its Bill on the issue in this week's Queen Speech…. (story in archive)

Burton Mail 28.11.03 Queen's speech is 'good news' by NERMIN OOMER - PROPOSALS for new legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech have been welcomed by Burton MP Janet Dean… However, the controversial Hunting Bill was omitted from the speech. Mrs Dean said: "Although there was no mention of a Bill to ban hunting with dogs, the Government is committed to fulfilling its manifesto commitment on the issue…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 28.11.03 POINTS OF VIEW: PETER OGILVIE - Upon first consideration, there doesn't appear much to connect smoking in public places with fox hunting - but when it comes to prohibition, each ignites similarly heated debate… I have never hunted, but I instinctively detest the class-hatred and intolerance that fuels this Government's vendetta against rural lifestyles in general, and hunting in particular…. (story)

Western Morning News 28.11.03 LOVERS OF ANIMALS OR HATERS OF PEOPLE? The desecration of graveyards is generally regarded with abhorrence and disgust. It is usually directed at Jewish cemeteries and carried out by the most extreme of anti-semites who often belong to far-right parties of the fascist tendency. The brief report (WMN, November 19) of the destruction of three gravestones of the Barclay family in Hertfordshire, a family whose close connections with the Puckeridge Hunt go back several generations, is an indication of the depths to which certain members of the animal rights faction will sink… J Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 28.11.03 BEHEADING WAS PART OF OUR ROYAL TRADITION TOO Mr w Lewis, Points of view, November 20, never fails to astonish me… He says, in effect, that hunting with packs of dogs is part of our royal history. So was beheading, Mr Lewis. Do you suggest our present monarch should continue this too? M Barnes, St Katherines Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 27.11.03 HUNT BAN WILL BE A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION - Simply because royalty have hunted for centuries, W Lewis, Points of view, November 20, and animals chase and kill each other for food, there is no excuse for so-called civilised people to follow suit… A hunting ban, Mr Paddon, Points of view, November 21, will be a step in the right direction towards civilising this country… Sally Watson, Shelton Place, Heavitree, Exeter (letter)

Leicester Mercury 28.11.03 DEFENDING THE HUNTING POLLS - The opinion poll referred to in Mr Wreathall's letter (Postbag, November 12) was conducted by NOP Solutions Ltd, whose clients include British Airways, Lloyds, TSB, BT, Halifax, Land Rover and Visa. A similar poll was carried out by ICM, which found that 57 per cent of the nation either supported the regulation or status quo on hunting… Mr Wreathall's subsequent description of hunting practices is so fanciful and so far from the truth that it is unsurprising that most reasonable people have now disengaged from this debate. Simon Hart, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)

Washington Times 28.11.03 With love from Britain - As a sometimes reader of the Internet edition of The Washington Times, the editorial, "Bush's British support" (Sunday), was of particular interest… it also missed an opportunity to remind the AmericanpeoplethatPrime Minister Tony Blair, despite his fine speech proclaiming that it was worth fighting for the right to be "free to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others," intends to allow his left-wing backbenchers to curtail the freedom of hundreds of thousands of British citizens to go hunting. NICK ONSLOW, Canterbury, United Kingdom (letter)

Cheshire Chronicle 28.11.03 AFTER a year where fox-hunters have proved how 'reasonable' their demands to continue their sport are - by putting MPs on a hit-list - Tony Blair has decided not to include a Bill banning fox-hunting in the Queen's Speech… What with this news, and protests during this week's state visit, Labour will have a tough job redeeming itself. CLLR KLAUS ARMSTRONG-BRAUN Flintshire Green Party (letter)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 28.11.03 NO 'CASE' FOR HUNTING BAN - There was a demonstration at Haysden because there is still no scientific, intellectual or animal welfare case for a ban on hunting. Two thirds of rural vets and nearly all farmers would support me on this. The personal tastes of your correspondents ("Hunting demo shows uncaring arrogance", letters, November 13) are not enough to make the woolly assumptions of the animal rights movement anything less than woolly assumptions… James Shepherd, Tunbridge Wells (letter)
Sevenoaks Chronicle 21.11.03 CLASS HATRED David Wetton is misinformed if he really believes a ban on hunting in England and Wales has the "clear support of politicians from every hue"… the majority of Labour peers are against a ban, which is why the recent Bill failed in the Lords. David Tomlinson, Brasted (letter)


Yorkshire Post 27.11.03 Cat-and-mouse with fox hunters - No fox-hunting, no euro controversy - just major policies on public services to 'reconnect' with the electorate. Political Editor Brendan Carlin reports on a Queen's Speech which, tuition fees apart, has a distinctly pre-election feel…. Notwithstanding the pent-up outrage of Labour MPs over the Lords' opposition to an all-out ban, Government spokesmen were under clear orders to stick to the line that the hunting issue would be resolved but that discussions on how to do it were still continuing. The tactic backfired almost immediately…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.11.03 HUNT BAN: IT'S CLEAR AS MUD Tony Blair yesterday pledged to "resolve" the issue of hunting with dogs before the next election - but stopped short of saying it would be banned…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.11.03 HUNTERS' DELIGHT AS BILL COMES A CROPPER Rural communities are celebrating the absence of the 'H' word in the Queen's Speech. Martin Hesp talked to them… Peter Hendrie, owner of the White Horse, said: "I think a lot of people around here are thinking: 'Thank God for that'…." Jane Lewis took a break from walking her dogs outside the pub to say she was delighted by the news. "I stag hunt and before I moved here I was master of Crawley and Horseham Foxhounds. So yes, I am very relieved. Let the country people get on with what they do best."… (story)

Guardian 27.11.03 MPs furious at hunting omission - Nicholas Watt, political correspondent - Tony Blair yesterday promised to resolve the long-running saga of a fox hunting ban after Labour MPs reacted furiously to the government's decision to omit the issue from the Queen's speech. "We will resolve this issue in this parliament," Mr Blair told MPs hours after Labour backbenchers rounded on the Commons leader, Peter Hain, at the party's weekly parliamentary meeting…. (story)

Guardian 27.11.03 Blair goes looking for a fight - and a third term - Michael White, political editor - Tony Blair came out fighting yesterday with a pre-election legislative programme deliberately crafted to provoke noisy conflict with the House of Lords, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs and a substantial chunk of his own party… Not in cluded was the promised ban on hunting with dogs, though ministers expect to push a new bill through both houses by using the Parliament Acts…. (story)

Guardian 27.11.03 How the message spread - Martin Wainwright … Sandria Gilling, 60, a Labour activist/ footsoldier in Rotherham's Boston ward and a teacher and manager in further education at Worksop… "We should have included fox hunting though. When you say you'll do something, you should do it." (story)

Independent 27.11.03 Blair faces revolt on two fronts - Queen's Speech will lead to battles with Labour backbenchers and the House of Lords By Andrew Grice, Political Editor - Tony Blair risked a head-on confrontation with Labour MPs yesterday when the Queen's Speech included his controversial plan to allow universities to charge top up-fees but omitted a Bill to ban fox hunting… The disquiet among Labour backbenchers was evident when Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, faced a torrent of criticism at a private meeting of MPs over the failure to reintroduce the Hunting Bill… (story)

Independent 26.11.03 Bill to ban hunting left out of package By Jon Smith, PA News - The Government today failed to include plans for a Hunting Bill in its legislative programme unveiled in the Queen's Speech… (story)

Telegraph 27.11.03 Labour MPs savage Hain over foxhunting By Toby Helm and George Jones - Labour MPs reacted furiously yesterday after the Government failed to include a fresh commitment to ban hunting with dogs in the Queen's Speech…. Mr Hain told MPs that the Government remained committed to bringing back legislation that ran out of time in the last session later in this one after other Government business had made progress. But MPs were said to have reacted with "healthy scepticism" about his assurances.... (story)

Telegraph 27.11.03 Blair sets up a showdown By George Jones, Political Editor - Tony Blair embarked last night on his most contentious parliamentary session after a bruising encounter with a confident and aggressive Michael Howard, making his first major Commons speech since becoming Tory leader.... An unexpected omission was a commitment to reintroduce a Bill to ban foxhunting in England and Wales, provoking an angry response from Labour backbenchers.... (story)

Telegraph 27.11.03 Howard brands Labour asylum plan 'despicable' By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent ... Mr Blair did not mention hunting until Dennis Skinner, the veteran Left-winger, asked him if it would be banned before the next election. The Prime Minister replied: "We have said that we will resolve the issue this Parliament. We will resolve the issue this Parliament."... (story)

Times 27.11.03 The Queen's speech in brief - Ministers’ sights still on hunt Bill - Labour MPs voiced confidence that foxhunting would soon be outlawed in spite of the absence of a hunting Bill (Philip Webster writes)…. (story)

Times 26.11.03 Analysis: Philip Webster on the Queen's Speech … Why is there no Hunting Bill? It was felt that to include it would further undermine the already strained relations between the Government and the House of Lords and would amount to waving a red rag at a bull…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.11.03 FIELDSPORT 'WILL BE BANNED' - Anti-hunt campaigners yesterday vowed to press ahead for a Bill to ban the ancient sport despite no mention of it in the Queen's Speech. Peter Anderson, Westcountry regional spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports, said he was not surprised that hunting did not feature in the speech… (story)

Western Daily Press 27.11.03 BATTLE GOES ON EVEN AS HUNTING BILL AXED - Tony Blair's policy on hunting was in chaos last night after a measure to ban it was axed from the Queen's Speech. Yet both sides in the controversial debate claimed partial victory after the Government gave an ambiguous message on the legislation…. (story)

Western Gazette 27.11.03 BILL TO RESOLVE HUNTING DEBATE - Rural pressure groups have challenged the Government to back a Bill which they claim addresses crucial animal welfare concerns and could resolve the hunting debate. The Country Land and Business Association has urged the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to find an alternative solution to the Hunting Bill… The CLA says that Lord Donoghue's Bill to amend the Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996 offers a genuine opportunity to promote the welfare of wild animals…. (story)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 27.11.03 FRESH DOUBTS ON HUNTING BAN PLANS - Controversial plans to ban hunting with dogs have been thrown into fresh confusion, amid claims crucial legislation is flawed and should be dumped. Mps on an influential Commons committee have warned a complete ban could breach the human rights of country dwellers who earned a living from it - paving the way for a flood of legal challenges. The decision could affect the Brocklesby Hunt, based in neighbouring North East Lincolnshire… (story)

The Sentinel 27.11.03 MP LEADS LABOUR BACKLASH OVER QUEEN'S SPEECH PLANS …The Hunting Bill. Although this will not be explicitly mentioned in the Speech, it is thought it is likely the Government will introduce a bill as one of the unspecified "other measures" which the Queen mentions… (story)

Scotsman 27.11.03 Plot to end Scots MPs voting on English bills - FRASER NELSON AND ALISON HARDIE … To add insult to injury, Mr Blair failed to make clear what will happen to the anti-hunting bill for England and Wales, a totem for Labour back-benchers…. (story)

Cornwall Packet 27.11.03 Saddened by personal attack - I write in response to a letter sent by C Ryall (Packet, November 6) in which he attacked our MP Candy Atherton. The object of this letter was obviously for political gain…. She has also been vehemently supportive of a total ban on hunting with hounds, a matter which is very important to many in this area, including myself…. Rob Fry, Beauchamps Meadows, Redruth (letter in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 27.11.03 HUNTING ANIMALS SHOULD BE COMPLETELY BANNED - In answer to W Lewis and G Paddon, Points of view, November 20 and 21, hunters dressed up un their pink coats and silly grins along with their followers are no more civilised than muggers thieves or swindlers and they should all be dealt with in the same way… Mrs Sandra Shelley, Pinhoe Road, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 27.11.03 ISSUES OF CRIME ALREADY DEALT WITH BY PARLIAMENT - It is difficult to understand the reasoning of G Paddon, Points of view, November 21, who says shootings, stabbings, rape, robberies etc, are issues we should pursue to the utmost instead of hunting with dogs. Shootings and the other violent crimes have already been dealt with under laws enacted many years ago. We must now enact the Hunting Bill to ban the sport and make it a crime to kill animals for fun…. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)


Ananova 26.11.03 Anti-hunt campaigners confident of a ban - Campaigners are confident that hunting will soon be outlawed, despite the fact it was omitted from the Queen's Speech. Tony Blair refused to say how the long running issue of a fox hunting ban would be addressed in the new Parliamentary year. But Commons leader Peter Hain is understood to have reassured anti-hunting Labour MPs at a lunchtime meeting… (story)

BBC News Online 26.11.03 Blair promises action on hunting - The hunting issue will be resolved this Parliament despite no commitment to a ban being included in the Queen's Speech, Tony Blair has told MPs. Pressed to guarantee action on hunting he replied: "We have said we are going to resolve this issue... we will resolve this issue in this Parliament."… The prime minister's official spokesman refused to be drawn on whether the government intended to introduce another bill banning hunting in this session of Parliament…

BBC News Online 26.11.03 Student funding tops Blair agenda … The lack of a commitment to a hunting bill will anger some Labour backbenchers, although government sources say they do intend to ban the pursuit…. (story)

BBC News Online 26.11.03 Queen unveils Blair's programme - Tony Blair's programme for the next year is being unveiled by the Queen at the state opening of Parliament… .. But many commentators believe a ban on hunting will be not included, with predictions it could be considered later… (story)

BBC News Online 26.11.03 Queen due to unveil Blair's plans … Some commentators believe a bill banning hunting is unlikely to be included in the Queen's Speech, but might be among measures considered for later action…. (story)

Guardian 26.11.03 Labour grasps the nettles, but still can't find the garden - The Queen's speech will show the government has guts - but no heart - Polly Toynbee … Labour MPs might be pleased that fox hunting will finally go - but wiser heads see this as a monstrous waste of time on an illiberal act, banning the hobby of an odd minority… (story)

Independent 26.11.03 Blair will use broadcast to seek support for reforms By Ben Russell and Marie Woolf … A Bill banning fox hunting is not expected in the Queen's Speech but it will be on the legislative agenda for the year… (story)

Western Mail 26.11.03 Hunt ban could breach human rights say opponents - Steve Dube, The Western Mail - HUMAN rights rather than animal rights may be breached by a ban on hunting, it was claimed last night. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has asked the Government to answer a number of issues as the controversial Hunting Bill returns to the House of Commons following its rejection by the Lords… (story)

Newcastle Journal 26.11.03 Blair braced for his toughest year - Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing a fight on two fronts as the Government prepares to force through plans to ban fox hunting and introduce university top-up fees… (story)

Scotsman 26.11.03 Queen's Speech aimed at stifling Labour rebellion - ALISON HARDIE POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT … Real uncertainty has surrounded only a few issues, such as whether Mr Blair will give his backing to a ban on fox-hunting with hounds in England and Wales by introducing a government bill on the issue…. (story)

Scotsman 26.11.03 Blair facing tough year over law plans - BILL JACOBS WESTMINSTER EDITOR … Mr Blair may try and buy off his Labour opponents - who only last week cut his majority from 161 to just 17 over foundation hospitals in England and Wales - with a Bill to ban Hunting with Hounds. But that will just enrage the Tories and the Lords who are promising to fight the abolition of the hereditaries to the last ditch…. (story)

Western Morning News 26.11.03 I'M ALL FOR 'FREEDOM RIDERS' - It was great to read Noel Edmonds banging the drum for freedom, even though he can't understand the appeal of hunting with hounds. Neither can I…. the impending legislation has little to do with animal welfare and much to do with political control…. Thus I am with him in his idea of becoming a "freedom rider"…. Anyway, let's find me a horse to join in! Sandra Yeo Instow, North Devon (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 26.11.03 THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO BUT HOLD BACK THE HUNTERS - I think the opposing views of the people who enjoy the sport of hunting with hounds and those who abhor any form of hunting on the grounds of cruelty to animals will never be settled… Peter Phillput, Charlotte Street, Crediton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 26.11.03 SHEEP AND PIGS AREN'T CHASED ACROSS THE FIELDS - Mr w Lewis, Points of view November 20, cannot see how killing deer for venison is any different from killing cattle for beef, sheep for mutton or pigs for pork. The difference is that sheep and pigs are not chased to exhaustion over long distances for fun before becoming mutton or pork… John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 20.11.03 HUNTING WILD ANIMALS IS PART OF OUR ROYAL HISTORY - Many thousands of years ago early man, in order to supplement a meagre diet of berries etc, decided to kill animals in order to survive… The present Prince of Wales, Charles, has naturally hunted like all his predecessors and has been criticised for doing so…. I cannot see how killing deer for venison is any different from killing cattle for beef… Are all these anti-hunt protesters vegetarians?... What does Jane Rennie mean, Points of view, November 13, when she says that people like her, "are well acquainted with ways of the natural world and are constantly striving to preserve the way nature intended". What rubbish… W Lewis, Rackenford, near Tiverton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 14.11.03 NATURE IS CRUEL OUT OF NECESSITY, NOT FOR FUN - Nobody would argue with Mr Lewis when he says that nature is cruel... It would be interesting to know when a dog or pack of dogs last hunted and killed a fox for food.... when some choose to accompany the hounds in pursuit of a fox, hoping to be in at the kill, is it a healthy recreational pursuit or is it something darker, something that does need to be stopped in a civilised society? David Carder Pennsylvania Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 13.11.03 MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CRUELTY, NOT WILD ANIMALS - The flippant double-standard attitude, portrayed by W Lewis, Points of view, November 8, is the very reason our planet is in rapid decline. By hounding one aspect of nature to destruction, perhaps to extinction… I would say that us "kind" people out here are well acquainted with the ways of the natural world, and are constantly striving to preserve the way nature intended, by showing compassion and tolerance to all fauna and flora. The lust for blood sports, the wanton killing of any creature for fun, is just one more nail in the coffin for human decency. Jane Rennie Pathfinder Village Tedburn St Mary (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 13.11.03 HUNTING WITH DOG PACKS IS NOT PART OF NATURE - The letter from W Lewis, Points of view, November 8, confirms my belief in the lack of intelligence possessed by the hunting fraternity... Mrs M Barnes, St Katherine's Road, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 26.11.03 ALLIANCE UNITED AGAINST ATTACK ON COUNTRYSIDE … Then we have John Phelps, Points of view, November 20, disputing my accusation that Labour and Blair despise the countryside. Mr Phelps is clearly desperate… Mr Fanson ended with a snide shot at the Countryside Alliance. They must defend themselves, but my overwhelming impression of their members is that they have united in the face of this unprecedented attack on the countryside from an urban-based government… David Challice, UK Independence Party, Exeter branch chairman, Holland Road, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 26.11.03 WE SHOULD BE INFORMED ABOUT OUR ROYAL FAMILY - With reference to the royal family, is it not time that the taxpayers of Britain should know what goes on inside Buckingham Palace?... As for hunting, well, these people live such boring lives and find enjoyment in chasing some poor animal to its death…. Tony Parsons, Haymans Close, Cullompton (letter)


Guardian 25.11.03 Fox hunt ban 'breaches human rights law' - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - Government plans to ban fox hunting breach European human rights law by failing to offer adequate compensation, a parliamentary joint committee charged with scrutinising the compatibility of UK legislation with human rights laws ruled yesterday…. The committee criticised the bill on the grounds that it lacked a compensation plan for those deprived of vested rights under agreed contracts, such as farriers, kennel owners and stable owners. (story)

Yorkshire Post 25.11.03 Hunting ban 'may breach human rights' - Brendan Carlin Political Editor, and Rob Waugh - Tony Blair's bid to ban hunting once and for all was yesterday thrown into doubt after MPs and peers warned the move could breach the human rights of country dwellers who earned a living from it…. (story)

Western Morning News 25.11.03 HUNTING BILL IS NOW IN CHAOS - Government plans to ban hunting with dogs were thrown into disarray yesterday when a key Parliamentary committee warned that they breached European human rights laws. The Joint Committee on Human Rights warned that the failure of the Government's Hunting Bill to offer compensation to huntsmen who would lose their jobs raised grave doubts about its legality…. If Mr Blair abandons the Bill completely he risks provoking a furious reaction from his own backbenchers… But if he allows his MPs to have their way and force through the ban he risks a humiliating defeat in the courts, with yesterday's ruling suggesting that hunt supporters would win a judicial review case… A spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports said there were no grounds for compensation because drag hunting would remain legal… (story)

Guardian 25.11.03 Blair is a wounded leader now - it shows in his face - Martin Kettle …Nothing illustrates this unaccustomed weakness of the government more clearly than the hunting bill. Here is a piece of legislation against which every one of Blair's political instincts privately revolts… Instead he is not only powerless to block it but is also compelled to promote it, partly as a quid pro quo to waverers to vote for the government's university finance plans. The hunting bill will not be in the Queen's Speech, but it is far from dead…. (story)

Guardian 25.11.03 Outfoxed by Tony's carrot - Zoe Williams - The major controversy of foundation hospitals, apart from everybody thinking they're a rubbish idea, was pulling sports minister Richard Caborn out of Australia for the vote… But Blair had more up his sleeve than a hefty travel budget. In the week leading up to the vote, he and Peter Hain held meetings with potential rebels, promising a concession of such critical importance, on an issue so consuming, that their reservations on the health service would be as nothing. And that issue was... fox hunting…. History has not yet revealed the identity of those of his colleagues who put the plight of the coppery beast above the health service. But they must have disagreed with foundation hospitals originally, otherwise this compromise to secure their votes would not have been needed. So I think it's worth wondering here if they're completely mad…. Nobody's going to write in your biography: "He may have cast the NHS to some wolves, but he was unwavering in his support of the Fantastic Mr Fox." If you like the sodding things that much, start feeding the ones in your garden, and get back to business. (story)

Western Morning News 25.11.03 STOP MPS WASTING TIME ON HUNTING DEBATE - I am not sure that June Richards' letter (WMN, Nov 11) adds anything useful to the debate on hunting. She dismisses the overwhelming majority of the House of Lords as "silly people" motivated by "selfish pride" - yet how many times in recent years have we seen the Lords act as the voice of common sense, defending this country against the worst stupidities of publicity-seeking politicians?... I believe that the majority of people in this country feel that it is our MPs who should "find something better to do with their time", as she puts it… Richard Hall, Campaign director, London (letter)
Western Morning News 11.11.03 Disgusted by the Lords - I AM so disgusted to know that the Lords can just do as they please and not take any notice whatsoever of the entire country. There was a majority vote for an outright ban on hunting with dogs and these silly people should not have the right to change this just to suit their own selfish pride.... June Richards, Paignton (letter)

Western Daily Press 25.11.03 WHY DOES RSPCA VALUE THE FOX MORE THAN THE HOUNDS? I do not take sides over the issue of hunting with dogs, believing that pro- and anti-hunt supporters are fully entitled to express their points of view. It is the dogs that I am concerned about and the future of many horses if hunting is banned…. Foxhounds are fine-tuned to hunt the fox. Bloodhounds have not hunted for "the kill" for ages and this scent-hound can be trained to follow a "drag" but foxhounds, through no fault of their own, will always track a fox…. If hunting is banned completely, many thousands of hounds are condemned to be shot, because they have no future…. The Charity Commission should scrutinise the RSPCA articles of association, and ask why it puts a higher value on the lives of foxes. The same could apply to the Kennel Club which does not appear to take sides in protecting the estimated 20,000 hounds from death…. A S Halls Berkeley Gloucestershire (letter)


BBC News Online 24.11.03 Speculation mounts on hunting ban … Some commentators believe a bill is unlikely to be included in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday, but might be among measures considered for later action… (story)

Guardian 24.11.03 Bill giving new rights to gay couples to be unveiled - Sarah Hall and John Ezard … A hunting bill is not expected to appear, and Peter Hain, leader of the house, hinted on GMTV yesterday that it would be introduced as a private member's bill. (story)

Guardian 24.11.03 The Lords: a great advert for reform - Roy Hattersley … I struggle not to be prejudiced by what I hear when I am there. During the debate on the fox hunting bill, Lord Mancroft claimed that the law prohibiting that practice must be applied to dogs, not human beings…. (story)

Telegraph 24.11.03 Blair backs private anti-foxhunt Bill By George Jones, Political Editor - Government attempts to ban foxhunting in England and Wales were in confusion last night after it emerged that there would not be a specific commitment in Wednesday's Queen's Speech.... Mr Blair is expected to indicate that the Government will support a private member's Bill by an anti-hunting MP.... (story)

