January 2003

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Portsmouth News 31.1.03 FOX WAS KILLED ON COLLEGE LAND SAY PROTESTERS - CHICHESTER College was branded the 'academy of blood sports' by anti-hunt campaigners after they accused the school of supporting hunting…. Members of West Sussex Wildlife Protection and the League Against Cruel Sports carried out their own investigation into the links between the college and hunting… The two groups claim the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray hunt... chased foxes on college land on Christmas Eve, with at least one fox allegedly killed… They also claim students from the college had attended a joint meeting of the CLC hunt and the Brighton and Storrington Beagles, transported by college minibuses… (story in archive)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 31.1.03 PHEASANTS WELL FED - I Think it would be appropriate for Tara Corcoran to check the true facts (letters, January 23)…. The pheasants in this area are well fed and cared for and are not in factory conditions…. Beware shooters?-?the anti-hunt protesters will not stop at hunting you, and fishermen will be next. BARBARA FRANCIS Goathurst Common (letter)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 31.1.03 TIME TO END HUNTING - When more than half the MPs on the committee examining the Hunting Bill are firmly opposed to all live animal hunting, and 80 per cent of the public consider it cruel, while 98 per cent reject the claim that it is humane, can the pro-licensing lobby hope to succeed?... On January 18, the Cheshire Forest hounds roamed down a residential road… the prestigious Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt has earned a reputation for traffic chaos… The North Staffordshire Hounds in 1987 invaded gardens, killed a fox in front of a small child… the Quorn Hunt have been caught out on video throwing a fox alive to hounds in 1991… KATHERINE WATSON Cheshire (letter)

Ledbury Reporter 31.1.03 Vets give warning of outbreak - VETS have warned dog owners that the area is in its worst mange epidemic for decades with the finger of blame being pointed at the fox population… Vet Eden Tanner, of the Argus Veterinary Surgery in New Street, said: "We would assume there is a much higher incidence in foxes now. This is how dogs get it. Foxes get into people's gardens, where there are dogs…." (story in archive)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 31.1.03 STOP THE BARBARITY - I Was sad but touched to read about the firefighters who tried in vain to resuscitate a dog rescued from a fire in Sevenoaks… Tragically, this caring approach appears to stop at the locked laboratory door. Hundreds of dogs spend their lives in a sterile, loveless environment and are subjected to painful experiments in the name of science… The multi-million pound pharmaceutical industry has conditioned people into believing that this is necessary to find cures for human disease. However, this has been proven to be untrue… MISS TARA CORCORAN Raphael Medical Centre, Hildenborough (letter)

Matlock Mercury 30.1.02 HUNT PLANS OF BLOODHOUNDS AT CHATSWORTH - A pack of hunting hounds will be chasing through Chatsworth Park at the weekend - but there will be no fox in sight as these dogs are bloodhounds and their quarry is human. The dogs are trained to pick up a human scent and be followed by a hunters on horseback in a sport which dates back centuries. Sunday´s event is special as it a year since popular local bloodhound pack, The Four Shires´ met at Chatsworth…. (story)

Telegraph 30.1.03 End of dressage - I was rather cheered by the League Against Cruel Sports's proposed ban on "people using acts of dominance on animals" (letter, Jan. 28). Could this mean an end to dressage? (letter)
Telegraph 29.1.03 Pressured groups - So the League Against Cruel Sports is now the guardian of the nation's moral health (letter, Jan 28). Heaven help us. When I, as the executive director of the league in the 1990s, questioned a simple ban on hunting with dogs and advocated a better way forward for animal welfare, I was subjected to a stream of abuse and threats of physical violence… James Barrington, Consultant to the All-Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, London SW1 (letter)
Telegraph 28.1.03 For our moral health - Nicholas Soames (letter, Jan. 27) condemns Alun Michael's hunting Bill as having no concern for real animal welfare. I beg to differ. The Bill, for all its faults, clearly bans hunting for sport, as well as hare coursing…. Institutionalising the act of hunting, calling it a sport, does not make it any more morally acceptable. It is cruel and must be banned, for the welfare of animals and the moral health of the nation. Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, London SE1 (letter)
Telegraph 27.1.03 No concern … Only last Wednesday, Alun Michael alleged, wrongly, that in competitive coursing "points are awarded . . . for achieving a kill". In a House of Commons committee on January 14, James Gray, shadow minister for the countryside, corrected the minister, confirming that "no points are awarded for killing"… "In the case of the hare," Burns found, "on those estates which favour hare coursing or hunting, rather than shooting, a ban might lead farmers and landowners to pay less attention to encouraging hare numbers. The loss of habitat suitable for hares could have serious consequences for a number of birds and other animals."… Nicholas Soames MP (Cons), London SW1 (letter)