Times 24.11.03 Blair plans to force through hunt ban and Lords changes BY PHILIP WEBSTER, POLITICAL EDITOR - THE Government is preparing to force legislation banning foxhunting on to the statute book after Tony Blair told ministers that the House of Lords must be confronted if it continued to frustrate the will of the elected Commons…. The next session promises to develop into the biggest constitutional clash between the two Houses. Apart from foxhunting and the Bill to abolish hereditary peers, the Lords are also standing in the way of controversial plans to introduce top-up university fees and to give gay partners the same rights as married couples…. (story)

Western Daily Press 24.11.03 TWO-YEAR BLOW TO HUNTING BILL - Government plans to ban hunting with dogs were in turmoil last night after a Parliamentary report concluded they breached human rights legislation…. (story)
Western Daily Press 24.11.03 HUMAN RIGHTS BLOW TO BLAIR'S HUNT BAN BID - Tony Blair's attempts to ban hunting were plunged into chaos today because the controversial bill breaches human rights legislation, the Western Daily Press can reveal. That will be the verdict of a key parliamentary committee report out today and will effectively scupper any plans the Government has of banning hunting before the next election…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen 24.11.03 HUNT BAN HITS SNAG - Government plans to ban hunting were dealt a blow last night after a report revealed they breached human rights. Research by the Parliamentary cross-party Human Rights Committee, due to be published today, is set to show the controversial Hunting Bill infringes the human rights of hunt workers and farmers…. (story)

Bristol Evening Post 24.11.03 CARRY ON HUNTING - Attempts to ban hunting with hounds have been thrown into chaos because they breach human rights legislation, according to a report due out today. Members of the Beaufort Hunt, based in South Gloucestershire, and their neighbours in the Berkeley Hunt are now waiting for details of the findings of the cross-party Human Rights Committee, which could prevent a ban being introduced before the next election…. (story)

Northern Echo 24.11.03 No protests as hunt meets in show of solidarity - HUNT supporters were out in force at the weekend in a show of solidarity against a potential ban on their way of life. Dozens of hunt followers gathered for a meeting of the South Durham Hunt, in Sedgefield, County Durham, on Saturday. Earlier this month, the hunt was at the forefront of a rally in Trimdon - part of Tony Blair's constituency and where the Prime Minister lives - when 3,000 people turned out to oppose the Hunting With Dogs Bill… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 24.11.03 MORE IGNORANCE, THE MORE VENOM I read with interest the venom of some of your letter writers on anything to do with animal cruelty. The greater the ignorance, the greater the venom. I am an old man and I remember that Adolf Hitler decided hunting was cruel and banned it.... E Chapple Nettleton Chippenham Wiltshire (letter)

Shropshire Star 24.11.03 Blood lust of hunters - Why did the bloodsports association change its name to the CA? Everyone knows the real reason they hunt is because they are satisfying their blood lust…. J Tomlinson, Burton Upon Trent, Staffs (letter)


Independent on Sunday 23.11.03 Labour to abolish hereditary peers' voting rights in revenge for defiance - Lords reform will clear the way for a ban on hunting with dogs and appease government rebels By Andy McSmith, Political Editor - The last of Britain's hereditary peers are to be stripped of their voting rights in retribution for the chaotic scenes last week when MPs were kept up until 2am to salvage key government legislation… Government business managers fear that if a Bill to ban hunting were put before the House of Lords in its present state, peers would jam up the legislative process in a rearguard action to preserve the sport. Instead, Labour is planning to bring legislation forward to make fox-hunting, hare-coursing and stag-hunting illegal, when the pro-hunting majority in the Lords has been pared down by the removal of the hereditaries and the appointment of a new batch of life peers…. (story)

Sunday Times 23.11.03 Blow to Labour MPs as hunting bill is shelved - DAVID CRACKNELL, POLITICAL EDITOR - A BILL outlawing hunting with hounds has been left out of this week's Queen's speech. The omission is a blow to the majority of Labour MPs who oppose hunting… Downing Street may seek to soften the blow, however, by promising to back a private member's bill next year… (story)

Sunday Telegraph 23.11.03 Blair struck hunting deal to win health vote By Colin Brown and Francis Elliott - Tony Blair staved off a humiliating defeat on his foundation hospitals legislation last week by promising Labour MPs that he would reintroduce a Bill to ban foxhunting. A handful of anti-hunting Labour MPs obtained assurances about a renewed push to ban hunting with dogs in one-to-one meetings with the Prime Minister and Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, in the hours leading up to last Wednesday's Commons vote on the health plans.... The MPs were told that the Bill to ban foxhunting would not be in the official list of measures in the Queen's Speech to be announced on Wednesday, but that it would be made clear, possibly in the Prime Minister's speech, that such legislation would be reintroduced next year.... (story)

People 23.11.03 BLAIR'S CUNNING FOX-HUNT PLAN - TONY Blair will cunningly wait until just weeks before the next General Election to ban foxhunting…. Mr Blair plans to wait until next autumn, when other reforms have gone through the Lords, before hitting them with the hunting Bill. He will use the Parliament Act to bulldoze it through the Lords … (story)

Sunday Post 23.11.03 Animal welfare - EVEN LIVING in Britain’s premier fox hunting county, I’m not sure if I agree with fox hunting. I can appreciate many people are against it and there are more important things to exercise the minds of our politicians. .. I suspect many objectors to hunting do so on the basis that it’s a sport for toffs. This is simply not the case. There are miners’ hunts in the north of England and in Wales…. Lewis Williams, Loughborough.


Derby Evening Telegraph 22.11.03 HUNTING BILL MOVE IS URGED - Burton and Uttoxeter MP Janet Dean has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair demanding the inclusion of the Hunting Bill in next week's Queen's Speech… (story)

Guardian 22.11.03 Sticking points - Coming battles with the Lords - Fox hunting: Debate still rages on whether the Parliament Act can be used to force this through, precisely because Downing Street fears a showdown with the Lords which could block other legislation… (story)

DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Worcester Lodge
Times 22.11.03 Fox on the run - ROBIN LANE FOX - November is not the experts’ favourite month for fox hunting…. All over England, fox hunts forswore opening meets to stage yet another protest against the imminent political threat to their sport. My meeting-point was at the historic Worcester Lodge on the Badminton estate… While the autumn colours of the woodland were at their best, more than 450 horseman rode off to follow hounds whose pedigrees, we were told, can be traced back to 1743. As their master, Ian Farquhar, told the crowds, they must be the most carefully chronicled animals in human history…. (story)
Gloucestershire Gazette 7.11.03 Crowds gather to support hunting by Sarah Carless - MORE than 10,000 people attended the Countryside Alliance's mass meet at Worcester Lodge, Badminton, on Saturday to pledge their support for hunting… Capt Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, told supporters: "I am incredibly proud to be a part of this pack of hounds…. A petition signed by 1,000 American hunters was given to the Countryside Alliance by Carla Hawkinson, a follower of the Tennessee Valley Hunt…. Linda Graham, co-founder of the Cotswold Support Group for the Abolition of Hunting, added: "The public are appalled to see how the hunts react when challenged…" photos: John Berkeley with the Berkeley Hunt hounds The Duke of Beaufort Beaufort Hunt riders Hounds of the Berkeley Hunt Sydney Bailey with the Vale of White Horse hounds
Wiltshire Times 6.11.03 Hunt supporters defiant to the last - Thousands of hunt supporters gathered at Badminton to sign a pledge that if a hunting ban is introduced they will flout it and face the consequences, even if it meant jail. Reporter SARAH SINGLETON talked to supporters about their decision… Captain Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, with which the Prince of Wales and his sons have ridden, said Saturday's action was sending a very simple message that the Hunting Bill was unjust…. (story in archive)
Wilts & Glos Standard 5.11.03 Hunt Demonstration a Success by Steve Barton - A MASS meeting held at the weekend in protest at the Government's attempts to ban foxhunting attracted 15,000 supporters. Saturday's event at Worcester Lodge, near Badminton, was one of 12 'Declaration Day' protest meetings held simultaneously across England and Wales… Jo Aldridge, from the Beaufort hunt, which hosted the rally, said: "It went extremely well. We had 7,500 cars for a start, and that was verified by the police…" Hunters and foxhound packs from the Berkeley, Beaufort and Vale of the White Horse meets also swelled the crowd, joined by representatives from other hunts across the West country…. (story in archive)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 3.11.03 CROWDS GATHER IN HUNT PROTEST - Ten thousand hunt supporters gathered in Gloucestershire to tell the Government they would rather face jail than stop hunting. Supporters from hunts across the county, including the Beaufort, Cotswold, Berkeley and Vale of the White Horse and the Royal Agricultural College Beagles met en masse in Badminton for Saturday's Declaration Day demonstration... (story)
Bristol Evening Post 3.11.03 THOUSANDS AT MEET TO SIGN DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF HUNTING - Huge numbers of hunt supporters signed a declaration to carry on with the field sport during a mass meet on the Badminton estate in South Gloucestershire.... Captain Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, told them the rallies were sending a "very simple message" that the Hunting Bill was unjust... (story)
Times 3.11.03 Mr Big takes rider to the forefront of hunt protest BY PATRICK BARKHAM - ASTRIDE Mr Big, her towering hunter, a mother from Gloucestershire embodied the determination of 37,000 people who have declared that they would rather go to prison than bow to a ban on hunting. Nell Puddick, 36, was amused to wake up after a “fantastic” day with the Beaufort Hunt on Saturday to find her picture splashed across the newspapers yesterday. The mother of two, who breeds horses on a rented farm near Tetbury, had signed the “hunting declaration”, vowing to break any law introduced to ban hunting with dogs.... (story)
Gloucester Citizen 3.11.03 DEFIANCE OF THE HUNTERS - We will break the law - that was the message from 10,000 hunting supporters on Declaration Day. The Gloucestershire-based Beaufort Hunt organised a huge meeting at Worcester Lodge, Didmarton - one of 12 held nationally on Saturday… (story)
Western Daily Press 3.11.03 37,000 VOW TO BREAK THE LAW - A Defiant 37,000-strong army of hunters broke cover this weekend and vowed a campaign of lawlessness and civil disobedience if their sport is banned…. at Badminton in Gloucestershire, home of the Beaufort hunt, there was no talk of defeat. The rally at Worcester Lodge was the biggest show of solidarity in the country… Carla Hawkinson, a teacher from Tennessee, pledged the support of 170 hunts in the US in the fight to save hunting here. With three colleagues from the Tennessee Valley Hunt, Carla is on a riding holiday…. (story)
Observer 2.11.03 Hunts open new season with pledge to defy ban - Mark Townsend - Thousands of hunt supporters signed a declaration yesterday pledging to break the law and face imprisonment in a defiant attempt to beat a ban on foxhunting.... Paula Wyatt, a Cotley Hunt member from Somerset, said: 'I am a farmer's wife, and hunting is an integral part of our life. I feel so strongly I am happy to break the law.'... Captain Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, with which the Prince of Wales and his sons have ridden, said willingness to risk jail would send a 'very simple message' that the Hunting Bill was unjust. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 1.11.03 HUNTS STAY DEFIANT - Thousands of hunting supporters in the county were today expected to declare their willingness to break the law. Organisers of the Beaufort Hunt were hosting a mass meet at Worcester Lodge, Didmarton, near Tetbury, where the Hunting Declaration - a formal refusal to comply with any hunting ban - was being signed... (story)
Western Daily Press 1.11.03 UK HUNTERS PREPARING TO LAUNCH MASS REVOLT - The biggest hunt meet in British history takes place today with enthusiasts across the West joining forces to declare they will defy any ban on hunting... Probably the largest and most high-profile will be the on the Badminton Estate in Gloucestershire, the home of the Beaufort Hunt.... (story)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 28.10.03 Jail me! I will not give up hunting - HUNTER Heidi Ponting is prepared to go to prison rather than give up the sport she loves. Next Saturday, hunters from across Wiltshire are to sign a declaration signalling their commitment to carry on hunting even if it is banned. One of those signing up is Heidi Ponting, of Purton Stoke, who rides with the vale of the White Horse Hunt… (story in archive)
Western Daily Press 24.10.03 DAMN THE LAW, WE'LL STILL GO HUNTING - Police cells and courts across the West are to be flooded with hunt supporters deliberately breaking any laws formed against the chase in a huge campaign of civil disobedience, it was revealed last night. And speculation is mounting that the Prince of Wales and his partner Camilla Parker Bowles could lend their tacit support to the growing movement of law-breaking, which will be sparked if hunting is banned next year… HUNTS and packs from all over the West will join the region's premier hunt, the Beaufort, on Saturday, November 1, for the Countryside Alliance's Declaration Day….(story)
Bristol Evening Post 13.10.03 THOUSANDS TO PROTEST AGAINST HUNTING BAN - The Badminton estate is set to host a major protest meeting by thousands of supporters of pro-hunting gr oups. They are pledging to defy any ban on hunting with dogs as part of a massive campaign of civil disobedience. Members of the Beaufort and Berkeley hunts will be teaming up with other groups from Wiltshire and Dorset to sign the Hunting Declaration…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 8.10.03 'NO CO-OPERATION' - HUNT SUPPORTERS - Supporters of bloodsports will take part in meetings across the UK and Wales to sign the Hunting Declaration - a blanket refusal of any hunting ban. A mass gathering at Worcester Lodge, Badminton, will be among 12 held nationally on Saturday, November 1, involving members of the fox hunting, shooting and fishing communities… (story)

Leicester Mercury 22.11.03 HUNTING IS NOT CRUEL Let us simply stick to the incontrovertible statistics about fox hunting. The recent NOP poll referred to by Mr Wreathall (Doubts cast on reliability of poll, Postbag, November 12) was indeed commissioned by the Countryside Alliance, but that does not mean that the methodology was flawed… Mr Wreathall sounds surprised that 75 per cent of the over 9,000 BBC voters should answer no to the question "should hunting be banned?". This is consistent with the growth in the understanding of the British public that properly-regulated hunting is not cruel and is vital to our countryside and to our way of life. David Davidson, Countryside Alliance Leicestershire and Rutland Committee. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 12.11.03 DOUBTS CAST ON RELIABILITY OF POLL - Ian Kilgour ("Flawed arguments", Postbag, October 31) suggests that 59 per cent of the population are opposed to a ban on hunting and that a later BBC poll had found this level had increased to an incredible 75 per cent.... Can I request Mr Kilgour (or any other interested party) to advise the readers of the Leicester Mercury as to the source of the 59 per cent poll, the method of research and verification, and who paid for it to be carried out.... Mr A F Wreathall, Queniborough (letter)

Oxford Mail 22.11.03 Barbaric activity - Fred Towns (Oxford Mail, November 5) tries to impress us by mentioning that 300,000 people took part in a Countryside Alliance march. Such force of numbers does not equal moral right… (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 22.11.03 I wish Derek Pearce and the hunting fraternity could be put in an arena and a pack of hungry lions let loose on them to let them know what it feels like to be torn apart. Mrs J Tandy Weston-super-Mare (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 22.11.03 ALLIANCE ONLY INTERESTED IN PRESERVING HUNTING - Unless we are to believe that Simon Hart and the anonymous Labour MP quoted by David Challice, Points of view, November 15, move in the same social circles, Mr Hart must have been representing the Countryside Alliance when they met…. Farmers are not compelled to grow GM crops. Some of them, including Countryside Alliance members, queued up to sell options to builders for new town developments on their green fields… David Fanson, Beacon Lane, Whipton, Exeter (letter)


Guardian 21.11.03 Labour scrapes win on hospital and jury plans - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent… In another sign of a new ag gressiveness towards the Lords, the cabinet also agreed in principle to press ahead with plans to ensure the Parliament Act is used to overcome opposition in the Lords to a fox hunting ban in the coming parliamentary session…. (story)

Cambridge Evening News 21.11.03 Did they ask a fox? From H Crook, Mowbray Road, Cambridge - IT WAS very interesting to read Mr Crane's letters (November 10): "Fox hunting has been proved not to be cruel". Many sceptics would ask who provided this proof?... (letter)
Cambridge Evening News 19.11.03 Grounds for a ban From Gus Jeevar - Galfrid Road, Cambridge - ROWLAND Crane writes: "It is necessary to kill foxes because they do a lot of damage to farm animals"…. Dr Thomas and Prof Allen wrote: "Hunting is thus uniquely selective in maintaining the health and vigour of the quarry species."… Therefore the hunt maintains the health and vigour of the fox which destroys farm animals. For this reason the hunt should be banned… (letter)
Cambridge Evening News 10.11.03 From Rowland H Crane, Victoria Park, Cambridge - I AM WRITING to say that the proposal to ban fox hunting is unjust. I hope Tony Blair will think again. I can't understand why they want to ban it.... Tony Blair is the most rotten Prime Minister this country has ever had. I wish the whole Labour Government would resign and let the Conservatives come back into power. (letter)

Banbury Guardian 21.11.03 Life is a mysery with hunt - WE HEAR much, nowadays, about the problems which might face the countryside if hunting with dogs was to be banned…. However, as a resident of a village which is quite often visited by the hunt, I feel that not enough is said about the way its arrival restricts the basic freedom of villagers to go about their normal everyday lives…. Paula Tindall Marston Road, Greatworth (letter)

Cumberland News & Star 21.11.03 WITH the proposed Hunting Bill, what we are confronting is discrimination against and the persecution of a minority of people who generally are among the most law-abiding in the land… It is fuelled by a false moral indignation and spurious claims which, in attacking the small hunting fraternity, reveal these law makers as bigoted and bullying… MRS ELLI LOGAN (letter)

Western Daily Press 21.11.03 HOW CAN WE CONTROL PESTS? Leaving aside all the irrelevancies, false comparisons and personal abuse contained in Mr S Harding's letter, does it occur to him that by opposing hunting, he is endorsing an alternative means of pest control that is crueler in its operation than hunting has ever been?... David C Allen Burnham-on-Sea Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 7.11.03 SURELY NO ONE BELIEVES STUPID CLAIMS - So the Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs James Gray would have the Government leave the countryside alone… I'm sure paedophiles would like to be left alone to prey on children, muggers left alone to prey on the old and weak… There is a funny side to these hunting people, though, when they come out with such ludicrous claims… Mr S Harding Wellington Somerset (letter)

Westmorland Gazette 21.11.03 Polictical correctness getting out of hand - Re D.T. Halton’s and I. Voit’s letters to your page regarding fox hunting (Letters, November 14 – ‘Make your views count’), do they know anything about nature and wild life?... I’m not for hunting or against it, but what I am against are these politically correct people interfering in other people’s lives. Do people who hunt tell D.T. Halton and I. Voit not to use their cars? Cars kill hundreds of people a year as I know to my cost. Far and away more than any foxes are killed, but you try stopping people using them…. Joan Wills Kendal (letter)


Western Daily Press 20.11.03 BLAIR FACES MAJOR REVOLT ON HUNTING - Tony Blair was last night warned that he faces a major backbench revolt unless he agrees to include the controversial Hunting Bill in next week's Queen's Speech…. (story)

BBC News Online 20.11.03 What will the speech reveal? - As ever, the run-up to the Queen's Speech has been rife with rumour and speculation about what bills the government might introduce in the next session of parliament… Hunting Bill - The current Hunting Bill was blocked by peers. The government has to decide whether to reintroduce it, and, if so, in what form… (story)

Western Mail 20.11.03 Concept of a right to be cruel is morally unacceptable to most people - Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, writes in The Western Mail - HUNT supporters in Wales, and up and down the country have vowed to signal their intention to break the law, as soon as a hunt ban comes into effect…. There is not and neither should there ever be a human right to inflict cruelty on animals for sport…
A WEEK before the Queen's speech, the legislative future of hunting is, unbelievably, the topic of frenzied debate across the country…. Will the prejudice of Labour's backbenchers win the day?... Those who signed the hunting declaration included JPs and churchwardens, pensioners, teachers and civil servants. These are not anarchists…. We are about to discover if the Government will keep its promise to settle this fairly or whether it is prepared to give in to backbenchers, many of whom see this issue as "payback time for the miners". (stories)

Stourbridge News 20.11.03 Hunting: an outdated tradition - In a recent newspaper article Ms Kirkbride, the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, was quoted making an emotional and misplaced appeal in favour of hunting…. It's a tradition resting upon the idea that animals can be treated as little more than a resource, and used for human interest. Edward Davies Stourbridge (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 20.11.03 NO TOLERATION OF DEMENTED The demonstration by pro-hunt supporters earlier this month will have achieved nothing…. Normal people will not tolerate the sick, demented behaviour by a minority determined to follow their disgustingly cruel sport. Roy Brown Ston Easton Radstock Somerset (letter)

Shropshire Star 20.11.03 Hunt ban is an issue of cruelty - Of course N and A Supplied's dog loves to hunt… The proposed ban on organised hunting with dogs is an issue of brutal cruelty…. Those fearful of losing their jobs have had six years to make contingency plans taking advantage of the Government's New Deal scheme. All that is now required is for the Prime Minister to fulfil his 1997 manifesto. Name and address supplied (letter)

York Evening Press 20.11.03 Hunters must obey - WHILE sympathising with Mrs D A Hope (Letters, November 13) over the loss of her chickens to a fox, the fact that such events continue to happen on a regular basis only proves that hundreds of years of fox-hunting have not resolved the problems and never shall…. Richard Starks, The Green, Elvington, York.
HUNT supporters who have vowed to disobey any ban on hunting pose a serious threat to our democratic way of life…. C W Shreeve, Long Furrow, Haxby, York. (letters in archive)
York Evening Press 13.11.03 Barbaric foxes - .... I noticed that a Mori Poll commissioned by the campaign to Protect Hunted Animals (CPHA) declared that 76 per cent of ordinary British people do not agree to defying a ban on fox hunting... Would these same people consider it acceptable for a fox to break into our hen house and terrorise 30 silkie hens, kill one to eat, and then kill the rest and drag them across our field and our neighbours' field, leaving them be-headed and disembowelled, just because they were there?... Mrs D A Hope, Thornton-le-Clay, York (letter in archive)

UKIP CORRESPONDENCE (Exeter Express & Echo)
York Evening Press 20.11.03 TONY BLAIR HAS NOT VOTED TO BAN ALL BLOODSPORTS - David Challice, Points of view, November 15, says the ban on fox hunting proves the innate hostility of Tony Blair to the countryside, but this remark by the Exeter branch chairman of the UK Independence Party is codswallop. Blair is opposed to a total ban on hunting… The Prime Minister, despite several opportunities during the past six years, has never voted to ban hunting… Blair has acted in a deceptive manner in regard to hunting and cannot be trusted. He is trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. The Hunting Bill must be enacted without further delay. John Phelps Argyll Road Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 11.11.03 HOW MUCH LONGER MUST CRUEL SPORT CONTINUE? - Regarding the issue brought to our attention by Sylvia Hardy's letter, I will not vote for a party which supports hunting... Yvonne Cottey, Address withheld on request (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 7.11.03 TACKLE IMPORTANT ISSUES AND LEAVE HUNTING ALONE I always enjoy Dr John Pamment's letters on fox hunting, but his latest, Points of view, November 3, was the best yet!... my own previous letter (the one on "manning the barricades in defence of country pursuits") was signed in a private capacity and does not reflect UK Independence Party official policy on one's own conduct in the event of a hunt ban… I am not alone. Last weekend, many thousands of people publicly signed the Hunting Declaration - 4,000 in Honiton, 10,000 in Badminton etc…. David Challice, Holland Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.11.03 I WON'T VOTE FOR A PARTY WHICH SUPPORTS HUNTING - After much consideration, I had decided some months ago that the UK Independence Party most closely reflected my views about how Britain should be governed but I was horrified to read, in one of David Challice's numerous letters, Points of view, October 28, that his party supported hunting…. Therefore, I and many of my friends who had seriously been considering voting for the UKIP in the next election will not be doing so now purely because of its support of hunting… Miss Sylvia Hardy, Barrack Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 3.11.03 BAN ON HUNTING IS THE WILL OF PARLIAMENT - How delicious to be described as a 'slave to pedantry' by J H Ling, of Worcestershire… J H Ling appears to be under the misapprehension that it is the Government that is hell-bent on bringing forward a ban on fox hunting. Not so. The evidence in the run-up to the vote suggests that the Government would have preferred some kind of compromise but now finds itself in the position of having to exercise the will of Parliament as reflected by votes freely cast and not on party political lines…. Dr John Pamment Clyst Heath (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 3.11.03 EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION WILL TAKE AWAY POWERS - Dr John Pamment may be a slave to pedantry… However, when he retires, and sells his house, and pays the 40 per cent tax on the proceeds, he will no doubt be able to take comfort in the fact that at least the Government was able to ban fox hunting before it ceased to play any further part in running the country. J H Ling, Old Colwall, Worcestershire (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 28.10.03 WE SUPPORT FREEDOM TO FOLLOW COUNTRY PURSUITS - I'd like to reply to John Phelps, Points of view, October 21, who asked me a few questions on fox hunting. First, I confirm that the UK Independence Party believes in the freedom of people to participate in country pursuits, including fox hunting. The keyword here is freedom. Mr Phelps may not approve, but the UK Independence Party happens to support freedom… David Challice, UK Independence Party, Exeter branch chairman, Holland Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 22.10.03 DEFYING ANTI-HUNTING LAW WOULD BE UNDEMOCRATIC - By an incredible coincidence, there appear to be two people named David Challice living in the same road in Exeter, both of whom write regular letters to the Echo, the only difference being that one of them states that he is the chairman of the Exeter branch of the UK Independence Party, Points of view, October 14, while the other does not… His namesake and neighbour, on the other hand, would advocate ignoring the political system altogether in the event of a Parliamentary ban on all forms of hunting with dogs…. Dr John Pamment, Clyst Heath, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 21.10.03 HUNTING IS NOT A TOWN VERSUS COUNTRY ISSUE - David Challice, Points of view October 16 , chairman of Exeter branch of the UK Independence Party, shows blatant contempt for the democratic process when he says he is prepared to man the barricades in defiance of an Act of Parliament to ban hunting…. If Mr Challice took the trouble to check the composition of fox and stag hunting fields, he would find a few aristocrats and lawyers, bankers, doctors, industrialists and lots of city dwellers. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 16.10.03 WHERE WILL CAMPAIGN TO BAN FOX HUNTING STOP? - I hope that John Phelps had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he wrote his letter… Mr Phelps makes it crystal clear that, given the chance, not only will he ban hunting, he will go on to ban the Countryside Alliance itself because they "wear a uniform"… Where does all this stop? Banning smoking or alcohol; going for a drive in the car simply for the enjoyment of the experience; smiling in public in a built-up area without a permit from the council?... when it comes to manning the barricades, even though I do not myself hunt, I will be there to fight for freedom of thought and freedom to participate in country pursuits. There are thousands more, just like me, all ready to do their bit. David Challice, Holland Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 10.10.03 COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE MAY BE BREAKING THE LAW - The antics of the Countryside Alliance, This means war, Echo, October 7, are a threat to our democratic system of government. Devon hunt supporters have no right to defy a Government ban on their blood sport… The meeting at Honiton on November 1 should not be allowed to take place. The Public Order Act 1936 provides that the wearing of uniforms in public, with the intention of promoting a political objective, is unlawful…. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

Western Gazette 20.11.03 LEGALISATION WILL ADD TO MISERY - Soon after the first fox hunter is jailed cannabis will become legal in Great Britain. In Amsterdam crime rocketed when they legalised it there…. Paul Templeman, Summershard, South Petherton (letter)

Evesham Journal 20.11.03 Every word was true - I HAVE just re-read Mr Michael T Parker's excellent letter (Journal letters, November 6) setting out the case against fox hunting which Mr Lewis Stephens Potter (Journal letters, November 13) describes as inaccurate and venomous… Every word of it was true!... SALLY MANDER, Withy Trees Road, South Littleton (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 20.11.03 Background to letter YOUR correspondent in last week's Journal, Lewis Potter ("don't criticise something until you know what you are talking about") must have read a different letter to the one I wrote… At 16 years old, in the 1950s, I was regularly out ferreting with a favourite uncle… Even then, despite admiring him greatly, I still had reservations about some of the "sporting tenets" he assumed as a gospel right… MICHAEL T PARKER, Main Street, Sedgeberrow. (letter in archive)

Evesham Journal 13.11.03 Don't criticise until you really know... When I was a youngster in the early 1950's I remember listening to my Grandfather involved in good hearted debate with a neighbour. My Grandfather had been born within sight of Bredon Hill and supported fox hunting. The neighbour, a generation younger and city born and bred who had married a village girl, was anti-hunting… They were always prepared to listen to the other's argument, and to use logic and fact to support their views… There is no doubt that they would have been quite shocked by Michael T. Parker's grossly inaccurate and venomous outburst in last week's Journal. STEPHENS POTTER, Pershore Road, Evesham. (letter) href="">Evesham Journal 6.11.03 Is it the logic of the caring and the kind? TALLY Ho, blow your mind, gasp at the logic of the caring and kind! Norman Stevens, in his letter to the Journal on October 30, espouses caring credentials. He also claims his right and freedom to breed and train dogs with the stamina and teeth to successfully hound the tail off a fleeing fox, chomping the crafty creature to death as a sporting demise… (letter)
Evesham Journal 30.10.03 Protest events by the pro-hunting lobby - NEXT Saturday and co-incidentally November 1, is traditionally the date for the many packs of foxhounds in Britain to hold their Opening Meet to mark the start of a new season of hunting… it has been decided with much sadness to hold peaceful protests against such a ban and to hold joint meets in certain locations, throughout the country…. Here in the Midlands, the meet will be at the Three Counties Showground at Malvern where the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt are hosts to the North Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Ledbury, North Ledbury, Albrighton, Albrighton and Wodland, Ludlow, Cotswold Vale, Wheatland, North Hereford, Minkhounds, Leadon Vale Basset Hounds, Wye Forest Beagles and the Warwickshire Beagles…. NORMAN STEVENS, Little Alne, near Stratford-on-Avon. (letter in archive)

Berwick Advertiser 20.11.03 Need for a reality check here - Following the Trimdon ‘declaration day’, there is obviously the need for a reality check, in view of the facts and morals trodden underfoot on Saturday, November 1…. ontriving a situation where a zero food value fox is pursued, cornered and then ripped apart whilst alive, by a trained pack of dogs, is not even worthy of the name hunting…. MARTIN VAUSE, The Old Church, Crookham, Cornhill-on-Tweed. (letter)


Guardian 19.11.03 Cabinet weighs up tactics on hunting issue - Patrick Wintour - The cabinet will meet in a special session today ahead of the Queen's Speech with ministers yet to decide whether they will use the Parliament Act to force through a ban on hunting. Ministers recognise that they must settle the issue before next week's Queen's Speech to avoid media coverage being dominated by claims of indecision in government over hunting.... (story)

Times 19.11.03 Hunting ban may infringe human rights BY DAVID CHARTER, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - THE Bill to ban hunting with dogs would almost certainly face a court challenge for infringing human rights, ministers were warned yesterday. The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is understood to be unhappy with the Government's plans because of two key areas of the draft Bill that would put it at risk of claims under the Human Rights Act. The committee of MPs and peers had demanded clarification from ministers over the precise grounds for stopping hunting on private land and over the level of compensation for those who lose their livelihoods as a result of a ban. The Times understands, however, that the response from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has failed to satisfy the committee when it met this week... (story)

Times 19.11.03 Police and hunting - The strong view expressed by the Chief Executive of the League against Cruel Sports in favour of the firm enforcement of the law in the countryside will be welcomed by many (letter, November 15). Has he any plans to communicate it to his followers?... JOHN RIMINGTON, 9 Highbury Hill, N5 1SU. (letter)
Times 15.11.03 Police and hunting - I am sure that the many people who live and work in the countryside and who also strongly oppose hunting will feel relieved that the retired police inspector Chris Jackson (letter, November 10) is no longer in a position to influence the way that the law is enforced.... Britain is a democracy in which MPs have accepted that foxhunting is a cruel sport that should be banned.... DOUGLAS BATCHELOR, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, Sparling House, 83-87 Union Street, SE1 1SG. (letter)
Times 10.11.03 Police priorities in rural areas - The Home Secretary's proposals to make police more directly accountable to the local communities they serve (report, November 5) could have profound implications for the enforceability of any proposed hunting ban in the countryside. Tens of thousands of usually law-abiding people have already signalled their determination to indulge in formal civil disobedience to what they passionately believe would be an unjust law... CHRIS JACKSON, (Police Inspector, Derbyshire Constabulary, 1984-88), Badenock, 9 High Road, South Wingfield, Derby DE55 7LX (letter)


BBC News Online 18.11.03 Hunting ban backlash fears By Roger Pinney - A ban on hunting with dogs could lead to a serious breakdown in relations between police and rural communities, an expert has claimed.... It may be sabre-rattling bravado but the Flint and Denbigh Hunt followers say they are prepared for the consequences.... according to policing expert Dr Mike Rowe of the Scarman Centre at Leicester University, civil disobedience on the scale promised - and the arrests which would follow - would severely hit relations between the police and many rural people... (story)

Evening Standard 18.11.03 Blair warns rebels over Howard - By Ben Leapman Political Reporter, Evening Standard - Tony Blair today appealed for unity from Labour MPs with a warning that new Tory leader Michael Howard is well-placed to take advantage of any splits…. Anger among Labour MPs over foundation hospitals was set to increase with reports today that the Government will drop its bill to outlaw fox hunting from next week's Queen's Speech. Some MPs were thought to have backed foundation hospitals last time, despite their reservations, in return for an unwritten promise by ministers that they would get their way on hunting…. (story)

Independent 18.11.03 Queen's Speech will not include ban on hunting By Andrew Grice, Political Editor - Tony Blair is to anger Labour MPs and risk another backbench rebellion by refusing to include a Bill to outlaw fox hunting in the Queen's Speech a week tomorrow. With the final touches now being put to the programme for the new parliamentary session, the list of measures does not include a hunting Bill and there is no mention of the issue in the latest draft of the speech to be made by the Queen, which is written by the Government.... Government insiders say that Downing Street is looking at all options for tackling the hunting issue, including the introduction of a Private Member's Bill by a backbencher rather than as a government measure. Officials are taking advice from experts on whether a backbench Bill could be pushed through under the Parliament Act, which allows the Commons to override objections from the Lords... (story)

Bristol Evening Post 18.11.03 PROTESTERS CAN'T SEEM TO SEE LOGIC I Wonder if recent Post correspondent Mr L Blake (Post , November 5) has considered the following facts? a. It cannot be denied that the fox population has to be contained (not exterminated). b. To kill a fox instantly with a gun, the bullet must strike the heart, (the size of a golf ball) or the brain (slightly smaller). How many marksmen can guarantee to do that?... Joseph Doyle, South Gloucestershire. (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 15.11.03 A DECISION MUST BE MADE WITHIN THE LAW AND ADHERED TO - In response to the article headlined: "Anti-hunt ideas can be hypocritical" (Post, November 11). Can hundreds of Members of Parliament be hypocrites in believing that hunting with dogs is cruel?... Mr Davies, you obviously see nothing wrong with the present form of hunting, and many, like myself, can never condone it. The law must decide and then obeyed within civilised society. L Blake, Southmead Road, Filton. (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 11.11.03 ANTI-HUNT IDEAS CAN BE HYPOCRITICAL - L Blake's letter (Can't justify killing for fun, Post , November 5) asks "why elect MPs to pass laws if they will then be disregarded?" Equally we should ask why hold enquiry after enquiry if the Government has no intention of listening to the findings - for example, the recent Burns' Report and other independent reports that state clearly that hunting with dogs is not inherently cruel.... Tudor Davies, Wraxall. (letter)

Western Morning News 18.11.03 COUNTING THE COST OF A BAN ON HUNTING - How much is the hunt ban going to cost us? With 6,000 to 8,000 and up to 13,000 full-time rural jobs lost with no job or business regeneration schemes or compensation, we have nowhere to put these rural homeless, jobless people…. Helen Burke, Torquay (letter)

Western Morning News 18.11.03 Disobedience - YET again poor old F Cleaves has grasped the wrong end of the stick, this time with regard to the Hunting Declaration (WMN, November 3)…. They would do so, not (as F Cleaves seems to think) in the hope or expectation that they would be "treated differently" or that "those in authority would turn a blind eye", but fully accepting the possible consequences of their action… Jonathan Marshall, Lydeard St Lawrence (letter)
Western Morning News 3.11.03 Laws are for all - IN THIS country it is law that we tax, MoT and insure our vehicles, and anyone who does not comply and is caught will be prosecuted and dealt with. So how come those who threaten civil unrest and intend to defy the law in the face of the ban on hunting with dogs will be treated any differently?... F Cleaves, Par Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 18.11.03 'WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, GRANDMA?' A hunt report describes "the quarry" having run three miles up and down steep, rocky terrain, hiding in a drain…. I am tired of anti-live export letters which add "forget about the fox" (eg on October 28). What a sickening, brutal attitude. How genuine can sorrow for one species be when the terror and pain of another are so dismissed?... R Dalziel, Lamerton, Tavistock (letter)

Western Morning News 18.11.03 DEPLORABLE CRUELTY TO FOXES - Having been seriously compromised by stag hunters while holidaying with my wife in the Westcountry, I would be obliged if you would print the following letter. Why do they support this cruelty?... I have several hours of video film, taken by dedicated hunt monitors, that shows deplorable cruelty to fox, deer, hare and hound, and hunt havoc all perpetuated in the name of sport… Do not believe for one moment that hunting with dogs is not cruel. I have the evidence. The film has been placed in the House of Commons library. Bill Cunnington, Melton Mowbray (letter)

Western Morning News 18.11.03 Poor turnout IF the Countryside Alliance's posters are to be believed and 59 per cent of the population supports hunting, why weren't they at the rallies they held? What a poor turnout. Mrs Maxine Floyd Cullompton (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 18.11.03 Will police enforce ban? - THE inane comments of J Curtis never fail to amaze me… Hunt saboteurs are by nature compassionate, caring people. This certainly applies to Steve, who J Curtis tries to demonise… As for wearing balaclavas and toting baseball bats, this is the modis operandi of the hunt supporters…. P BEAVEN, Merton Avenue, Swindon
Swindon Evening Advertiser 5.11.03 Keep the cells open! I THINK the article published on October 28, re Ms Ponting who is willing to break the law and go to prison rather than give up hunting, reflects the opinion of a large majority of people who see the traditions of the countryside being eroded… Steve, who is a hunt saboteur probably clothed in a balaclava helmet and clutching a baseball bat as most of his colleagues are claims to have saved at least ten foxes. How? Has he turned them out into the towns to join their mange-ridden diseased colleagues who constantly raid dustbins and bags…. J CURTIS Wootton Bassett (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 18.11.03 NO ANIMAL LOVER CAN BACK HUNTING - I Write in reply to Simon Hart's letter, "Attempt to avoid random culling" (November 10). To abolish fox hunting would protect animals and humans from a group of people who like to tear across the countryside at break-neck speed with a pack of half-starved hounds who will tear apart whatever they come across… D Currie, Atholl Avenue, Hessle (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 10.11.03 ATTEMPT TO AVOID RANDOM CULLING As a signatory to the letter to which Mr Fox refers in his letter (Letters, October 25), I feel I should clarify some of the comments made in our letter of October 9. We agree with Mr Fox that everyone has the right to express their views - what we disagree with is that those views should necessarily be forced by law on those who do not necessarily share them.... Simon Hart, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 25.10.03 ANIMALS CAN ONLY BENEFIT FROM A BAN - Sir Ben Gill and others (Letters, October 9) claim a ban on hunting "would neither advance animal welfare nor the public interest". Given that hunting is about chasing an animal then tearing it apart, I do not see how a ban can have anything other than a positive effect on animal welfare… Christopher W Fox, Watersedge, Driffield (letter)
Northern Echo 20.10.03 FOX HUNTING: THE various high-powered organisations whose representatives' names appear below the letter (HAS, Oct 6) backing hunting, purport to speak on behalf of agricultural interests across most of the UK and "the rural community". Why is it, then, that they have remained so conspicuously silent while, over the last 40 years, one rural community after another has been systematically strangled?... T Kelly, Crook. (letter in archive)
Berwickshire News 16.10.03 Regulatory solution for hunting has been highjacked by backbenchers - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Northumberland Gazette 10.10.03 Honour hunting commitment plea - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales. (letter)
Wanstead & Woodford Guardian & Waltham Forest Guardian 10.10.03 We need to resolve hunting issue - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Sevenoaks Chronicle 10.10.03 HUNT BILL HIJACK - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Wells Journal 9.10.03 HUNT REGULATION IS ONLY ANSWER - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 9.10.03 SOLVE HUNTING ISSUE FAIRLY - Sir Ben Gill, president, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, chief executive designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, president, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, president, Farmers Union of Wales. (letter)
Shropshire Star 9.10.03 Hoping the peers will reject Bill - Sir Ben Gill, president, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, chief executive designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, president, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, president, Farmers Union of Wales. (letter)
Bath Chronicle 8.10.03 PUBLIC DOESN'T WANT HUNTS BAN - SIR BEN GILL President, NFU, SIMON HART, Chief executive designate Countryside Alliance, KEN BUTLER, Chairman National Gamekeepers' Organisation, SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, President Country Land and Business Association, GARETH VAUGHAN, President Farmers' Union of Wales (letter)
The Sentinel 8.10.03 HUNT BILL MUST NOT BE HIJACKED SIR BEN GILL (President, National Farmers Union) SIMON HUNT (Chief Executive Designate, Country Alliance KEN BUTLER (Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation SIR EDWARD GREENWELL (President, Country Land and Business Association GARETH VAUGHAN (President, Farmers Union of Wales) (letter)
Skegness Standard 8.10.03 Hunting issue needs resolving - SIMON HART, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance, KEN BUTLER, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, President, Country Land and Business Association, GARETH VAUGHAN, President, Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Lakeland Echo 7.10.03 Let's have fairness in hunting bill - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union. Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance. Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation. Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association. Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 7.10.03 BILL HIJACKED BY BACKBENCHERS - SIR BEN GILL, president, National Farmers Union, SIMON HART, chief executive designate, Countryside Alliance,KEN BUTLER, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, president, Country Land and Business Association, GARETH VAUGHAN, president, Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Western Morning News 7.10.03 BILL NEEDS TO BE INTRODUCED ON POINTS OF PRINCIPLE ONLY Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union, Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance, Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association, Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 6.10.03 Hunting: The only outcome - SIR BEN GILL, President, National Farmers Union; SIMON HART, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance; KEN BUTLER, Chairman, National Gamekeepers' Organisation; SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, President, Country Land and Business Association; GARETH VAUGHAN, President, Farmers' Union of Wales. (letter in archive)
Northern Echo 6.10.03 HUNTING - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union; Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance; Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation; Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association; Gareth Vaughan, President, Farmers Union of Wales. (letter in archive)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.10.03 WE HOPE LORDS REJECT GOVERNMENT HUNTING BILL - Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers' Union, Simon Hart, Chief executive designate Countryside Alliance, Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers' Organisation, Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association, Gareth Vaughan, President, Farmers' Union of Wales (letter)
Ormskirk Advertiser 25.9.03 Bill hijacked - SIR BEN GILL, President, National Farmers Union, SIMON HART, Chief signate, ate, Countryside Alliance, KEN BUTLER, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, President, Country Land and Business Association, GARETH VAUGHAN, President, Farmers Union of Wales-SIR BEN GILL, President, National Farmers Union, SIMON HART, Chief signate, ate, Countryside Alliance, KEN BUTLER, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, SIR EDWARD GREENWELL, President, Country Land and Business Association, GARETH VAUGHAN, President, Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Lakeland Echo 23.9.03 All hunting needs are fair checks - Sir Ben Gill, president, National Farmers Union, Simon Hart, chief executive designate, Countryside Alliance, Ken Butler, chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, Sir Edward Greenwell, president, Country Land and Business Association, Gareth Vaughan, president, Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Bolton Evening News 20.9.03 Hunt Bill's been hijacked - Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance, Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation,Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association, Gareth Vaughan, President, Farmers Union of Wales
Yorkshire Post 19.9.03 Hunting argument continues to rage - From: Sir Ben Gill, president, National Farmers' Union; Simon Hart, chief executive designate, Countryside Alliance; Ken Butler, chairman, National Gamekeepers' Organisation; Sir Edward Greenwell, president, Country Land and Business Association; Gareth Vaughan, president, Farmers Union of Wales. (letter)
Cumberland News & Star 17.9.03 THIS week the Government’s Hunting Bill went back to the House of Lords for its verdict… Sir Ben Gill, President, National Farmers Union, Simon Hart, Chief Executive Designate, Countryside Alliance, Ken Butler, Chairman, National Gamekeepers Organisation, Sir Edward Greenwell, President, Country Land and Business Association, Gareth Vaughan, President Farmers Union of Wales (letter)
Telegraph 16.9.03 We need a workable system - Today, the hunting Bill goes back to the Lords. What started as a regulatory solution has been converted into a total ban.... We hope the Lords will again reject this outcome in favour of a workable system to which all hunting must adhere....Sir Ben Gill, National Farmers' Union; Simon Hart, Countryside Alliance; Ken Butler, National Gamekeepers' Organisation; Sir Edward Greenwell, Country Land and Business Association; Gareth Vaughan, Farmers' Union of Wales (letter)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Honiton
Torquay Herald Express 17.11.03 HUNT MASTER JOINS PROTEST - A former master of a South Devon hunt was one of thousands taking part in a protest to save fox-hunting. David Thavenot, of East Allington, near Kingsbridge, the former master of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, rode his horse to the protest at Honiton…. (story)
Western Gazette 6.11.03 SUPPORTERS RALLY TO FIGHT HUNTING BAN BY NICK HEATH STAFF REPORTER - Hunters took to the streets on their horses to show their opposition to banning a traditional country pastime… The Portman Hunt, which has its base in north Dorset, and the Cattistock Hunt, from near Dorchester, were two of the main Dorset hunts making their feelings known on the day…. (story)
Tavistock Times 6.11.03 Hunt supporters pledge to defy law by Jane Honey - WEST Devon hunts and hunting supporters were among the thousands who gathered on Honiton Showground last weekend, united in their opposition to the Government’s Hunting Bill…. Guy Morlock, master of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt, said around 100 members and supporters of the hunt travelled to Honiton for the meeting… Chairman of Lamerton Foxhounds, Michael Bickell, said the mood of the meeting was both positive and unanimous in its rejection of the Bill… (story in archive)
Cornishman 6.11.03 'I'LL GO TO JAIL TO SUPPORT HUNT,' SAYS BEN SPARROW - Members of the Western Hunt travelled to Honiton showground in Devon on Saturday where they joined an estimated 7,000 people at a rally called by the Countryside Alliance. And the Master of the Western Hunt, Ben Sparrow, said that he was among the 4,178 hunters at the rally who signed a declaration stating that they would defy any ban brought in by the Government… There were speeches from pro-hunting Labour peer and Countryside Alliance president, Baroness Mallalieu and passionate hunt supporter Amie Pascoe from the Four Burrows Hunt near Truro… (story)
West Briton 6.11.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS 'WILL BREAK LAW' - MARK BINNERSLEY - Hunt supporters in Cornwall joined thousands of people from the across South West to vow to continue their sport if it is outlawed…. South West organiser David Latham, of the Roseland, said he was delighted with the turnout. Mr Latham, former joint master of the Fourburrow Hunt, near Truro, and a senior member of the South West Countryside Alliance, said: "The meeting went well. We had about 7,000 to 8,000 people and probably between 500 and 600 horses… Despite the mass turnout, Sue Coates, secretary of the Cury Foxhounds, felt the Government would ignore their message…. She said around 25 Cury Hunt supporters joined people from Cornwall's Fourburrow, Western, East Cornwall and North Cornwall hunts… (story)
Taunton Times 5.11.03 HUNT DECLARES ITS OBJECTION TO BAN A hunt master in Taunton Deane has vowed to go to jail rather than obey a fox hunting ban. Alison Brown, master of Taunton Vale hunt, joined 7,000 pro-hunt demonstrators to protest against moves to ban hunting with hounds…. Speakers at Honiton included Baroness Ann Mallalieu, president of the Countryside Alliance, who hunts with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds… (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 3.11.03 HUNTERS WON'T BE HOUNDED BY A BAN THREAT - Thousands from the pro-hunt lobby gathered in Honiton at the weekend to deliver a sharp and direct message to Parliament…. Among those present was pensioner Barbara McIlroy… She is a member of four hunts - the South Devon Foxhounds, the Devon and Cornwall Minkhounds, the Britannia Beagles and the Dart Vale Harriers… the East Devon hunt started its first meet of the season at the end of the rally… Sean Perrett, 34, from Feniton, hunts with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds…. (story)
Western Morning News 3.11.03 WE WILL BREAK THE LAW - The Westcountry hunting community sent out a defiant message to the Government on Saturday when they turned out in their hundreds to vow to carry on hunting if it is made illegal… They were roused by speeches from pro-hunting Labour peer and Countryside Alliance president Baroness Mallalieu and passionate hunt supporter Amie Pascoe from the Four Burrows Hunt… Packs of hounds and riders in full hunting gear gave a procession through the crowds before departing with the East Devon Hunt for a day riding to hounds. Among the visiting packs were the Devon and Somerset Staghounds from Exmoor and the Tiverton Hunt from Mid Devon and the Stevenstone Hunt in North Devon. Vikki Robinson, a member of Modbury Harriers in South Devon, said: "I think it is absolutely fantastic…" Sarah Martyn, at the meeting with her two young daughters who ride with the Taunton Vale Harriers, said she had signed the declaration so her children could hunt as adults…. (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 THOUSANDS TO DEFY LAW - Declarations of hunt ban resistance to be signed today - Thousands of hunters will today gather in the Westcountry to support an official declaration of intent to break the law if the sport is banned... Mr Cox, the leader of Taw Vale Beagles, said: "This is about freedoms of the minorities, protecting our freedoms and our culture.... (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 WE WILL DEFY THE LAW TO GO HUNTING ... Thousands of hunt supporters from across the Westcountry are set to converge on Honiton in East Devon this morning to voice their determination to continue hunting in the face of a ban.... The East Devon Hunt, local to Honiton, will still be hunting, and will be at the declaration in their full regalia... Guy Morlock, master and huntsman for the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt, said between 50 and 60 members of his hunt were going... Helen Higgins, whose husband Graham is master and huntsman of East Cornwall Hunt, said: "I would say that from our hunt we have probably 150 to 200 people going.... John Billingsley, master of the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt, on Exmoor, said the members of his hunt going would be accompanied by 20 horses.... A member of the South Devon Hunt, who preferred not to give her name, said the hunting declaration was "a three-line whip" and that everyone connected with the hunt would be going. The South Tetcott Hunt has cancelled its first meet of the season in the Holsworthy area of North Devon to be at the declaration meeting... Sally Alford from the North Cornwall Hunt has hired a 29-seater coach to take supporters to the meeting... (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 'BAN WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR COURTS TO UPHOLD' - Geoffrey Cox has led the Taw Vale Beagles for 38 years and says he will sign the Hunting Declaration and be prepared to break the law in order to continue the tradition.... (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 CECILIA'S LAST STAND FOR FAMILY TRADITION - Hunting is certainly in the blood for Cecilia Bisson. Her father was with Cornwall's Western Hunt when it began and was master for 25 years, when her brother took over. Mrs Bisson, spokesman for the all-women group Families for Hunting, has been hunting for 40 years, ever since she was given a pony for Christmas when she was just four years old.... She now rides for both the Cury and the Western Hunts and lives next to the Cury kennels, at Garras, near Helston.... (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 THE DECLARATION - We declare our intention to disobey, peacefully, any law purporting to ban hunting; any such law would be manifestly unjust.... (story)
Western Morning News 1.11.03 AGAINST THE DECLARATION: PETER ANDERSON, LEAGUE AGAINST CRUEL SPORTS - It seems the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance has accepted that hunting will be banned and has been reduced to encouraging its supporters to sign a pledge to ignore a ban.... (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 1.11.03 NO RETREAT ... Thousands of hunt supporters will be rallying in Devon today with many vowing they are prepared to defy the law to continue hunting. Honiton Showground is hosting one of 12 regional mass rallies organised by The Countryside Alliance and hunters, shooters and anglers from across the South West are expected to attend... Labour peer Baroness Ann Mallalieu will be the main speaker at the Honiton rally. She is president of the Countryside Alliance, lives on Exmoor and hunts with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. East Devon Hunt is planning to start its first hunt of the season from the showground at the end of the rally.... (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 In pictures: Hunting rallies (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Thousands sign hunt pledge - About 7,000 people from across the South West attended a rally in Devon promising to break the law to beat a ban on fox hunting.... (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 30.10.03 DECLARATION'S CLEAR MESSAGE - This year the Dart Vale & South Pool Harriers will not be holding their usual meet on November 1 at Thynacombe. Instead, hunt followers, supporters and many others who believe in civil liberties will be taking part in a Mass Gathering at Honiton showground at 10am…. Phillip Pyke Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers (letter)
Cornish Guardian 23.10.03 HUNTERS CALL OFF MEET TO ATTEND PROTEST - Hunters in North Cornwall have called off their opening meet of the year to enable them to attend a mass protest against Government plans to ban their sport. The North Cornwall Hunt usually holds its first meet of the season at Hamatethy on Bodmin Moor on November 1. But this year it would have clashed with a mass gathering of hunt followers, supporters and participants taking place at the Honiton Showground at 10am. The gathering is one of a dozen taking place across the country to mark "Declaration Day."… (story)
West Briton 16.10.03 SUPPORTERS OF HUNTING TO GATHER AT HONITON - Hunt supporters from across Cornwall are set to join a mass gathering in Devon to protest at plans to outlaw hunting. People from hunting, shooting and fishing communities are due to meet in Honiton on November 1 to sign a so-called hunting declaration…. David Latham, a former master of the Four Burrow Hunt, said he believed that "quite a lot of people" from Cornwall would support the Honiton meet - one of 12 being held at venues across England and Wales… (story)
Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazettes 14.10.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS IN DEFIANT MOVE - Hunt supporters from Mid Devon will declare their refusal to co-operate with any hunting ban at a mass gathering in Honiton. The event at Honiton Showground on Saturday, November 1, is one of 12 being held across the country… (story)
Somerset County Gazette 10.10.03 Hunt supporters to vow to break the law - HUNTS across the West Somerset and Taunton Deane areas are preparing to sign up to a pledge to effectively break the law if a hunting ban is introduced… The event in Honiton on November 1 will be one of 12 to be held in England and Wales and organisers are predicting a massive turnout. The Quantock Staghounds, Minehead Harriers, Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Exmoor Foxhounds and Taunton Vale hunt are among those planning to attend the mass hunt…. (story in archive)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.10.03 THIS MEANS WAR - Thousands of huntsmen and women are expected to gather in Devon next month to declare war on the Government's proposed ban on hunting with dogs. Representatives from 33 hunts from Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Cornwall are planning to stage the Declaration Day at Honiton show ground on November 1… Joint master of the East Devon Hunt, Michael Moore, whose hounds will be parading at the Honiton event, said he hoped the protest would give a clear message to the Government… (story)
Western Morning News 7.10.03 HUNTERS GATHER AND VOW TO IGNORE BAN - PAUL ANDREWS - Hundreds of pro-hunters will gather in a Westcountry showground next month to sign a "declaration" swearing to defy any ban on the sport. Nearly 4,000 people have now signed the Hunting Declaration - available on the Internet - agreeing to take part in illegal hunts if an outright ban is introduced…. on Saturday, November 1, hunt supporters from across the region will gather at a mass demonstration at the Honiton Showground in East Devon for what is being dubbed "Declaration Day"…. Diana Scott, joint master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, will be travelling to the demonstration with all her hunt workers… (story)
Western Daily Press 6.10.03 THOUSANDS IN PLAN TO IGNORE ANY HUNT BAN Hunts from Somerset, Cornwall, Dorset and Devon came together yesterday to prepare a declaration of war. They will refuse to co-operate with any ban on hunting and plan to carry on regardless. They have named November 1 as Declaration Day, when they expect thousands of hunting supporters to attend a rally in Honiton and vow to ignore any ban, whatever the consequences. Those expected to have representatives there include the Exmoor, Cattistock, Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, Duke of Beaufort's and Heythrop hunts, but many others are also expected to be present… (story)