DERBY EVENING TELEGRAPH HUNTING CORRESPONDENCE
Derby Evening Telegraph 30.1.03 KILLER FOX - OR KILLER CAT? - Having read other people's views for and against fox-hunting, I'd like to comment on remarks made by pro-fox-hunting supporters. They claim that foxes will kill for the sake of killing: this is not true. What is true is that foxes will kill more than they can eat at that time, but will bury the rest for the future if not disturbed…. if foxes did kill cats, would it be so bad? These pampered felines are responsible for the killing of millions of songbirds every year - Chris Cartlidge, Borrowash (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 22.1.03 PURSUIT OF UNEATABLE W. e. YATES (Opinion, January 16) questions the difference between a fox chasing a rabbit and hounds chasing a fox… To regard it as a sport is where the unspeakable come in and civility goes out. Ian L. Rubery, Hulland. (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 16.1.03 LET'S NOT LEAVE IT TO LANGUISH - Perhaps, B.G.Bower (Opinion January 7) would like to explain why he finds a hound chasing a fox so much more cruel than a fox chasing a rabbit?... W.E.Yates, Rona Close, Sinfin Moor (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 8.1.03 TOO MUCH FUSS OVER THE HUNT Being human, surely some of the hunting brigade must realise the cruelty involved in how the fox is killed - or does the thrill of the chase override it? W.E. Yates says Stephen Shelton blames mechanisation for the decline of the rural community (Opinion, December 30). Mr Shelton is quite right… Hundreds of thousands of miners, steelworkers, pottery makers, rail workers and textile workers, have all lost their jobs as a result of industry decline - industries far larger and more important than fox killing. So what's all the fuss about? B. G. Bower, Thorndike Avenue, Alvaston (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 1.1.03 FOX BOOK IS COMMENDED - I have been following the fox debate in your columns and I must concur with the sentiments expressed by Stephen Shelton and Christopher Harris… If any readers are really interested in foxes, I would commend a quite wonderful little book entitled "String Lug the Fox", by the well-known naturalist, David Stephen… Donald M. Haslam, Derby Road, Chellaston (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 31.12.02 KILLER HIDING BENEATH IMAGE OF 'CUDDLY FOX' - With reference to the letter from Stephen Shelton concerning foxes and hunting (Opinion, December 23), I have never read such a piece of nonsense… My parents have a smallholding on the edge of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire. They have gone to great lengths to protect their animals… This has not deterred the fox from entering and killing all the chickens, ducks and geese time and time again… The fox is vermin and the only people who can control its population are the people working and living in the countryside. J.Skelton, Fairisle Close, Oakwood.
UNETHICAL: W.E. Yates (Opinion, December 17) asked the question: "If Roger and his fellow saboteurs find the hunt so impotent, why are they so concerned about hunting?"… The Hunt Saboteurs Association (to which we are affiliated) finds this unnecessary, unethical and unacceptable in this day and age… We do not picket the Meynell hunt because we consider it more "effective" than, say, the Quorn (Leicestershire) or Belvoir (Lincolnshire) hunts but simply because it is the major Derbyshire hunt. Roger, DAR/Derby Hunt Saboteurs (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 30.12.02 SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - PRODUCED BY FOXES - I am puzzled as to what kind of farm Stephen Shelton grew up on?... he seems to forget that, 60 or even 50 years ago, we had acute food shortages and a nation unable to feed its inhabitants. Now we have a surplus but perhaps he would prefer a ration card. He also seems to dismiss out of hand fox predation. No-one is suggesting a fox will take a fully grown sheep or pig, but their young are vulnerable… The figure of 200,000 is not one that I dreamed up but was quoted in the Trevor McDonald Tonight programme at the time of Foster's ill-conceived Bill. This is a figure for fox predation of lambs… No-one is pretending that poor people go hunting, except as spectators, or that the rural economy would collapse if hunting were banned. But those whose livelihood depends on it would be devastated; not only hunt staff, but those that service the hunts. Many of those are master craftspeople whose skills would be lost forever… W.E.Yates, Derby (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 28.12.02 HUMAN TOUCH: W. E. Yates' (Opinion, December 19) attempt to project human concepts on to foxes is too absurd to even laugh at. Clearly, the Countryside Alliance and Real Countryside Alliance are so bankrupt for ideas that they