Western Daily Press 17.11.03 MERELY A DISTRACTION - I read your coverage of the opening meet and Declaration Day at Worcester Lodge, Didmarton. The reason that I attended, as I have many other meets, is that I think that I'm doing something that is useful and fun with friends… I fear that should hunting be banned, perhaps other minority activities will go the same way if the Prime Minister feels his Government needs distraction from things that really matter. Andrew Davison Westonbirt Gloucestershire (letter)


Gloucester Citizen 15.11.03 HUNTING PEOPLE ARE A DISGRACE - What sort of person is it that says they will not pay their council tax if they don't see an animal ripped apart and dying in agony?... I think hunting is just disgusting. M. BRIAN Address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 15.11.03 FOX-HUNTING IS HUMANE If we ignore the rather unbalanced, emotive claptrap and political malice that distorts the issue, we can judge fox-hunting as it should be judged - simply as one of a number of options for agricultural pest control.... Colin Currie, Radstock, Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 15.11.03 HUNTERS LACK A CONSCIENCE - In response to the letter by C Allen concerning blood sports, you can't leave it to the conscience of individuals whether they hunt or not because people who take part in blood sports don't have any conscience... A Williams, Bath, Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 6.11.03 BAN INFRINGES HUMAN RIGHTS …. Any law which is not grounded in reason and morality is invariably a bad law, frequently unenforceable and one which, overall, brings the law into contempt. A ban on hunting is almost certainly within this category and could well fall foul of the European Convention on Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, to which this country is signatory…. David C Allen Burnham-on-Sea Somerset (letter)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Tonbridge
Sevenoaks Chronicle 14.11.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS OUT IN THOUSANDS BY DANIEL MAZLIAH AND PAUL DEVLIN - 17:00 - 14 November 2003 Hunt supporters from across the district took over Tonbridge as some 5,000 protesters and hundreds of animals crammed into Lower Hayesden Country Park for the massive Declaration Day rally... The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt began the day by causing a stir as members rode 70 horses down the High Street on their way to the demonstration.... (story)
Sevenoaks Chronicle 14.11.03 HUNTING DEMO SHOWS UNCARING ARROGANCE - Traffic in Tonbridge was brought to a complete stand still for almost two hours on Saturday, November 1, as the Countryside Alliance circus came to town. On top of the congestion caused by the phalanx of horse boxes and 4x4 vehicles, the mounted hunters, in a defiant display of arrogance, also decided to parade themselves down the high street at the busiest time of the day. The horse droppings left behind eloquently made clear the riders' attitude towards the people of Tonbridge... Dave Wetton, Hadlow (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier/Sevenoaks Chronicle 7.11.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS DEFIANT OVER BAN BY DANIEL MAZLIAH - Hunt supporters took over Tonbridge as some 5,000 campaigners and hundreds of animals crammed into Lower Hayesden Country Park for Saturday's massive Declaration Day rally.... The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt, which hosted the event, began the day by causing a stir as members rode 70 horses down the High Street on their way to the demonstration.... Anti-hunt protesters were however conspicuous by their absence. Veteran hunt saboteur Dave Wetton ?? one of four anti-hunt protesters at the rally ?? said this was because the battle had already been won... (story)
Kent Messenger/Tunbridge Wells Extra 7.11.03 Declaring interest against hunt ban - MORE than 5,000 country sports supporters from Kent, Surrey and Sussex gathered in Tonbridge on Saturday, with 2,703 also opting to sign the Hunting Declaration… (story)
Kent Messenger 31.10.03 Hunting event planned - THOUSANDS of hunt and country sports supporters from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex will be gathering at Lower Hayesden, Tonbridge, on Saturday, November 1… (story)
Kent Messenger 27.10.03 Pro-hunt lobby plans demo by Nigel Jarrett - THOUSANDS of hunt and countryside sports supporters from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex are expected to gather at Lower Hayesden, Tonbridge, on Saturday. They will be signing the Hunting Declaration, a commitment to refuse to co-operate with any hunting ban introduced by the Government and to take the legal consequences if necessary… (story)
Sevenoaks Chronicle 24.10.03 PROTEST DAY FOR HUNTING - Hunt supporters from the Sevenoaks, Westerham and Malling districts are expected to join thousands of others for a Declaration Day to show they would rather risk going to prison than give up blood sports if they are banned… Graeme Worsley, Master of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt, said: "We are confident the bill will not go through but we will not stand by and do nothing." (story)
Kent/Sussex Courier 24.10.03 WHY PRO-HUNTERS WILL TURN OUT IN PROTEST - On November 1 all the hunts in the south east and their supporters will meet in numbers at Lower Hayesden near Tonbridge. Many of those at the gathering?? one of 12 nationwide ?? will be signing the Hunting Declaration which says that if a Bill banning hunting is enacted they will disobey it. No one so doing will attempt to evade the consequences…. I would invite all feedom-loving people to come to Lower Hayesden on November 1 where we will be demonstating in defence of our own and all people's rights and liberties. James Shepherd, Grove Hill Gardens, Tunbridge Wells
ON the November 1 pro-bloodsports protest in Tonbridge; it should come as no surprise to see bloodsporters threatening to ignore parliament should their preoccupation be outlawed. History shows they have little regard for the law, so why would they respect democracy?... we country folk used to have a way of dealing with such types: it involved obtaining old fruit and sharing it with them… Trevor Williams, The Fox Project, Bradford Street, Tonbridge (letters)
Kent/Sussex Courier 17.10.03 PRO-HUNT LOBBY TO DEFY LAW BY DANIEL MAZLIAH - Hunt supporters are expected to gather in their hundreds in Tonbridge to declare they would rather risk going to prison than give up blood sports if they are banned. Billed as Declaration Day, the mass meet at Lower Hayesden on Saturday, November 1, will see defiant members of hunting and shooting communities commit to "civil disobedience" by signing the controversial Hunt Declaration… Graeme Worsley, Master of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt, said: "We are confident the bill will not go through but we will not stand by and do nothing." (story)

Guardian 14.11.03 Rules for rural dissidents - David McKie (Gandhi's new disciples, November 13) is right to infer that justice and tolerance are universal concepts which are damaged if they are embraced selectively. He is, however, wrong to infer that the Countryside Alliance is not aware of this. In the case of the miners - who were overtaken by catastrophe long before the alliance was thought of - I personally wrote to the then prime minister... There are two elements of true civil disobedience. First, it is a matter of personal decision by someone who has searched their conscience and satisfied themselves that by breaking the law they complain of they are not doing something inherently wrong. Second, they must acknowledge their debt to society by surrendering themselves for trial and punishment... John Jackson, Chairman, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Guardian 13.11.03 Gandhi's new disciples - David McKie - Here I stand, Martin Luther declared at the Diet of Worms: I can do no other. Or did he? But we'll come to that later. Luther these past few months seems to have gained quite an army of new adherents, few of whom would describe themselves as Lutherans. The air is thick with the cries of people who call themselves law-abiding, pledging themselves, on the grounds that they feel they can do no other, to defy the law. Opponents of a ban on hunting, especially.... (story)

Somerset Guardian 14.11.03 HUNT DEBATE IS A PRIORITY I feel I must write in order to convey my views on hunting. There is no doubt whatever that it is a very cruel and selfish sport performed by very arrogant, callous people.... I disagree with Alison Hawes that hunting should not be a priority for Parliament as I feel it should be.... I sincerely hope also that the League Against Cruel Sports will continue the fight to ban this very unnecessary and selfish sport. PAMELA PERKINS Frome (letter)

Darlington & Stockton Times 14.11.03 Hunting Bill - What Mr Benn fails to mention (D&S letters, Nov 7) is that 80pc of Labour Party supporters in the House of Lords failed to support the Government Bill banning hunting with dogs... RICHARD WELLS, East Witton, Leyburn (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 14.11.03 AN AFFAIR WITH FOXHOUNDS - On a beautiful November day my son and I joined the large throng of country people at Worcester Lodge. What a lovely building and what a day to remember. The foxhounds were as happy as sandboys.... Nancy Shipway-Blackwell, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 14.11.03 RURAL AFFAIRS MP IS DRACULA IN CHARGE OF THE BLOOD BANK - Regarding the article by James Gray, the Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, may I please ask whether he means that all animal welfare legislation is a waste of parliamentary time or only that which may put an end to his so-called sport?... J B Packer, Hartcliffe, Bristol (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 14.11.03 DO SOMETHING USEFUL - So, it looks as though there will be a ban on hunting with dogs as a result of the campaigners' efforts to stop cruelty against foxes. May I suggest that the their next agenda should be a complete ban on fireworks?... John Cunningham, Grosvenor Street, Derby. (letter)


Hereford Times 13.11.03 We'll risk jail to hunt - HEREFORDSHIRE'S horseracing community, including leading jockey Richard Johnson, is prepared to risk prison by ignoring any future ban on foxhunting.... Kilpeck-based Dick Pike, the secretary of the Welsh Border Point-to-Point Association, attended the anti-hunting bill rally in Builth Wells and has signed the Hunting Declaration... But Barbara Bodkin, who lives at Mansel Lacy, and is a supporter of eight animal charities, takes a strong stance against any form of hunting... (story in archive)
Gloucester Citizen/Gloucestershire Echo 7.11.03 I'D FLOUT HUNT BAN - JOCKEY Zara Phillips' boyfriend Richard Johnson has said he is prepared to go to prison in defiance of a hunting ban.... "I go hunting with the North Cotswold Hunt. Hunting is the heart of jump racing. It wouldn't help National Hunt racing, it wouldn't help point-to-point and it wouldn't help the countryside if hunting was banned." (story)
Western Daily Press 6.11.03 TOP JUMP JOCKEYS LEAP TO DEFENCE OF HUNTING - Leading West jockeys threw their support behind defiant huntsmen last night and pledged to break the law if hunting is banned. And one of the most vociferous pro-hunters was Richard Johnson, the boyfriend of Princess Anne's daughter Zara Phillips… (story)
Telegraph 5.11.03 Jockeys risk prison over hunt ban By Graham Tibbetts - Leading jockeys, including Richard Johnson, said yesterday they were prepared to risk prison by flouting any future ban on foxhunting. They are among more than 40,000 countryside supporters who have now signed the Hunting Declaration.... (story)

Wells Journal 13.11.03 HUNT'S LUST FOR GORE - Personally, I would not want to leave my home to go and watch a live fox ripped apart by dogs who are goaded by people on horseback; these people have an unpalatable lust for gore... Charlie Barnett Church Lane Shepton Mallet (letter)

Western Gazette 13.11.03 JOE'S HUNTING FEAR IS MINE - The question which troubles Joe Hashman (23 October) also troubles me: How many healthy hounds are killed by hunts each year, and how many are puppies?... As Joe Hashman points out: "A hunt kennel, during the cub hunting season, has many more dogs in it than a hunt kennel in deep winter, when foxhunting is in full cry". Helen Weeks, Protect Our Wild Animals, West Coker Hill, West Coker. (letter)

Western Gazette 13.11.03 SUCH ARROGANCE The arrogance of the hunting people is amazing. They intend to ignore any ban on their cruel horrible so-called sport. Why would such a law be any different to any other just because it does not come with their liking?... Chris Hull, Coles Lane, Yetminster. (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 13.11.03 PUBLIC NOT DECEIVED BY PRO-HUNT SMOKESCREEN For a subject which some correspondents to the Echo believe to be "unimportant", the run-up to a possible ban on hunting is generating much ink. Strangely, many of those who argue that other issues should be top of the agenda are the very same people that continually write in about - yes - hunting!... I refer to Messrs Paddon, Challice and Lewis, Points of view November 4, 7 and 8 respectively.... Dr John Pamment, Clyst Heath (letter)

Western Daily Press 13.11.03 MORAL STAND ON HUNTING WANTED - Reading James Gray's view that killing for fun is up to the individual's conscience, it also seems that signing the hunters' petition to break the law with tax evasion is also up to the individual's conscience... M J Haines, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (letter)

Yorkshire Post 13.11.03 From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield, Skipton - Replying to the letter from WB Thompson (November 4): On occasions, I have followed the hunt on foot, and in reality I don't think a fox is ever chased very far. A healthy fox can outwit the hounds with no trouble at all.... (letter)
Yorkshire Post 4.11.03 Hunting is simply cruel and wrong From: WB Thompson, Park House Green, Harrogate - In response to the letter from Phyllis Capstick (October 29), if chasing a creature for miles, digging it from the safety of the earth and throwing it to the hounds is not cruel, I do not know what is... (letter)

Yorkshire Post 13.11.03 Look of terror From: P Smith, Potter Hill, Pickering. I would like to support the many people who are against fox hunting. My recent experience, in passing through a village on foot, was that I saw a fox dragging its way wearily, and heard the sound of baying hounds having lost their target.... Many farmers are against hunting, for reasons of cruelty (letter)

Yorkshire Post 13.11.03 Vicious From: G Turner, Shakespeare Court, Burmantofts, Leeds. I knew I'd see it sooner or later and now I have (Letters, November 3): the upcoming ban on fox hunting is "victimising a minority".... illegal hunt organisers should be charged with the additional matters of incitement or conspiracy to commit an arrestable/ reportable offence, and face the subsequent penalties... (letter)

Cornish Guardian 13.11.03 FORCED TO GIVE UP THEIR SHOOTING HOBBY - It would appear that many normally law-abiding citizens are prepared to defy the law of the land so that they can continue to pursue their hobby of hounding foxes to death. What a contrast to another body of equally law abiding people who through no fault of their own, were forced to give up their hobby of target pistol shooting. We did not presume to put ourselves above the law however unfair we felt it to be... Roy Dutch St Austell (letter)

Western Daily Press 13.11.03 PEOPLE HAVE TO RESPECT THE LAW - Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare (letter)
Bath Chronicle 10.11.03 THIS CRUELTY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE Recently the pro-hunt lobby showed that they were, once again, completely out of step with public opinion by declaring to break the law, once hunting is banned. A MORI poll released last week showed that 76 per cent of people believe that hunters should obey the law... JOSEY SHARRAD, IFAW, Albert Embankment, London (letter)


Cumberland News & Star 12.11.03 73 PER CENT DON’T WANT COUNTY FOX HUNT BAN - NEARLY 700 people have voted in the News & Star’s online poll on fox hunting with 73 per cent opposing any ban in Cumbria... (story)

Leicester Mercury 12.11.03 HUNTING ALTERNATIVE - I have just been reading about a pro-hunt rally and, being an anti-hunt supporter myself, hope the Bill to ban it is pushed through Parliament as soon as possible.... G Campton, Barton in the Beans (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 12.11.03 POT IS CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK IN HUNTING DEBATE - Anti-hunt protesters castigating the hunters for planning to break the law? Surely that is a case of the pot calling the kettle black - in no uncertain terms! Steve Cox, Whipton Barton Road, Whipton, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 12.11.03 OTHER ISSUES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN HUNTING Why is it we have to have letters regarding country sports almost every day from J Phelps and his ilk, Points of view, November 7? Most people are not the least bit interested in reading their soap box-type letters... M Bennallack, Summer Lane, Whipton, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 7.11.03 HUNTSMEN WHO DEFY LAW WILL HAVE ASSETS SEIZED … I was therefore disturbed to read the double page article by reporter Paul Matthews, Echo November 3, about the meeting at Honiton last weekend of several thousand blood-sportsmen who had signed a declaration pledging to disobey peacefully any law purporting to ban hunting…. I do not think enforcement of the new law should prove difficult. How many Echo readers have heard of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime?... One of the PAW partners is the Countryside Alliance…. I expect, therefore, that the Countryside Alliance will be replaced by the Hunt Saboteurs Association as I am confident that the association will gladly enter into partnership with the police to enforce the ban on hunting with dogs for sport, and will do a far more effective job than the Alliance. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