are having to resort to recycling ideas obtained from Walt Disney's wastepaper basket. Ralf Gray Junior, Main Street, Breedon-on-the-Hill (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 23.12.02 FOX BEING DEMONISED TO JUSTIFY CRUEL HUNT Your correspondent W.E. Yates is correct, there is a serial killer at loose in the countryside (Opinion, December 19), a killer that has made many of these island's indigenous species extinct, decimated the natural environment and kills randomly for fun. However lets get it right, it's not the fox, it's man… W.E. Yates misses my point regarding wealth… Their argument is a nonsense, because if you really were so poor you couldn't afford to go fox hunting. That's irony, not envy…. Stephen Shelton, Littleover (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 23.12.02 NATURE'S PEST CONTROL HELPS FARMERS - The hunting with hounds debate rages on with some?outrageous and unsubstantiated claims being made by the supporters of fox hunting. Peter Presland (Opinion, December 16) states that "the animal will be snared, trapped and poisoned", all of which are highly illegal methods of killing any wild animal… W.E. Yates (Opinion, December 19) appears to have an absolute hatred of foxes and will only be satisfied by the eradication of the species… Fox hunting is a barbaric pastime and has no place in a modern civilised society…. Christopher Harris, Normanton (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 19.12.02 FOXES ARE NATURE'S OWN SERIAL KILLERS - Re Stephen Shelton (Opinion, December 17)… He describes the participants as "Wealthy; from more privileged backgrounds; the luxury of owning a horse; upper-class vandals; expensive cars towing horseboxes; an expensive-to-maintain pack of hounds"...Oh dear, makes you green with envy, doesn't it, Stephen?. Is he paying for it, or the Government or tax or ratepayers? No. Hunting fraternity members are paying with their own money out of their own pockets and supporting the local economy… He equates the fox with a dog. Well maybe it is of the same remote ancestry, but so is the wolf, the dingo, and a dozen more species of wild dog, but there the similarity with your pet dog ends… W.E.Yates, Sinfin Moor, Derby (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 17.12.02 LICENSING WOULD BE A DESPICABLE U-TURN - We all know the truths of the brutality of hunting with hounds. A fox is a dog. What would anyone think if his or her own pet was chased for miles and then savaged by a pack of hounds?... The hunt added no income to our village yet left a trail of costly damage. It was also well known that foxes were bagged and released to guarantee a "chase". It was rare for us to see a fox, let alone ever have a problem with them… if the countryside is so strapped for cash, how they can afford the vast expenses involved for a hunt when there are many minimal cost alternatives?... Stephen Shelton, Littleover (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 17.12.02 FOXES DO CAUSE A PROBLEM In response to Roger, of Derby Hunt Sabs, (Opinion, December 10) I don't recall ever claiming to be an expert on any subject. However, having spent a considerable part of my 72 years living in rural Derbyshire and being connected with agriculture in one capacity or other, I believe I can rightly claim to have a working knowledge of country pursuits and associated problems…. Farmers who support hunts will tolerate the odd fox, providing the fox doesn't become too destructive. However, if hunting is banned, then there will be no excuse for keeping even the odd fox and they will be indiscriminately shot. I enjoyed Simon Burch's feature on the Meynell Hunt and found his observations were fairly reported. What puzzles me though, is, if Roger and his fellow saboteurs find the hunt so impotent, why are they so concerned about hunting?... W.E. Yates, Sinfin Moor (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 10.12.02 GREEN CLAIM IS INSULTING - I always find it laughable when supposedly self-proclaimed experts dig big holes for themselves when involved in the hunting debate… I find it insulting that the blood sports brigade attempt to hide behind the moniker of "conservation"… I found the recent feature by Simon Burch on the Meynell Hunt most interesting. We have "joined" the hunt on more occasions than I care to count and we have yet to see them kill. So much for pest control! Roger, DAR/Derby Hunt Sabs (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 8.11.02 HOUNDING OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT HUNTING - The fox-hunting season is back under way again, with the cloud of an uncertain future hanging over it. Its opponents call it a cruel anachronism and want it banned, while its supporters say it is a priceless way of life. Feature writer Simon Burch joined the Meynell Hunt to find out more for himself… (story)