Western Daily Press 12.11.03 JP'S STAND IS A HUNT STUNT - What a great publicity stunt Derek Pearce is making by claiming he will resign or risk being sacked for not wanting to prosecute other hunt supporters if they break the law.... Let's face facts. Hunting is well on its way to being banned. Making a silly stand like Mr Pearce's isn't going to make any difference.... Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 11.11.03 HAVE THEY THE RIGHT TO JUDGE? Sir - I see that Derek Pearce JP intends to do the honourable thing and resign from the Bench, should hunting be banned. I should be interested to know whether any magistrates who are vehemently against hunting will also resign... Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 8.11.03 HE SHOULD GO - I hope action will be taken to sack or force Derek Pearce to resign as a magistrate.... Mrs C Haynes Corsham Wiltshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 8.11.03 FOX HUNTING JP IS WRONG - I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read your front page on Monday, October 27. A presumably well-educated man, a magistrate to boot, says he intends to break the law and help others to do the same.... Perhaps he has forgotten that the Beaufort Hunt was actually filmed feeding and encouraging the breeding of foxes not all that long ago.... This arrogant gentleman must learn to abide by our democratic laws, he has no more right than anyone else to pick and choose which ones he will or will not obey. If not, like the whole rotten business of blood sports, he will have to go. Jean Turner Plympton Devon (letter)
Cambridge News 6.11.03 JP must choose - Michael Gill, St Audrey's Close, Histon - WHATEVER one's view on the defensibility or otherwise of fox hunting with dogs, the reported action taken by a magistrate, in signing a statement that he is prepared to break the law in this matter, is quite indefensible…. This magistrate wishes to pursue two opposing paths. He should choose one and abandon the other. If he fails to choose, the choice shall be made for him, to uphold the integrity and justice of the law. (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 4.11.03 HUNT SUPPORTER SHOULD RESIGN - The magistrate who hunts with the Beaufort and says that he will not prosecute his pro-hunt chums when hunting is banned has declared his intention to abuse his position of power and should be dismissed immediately… GILL PURSER, Newbridge Farm, Clapton-on-the-Hill, Cheltenham (letter)
Western Daily Press 3.11.03 DISGUSTED BY JP'S REMARKS - I read with dismay and disgust the remarks made by the JP Derek Pearce about the law banning foxhunting. If he is a JP then he has no right to judge the law…. Peggy Bradshaw Painswick Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 31.10.03 MAGISTRATE'S THREATS TO GO ABOVE THE LAW - Mr Pearce, the magistrate who has threatened both to defy, and not to prosecute others who break any new anti-hunting law, appears to be upset…. We have no interest in depriving Mr Pearce of any of the joys which he lists. He says: "I go enjoy riding in the countryside, to meet friends, catch up with the farming community and my neighbours and to watch the hounds working…. If the Beaufort Hunt decides that drag hunting is not appropriate then that community will be responsible for denying you the singular pleasure of watching the hounds work… Ivor Annetts Tiverton Devon (letter)
Western Daily Press 31.10.03 GREAT BATTLE YET TO STOP HUNTING - I am sick and tired of hearing how hunters are going to ignore any ban on their loathsome past-time, and now we have a JP saying that as he hunts himself he will not prosecute any law-breaking colleagues…. As a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, I do not think that they have done enough… Chris Hull Yetminster Dorset (letter)
BBC News Online 30.10.03 An unlikely criminal? By Brian Wheeler - Fox hunters in England and Wales are preparing for the start of what could be their final legal season…. What is it about hunting that makes upstanding citizens prepared to break the law? Derek Pearce is a pillar of his local community; a churchwarden and magistrate of 18 years standing. He is not by nature a law breaker or a rebel. But this week he announced he was prepared to go to prison rather than give up his passion for hunting with hounds… Sheila West, a 60-year-old mother-of-four, with two young grandchildren, is active in the local community and recently retired from a job helping handicapped people…. As a saboteur in the West Country, during the hunting season she spends most weekends attempting to disrupt the activities of people like Mr Pearce… Mr Pearce began hunting with the Berkeley Hunt in Gloucestershire, before switching to the Beaufort Hunt, which counts Prince Charles and sons William and Harry among its members. But the idea that only "toffs" go hunting is wrong, he says, and has damaged the Countryside Alliance's cause…. (story)
Western Daily Press 30.10.03 IF JP CAN BREAK LAW - SO CAN I! - Will the magistrate who has vowed not to prosecute people who defy a ban on hunting, come to my aid if I choose to ignore the laws that I don't like?... I must admit that I have never been able to understand the mentality of these so-called sports persons, who will chase a poor animal to exhaustion and then, if they are not on the scene quickly enough, allow their hounds to tear the beast to pieces for their enjoyment…. J B Packer Hartcliffe Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 28.10.03 HUNTING JP HOLDS ON TO HIS JOB - FOR NOW - The magistrate who said he would defy any hunting ban and refuse to judge fellow hunters was allowed to continue as a JP last night. Magistrates' chiefs said they had spoken to Derek Pearce, who revealed he would go to prison rather than give up hunting, and assured him his comments would not mean an instant end to his career…. Mr Pearce rides with the Beaufort Hunt and has been a JP for 18 years… The League Against Cruel Sports issued a demand for him to resign immediately, but pro-hunt West MPs applauded Mr Pearce for his "extremely honourable" position. (story)
Western Daily Press 27.10.03 MAGISTRATE SET TO TURN LAW BREAKER TO FIGHT FOR HUNTS - Derek Pearce has judged criminals in the West as a magistrate for 18 years. But last night he said he was prepared to swap his bench for a prison cell…. Mr Pearce began hunting on horseback with the Berkeley Hunt in Gloucestershire, before switching to the Beaufort Hunt… The semi-retired farmer said yesterday he would not be prepared to sentence any of his fellow huntsmen for breaking the proposed law banning the pastime, and he would sooner quit his bench and join them in the dock…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 27.10.03 JP SUPPORTS HUNT - A Pro-hunting magistrate said he would swap the bench for a prison cell rather than prosecute his colleagues. Derek Pearce, 58, a member of the Beaufort Hunt whose members include Prince Charles, said he would go to jail and be sacked rather than prosecute friends who would be breaking the law if the sport was banned…. (story)


Hull Daily Mail 24.11.03 WHY WE SHOULD TAKE OUR KIDS TO A HUNT ONCE A YEAR - Here are just a handful of the ridiculous arguments in favour of hunting foxes that get trotted out every time the hunt season begins…. Symbolically the fox represents the lower classes (the victims) who are chased off the land and killed by the hunter (the landed toffs)… Men and women in red jackets, horses, dogs, brass horns might look pretty and English but in actual fact the history of fox hunting is blood, oppression and land theft…. (story)

Telegraph 11.11.03 Political ends - It has been suggested (News, Nov 3) that the Government may be seeking ways to make it appear more acceptable to invoke the Parliament Act to overrule the House of Lords' opposition to proposals on hunting, one suggestion being that a backbencher should move the proposal, rather than the Government. However it is sought to be applied, the Parliament Act should not be available for such a purpose.... Patrick Phillips QC, Long Melford, Suffolk (letter)

Cambridge News 11.11.03 I'd risk jail to stop this cruel sport From Susan Crawley Manderston Road, Newmarket - IN ANSWER to Sir Mark Prescott on being willing to go to jail to be able to continue this cruel, rich mans' sport, ( News, November 3), I would go to jail to stop it!... (letter)

Yorkshire Post 11.11.03 'Bigotry and prejudice' at heart of hunting ban From: Peter Emmott, Bubwith, East Yorkshire - THANK-you for your coverage of the anti-hunt-ban rally (November 1). The article alongside, signalling this Government's response, cannot go unchallenged. Like the Government he represents, Peter Hain appears to be operating on another planet... (letter)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 FOXES WOULD SUFFER MORE FROM A BAN - The Exmoor farmer quoted in Martin Hesp's piece on moorland farming (WMN, October 27) made an important point about fox hunting. While hunting was suspended during the foot and mouth outbreak he lost over 200 lambs out of 1,000... Widely scattered throughout the countryside foxes can co-exist with farmers far better than if they were allowed to congregate uncontrolled. J Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 COUNTRYSIDE IS LOVELY BECAUSE OF 'OUR WAYS' I feel compelled to write to you having read an article about hunting and Candy Atherton's opinion of it. When will all the incomers to the countryside realise that it is as lovely as it is because we, in the country, have made it so, with our ways?... Cornish Reader, (Name and address supplied) (letter)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 HOW MANY PEOPLE DOES LEAGUE SPEAK FOR? Peter Anderson of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) is wrong to claim to speak for the majority on the hunting debate (WMN, November 1) Although others, myself included, who do not hunt, have actually given our support to the hunts in this insane dispute, the LACS and other anti-hunting organisations continue to claim to speak for vast numbers of people who are not, and would never be, members of their disgraceful organisation. Yes, I'm one of the 80 per cent of people who consider hunting cruel, but I'm also one of the 99.9 per cent (or whatever it might be) who are not members of the LACS.... Michael Saunby, Jacobstowe Okehampton (letter)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 HUNT BAN WOULD BE AN AFFRONT TO DEMOCRACY I, and thousands of like-minded law abiding people who hunt are outraged and thoroughly disgusted that Alun Michael's Hunting Bill has been savaged by the Labour backbenchers and now re-emerges amended into a total ban.... W T Sweet, Mawgan, Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 DEMOCRACY IGNORED ON HUNTING - The Government is not "hell-bent on banning foxhunting" (Mrs M Wilson, letters, October 6). Exactly the opposite. It has done everything it can in six years to ignore democracy in an unprecedented manner... Vegetarians' International Voice for Animals (VIVA) have reduced the Polish horse export trade, worse than any, by tens of thousands a year by campaigning, and are lobbying our Parliament against Halal slaughter, which Mrs Wilson rightly condemns.... Rose Dalziel, Tavistock (letter)

Western Daily Press 11.11.03 NO MORALITY IN HUNTING We have all seen reports in the newspapers in recent days describing the terrible cruelty inflicted on animals by brain-dead morons wielding fireworks.... While we reflect on these sub-human atrocities I would ask your readers to consider what the difference is between the people who have carried out these acts of inhuman savagery and those people who hunt wild animals and who promote hunting as a so-called sport?... We cannot pander any longer to the blood lust cravings of the barbaric lunatic fringe... Julian Brown, Stroud, Gloucestershire (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 11.11.03 CRUELTY AT HEART OF HUNT - "WE declare our intention to disobey peacefully any law purporting to ban hunting", thus began the declaration signed at Honiton and other sites around the country. Already this season a 60-year-old protester has had a horse ridden over her.... Several years ago this resulted in one dog being killed and another seriously injured on the A38 near Ashburton. One of the motorists involved needed treatment for shock. The master of the South Devon hunt wrote in the Herald Express that: 'the fox's line was unusual and unfortunate'.... ROBERT GAGIE, All Hallows Road, Paignton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 11.11.03 WILL HUNT SUPPORTERS MIND IF I COMMIT CRIME? Members of the Countryside Alliance are pledging to suit themselves about which laws they obey and which they ignore. I assume no one will object to a bit of cattle-rustling, crop-stealing, and so on, next time I visit the countryside... Mr K Richardson, Address withheld on request (letter)

Lakeland Echo 11.11.03 Hunting ban will lead to slow painful death for old foxes - HAVING visited Kendal for the first time in many months I picked up the latest copy of The Lakeland Echo (November 4) and was amazed at the depths of ignorance displayed by Douglas Batchelor, CE of the League Against Cruel Sports in his diatribe against foxhunting.... Mr Batchelor, what you are really peddling is a vast increase in the suffering of animals, and all in the name of kindness. May the fates preserve me from the likes of you. H E Hicks Caton Road Lancaster (letter)
Lakeland Echo 4.11.03 'Tis the season to be cruel Douglas Batchelor, Chief executive, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Western Daily Press 4.11.03 NO RIGHT TO INFLICT CRUELTY - Douglas Batchelor Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 3.11.03 LAST THROW OF THE DICE FOR HUNTS - DOUGLAS BATCHELOR League Against Cruel Sports, London (letter)
Bristol Evening Press 3.11.03 ANIMAL CRUELTY MUST BE STOPPED - Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports (story)
Western Morning News 31.10.03 Civil disobedience - Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 29.10.03 Fox hunting groups are not above the law - NOVEMBER 1 is the traditional start of the fox hunting season, the day on which hunters celebrate their devotion to the barbaric sport of chasing and killing wild animals for sport… Yet this year, not content with inflicting their bloodlust on defenceless wildlife, much of the hunting community will also use this day to try and bully and blackmail its way out of the impending ban on this horrific pastime…. DOUGLAS BATCHELOR , Chief Executive League Against Cruel Sports , Union Street , London (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 11.11.03 HUNTS RESORT TO MYTH TO HIDE CRUEL ACTIVITIES - Alison Hawes, the South West regional director, of the Countryside Alliance, claims (WMN, September 16) that Nathan Brown paints a very emotive picture of autumn (cub) hunting (WMN, September 10). Yet her own description is very economical with the truth, or, in her ignorance, she is merely repeating what she has been told.... Len Short, For Animal Voices Torquay Devon (letter)
Western Morning News 28.10.03 DOSE OF REALITY ABOUT HUNTING IS TOO STRONG MEDICINE - It is F Cleaves rather than Alison Hawes who is confused about autumn hunting. Indeed, F Cleaves's letter on the subject (WMN, October 14) serves only to emphasise how little F Cleaves actually knows about it…. F Cleaves also states that autumn hunting is supposed to be carried out "out of the way of the eyes of the public". Really? Then why does my hunt, and all our neighbouring ones, advertise all their autumn hunting meets in our local newspaper. And has F Cleaves failed to notice similar advertisements in the WMN? Or is such a dose of reality too strong a medicine? Jonathan Marshall, Taunton (letter)
Western Morning News 14.10.03 Autumn cull - ALISON Hawes seems confused in her letter… The fox cubs will be mauled and killed by the young inexperienced puppy hounds in order to get them to acquire the taste to kill and any that don't will be of no use and dispatched. F Cleaves, Par, Cornwall (letter)
Western Morning News 7.10.03 DOGS ARE FAR FROM NATURAL-BORN KILLERS - Alison Hawes of the Countryside Alliance writes that anyone who owns dogs knows they hunt quite naturally (WMN, September 16). As one who has owned four dogs over 25 years I can say with authority: "Not always"… My present one Tessa, can safely be left in the garden with my niece's pet rabbits… R A Gagie, Paignton (letter)
Western Morning News 1.10.03 EMOTIVE SLANT SIDESTEPS FACTS - Whenever anti-hunt campaigners write about autumn hunting their letters are invariably strong on innuendo, but short on fact. The letter from Nathan Brown of the Hunt Saboteurs (WMN, September 23) is a prime example of this… they fail to explain that cubs born in the spring are fully grown and virtually indistinguishable from the parents, both in size and habits, by the time autumn hunting starts…. G Mannell Truro (letter)
Western Morning News 30.9.03 Shady sport - PLEASE could Alison Hawes, as regional director for the Countryside Alliance, unscramble the rather ambiguous remarks she made in her letter (WMN, September 16) on autumn hunting…. A claim that young hounds are trained to hunt is denied by her, so why does she go on to say that "the purpose of autumn hunting is to train young hounds"?... Stephen Lancaster, Boscastle North Cornwall (letter)
Western Morning News 23.9.03 YOUNG HOUNDS TRAIN BY KILLING YOUNG FOXES - Alison Hawes of the Countryside Alliance (WMN, September 16) accuses me of painting an emotive picture of cub hunting… While a few hunts advertise their meets, such as the ones she mentions who advertise in the Western Morning News, many more go to extreme lengths to avoid the attentions of anti-hunt activists - even committing violent attacks on hunt monitors and saboteurs…. Nathan Brown, Hunt Saboteurs Association Press Office, Northampton (letter)
Western Morning News 16.9.03 Emotive slant - NATHAN Brown, of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, paints a very emotive picture of autumn hunting (WMN, September 10). A remarkably similar letter has been sent to newspapers by animal rights groups at the beginning of almost every autumn I remember. You would have thought that after all this time they would be more knowledgeable about the purpose and conduct of autumn hunting than Mr Brown appears to be…. Alison Hawes, South West Regional Director Countryside Alliance (letter)
Western Morning News 2.9.03 NO NEED TO LOSE JOBS IN HUNTING 'INDUSTRY' - In reply to Jonathan Marshall's letter... The Bill he so strongly opposes, objects to the unnecessary cruelty involved in hunting, but would not affect anyone in their so-called "industry" in the true sense of the word as all those included in this category - farriers, saddlers, livery, stables and so on - could still function perfectly well and make a living as no one would prosecute or prevent them from carrying on riding. F Cleaves, Par (letter)
Leicester Mercury 27.8.03 HUNTING BAN NOT YET SECURED - Nathan Brown, Hunt Saboteurs Association (letter)
Western Morning News 15.8.03 ANTICIPATING a ban on hunting with hounds, Nathan Brown (WMN, August 8) writes: "the parliamentary process will come too late for many of the hunted animals." Just what kind of brave new world does Mr Brown imagine will arise in the countryside in the event of a ban?… The rest of us, even those who are uneasy about hunting, should consider just what the true cost of this travesty of parliamentary process (for travesty it must be if there is to be a ban) so eagerly awaited by Mr Brown, would be. Not just in its social, economic and environmental consequences, but to the standing of Parliament itself, as an institution of justice and liberty. Jonathan Higgins, Dartington, Totnes (letter)
Worcester Evening News 14.8.03 They don't kill every fox - HUNT saboteur Nathan Brown makes many fundamental errors in his letter to the Evening News… The flaws in Mr Brown's argument are exposed by his description of hunting. He describes autumn hunting as `'secretive''. I'm sorry to spoil his portrayal of clandestine hunting at dawn but the reason for meeting early is because in warmer weather the morning dew holds scent…. Nathan Brown mentions brave saboteurs using only hunting horns to prevent hounds working. He forgets to mention they also carry staves, whips and chemical sprays… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 9.8.03 SICK SLAYING OF CUBS IS NO MYTH - Last week, I was in my garden when a movement in the shrubs caught my eye - it was a young fox... My delight turned to dismay. I thought of this time last year, when the Cattistock Hunt took hounds into a thicket near my home, where a young fox family was living. They did not stand a chance - they were savaged to death... So, my blood boiled when I read Jonathan Marshall's letter... Nathan Brown, of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, is right. Cubbing is secretive and dogs do not naturally kill foxes - they have to be taught... Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 5.8.03 MYTHS AIMED TO MISINFORM - Brown, of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, paints a very emotive picture of autumn (or cub) hunting. A remarkably similar letter has been sent to newspapers by the antis at the beginning of almost every August I remember…. According to Mr Brown, autumn hunting involves secretive meets very early in the morning… the hunt which I follow, and all others in my area, advertise all their meets in the local newspaper - an odd way to keep a secret, Mr Brown?... All very straightforward and above board - so why do the antis persist in peddling their annual myths, if not to misinform? Jonathan Marshall Long Taunton Somerset (letter)
Worcester Evening News 5.8.03 Foxes not out of the woods yet - NATHAN BROWN, Press Officer, Hunt Saboteurs Association. (letter in archive)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.8.03 HUNT SABOTEURS WILL TRY TO STOP CUBBING PRACTICE - Nathan Brown, Press officer, Hunt Saboteurs Association (letter)
Western Daily Press 1.8.03 HUNTING - THE STATE OF PLAY - Many people are confused over whether or not hunting has been banned yet. We would like to take this opportunity to inform your readers of the current state of play…. What we do know is that hunting will still be taking place until a ban is enforced and that our members will still continue to save lives as the parliamentary process will come too late for many of the hunted animals. August marks the start of the cub-hunting or "cubbing" season…. Nathan Brown Press Officer Hunt Saboteurs Association Northampton (letter)


Argus 10.11.03 Hunting season starts - On horseback and in traditional red tunics, the Sussex foxhunting fraternity turned out in force to mark the beginning of the season. This year began a week late for the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt, who met at Windmill Hill, near Herstmonceux, on Saturday - last week they travelled to Tonbridge to sign a declaration organised by the Countryside Alliance, vowing to continue hunting if MPs ban it.... (story)

Horse & Hound 10.11.03 HHO users pledge to keep hunting - Horse & Hound Online users are refusing to be cowed by the government's threat to consign hunting to the history books, with 56% of respondents to last week's survey stating they were prepared to defy the law and continue hunting if a ban is put in place.... (story)

Cambridge Evening News 10.11.03 LIKE SPOILED BRATS From Mike and Ingrid Michalak, Swaffham Road, Burwell - ROGER Scruton ( Your Letters, November 1) takes first prize for hypocrisy. He urges all hunting people to defy any ban if it becomes law, as I'm sure many will. The very same individuals we hear constantly whining about rural crime will think nothing of tying up hundreds of police officers simply because like spoiled brats they cannot get their way... (letter)
Bath Chronicle 1.11.03 PYGMIES ARE HAPPY LIVING CLOSE TO NATURE IN THE JUNGLE - I Respond to two articles in Tuesday's edition of the Chronicle. The first is the report on Lord Robert Winston's visit to the city illustrating his ideas on genetics.... I sent an e-mail to him as follows but have as yet received no reply. "I think you would admit there is a possibility of life on other planets... They may then look at earth dwellers as you look at primates. Useful for research into diseases on this planet, especially if they planned to colonise it, but not deserving of rights..." A second issue, is the letter by Roger Scruton encouraging law-breaking by foxhunters. Could I point out that Scruton... was sacked from his job with the Wall Street Journal on February 4, 2002. He has also been dropped by the Financial Times.... NICK HALES, Uphill Drive, Larkhall, Bath (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 31.10.03 HUNTING IS REALLY A WAY OF LIFE FOR MANY PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY - Roger Scruton, Joint Founder of the Hunting Declaration Initiative (story)
Bath Chronicle 31.10.03 IS IT BLACKMAIL? - I Was surprised to read the letter from Roger Scruton inviting people to say they are going to defy the law banning hunting with dogs if it is passed. Come on, Roger. It hasn't gone through our democratic processes yet… I think you ought to know that there are plenty of us determined to make sure that you keep to the law if it is passed…. TERRY BROWN, Bassetts Pasture, Bradford on Avon (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 10.11.03 Hunt supporters - The sight of the Belvoir Hunt through Melton following the Declaration Day meet was a truly historic sight. The response from the inhabitants was positive and gratifying and certainly reinforced the message that 59 of the public, if not more, were in support of hunting.... NICK THOMPSON Belvoir Avenue Bottesford (letter)

Southern Daily Echo 10.11.03 Defiant hunt is back in action - HUNTING enthusiasts in the New Forest sent a defiant message to the government as they began what could be their last full season. Members of the New Forest Hounds forecast that the bloodsport would continue for many years, despite the recent campaign to outlaw hunting with dogs... The event should have taken place on November 1, but was postponed to enable members to take part in a rally at Newbury... (photo)

Leicester Mercury 10.11.03 FOX QUICKLY DISPATCHED - The anti-hunting lobby present a false picture of what happens when a fox is killed by hounds. Their idea is that a live fox is torn to pieces while the huntsmen (and women) look on enjoying the gory spectacle. Wrong!... Frank Dewsbury, Leicester (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.11.03 MAIN OFFENCE - There appears to be much fuss made of the threat to disobey any ban on hunting with canines by a magistrate, assorted dukes and others... Large swathes of the countryside are legally owned by trusts, consisting, I expect, of legal and other professionals.I doubt if such people would risk disqualification as trustees, together with a criminal record. D Rogers, Corsham, Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.11.03 AT LAST, THEIR TRUE COLOURS At last the blood sport fraternity is showing its true colours after years of trying to portray animal rights activists as criminals because they were trying to save animals from a grisly death. These bloodthirsty people are now crawling en-masse from behind their thinly-disguised facade as caring, law-abiding citizens, boasting they will break the law by still hunting with dogs if it is banned.... Let them go to prison. The countryside, its wildlife and the rest of us will be better off without them. P Richardson, Woodmancote, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.11.03 THE REALITIES OF THE CHASE What a cosy picture of hunting with hounds painted by Captain Ian Farquhar. This should not surprise us, as huntsmen will always attempt to shroud the cruelty that is hunting in an attempt to justify their actions... Our elected representatives in government have voted for a ban. Let it happen now. D Morgan, Somerton, Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.11.03 HUNTING BAN WILL NOT GIVE US A FOX UTOPIA - How right J Clifford of Frampton is. People hunt for varied reasons - and bloodlust is not one of them. David Drew makes little mention of Jim Barrington, former chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, who decided that, in his own words, "I was more interested in the welfare of the fox, than whether someone has a red coat and a plummy voice".... Kay Gardner, Malmesbury, Wiltshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 3.11.03 NO RELISH IN THE HUNT KILL - While in no way doubting David Drew's sincerity about his Christian conscience vis-a-vis hunting, I do question the accuracy of his premise that those who hunt do it for the pleasure of the kill. I suggest rather that those who hunt are so passionate about it that they are prepared to sacrifice their jobs - and even their liberty - to defend their right to do it… J Clifford Frampton-on-Severn Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 3.11.03 DAVID DREW'S ANTI-HUNTING VIEWS ARE VERY HYPOCRITICAL - The article by David Drew left me completely incensed. How hypocritical can people get? To use words such as conscience, ethics and Christianity against hunting supporters, when his own political party has led our country and our soldiers into a bloody war with Iraq, beggars belief…. K Charlton Hardwicke Gloucestershire (letter)

Bristol Evening Post 10.11.03 FEEDBACK: FOX HUNTING I Write in response to the various anti-hunting letters that have been printed in the Post over the last few weeks. In my opinion fox hunting should be licensed. If hunting was to be banned outright then this would have a massive detrimental effect to the rural economy, and also much wider environmental issues. This hasn't always been my view. When I was much younger, in my early teens, I thought hunting was cruel . . .but that was just from seeing things on the side of the animal welfare groups, such as the RSPCA, Animal Activist groups and the League Against Cruel Sports.... Tim Dunton, Maple Walk, Pucklechurch (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 10.11.03 FOXES ARE TORN APART - In His letter, R Sellars (Mail, November 1) states foxes kill other animals. But if this was a valid reason for killing foxes, it would follow they should be wiped out altogether.... Christopher W. Fox, Watersedge, Driffield. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 6.11.03 A BETTER OPTION? The intention of the majority of backbench MPs is to put a ban on the considered cruelty that goes hand in hand with fox hunting, but I agree with what R Sellars says. I feel that it should be remembered that foxes are clever enough to control their own numbers… I have heard it said that huntsmen feed their old hounds to the young hounds when the former are too old to continue with the hunt…. David Tate, Westbourne Avenue, Hull (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 6.11.03 NEW SEASON SPARKS FRESH ROUND OF FOX HUNT DEBATES - R Sellars writes in November 1's Mail that we must hunt and kill foxes because they kill and eat lambs and cats. Presumably he would write similar letters of approval if some of us got together and set our dogs on to every cat in sight for killing birds…. W MacReidy, Dairycoates Avenue, Hull. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 1.11.03 TWO SIDES TO A STORY Many letters about fox hunting are in favour of the fox... it kills and eats animals such as rabbits, hares, cats or lambs. What is the difference if fox hounds chase a fox and kill it... R Sellars, Queensmead, Aldbrough. (letter)


Sunday Times 9.11.03 Foxhunters ignored - I NOW know that we belong to a minority which is discriminated against, not only by the government but by the media as well. A few years ago, when 3,000 homosexuals demonstrated in London, there was, quite rightly, full media coverage. Last week nearly 150,000 people gathered at mass rallies across the country, demonstrating for their freedom to hunt. Hardly a whisper in the press... Catriona Cook, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
FALSE IMAGE: What was the rationale behind printing David Hartley’s picture on the front of the newspaper? It was a humiliating and unrepresentative photograph which added nothing to a complicated, important subject... Christobel Flood, Brede, East Sussex
TORN: Apropos of the front page photograph, my sympathy is, of course, with the fox. However, in this instance I also have considerable concern for the horse. Stuart Shaw Reddish, Stockport (letters)

Sunday Telegraph 9.11.03 Stooping low - I was very surprised by the photograph of the hunting declaration at Badminton that you published [print edition, Nov 2] when there were hundreds of others that you could have chosen. The person you featured used to be very slim and obviously has a medical problem. I and many other people are angered that you would stoop so low... (Duchess of) Beaufort, Badminton, South Gloucestershire (letter)

Sunday Telegraph 9.11.03 Archetypal fatty The photograph you published to illustrate your report headed "Blair vows to force through hunting ban" [print edition, Nov 2] suggests a clear anti-hunting bias. What is the point of publishing such an unrepresentative person?... Marjorie Gullett, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire (letter)

Sunday Telegraph 9.11.03 Changing places - With reference to your photograph of a hunt supporter [print edition, Nov 2], I would have thought that in this instance the horse would happily change places with the fox... R Gordon-Carter, Bigbury-on-sea, Devon (letter)


Guardian 8.11.03 Hunt threat - How can the pro-hunters in the Lords argue (Letters, November 6) that they had any interest in producing "a regulatory bill based on evidence and principle", when they voted to remove the ban on hare coursing... Anita Gale House of Lords (letter)
Guardian 7.11.03 Hunt ban is enforceable - Ann Mallalieu's jaded claim (Letters, November 6) that the hunting bill, as amended by the House of Commons, is "unenforceable" is ridiculous. The hunting bill has been scrutinised by some of the country's leading legal experts, animal welfare organisations, Defra draftsmen and MPs to ensure it will be workable when implemented... John Rolls, RSPCA director, animal welfare promotion (letter)
Guardian 6.11.03 How hunt bill died - Richard Faulkner (Letters, November 3), who took no part in our negotiations on time for the hunting bill, did not accurately reflect what happened when the bill ran out of time. A group of peers, opposed to the ban, led by the signatories below, told the government well in advance that three days would be required for the committee stage... Ann Mallalieu QC, Bernard Donoughue, Alex Carlile QC, Adrian Palmer, Benjamin Mancroft, House of Lords (letter)
Guardian 3.11.03 Calling time on the hunt - I fear that Ann Mallalieu's description (Letters, November 1) of why the hunting bill ran out of time in the House of Lords is wide of the mark. First, it is not true that the government offered only two days for the committee stage. It suggested that some of the bill could be taken in grand committee and also proposed further sittings on Fridays - both were refused... Richard Faulkner, House of Lords (letter)
Guardian 1.11.03 Hunt hitch - Your headline "Pro bloodsport peers block anti-hunting bill" (Report, October 30) is wrong. Together with Lord Donoughue, I saw the government chief whip before the committee stage on behalf of a cross-party group of peers who oppose a hunting ban... The real reason why the bill ran out of time was the lateness of its arrival in the Lords in the final weeks of the session when the parliamentary timetable was already congested, and the inability of the government to make the necessary time available. Ann Mallalieu, Lab, House of Lords (letter)

Worcester Evening News 8.11.03 I hope Blair remembers his war speech when it comes to hunting - I MUST thank Paul Rone-Clarke for his latest contribution to the hunting debate (You Say, Tuesday, November 4). He confirms that Hitler banned hunting in 1936 on the grounds of class rather than on any pretence it would improve animal welfare.... At the time of the Iraq War, Tony Blair said the following during his great speech to the US Congress. `'We are fighting for the inalienable right for Humankind to be free. Free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others...." I hope the Prime Minister will remember these words should he decide to impose any illiberal and unworkable legislation on any minority in this country. JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 4.11.03 Grey elephants logic - JOHN Burgess' logic is of the "grey elephants" variety (You Say, Wednesday, October 29)… Hitler indeed banned hunting in 1936, purely due to his deep mistrust of the Prussian aristocracy, and everything connected with the German ruling classes… PAUL RONE-CLARKE, Worcester. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 8.11.03 DECLARATION OF CONTEMPT - Sir - One of the reasons why more than 37,000 law-abiding citizens signed the Hunting Declaration is because the Government promised to deal with hunting on the basis of evidence rather than personal taste.... The police don't want this Bill, the magistrates don't, the vast majority of Labour members of the Lords don't and 59 per cent of the public don't either.To allow backbench MPs to have their totemic victory via the use of the Parliament Act would further strengthen the resolve of the 37,000 people who simply will not put up with being treated with contempt. Martin Scott Address supplied (letter)

Leicester Mercury 8.11.03 SHOOTING IS FEASIBLE I must disagree with Mrs C E Saint (Postbag, October 31) when she says shooting foxes is not feasible because they are mainly nocturnal. I must ask, when did the last midnight hunt with horses and dogs take place?... Misinformation does not help the ordinary members of the public make up their minds about fox-hunting. I do not take part in hunting with dogs, but I am not in favour of banning it... Bob Harget, Leicester. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 31.10.03 FLAWED ARGUMENTS - I do not hunt, but support the right of those who do. As a countryman, I am appalled not only about the flawed contents of recent letters, but by the headings they appeared under: "Hunting is barbaric" and "Majority oppose hunting"…. Ian Kilgour, Thurcaston. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 31.10.03 PROBLEMS WITH SHOOTING FOXES - Mr P Smith (Postbag, October 22) agrees that foxes in the countryside need to be controlled and suggests that shooting is a humane way to do this… Foxes are mostly nocturnal… although shooting foxes is a good idea, it really isn't feasible. Mrs C E Saint, Ashby Magna. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 31.10.03 TRY TO FIND ANOTHER JOB - Presumably, because C Myring (Postbag, October 28) has a job that involves grooming horses used for fox-hunting and because he doesn't want to lose that job, we should all let people hunt… Sorry, Mr Myring, if outlawing this dated act of wilful barbarism means you having to find another job, then tough… Mick Faver, Thurmaston. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 29.10.03 THERE'S LOVE AND HATE - I must extend my gratitude for the recent letters from D Small and P Smith opposing fox-hunting (Postbag, October 20 and 22). They really hit the nail on the head in the strongest terms: How we loathe these fox-hunters… R Dunkley, Eyres Monsell (letter)
Leicester Mercury 28.10.03 LEAVE US ALONE With reference to Mr P Smith ("Hunting is barbaric", Postbag, October 22), I am a groom who works for a hard-working family who hunt and have hunted since being small children…. There are a lot of things in this country that need more attention than hunting. I would like to keep my job, so I say, if people want to hunt, let them, and for those who don't agree, nobody says you have to watch. C Myring, Wigston (letter)
Leicester Mercury 22.10.03 HUNTING IS BARBARIC - The so-called countryside brigade, instead of whinging about being told to stop the barbaric pastime of fox-hunting, should like the rest of the human race get into the 21st century. Hunting down any animal in the way they do is criminal and should be stopped… Fox-hunting is the only cruel sport due to be outlawed, so do not try and bring fishing and shooting into the argument. Foxes do have to be kept down, but shooting is a more humane way to do this… P Smith, Oadby. (letter)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Melton
Newark Advertiser 7.11.03 Pledging to defy hunting ban By SHARON HODKIN … Representatives from all the local hunts attended a meet at Melton Mowbray to sign a declaration to disobey any law banning hunting as an act of civil disobedience and accept the consequences. The secretary of the South Notts Hunt, Miss Anne Jepson, said: "This is a statement of our intention that if the Government bans hunting we intend to peacefully refuse to accept an unjust law…" Mr Tim Rogers, the master and huntsman of the Per Ardua Beagles, which hunts in the Bingham area, said: "We all feel so strongly about it that we are prepared to break the law and carry on hunting if it is passed." Mrs Lynda Howard, of the Grove and Rufford Hunt, said: "Hunting people and the wider rural community will not accept an unjust hunting law. Any ban would be completely unenforceable…" About 70 members of the Belvoir Hunt attended on horseback… (photo)
Horncastle News 5.11.03 WE WILL BREAK THE LAW - MEMBERS of the South Wold Hunt were among 37,000 people who pledged to disobey a ban on hunting…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 3.11.03 HUNTERS VOW TO BREAK LAW BY CHRISSY HARRIS - Pro-hunt protesters have vowed to break the law and continue hunting if the Government introduces a ban on their sport. Up to 5,000 supporters gathered at a mass rally at a disused airfield in Melton, on Saturday, to show their support for hunting... (story)
Newcastle Journal 1.11.03 Landowners prepare for a fight over hunting ban By Amanda Brown,, The Journal - Landowners and farmers today urged the Government to give Parliamentary time to a Private Member's Bill, making it an offence intentionally to cause undue suffering to a wild mammal. The call comes from the Country Land and Business Association, as hunt supporters nationwide are set to sign a declaration to carry on with their sport, despite any ban.... The village of Trimdon in County Durham - the constituency home of Prime Minister Tony Blair - will be the venue for the North-East event in the nationwide Declaration Day protest.... (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Hunt supporters rally the cause - Thousands of hunt supporters from all over the East Midlands have vowed to break the law if the sport is banned by the government... Members of the Quorn hunt were joined by thousands of supporters from across the region.... (story)
Melton Times 30.10.03 HUNTING PROTESTERS TO BREAK THE LAW? - THOUSANDS of foxhunting supporters will meet on the outskirts of Melton on Saturday to sign a declaration to break the law. The day has been organised by the Countryside Alliance to coincide with the hunting bill going through the House of Lords…. Following a number of short speeches, including one from Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan, the huntsman of host pack the Quorn will lead the massed hounds and followers for a day's hunting… (story)
Buckingham Advertiser 30.10.03 HUNT MEMBERS ABANDON MEET MEMBERS of a local hunt are set to abandon this year's opening meet in Blakesley to rally against the banning of their sport. The Grafton Hunt, an area which covers Brackley and Towcester, is cancelling the meet traditionally held tomorrow, Saturday. Instead, a regional demonstration known as Declaration Day is set to take place inviting people to declare through signature that they would be prepared to break the law and continue to hunt if the sport were banned…. (story)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 27.10.03 Hunt cancels its meet for protest - THE 250-year-old Grafton Hunt is scrapping tradition and cancelling its annual opening meet for the first time . . . in favour of a mass protest against Government plans to ban blood sports. Thousands of hunt followers, including hunts from across the Midlands, will be at a gathering at an aerodrome in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, on November 1… (story)

DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Three Counties Showground
Malvern Gazette 7.11.03 Thousands sign hunting pledge … Around 3,600 people were at the Three Counties Showground last Saturday to sign a declaration promising civil disobedience and a willingness to be arrested if a hunting ban becomes law. Donald Haden, joint master of Ledbury Hunt, said: "It was very impressive…" (story in archive)
Hereford Times 6.11.03 Signed on for protest - HEREFORDSHIRE'S huntsmen and women turned out in force to throw their weight behind a campaign to disobey any law banning the sport… (story in archive)
Worcester Evening News 3.11.03 Thousands vow to defy hunt ban - AROUND 4,000 hunting supporters converged on Malvern's Three Counties Showground on Saturday to pledge their support for a campaign of "passive civil disobedience" if hunting is ever banned…. Worcestershire Hunt spokesman Bob Brierley, told the gathering: "If it comes to it, we must engage in passive civil disobedience but not, under any circumstances, criminal activity."… (story in archive)
Ledbury Reporter 31.10.03 Thousands to defy fox hunting ban - LEDBURY Hunt members will join thousands of pro-hunt supporters at the Three Counties Showground tomorrow (Saturday) to show their determination to defy a Government ban. Among them will be Upton dentist Tim Lewin, who will join fellow hunt supporters in signing a declaration pledging civil disobedience and a willingness to be arrested should a hunting ban become law…. (story in archive)
Malvern Gazette 31.10.03 Thousands ready to defy a fox hunting ban - THOUSANDS of pro-hunt supporters will descend on the Three Counties Showground tomorrow (Saturday) to show their determination to defy a Government ban. in signing a declaration pledging civil disobedience and a willingness to be arrested should a hunting ban become law. Mr Lewin is a retired master of the Ledbury Hunt and said he thought his actions were the right thing to do…. (story in archive)
Western Morning News 3.11.03 'VILLAGE LIFE WOULD BE LOST WITHOUT HUNTING' Among the thousands who signed the declaration at the meeting in Honiton were many who stand to lose their livelihood if hunting is banned... Miss Ashby, aged 25, who grew up on a farm, works as a stud groom for the Cattistock Hunt and lives in a house provided with her job. If the hunt goes, so does her job and her home... David Ford, the huntsman for the Stevenstone Hunt at Torrington in North Devon, was on horseback at the meeting. He said he had no qualms about signing the declaration... Jason Balkham, of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, said farmers would have no-one to collect their fallen stock if hunting went, and the hunting dogs would have to go, without a reason to keep them... The effects on liveries, stables and the farriers were bound to be devastating, said Vikki Robinson of the Modbury Harriers, because drag hunting would not be permitted by farmers when there was no benefits to having hunts crossing their land... (story)
Birmingham Post 21.10.03 Hunters pledge revolt By Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post - Hunt supporters have threatened a mass revolt across the Midland countryside if the Government goes ahead with its plans to ban the controversial sport. Members of hunts from Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire will meet next month to sign a declaration, committing themselves to breaking the law if the ban is imposed…. (story)
Malvern Gazette 17.10.03 & Ledbury Reporter 17.10.03 Hunters pledge to defy ban - HUNT members are planning a mass meet at Powick where they will pledge to defy any Government ban on hunting. The Ledbury Hunt is one of several from across the West Midlands expected to bring a contingent to the event on November 1…. (story in archive)

DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Trimdon
Hexham Courant 7.11.03 TYNEDALE PACKS JOIN IN HUNT BAN PROTEST - HUNDREDS of Tynedale hunting supporters gave up what is traditionally the first day of the hunting season to fight a ban against the sport… Joint master of Haydon Foxhounds Andrew Gale, one of 90 members of the hunt who travelled to Trimdon to make his views known, said he would be prepared to go to jail to carry on hunting… Master of foxhounds at the Tynedale Foxhounds Vanessa Ramm said: "In Tynedale, everyone that physically could go went, and we had a coach with 40, and remaining people went independently…." Members of Tynedale Foxhounds and Haydon Foxhounds were joined by The Braes of Derwent Foxhounds, Border Foxhounds, Newcastle and District Beagles, Tynedale Mink Hounds and North Tyne Foxhounds… (story)
Newcastle Journal 3.11.03 Hunters threaten to defy any ban - A cavalcade of horses, hounds and scarlet-clad huntsmen descended on Tony Blair's doorstep at the weekend… Morpeth Hunt member Yorkie Renwick, who brought her children George, eight, and Freddie, six, to the rally, said rural people had to unite to preserve their rights…. (story)
Newcastle Journal 3.11.03 The Journal: Today's Voice of the North - Dangers of the hunting battle - Once again there has been an admirable show of force by countryside campaigners attempting to save the practice of hunting with dogs from being outlawed…. There is a danger that the passing into law of a ban on hunting with hounds will not end the protests, but merely be a prelude to a prolonged campaign of disobedience that ultimately paralyses some parts of our countryside. While respecting the rights of people to continue to pursue an age-old sport, we also fear the damage this would do to a far wider community than just the hunting fraternity. (story)
Sunday Sun 2.11.03 Defiant By Phil Doherty, Sunday Sun - More than 2000 fox-hunters and their supporters descended on Tony Blair's North constituency yesterday . . . and pledged to defy a proposed ban on the controversial sport... Hunter Michaela Sowerby, 22, who rides with the North Yorkshire Zetland Hunt, said: "I came to support the South Durham Hunt and to show that we want to keep on hunting..." (story)
Newcastle Journal 1.11.03 Landowners prepare for a fight over hunting ban By Amanda Brown,, The Journal - Landowners and farmers today urged the Government to give Parliamentary time to a Private Member's Bill, making it an offence intentionally to cause undue suffering to a wild mammal. The call comes from the Country Land and Business Association, as hunt supporters nationwide are set to sign a declaration to carry on with their sport, despite any ban.... The village of Trimdon in County Durham - the constituency home of Prime Minister Tony Blair - will be the venue for the North-East event in the nationwide Declaration Day protest.... (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Hunt protesters show united front By Danny Savage - A countryside campaigner told a gathering of more than 2000 hunt supporters that the government is "up against a movement of people that cannot be ignored". Columnist and countryman Willy Poole was addressing a mass meeting in the village of Trimdon, in the Prime Minster's constituency of Sedgefield.... But one man who couldn't sign the declaration was Major Blair Radford, a serving Army officer at Catterick garrison in north Yorkshire and joint master of the Catterick Beagles. As a serving officer he says he has to uphold the laws of the land, but makes no secret of the fact that if he was a civilian then he would put his signature on the declaration... But there was a large police presence, with dozens of officers from the County Durham force and a helicopter. If the ban on hunting with dogs does become law it will be these same officers that in the future could be seen chasing women and children round the countryside. Reflecting on the prospect, the master of the south Durham Hunt Mark Shodden said "they'll have to be quick". (story)
Berwick Advertiser 30.10.03 Hunt followers prepared to disobey the law - This year, the West Percy will not be holding their usual meet on November 1. Instead hunt followers, supporters and many others who believe in civil liberties will be taking part in a Mass Gathering at Trimdon at 10am…. SARAH DAVIDSON, West Percy (letter)
Newcastle Journal 27.10.03 Hunters take message to Blair By Dave Black, The Journal - Hunting supporters are preparing to sign a defiant pledge on Tony Blair's doorstep that they will risk going to prison by ignoring any Government ban on their sport… Saturday's event at Trimdon, which is expected to feature hundreds of enthusiasts on horseback signing the declaration in a tent, will coincide with a meeting of the South Durham Hunt… Hunt worker Angela Law is backing the national call for supporters to defy a Government ban on the sport - but praying that such action proves not to be necessary. Angela, 23, head groom with the Morpeth Hunt, would lose her job and her home near the village of Hartburn, Northumberland if hunting with hounds is eventually outlawed…. (story)
Newcastle Journal 27.10.03 The Journal: Today's Voice of the North - Stay within the law: These are desperate times for the hunting communities of the North-East…. It does now appear very likely that hunting will soon be banned… However, we can say with certainty that ignoring a democratically-set law or instigating a campaign of civil disobedience is not the way forward. That way chaos lies (story)
Durham Advertiser 18.10.03 Huntsmen ride into battle - HUNDREDS of hunt supporters have committed themselves to the prospect of civil disobedience, ahead of a mass rally against a potential ban… Richard Dodd, regional director of the Countryside Alliance for the North-East, believes hundreds more will sign the declaration during an unprecedented mass meeting of all the region's hunts in Trimdon Village…. (story in archive)
(Northern Echo) 11.10.03 Hunt threatens Godiva protest by andrew white - A HUNT supporter is threatening to ride naked through Tony Blair's home village during a mass protest against Government proposals to outlaw foxhunting. More than 1,000 supporters and 300 horses from hunts around the region are expected to take part in the show of strength in Trimdon Village, County Durham, on Saturday, November 1. Mark Shotton, master of the South Durham Hunt based in the Prime Minister's Sedgefield constituency, said the identity of the potential Lady Godiva was being kept under wraps…. (story)

Spectator 7.11.03 Signing the Declaration - Jeremy Clarke - By day Clive drives a tractor. At night he tramps the fields with a pair of greyhound collie crosses called Knocker and Tip and a lamp.... To Clive, the almost incredible scientific and technical advances of the last 20 years have manifested themselves chiefly in the invention of the ferret locator and improvements in the hunting lamp.... Fox and hare hunters’ minds have been concentrated so hard on the prospect of a hunting ban for the past four years... One wonders whether, if it comes down to it, how many of them will actually run the risk of imprisonment. I am confident, though, that our lurchermen will flout any new legislation magnificently. (story)
Salisbury Journal 6.11.03 Defiant huntsmen ready to face jail … On Saturday, more than 50 members of the Bowerchalke-based Wilton Hunt attended a rally to sign a hunting declaration vowing to break the law if the bloodsport is stopped… (story in archive)
Horse & Hound 3.11.03 37,000 pledge to flout hunting ban - Thousands of people pledged their willingness to disobey the law if a ban on hunting was introduced at mass meets around the country during the Countryside Alliance’s Declaration Day on 1 November (story)
People 2.11.03 HUNTS WAGE WAR ON LAW (story)
Sunday Sun 2.11.03 Fox hunts about right not rights By Sunday Sun - This weekend a campaign of disobedience was launched, echoing in its sentiments the calls by Martin Luther King for a mass civil rights movement in the 1960s, or the ANC campaign against the hated apartheid in South Africa.... Once again a small minority has sullied the great history of the human rights movement by claiming that people who are about to be deprived of the right to go hunting deserve a place in the oppressed people's of the world hall of fame.... I think the people who enjoy hunting are similar to those prosecuted by the RSPCA for drowning kittens or betting on badger baiting. To put it bluntly, they're just posher... (story)
Independent 1.11.03 Supporters will defy fox-hunting ban By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent - Hundreds of hunt supporters plan to sign a declaration this weekend pledging to break the law if Parliament passes a Bill banning fox hunting... Yesterday Eddie Braithwaite, who hunts with the Lunesdale Foxhounds in Cumbria, said on BBC Radio 4, that hunts "are all set to continue"... (story)
Telegraph 1.11.03 Hunting 'beats a peerage' By Graham Tibbetts - A prominent foxhunting supporter said yesterday that he would rather give up his hereditary peerage than see the sport abolished. Lord Mancroft, a keen huntsman, was speaking as thousands of countryside supporters prepared to attend 12 mass meets today to demonstrate their determination to flout any ban.... (story)
Times 1.11.03 Mass hunt rallies to defy ban BY VALERIE ELLIOTT - ABOUT 30,000 huntsmen and women are to take part in 12 mass rallies and meets today to show they are willing to defy any ban on hunting... Riders have been asked to turn out in black, tweed or wool jackets. Countryside Alliance organisers are also anxious that hunt supporters are not depicted as yobs so drinking and smoking have been banned.... (story)
Shropshire Star 1.11.03 Hunt members stand defiant - Thousands of hunt supporters from across Shropshire and Mid Wales turned out in force today to pledge their support to a mass campaign of defiance against any future ban on fox hunting.... Representatives from a number of Mid Wales hunts attended the meet to voice their support of the popular countryside activity including members of the Flint and Denbith Hunt, Radnor and West Herefordshire Hunt, David Davies Hunt, and Brecon and Talybont Hunt. The Bishop's Castle United Hunt and Shropshire Beagles, based near Telford, also made their voices heard at the meet in Powys, while the Bridgnorth Wheatland Hunt and Ludlow Hunt attended a meet at Malvern in Worcestershire.... Anthony Owen, of the Ystrad Taffachen, said hunting was a way of life and hunt supporters did not want people who knew nothing about it telling them what to do.... John Griffiths, of the Brecon and Talybont Hunt, said banning hunting would not save on single fox.... (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 1.11.03 Hunt supporters vow to defy ban (story)
Star 1.11.03 Foxhunt supporters fighting ban - Hundreds of hunt supporters from across the country were pledging their support to a campaign of defiance against any future ban on fox hunting.... (story)
Ananova 1.11.03 Hunt supporters defiant as season starts - Hundreds of hunt supporters from across the country have pledged their support to a campaign of defiance against any future ban on fox hunting.... Joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, Captain Ian Farquhar, said today's action is sending a "very simple message" that the Hunting Bill is unjust... (story)
Gloucester Citizen 1.11.03 HUNTS STAY DEFIANT - Thousands of hunting supporters in the county were today expected to declare their willingness to break the law. Organisers of the Beaufort Hunt were hosting a mass meet at Worcester Lodge, Didmarton, near Tetbury, where the Hunting Declaration - a formal refusal to comply with any hunting ban - was being signed... (story)
Newcastle Journal 1.11.03 Hunt supporters pledge disobedience - Thousands of hunt supporters gathered across England and Wales and promised to break the law to beat a ban on fox hunting... (story)
Express 1.11.03 Hunt supporters pledge disobedience - Thousands of hunt supporters gathered across England and Wales and promised to break the law to beat a ban on fox hunting... (story)
ITV 1.11.03 Hunt supporters vow to break law - Thousands of hunt supporters have gathered across southern England and promised to break the law to beat a ban on fox hunting… Joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, with which the Prince of Wales and his sons have ridden, Captain Ian Farquhar, said the action sent a "very simple message" that the Hunting Bill is unjust … (story)
ABC 1.11.03 Tens of thousands challenge Blair over fox hunt plans Tens of thousands of hunters warned the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair not to adopt plans for a ban on fox hunting....
Telegraph 31.10.03 Pro-hunting people 'are treated as sub-human' By Graham Tibbetts - Hunt followers are being treated like a "sub-human species" in a manner similar to the black population during the American civil rights movement, a prominent countryside supporter claimed yesterday. Roger Scruton, the writer and philosopher, said he believed that outlawing the sport would carry echoes of the breaches of human rights that occurred in the days of Martin Luther King. He made the comments in the run-up to Declaration Day tomorrow when thousands of hunt followers are expected to attend 12 mass meets in support of a campaign of civil disobedience.... (story)
Horse & Hound 8.10.03 Declaration day venues chosen - Venues have been announced for mass meets on “Declaration Day”, in which hunts from across England and Wales will gather to rally against the Hunting Bill. The 12 meets, ranging from Caldbeck in Cumbria to Badminton in Gloucestershire, (pictured) will be held on 1 November at 10am, and aim to increase media attention on the Hunting Bill….(story)
Telegraph 27.9.03 Hunts start season with mass rallies By Graham Tibbetts - The official start of the hunting season is to be turned into a major recruitment drive for volunteers willing to break an outright ban on the sport... The rural rallies on Nov 1 - billed as Declaration Day - are being organised by the Countryside Alliance and are expected to attract hunters as well as non-hunters who feel that a hunting ban would infringe civil liberties... (story)

Harlow Star 7.11.03 Supporters vow to defy ban on hunting - FOX hunters were out in force in the countryside around Harlow on Monday as the Parliamentary battle to ban it continued. Fifty-two members of the Essex Hunt met at The Chequers pub in Matching Green, while about 200 hunt supporters congregated on the village green…. (story may only be on website for a week)

Western Daily Press 7.11.03 HUNTING KILLS FOXES OUTRIGHT - After seeing accusations by Gerald Kaufman and the anti-hunt brigade about people with funny clothes going out on Sunday mornings to catch foxes, I did some research… one Sunday I found the people with funny clothes who looked like a cross between Santa Claus and the seven dwarves. Pixie hats, roll-neck sweaters… Ordnance Survey maps in case they lost their bearings a few miles from home…. No sign of any hounds or wildlife. This had all disappeared on seeing and hearing this motley crowd, the Right To Ramble brigade. By contrast, during the week I saw people sensibly dressed for riding horses in riding boots, breeches, stout jackets and safety hats, in colours to blend with their surroundings…. Ron Tanner Nesley Tetbury Gloucestershire (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 7.11.03 COUNTRY RESIDENTS WILL INFORM ON LAWBREAKERS If you break down the hunting declaration day figures, surely only a few people will actually have to defy the law, as shooters and anglers will not be partaking in illegal activities… The ban will be implemented, and whether hunters think it is a bad law or whatever, it will be the law. So obey it with whatever dignity you have left. Mrs Maxine Floyd Salway Close Cullompton (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.11.03 ARROGANCE OF THE POWERFUL The arrogant posturing of the rich and powerful is staggering, but unsurprising…. Let the hunting fraternity have their Declaration Day, where they promise to turn themselves into common criminals once a ban on hunting becomes law…. Helen Weeks West Coker Somerset (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 7.11.03 HIT THEM WITH FINES - With all the reportage on the demonstrations organised by the Countryside Alliance in the last few days, are we to be intimidated by their blustering? No! But we are seeing them in their true colours, with their bully-boy tactics…. LOUISE PIDDINGTON, Welsford Avenue, Plymouth (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 7.11.03 'RECKONING DAY' WILL COME FOR HUNT It Amazes me the feud, the debate and argument concerning whether hunting of foxes and the like should go on continue to rage. Those who wish this very dubious 'sport' to go on should put themselves in the skins of those terrified, timid creatures seeking to escape with their live… Frederick Dee, Earlsgate, Winterton (letter)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Royal Welsh Showground
Western Telegraph 6.11.03 MP slams pro-hunt vow as `anarchy' - by Debbie James - The county's fox hunting supporters who have vowed to ignore legislation banning their sport, have been accused of inciting anarchy by their local MP, Nick Ainger. On Saturday, dozens of members of the South Pembrokeshire, Pembrokeshire and Tivyside hunts converged on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells for a protest meet organised by the Countryside Alliance…. (photo)
Denbighshire Free Press 6.11.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS JOIN PROTEST - AROUND 150 supporters of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt turned out on Saturday to protest against a proposed ban on fox hunting… (story)
Carmarthen Journal 5.11.03 WE'RE READY TO FACE JAIL - Hunt supporters from across Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are prepared to go to prison if their sport is outlawed…. Linda Parker, master of the Carmarthenshire Hunt, said: "There was about 50 of our members in Builth Wells - 18 of us on horse back… (story)
South Wales Evening Post 3.11.03 HUNTERS TRAVEL TO SHOW SUPPORT - Hundreds of campaigners from Swansea pledged to break the law at the weekend as part of a nationwide show of support for hunting… (story)
Daily Post 3.11.03 Hunters defiant By Andrew Forgrave, Daily Post - FOX hunters in Wales yesterday vowed to defy a ban on the sport - warning they would cause the criminal justice system to collapse… At the weekend more than 4,000 hunt supporters across Wales converged on the Royal Welsh Showground to voice opposition to the Govern-ment's hunting plans. It was the largest of 12 such protests across Britain, including one at Daresbury, Cheshire, attended by the Wynnstay Hunt… Richard Williams, Master of the Eryri Hunt, said: "It's imperative that we somehow prevent these proposals becoming law."… (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Hunters pledge to defy the law - Nearly 4,000 pro-hunt campaigners demonstrated in mid Wales on Saturday as part of a nationwide show of support for the sport... Farmers Union of Wales President Gareth Vaughan voiced his support for the Declaration Day event at Llanelwedd.... (story)
Mid Wales Journal 31.10.03 Hunting followers put on show of strength - Hunts from across Wales will gather at a mass meeting at Builth Wells on Declaration Day tomorrow (Saturday)…. (story)
Western Mail 23.10.03 Hunts to gather in show of strength Steve Dube, The Western Mail - HUNTS from across Wales come together for a mass gathering at the Royal Welsh Showground near Builth Wells next week. November 1 has been named Declaration Day by organisers of the Hunting Declaration, a grassroots initiative pledging those who sign it to defy any ban on hunting… (story)

Evesham Journal 6.11.03 Minister is barracked by Alliance - A CONFERENCE in Pershore on ways to help and encourage young people to stay in the rural areas of Worcestershire, was attended by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael. When he arrived last Thursday, however, he was confronted by a Countryside Alliance demonstration whose members barracked him on the hunting bill…. (story in archive)
Worcester Evening News 31.10.03 Stand-off in street as hunt backers confront Minister - AN angry group of around 50 pro-fox-hunting campaigners pounced on a Government minister as he attended a conference in Worcestershire… Clare Rowson, the Alliance's regional director, said yesterday's mini-demonstration was intended to make their presence felt… (story in archive)

Guardian 6.11.03 Mr Barrington claims on behalf of the so-called "Middle Way" group that shooting causes high wounding rates to foxes... The opposite is true.... Josey Sharrad, International Fund for Animal Welfare (letter)
Guardian 5.11.03 Off the scent - So the prime minister is being advised to force through a hunting ban in the face of strong opposition from the Lords... The bill to give all wild mammals protection, introduced in the Lords by Bernard Donoughue, makes more sense.... Surely the PM must realise how ridiculous the threatened use of the Parliament Act in these circumstances makes his government look to the public? James Barrington, Consultant, Parliamentary Middle Way Group (letter)

Somerset Guardian 6.11.03 HUNT DISGUST I would very much like to express my disgust at the hunting fraternities shameless attempt to convince us that 59 per cent of the British public support hunting. This is a total misrepresentation of the truth... RYAN STOTT Midsomer Norton (letter)

Western Daily Press 6.11.03 HUNTS OFTEN BREAK THE LAW - I think some of the most compelling arguments against fox hunting I've ever read were in a booklet produced by The League Against Cruel Sports, when Robert Churchward, at one time Joint Master of the South Shropshire Hunt, wrote of his change of heart after 40 years of being a hunting enthusiast…. Doreen Cronin West Quantoxhead Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 6.11.03 FORMER HUNTSMAN SPILLS BEANS ON ANIMAL ABUSE - November 1 should be marked as a day of shame when people go out to deliberately set a pack of dogs on to a wild mammal for sport. Hunting is a ritualised form of serial animal abuse.People who want hunting to go on should read the book Brush with Conscience - Why a Huntsman Abandoned his Sport, by Clifford Pellow, an ex-huntsman…. Kathy Moyle, East Budleigh (letter)

Yorkshire Evening Post 6.11.03 Hunting and the law - Just what do they think they are? I am of course, referring to the pro-hunting lobby. They have the ignorant arrogance to state that should the hunting bill become law, they will just ignore it…. It is to be hoped that when the bill passes into law, that the first sign of breaking it will be dealt with severely as an example to any others thinking along the same lines. A G Goldbrough, Dale Court, Ilkley (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 6.11.03 ARE HUNT SUPPORTERS THE ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY? I was intrigued to read the report of the Honiton hunt supporters' rally… Many members of the hunting lobby and their Tory friends during the miners' strike in the mid-1980s were suggesting that the miners were "enemies of democracy", and should have their right to vote withdrawn… Ed Pitman, Danes Road, Exeter (letter)

Shropshire Star 6.11.03 Dangers to pets as hunting season starts - With the official start of the hunting season on November 1 I would like to warn all of your readers who live in areas invaded by the hunt of the dangers posed to pets and rescued animals…. Steve Calf Shropshire Animal Protection (letter)

Shropshire Star 6.11.03 Ban sale of fireworks in shops - I have just returned from signing the declaration form to break the law to carry on hunting if fox hunting is banned…. Fireworks should be banned in the shops, but we will never see that because the Government would lose too much tax on the sale… D Evans Telford (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 6.11.03 FROM ONE FOX TO ANOTHER - Have you ever been a fox? I have. I was a front-line fighter… Dogs are a man's best friend but training them to tear a fox to pieces is disgusting. Foxes kill rats and mice and other vermin. C A Hackney, Saltshouse Road, Hull. (letter)

Barry & District News 6.11.03 Ban hunts - Claire Robinson Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA Horsham West Sussex (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Post 3.11.03 Hunting: A minority is victimised From: John Grice, The Close, Durkar,Wakefield. Your RSPCA correspondent (October 23) has criticised me personally, which is not a problem. That is what debate is about! However, I would like to meet like with like and ask your correspondent if she studied the Burns Report? Or has she, like a lot of Labour MPs, totally ignored it?... (letter)
Yorkshire Post 29.10.03 RSPCA: Stick to welfare From: John Warden, Highgate, Cherry Burton, Beverley, East Yorkshire. In response to Heather Holmes, of the RSPCA (Letters, October 23), she really should stick to the facts, not fiction. The RSPCA is a registered charity, and as such is prevented by law from engaging in political campaigning. The stance of the RSPCA on hunting is a gross distortion of the truth and flies in the face of true democratic opinion. Jackie Ballard, who now heads the RSPCA, is an ex-MP, voted out by her constituents because they believe that hunting should continue – as do the vast majority of the population in this country…. (letter)
Yorkshire Post 23.10.03 Time for final decision on hunting - From: Heather Holmes, RSPCA regional Press officer, Leeds. I write in response to your correspondent John Grice ("RSPCA should keep out of politics", October 3). John Grice accuses the RSPCA of "political interference" because the society believes the Government should use the Parliament Act…. (letter)
Western Morning News 14.10.03 Despicable move IN response to the House of Lord's second reading of the Hunt Bill, the RSPCA, through its chief parliamentary officer Claire Robinson, sought further to promote its enthusiasm for the Bill by sending an open letter to regional newspapers saying polls have consistently shown majority support for a total ban. In fact over the past 12 months the exact opposite has been the case… W T Sweet, Mawgan, Helston (letter)
Bromsgrove Advertiser 8.10.03 Hunting facts have changed - Miss Robinson's (RSPCA) letter (September 24) unfortunately continued the highly selective information from the RSPCA in respect of hunting with dogs. Polling used to consistently show a majority supporting a ban on hunting but it has not done so for well over a year, as the public become better informed of the issues and less lead by highly biased organisations…. R.Scott-Watson, The Malt House, Stourbridge Road, Fairfield (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 7.10.03 Statute duty - Claire Robinson, Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Yorkshire Post 3.10.03 RSPCA should keep out of politics From: John Grice, The Close, Durkar, Wakefield. I read the letter from the RSPCA spokesperson (September 19) and thought, here we go again.... I should like to say something else which has happened in the 21st century which should not have taken place and that is the highjacking of an animal welfare society – the RSPCA – by a group of political activists. All through my life, the society did its job, got on with the countryside and minded its own business regarding politics. Look at it now. It daren't even go to the agricultural shows – it is conspicuous by its absence... (letter)
Surrey Mirror 26.9.03 RSPCA's feud with hunting - I HEAR from various reports that the RSPCA, which used to be a nationally respected organisation with no political bias, is now attempting to convince the public that in the matter of the Hunting Bill the House of Lords should abandon its constitutional task of correcting or amending obvious errors by the House of Commons…. in the meantime the RSPCA, which in the past has done such fine work in attacking real casual or deliberate cruelty, is having to make serious cutbacks in this field while it pursues its feud with hunting. What a great pity. Roy Smith, Ekely, Dormans Park (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 25.9.03 MPS CAN'T BE ALLOWED TO DICTATE OVER HUNTING - What a pathetic letter from Claire Robinson, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Lords shouldn't obstruct the will of elected MPs, Points of view, September 18. Who does she think elected MPs are to dictate what we can and cannot do with our lives?... G Paddon, Pathfinder Village, Tedburn St Mary (letter)
Cambrian News 25.9.03 Peers must not block hunting bill - Claire Robinson Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA Horsham, West Sussex (letter in archive)
Bromsgrove & Droitwich Spa Advertiser 24.9.03 Hunting down `sport' ban - Claire Robinson, Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA Horsham (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Post 19.9.03 From: Claire Robinson, senior parliamentary officer, RSPCA, Horsham, West Sussex. (letter)
Sunderland Echo 19.9.03 Hunting is cruel - Claire Robinson, Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Surrey Mirror 18.9.03 Hunting is cruel and unnecessary - Claire Robinson senior parliamentary officer RSPCA Horsham (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 18.9.03 LORDS SHOULDN'T OBSTRUCT THE WILL OF ELECTED MPS Claire Robinson, Senior parliamentary officer RSPCA Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Redhill & Reigate Life 18.9.03 Hunting ban must not be delayed by lords - Claire Robinson Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA, Horsham (letter)
East Grinstead Courier 17.9.03 LET HUNTING BILL RUN ITS COURSE - Claire Robinson Senior parliamentary officer RSPCA Horsham (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 17.9.03 POLITICIANS' DUTY TO BAN HUNTING - CLAIRE ROBINSON, Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA, Horsham, Sussex (letter)
Yorkshire Evening Post 17.9.03 Lords can't defy will of the House - CLAIRE ROBINSON, Senior Parliamentary Officer, RSPCA, Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Western Daily Press 16.9.03 RSPCA INSULT TO COUNTRY PEOPLE - Do we really have to put up with this abuse of position by politically-motivated animal welfare activists? First we get politician Jackie Ballard - who knows as much about animal husbandry as a farm gate - heading the RSPCA. Now, we've got Claire Robinson, senior parliamentary officer - whatever that is - pontificating about barbarity and the cruelty in hunting… For the record, it took nearly four years for the RSPCA to sort out the abuse of breeding bitches being kept in old cars near my home a few years back… Please will the RSPCA return to its proper function so that it can once again enjoy the respect of real country people that it once had. At the moment there is none. Andrew Banks, Park Street, Bristol (letter)
Bucks Free Press 15.9.03 Bloodsports ban looks closer than ever - Clare Robinson Senior parliamentary officer RSPCA HQ Horsham (letter)
Western Daily Press 13.9.03 MPS MUST ENSURE BAN - For years, we have seen MPs voting - by huge majorities - on behalf of their constituents to ban the so-called 'sport' of hunting with dogs and, for years, the House of Lords has obstructed the progress of such legislation... Hunting is cruel and unnecessary, and should not be allowed to continue in the 21st century.... It is now up to elected politicians to ensure that this is the case. Claire Robinson, Senior parliamentary officer RSPCA (letter)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Newbury
Reading Chronicle 5.11.03 Thousands attend Newbury hunt rally - ABOUT 4,300 people signed a declaration supporting hunting at a mass meet at Newbury Showground on Saturday…. (story)
Basingstoke Gazette 3.11.03 Opposition voiced to ban on hunting by Hugh Cadman - LOCAL huntsmen and women were at the forefront of mass protests on Saturday against the proposed ban on hunting with dogs which is being debated by Parliament. Thousands gathered at Newbury showground to openly declare they will defy any outright ban… The mass meet was one of 12 across the country and was organised by members of the local Vine and Craven Hunt… (story in archive)
Independent on Sunday 2.11.03 'It would make a good Ealing comedy,' said our lady of the protest. 'Carry On Hunting!' Eye witness: Fox-hunters pledge civil disobedience to defy a ban on their sport. By Severin Carrell ... Yesterday was Declaration Day, a defining moment in the battle by the pro-fox-hunting lobby to prevent the Labour Government from banning hunting with hounds by declaring their centuries-old sport illegal.... at the heart of the protesters were families. This, it seemed yesterday, was the bedrock of the pro-hunting movement: communities reared and steeped in the traditions of country sports.... Mark Weiner, 45, who helps to run the Old Berkeley Beagles, said: "I think the declaration is the expression of an idea. It's not necessarily an act in itself..." (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Protestors vow to break hunt ban - Hundreds of hunt supporters gathered on Newbury Showground in Berkshire to show that they were prepared to break the impending ban on hunting with dogs.... (story)
Reading Chronicle 29.10.03 Hunting they will sign a little box - THOUSANDS of hunting supporters from all over the South of England will be gathering at Newbury Show-ground this Saturday at 10am…. (story)
Southern Daily Echo 28.10.03 Huntsmen are ready to defy any ban - HUNTING enthusiasts in the New Forest are threatening to break the law. Members of the New Forest Hounds say they will carry on hunting if the government forces through an anti-hunt Bill. They have postponed their opening meet of the season to attend a rally at which they will vow to defy any anti-hunting law…. (story in archive)
Basingstoke Gazette 20.10.03 Hunt organises protest over proposed ban by Elizabeth Roberts - THE VINE and Craven hunt is to host a mass protest meet for supporters to declare their opposition to a ban on hunting. The meet, which is part of a nationwide event, will take place at Newbury Showground from 10am on November 1…. In line with the message that hunting is open to all, Mr Mackenzie said that the Vine and Craven will also be holding a "newcomers week" between November 10 and 15, inviting people who have never hunted before to try it for themselves…. (story in archive)
Reading Chronicle 15.10.03 Hunters sound the horn to call mass meet and oppose ban - CAMPAIGNERS from 11 hunts will gather at a mass meet at Newbury Show-ground on Saturday, November 1 - the traditional opening day meet of the season… Foxhounds, lurchers, greyhounds, beagles, minkhounds, terriers and other hunting and working dogs from Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and the Isle of Wight will all be present, along with supporters on horseback… (story)

DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Birdsall
Rydale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 5.11.03 Declaration of independence by Victoria Young - GRASSROOT supporters of hunting with dogs showed their determination on Saturday to ignore any law that outlaws the pursuit. Members of each of Yorkshire's 29 hunts joined together at the event in Birdsall for a Declaration Day…. Julie Nelson, of Withernsea, wife of the joint master and huntsman of the Hunsley Beacon Beagles, was at the event with her daughter Katy, age six…. Brian Summerbell, 39, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, is a member of the Beadale Hunt, and works as cabin crew for airline BMI…. Sheila Ferrett, of Rudstone, near Driffield, member of the Middleton Hunt Supporters Club (MHSC) said she was frustrated with the Government… Tracey Corrigan-Clark, and her children Josh Clark, 13, and Jenny Clark, ten, and Susie Cooper, all of Sawdon, near Scarborough, came to show their support for hunting. Jenny and Tracey are members of the Derwent Hunt. "My first job was as a groom with the East Essex Hunt," said Ms Cooper…. (story in archive)
Northern Echo 3.11.03 Hounding the Prime Minister by Helen Miller - THOUSANDS of North-East pro-hunt supporters have pledged to go to jail rather than give up the sport…. "The declaration shows how far people are prepared to go to carry on their way of life," said Gilda Brader, joint secretary of the Middleton Hunt…. (story in archive)
Sheffield Star 3.11.03 Barnsley defiance over hunting ban … Ten horse and riders and over 40 local followers of the Rockwood hunt joined Saturday's gathering of more than 1,000 people in Birdsall near York to sign the Hunting Declaration… (story)
Northern Echo 1.11.03 Pro-hunt supporters pledge to defy any ban on day of demonstrations - PRO-hunt supporters are set to hold a weekend of mass meetings to protest at plans to ban bloodsports... Among the packs holding a demo day is the York and Ainsty Hunt, where the hounds were being prepared yesterday... (story in archive)
York Evening Press 1.11.03 Thousands sign to defy ban on hunts by Victoria Young - ABOUT 3,000 hunt supporters from across North and East Yorkshire gathered in Ryedale to declare their intention to continue the pursuit - even if it is banned. The mass meet at Birdsall, near Malton, was one of 12 taking place throughout England and Wales on the first day of the hunting season... Gilda Brader, joint secretary of the Middleton Hunt, said: "The declaration shows how far people are prepared to go to carry on their way of life." ... (story in archive)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 1.11.03 No surrender by Victoria Young - ABOUT 3,000 hunt supporters from across North and East Yorkshire were gathering in Ryedale on Saturday to declare their intention to continue the pursuit - even if it is banned... Members of 29 hunts, including the Middleton, Sinnington and Farndale Hunts, joined with huntsmen and women, foot followers and hounds from all corners of Yorkshire.... "The declaration shows how far people are prepared to go to carry on their way of life," said Gilda Brader, joint secretary of the Middleton Hunt.... (photo)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 15.10.03 Hunt supporters to defy any ban on their sport … People from the hunting, shooting and fishing communities, and others who support the freedom to hunt, are to meet at Birdsall on the morning of November 1 - `Declaration Day' - to sign what they are calling the Hunting Declaration…. Frank Houghton-Brown, joint master and huntsman for the Birdsall-based Middleton Hunt, said he would sign the declaration…. (story in archive)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 11.10.03 Hunt will ignore any ban by Victoria Young - HUNT supporters from across Yorkshire will come to Ryedale to "stand up and be counted" by signing a declaration that commits them to not co-operating with a ban on hunting. More than 1,000 people who back the freedom to hunt, will meet at Birdsall, near Malton, on Saturday, November 1, at 10am for Declaration Day, organised by the Countryside Alliance.... Frank Houghton Brown, joint master and huntsman for the Birdsall-based Middleton Hunt, said he would sign the declaration.... (story in archive)

DECLARATION DAY 31.10.03 Rydal Showground
Westmorland Messenger 5.11.03 Huntsmen pledge dogged defiance By Ellis Butcher … Rydal Showground, outside Ambleside, rang out with hunting horns, the whine of foxhounds and addresses of defiance as the hunting community gathered in its hundreds on Friday…. Edmund Porter, chairman of the Central Fell Packs Committee and a member of the Eskdale and Ennerdale Hunt, addressed the crowd…. Alan Todd, 50, of Tebay, the northern area chairman of the fund-raising committee for the Lunesdale Foxhounds, said he had signed the declaration to: “Let them know that we mean what we say…" (story)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 3.11.03 The defiant ones by Victoria Young - MORE than 2,000 supporters of hunting with dogs met in Ryedale to declare their intention to take part in a mass civil disobedience - to face jail by continuing the pursuit if it is banned… (story in archive)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Hunt supporters defiant over ban - Rallies have begun around England and Wales in protest against moves to outlaw hunting with dogs... The first of the protests was held in Rydal in Cumbria on Friday, where more than a thousands hunt supporters gathered in the wind and rain to make their case... (story)
BBC News Online 31.10.03 Hunt supporters 'to defy law' - Hundreds of hunting supporters in Cumbria have signed forms pledging to carry out acts of civil disobedience if their sport is banned. The meet at Rydal, in the Lake District, was the first of a number of such gatherings across the country. (story)
Westmorland Gazette 31.10.03 Hunting call for pledge to cause By Ellis Butcher - A NATIONWIDE campaign to count the numbers of people prepared to become “criminals” if hunting with dogs is banned, was due to be launched in the Lake District today Friday, writes Countryside Reporter Ellis Butcher…. Guests expected included Penrith and the Border MP David Maclean, Eskdale-based Edmund Porter of the Central Fell Packs Committee along with Sam Butler and Michael Markham of the Council for Hunting Associations, who were among those to draft the declaration…. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 30.10.03 PRO-HUNT PROTEST GOES AHEAD - AROUND 1,000 hunt enthusiasts from across Cumbria will stage a protest in the county tomorrow against the proposed ban on fox hunting…. Anne Wybergh, from the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds pack, said she was pleased with the Lords’ delaying tactic, but “not 100 per cent confident” that the plans had been killed off…. (story)
Cumberland News 24.10.03 HUNTERS RALLY - CUMBRIAN fell packs are to stage a mass show of defiance over any ban on hunting…. (story)
Westmorland Gazette 17.10.03 Pro hunting demo for Lakes By Ellis Butcher - THE number of fox hunting supporters in South Lakeland who would be prepared to break the law if a ban was introduced will become clearer at a major rally in the Lake District later this month, reports Ellis Butcher. Hundreds are expected at the Countryside Alliance’s demonstration at Rydal Park, Ambleside on October 31, where hunt supporters will be invited to sign a declaration to state they will never accept an “unjust law”… Roger Westmoreland, of the Coniston Foxhounds, said: “I am quite prepared to break the law and go to jail and there are thousands more like me.”… (story)
Cumberland News 10.10.03 HUGE PRO-HUNTING RALLY PLANNED - A PRO-HUNT group is staging a mass rally in Cumbria to protest against the Government’s proposed ban on fox hunting. The Countryside Alliance is drawing up plans which will see at least 500 huntsmen and their supporters descending on an unnamed site in Cumbria on October 31… Anne Wybergh, of the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds in Welton, said: “Cumbria has a great tradition for hunting and there is a great deal of frustration and anger in the county…." (story)

Western Daily Press 5.11.03 CRUCIAL FACTOR IN A WAY OF LIFE - As owner of the White Horse Inn at Exford, Peter Hendrie runs one of the most popular haunts on Exmoor. As well as providing a livelihood for Peter and his wife Linda, it employs 42 full and part time staff... Mr Hendrie estimates roughly one third of his income is hunting related... (story)

Western Morning News 5.11.03 LANDOWNERS MAY FACE PENALTIES OVER HUNTING - Farmers who allow a proposed law to ban hunting to be broken could be financially penalised through 'cross-compliance' Peter Hall reports... The warning came from Michael Markham, the founder of the Delaration Day event last Saturday, which in the South West alone saw 4,200 people sign forms saying they were prepared to break the law... (story)

Times 5.11.03 Human rights hope for hunt supporters BY DAVID CHARTER, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - HUNT supporters were jubilant last night after learning that the Bill to ban hunting with dogs has fallen foul of Parliament’s joint committee on human rights. MPs and peers on the committee have demanded clarification from ministers on two key points before clearing the Bill of a possible infringement. They want the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to explain how it can justify banning hunting on private property without challenge from owners under the right to enjoy their own land. The committee has also demanded further details of the way that compensation will be offered to those whose livelihoods are lost or curtailed under a hunting ban, from dog-breeders to saddle-makers.... (story)

Northwich Chronicle 5.11.03 Anti-hunt MP is on warpath By Paul Brown Northwich Chronicle - A NORTHWICH MP is backing anti-hunt campaigners who want to see blood sports outlawed… Mike Hall has promised he'll do all he can to see the 'barbaric' practice outlawed…. Members of Cheshire's fox-hunting set attended a mass meeting in Daresbury, one of 12 across England and Wales, to sign a hunting declaration committing themselves to breaking the law by hunting if a ban is imposed… But Gregg Metcalfe, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: 'For years they have claimed to be law-abiding, but this so-called declaration shows their true colours…." (story)

Western Daily Press 5.11.03 LORDS VOTE WAS SAD FOR HARES - I was sorry to hear that the House of Lords had voted against a ban to end hare coursing… Pamela Dean Whiteshill Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 5.11.03 WHY KEEP UP THINGS OF PAST? I Read in the paper the other day of a person who wished to keep fox hunting because it is a tradition…. The ritual killing of infants has almost disappeared, stocks, the burning of witches, slavery, press gangs, corporal punishment, and hangings are things of the past…. JACKIE READ, Crispin Close, Longlevens (letter)

Northern Echo 5.11.03 HUNTING - A CORRESPONDENT (HAS, Nov 3) stated that if a group of tattooed scruffy bikers tore across the British countryside they would be arrested… I am myself a heavily tattooed biker who attended the Trimdon mass rally on Saturday… I attended Trimdon on Saturday to stand up for my rights and to protect a way of life as I did in the 1980s and 1990s when demonstrating with the motorcycle action group, when the government of the day was imposing new laws against the motorcycle fraternity… Name and address supplied. (letter in archive)
Northern Echo 3.11.03 HUNTING - IF a group of tattooed and scruffy bikers (which I have nothing against) tore across the British countryside accompanied by a pack of dogs every week, hell bent on killing local wildlife, the police would be after them and the public would be outraged…. I hope the police were out in force in Trimdon on Saturday taking photos of the perpetrators, as they do at football matches, and regard them in the same way - as lawless dangerous hooligans. - Name and address supplied. (letter in archive)

Liverpool Echo 5.11.03 THE intention to ban foxhunting is very one-sided… The rabbits and chickens don't get to vote. Or does this all powerful, overweening government intend to make foxes vegetarians? Mona McNee,Whiston
TO all those people threatening to break the law and go to prison over the issue of hunting with hounds, I say I can't think of a better place for you…. M. Heydon, Manchester (letters)


DECLARATION DAY 1.11.03 - Higham
Lynn News 4.11.03 HUNTERS THREATEN TO BREAK THE LAW - HUNDREDS of hunt supporters signed up for civil disobedience at a rally held near Fakenham at the weekend. More than 1,000 people, ranging from children to a 100-year-old veteran enthusiast, massed at Gateley Hall, home of Earl Cathcart, before a joint outing for the West Norfolk Hunt and North Norfolk Harriers…. (story)
Essex Evening Gazette 3.11.03 Essex: Hundreds protest at hunt ban plans - Hundreds of hunt supporters from across East Anglia pledged to risk prison if the Government bans hunting with dogs,,, (story in archive) (photo)
Cambridge Evening News 3.11.03 Trainer's jail pledge over ban on hunting - A NEWMARKET racehorse trainer says he is willing to go to jail in protest at a ban on hunting. Sir Mark Prescott declared his support for open defiance of a hunting ban at a rally attended by about 2,500 people… (story)
Ipswich Evening Star 3.11.03 A-hunting we WILL go - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters from across East Anglia have showed their defiance of the Government and vowed to break the law to beat a ban on fox-hunting…. James Aldous, master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, added: "My personal opinion is that hunting won't be banned, whatever the government says…" Another rally was held in Cratfield, near Halesworth, on Saturday, where members of the Waveney Harriers also signed the declaration…. Richard Bourne, an anti-hunt Essex county councillor, said the declaration was "pathetic"… "I look forward to the day when we have police helicopters swirling overhead tracking the illegal hunts down and then officers coming to pull the red jackets down from their horses to make arrests."… (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 3.11.03 Hunters pledge to defy Government By Richard Smith, Jenni Dixon, Patrick Lowman and Ted Jeory - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters from across East Anglia have showed their defiance of the Government and vowed to break the law to beat a ban on fox hunting…. Edmund Vestey, master of Thurlow Foxhounds, vowed hunters would continue to participate in the traditional countryside sport regardless of any attempts to introduce a ban…. Chris Thorogood, master of the Essex Foxhounds, said he had signed the declaration ahead of today's scheduled hunt… Roger Clark, master of the East Anglian Bloodhounds, said: "I support the declaration because it's an unjust law and badly thought out…" James Aldous, master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, added: "My personal opinion is that hunting won't be banned, whatever the Government says…" Another rally was held in Cratfield, near Halesworth, on Saturday, where members of the Waveney Harriers also signed the declaration…. (story)
Eastern Daily Press 2.11.03 Pro-hunters willing to ignore ban - JAMES GOFFIN - Thousands of people across East Anglia gave a defiant warning to the Government at the weekend: ban hunting and we will break the law… More than 1100 people attended a protest meeting at Gateley Hall, near Dereham in advance of a joint hunt meet for the West Norfolk Hunt and North Norfolk Harriers… (story)
BBC News Online 1.11.03 Pro-hunters will 'disobey' ban - More than 2,000 pro-hunt campaigners from across the east of England have protested against plans to ban hunting with dogs... (story)
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 31.10.03 PLEDGE: 'We'll break law over hunting ban' - HUNTSMEN and women have pledged to break the law if fox hunting is banned in Britain. Up to 100 people from Peterborough's Fitzwilliam Hunt will travel to Higham, near Ipswich, on Saturday, as part of a countrywide demonstration…. George Bowyer, joint master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, which is based at Milton Hall, said: "I will be signing the declaration. The Countryside Alliance and the hunting community have bent over backwards to co-operate with the Government…" (story)
Essex Evening Gazette 14.10.03 - Higham: Hunt demo date fixed - Pro-hunting demonstrators will be holding a mass gathering to promote a national day of opposition to proposals to ban hunting with dogs Known to the Countryside Alliance as Declaration Day, November 1 will see one of 12 national gatherings held at Higham, near Colchester. (story in archive)

Guardian 4.11.03 Blair urged to defy Lords and force through fox hunting ban - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - Tony Blair is being told by cabinet ministers to risk a confrontation with the House of Lords by forcing through a ban on fox hunting in the next parliamentary session… Advocates of confrontation argue the prime minister will inflame backbench opinion if he prevaricates on hunting again, risking support for mainstream legislation such as top-up tuiton fees…. (story)

Western Morning News 4.11.03 GLIMMER OF HOPE FOR HUNT SUPPORTERS - JASON GROVES LONDON EDITOR - Fresh doubts were raised about Tony Blair's commitment to a ban on hunting with dogs yesterday after Downing Street ducked questions on how the Government will take forward the controversial Hunting Bill…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.11.03 DON'T DENY HUNTERS THEIR RIGHTS AND WAY OF LIFE - Mr j Phelps, Points of view, October 27, once again condemns hunting. His arguments regarding the number of vets who don't back hunts are very unimpressive… Lead your life the way you wish and leave others to do the same… Mr G Paddon, Pathfinder Village, Tedburn St Mary (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 1.11.03 HUNTING CALCULATIONS MAY NOT BE PROVEN - Whereas i have neither sufficient knowledge nor the desire to take issue with John Phelps on the rights and wrongs of hunting, I beg to question his statement, Points of view, October 27, regarding the attitude of vets towards blood sports. Firstly, unless Mr Phelps' calculations are based on an actual opinion poll carried out across the total membership of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, his figures of three per cent to four per cent being pro-hunting - leaving 96 per cent to 97 per cent against - are based on a false hypothesis and thus mathematically unproven.... Peta Jones Exonia Park Dunsford Road Exeter (letter)

Western Daily Press 4.11.03 COUNTR YMAN LEFT ME FOXED - I must respond to Brian Sedgley's letter, A Lovely Day In The Country. His description of a morning spent fox hunting is completely baffling… Are we to believe the hunt first checked that the area the foxes were "dispersed" to was previously fox-free and that there are no farmers or small-holders who might object to their introduction?... J Norris Coleford Radstock Somerset (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 15.9.03 It's like a dog fight - It is shocking to see that one of your correspondents (Letter, Under Threat) thinks it is a privilege to join a fox hunt when they are autumn hunting, or cubbing as it is more accurately known…. Since when has it been a privilege to be invited to a glorified dog fight? Gill Purser, Cheltenham (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 8.9.03 Under threat - LAST Saturday, I was privileged to join a local hunt in its early autumn hunting at 6am on the Marlborough Downs. There were vast acres of golden stubble interspersed with well managed copses and covers, patches of maize and game crops providing feed and habitat for a variety of wildlife… I would dearly loved to have had the company of Lord Haskins, Margaret Beckett and others of their townie colleagues to show them what they were doing their best to destroy with their directives, regulations and, above all, the Bill to ban hunting, but I don't suppose they are out and about before 10am. BRIAN SEDGLEY, Broad Hinton (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 4.11.03 TIME TO HUNT FOR A NEW COUNTRY HOBBY - It seems inevitable that hunting will eventually be banned…. Upon scrutinising a photograph of the Heythrop hunt in your paper showing at least 40 horses and smartly-dressed riders, I see the tip of a massive cost iceberg…. Nigel Walker-Drew Burnham-on-Sea Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 4.11.03 Gun hysteria - HOW ridiculous of Sandy Moorhouse (WMN, October 30) to suggest residents of the countryside are in any danger from licensed gun owners. Over 99 per cent of crime in this country involving firearms is committed with unlicensed guns… Presumably if hunting is banned she proposes arranging for an unlicensed gun owner to shoot the thousands of hounds that will need to be destroyed… Eric Nicholls, Constantine Falmouth (letters)
Western Morning News 7.10.03 ANARCHY WOULD RESULT IN COUNTRYSIDE CHAOS - Yet again, threats of civil unrest have been made by Simon Hart of the Countryside Alliance (WMN, September 3)… Does Simon Hart think he and his supporters can defeat the democratic will, through bullying and threatening both us and our supportive MPs?... Hunters should accept the inevitable,and understand that anarchy would do them, in particular, no favours at all. They would certainly not enjoy the very necessary public support to safeguard them if law and order were to break down. Sandy Moorhouse, Plymouth (story)
Western Morning News 30.9.03 REPORT REFLECTS FIRM FEELING AGAINST BAN - John Phelps (WMN, September 16) criticizes Simon Hart for saying that the Burns report found no grounds for a ban on hunting. The Burns committee was not, says Mr Phelps, asked to comment on whether a ban should be imposed or not… Perhaps the realization that the report cannot be used to support a ban explains Mr Phelps' statement that the report was of limited value to MPs… Mr Phelps declares that anti-hunting MPs voted on moral and ethical grounds. The proper word for this kind of morality is sanctimony… Jonathan Higgins, Totnes (letter)
Western Morning News 16.9.03 Moral case - THE article by Simon Hart (WMN, September 3) under the heading "Hunting fight touches on freedom of us all" casts a poor reflection on the chief executive designate of the Countryside Alliance… John Phelps, Exeter (letter)


Telegraph 3.11.03 Blair still ready to force ban on hunting By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent - Tony Blair will use the next session of Parliament to brush aside opposition in the Lords and force through a ban on hunting with hounds, ministers signalled yesterday.... (story)

Times 3.11.03 'Anarchy' in Lords on hunting BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - A HUNTING Bill has been left out of the Queen’s Speech while the Prime Minister tries to find a way to thwart the “scorched earth” policy being threatened by doomed hereditary peers.... Government business managers have told Mr Blair that if legislation to ban hunting is included in the Queen’s Speech on November 26, peers will insist on debating it until they have put in jeopardy almost everything else in the Prime Minister’s legislative programme. Important measures on pensions, university top-up fees, baby bonds, child protection and mental health could all fall by the wayside.... (story)

Birmingham Post 3.11.03 Alliance chief in warning to police By Emma Pinch, Birmingham Post - Relations between the police and the rural community risk being "poisoned" for a generation if a bill to ban hunting gets the go-ahead, the West Midlands regional chairman of the Countryside Alliance has warned. Peter Presland spelled out the likely effects of the civil disobedience, which thousands have signed up to in this weekend's pro-hunting demonstration, in November's Police Review… (story)

Western Mail 3.11.03 MPs 'driven by class' - CLASS is an issue for 44% of anti-hunt MPs, according to a poll commissioned by the Countryside Alliance. A new ICM poll shows that 44% of the public think Labour MPs trying to ban hunting are driven by class issues…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 3.11.03 A class thing - HUNTING is often described as a class thing… The House of Commons very distinctively wanted to ban hunting. The House of Lords rejected a ban by a smaller margin. See what I mean? JOHN NORWOOD, Kidderminster (letter in archive)

Guardian 3.11.03 Michael Howard is famous for his declaration that "prison works". What is his advice for those hunt enthusiasts who, at the weekend, demonstrated their determination to go to prison. Paul Tyler MP (letter)


BBC News Online 2.11.03 Peers 'abused power on hunting' - Peers cannot be allowed to stand in the way of MPs' overwhelming calls for anti-hunting laws, the leader of the House of Commons has said. Peter Hain signalled the government's intention to use the Parliament Act to force laws through the Lords, which this week again blocked a complete ban. But he did not say whether he was talking about an outright ban or the compromise option initially favoured by ministers.... (story)

Sunday Telegraph 2.11.03 Blair vows to force through hunt ban By Colin Brown, Political Editor - Tony Blair will reintroduce a Bill to ban hunting with dogs in the Queen's Speech at the end of the month despite demonstrations yesterday by pro-hunt campaigners who are threatening to defy the law... Ministers confirmed last night, however, that the measure will be reintroduced in the next session of Parliament, which the Queen will open on November 26. If the legislation is blocked again by peers, ministers plan to use the Parliament Act to force the measure through... Mass rallies yesterday marked the start of the new hunting season, which could be one of the last. At Worcester Lodge, Badminton, 1,000 signatures supporting hunting, even if it is made illegal, were collected in 45 minutes. Capt Ian Farquhar, the joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, with which the Prince of Wales and his sons have ridden, said that the rallies were sending a "very simple message" that the Hunting Bill was unjust... (story)


Times 1.11.03 Fox on the run BY ROBIN LANE FOX - When Hunting goes, it’s cubbing above all that will torture the memory - Cubbing ends today with the official opening of the fox hunting season. It has been exquisitely beautiful.... Now, countrywide, we have all postponed it for one more Saturday of national protest. If the Queen’s Speech opts for the worst, it is the beauty of cubbing, above all, which will haunt me for my next 40 outraged years (story)

Telegraph 1.11.03 The political death of hunting - If, as your report suggests, the latest attempt to ban hunting has run aground on the sands of parliamentary procedure, then the hunting world has bought itself some precious time. The opportunity must not be squandered... If we in the hunting world can work together between now and the next election to erode ban-obsessed MPs' slim majorities, hunting as a political issue will be dead... Richard Hall, Working Hound Defence Campaign, London, N13 (letter)

Telegraph 1.11.03 The Government's demise - Your report (News, Oct 30) on the demise of the hunting Bill in the House of Lords told only part of the story... Both Lord Donoughue and Lady Mallalieu, representing a cross-party group of backbench peers, had early on made it clear to the government chief whip that, in our view, the Bill would need three if not four days in committee... the House of Lords has not blocked the hunting Bill: the Government has simply failed, either deliberately or through mismanagement, to provide the necessary time to allow us to complete it, which is a very different thing. Lord Mancroft, London, SW1 (letter)

Telegraph 1.11.03 Stand up and be counted - I am a Russian citizen who has lived in Britain for almost 10 years. Foxhunting is as British as rain.... I am proud to say I am the first Russian member of Janet George's Countryside Action Network, which co-ordinates the campaign against a ban. I urge all lovers of the British countryside to stand up and be counted. Nikolai Glazounov, London, W11 (letter)

Bristol Evening Post 1.11.03 DON'T BE TEMPTED TO BREAK THE LAW - I Note that the Countryside Alliance is heavily promoting and may be actively supporting a "Declaration Day" today (November 1). This is an invitation for pro-hunting extremists to declare that they will break any legislation banning hunting... As far as I am concerned, it is only under extraordinary circumstances that one should promote the breaking of the law. This does not apply to hunting. It involves cruelty and is not the best way of culling foxes. It should rightfully be banned.... David Taylor, Candidate for European elections, South-West Green Party. (letter)