South Wales Evening Post 30.1.03 ACTION MUST BE DEBATED - The House of Commons has spent many hours debating the rights and wrongs of the hunting and killing of foxes, yet it is being denied the right to debate the intention of killing many thousands of people in Iraq… Viv Griffiths Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea (letter)

Banbury Guardian 30.1.03 Opinion poll on hunting was misleading - The director of the Campaign for Hunting, Simon Hart claims (Banbury Guardian, January 23) ‘....our poll asked the public how they wished to see the issue resolved…" Seventy per cent of MPs wish to see a ban. Rest assured that they accurately reflect public opinion. At last it seems that democracy will prevail. Peter Bunce Public Opinion Researcher for Protect Our Wild Animals Haddenham, Bucks (letter)
Banbury Guardian 23.1.03 Best way to resolve hunt saga - In your report on Boxing Day hunting fixtures (Banbury Guardian, December 31) Miranda White of the League Against Cruel Sports dismissed a Countryside Alliance opinion poll… Whilst the MORI poll on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports asked for a view about hunting, our poll asked the public how they wished to see the issue resolved. There is an important difference… Despite their rather limp protestations it seems that whilst quite justly holding strong views, an increasing proportion of the public see a system of regulation based on evidence and principles as being the best way of resolving this saga. Perhaps it is the fact that such a system might eliminate prejudice, propaganda and bigotry from the decision making that so worries the League. Simon Hart Director Campaign for Hunting (letter)
Banbury Guardian 31.12.02 HUNT SUPPORTERS TURN OUT IN FORCE - HUNDREDS of hunt followers came out to support the spectacle of Boxing Day meets across the district…. Sam Butler is master of the Warwickshire Hunt and chairman of the Campaign for Hunting. He said: "I believe absolutely that this won't be the last Boxing Day meet."… Miranda White, of LACS said: "NOP who conducted the Countryside Alliance poll have been reprimanded for asking misleading questions in a deliberate manipulation to get the result they wanted…. (story in archive)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 30.1.03 Back in town - SWINDON'S urban fox population has made a comeback five years after it was decimated by an outbreak of mange…. (story in archive)

CHARITY COMMISSION INVESTIGATION INTO SOMERSET & DORSET ANIMAL RESCUE
Western Gazette 30.1.03 I ASSURE YOU, MY LIFE IS AN OPEN BOOK - I Do not know who Wendy Strickland is but I can empathise with her. Twenty months ago, I would have done exactly the same in support of Liz Stewart. I have known Liz for over 31 years and her husband Colin for nearly 52 years (I am his aunt)... In the spring of 2001, certain things began to happen which did not add up and she began to tell me outrageously blatant lies... If I can convince one person not to hand money over to Liz, my contribution to the world is complete. Jo Hone, Larkspur Crescent, Yeovil. (letter)
Western Gazette 30.1.03 FUND RAISERS SHOULD SHOW THAT THEY CARE - May I, through your columns, reply to Joyce Harris and Jo Hone... Most real animal lovers just get on and do what they can and unlike yourselves have not spent time listing their good deeds and how much cash being an animal lover entails... I am a real animal lover, received a bravery award from the RSPCA as a child, spent years campaigning to stop hunt and vivisection, with like-minded people started Yeovil and District Badger Protection Group, helping badgers and the public travelling miles and many all night jobs all paid from our pockets.... Most rescue dogs do not bite but the above surely are the animals most deserving of a home and TLC, don't you think so Jo. Stop writing and prove to the readers you are what you claim to be. It would be good to see some proof of your abilities especially for animals. W. Strickland, Stalbridge Road, Henstridge (letter)
Western Gazette 2.1.03 I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE - I have known Liz Stewart for several years and I have a dog rescued from certain death that Liz travelled many miles to save... Perhaps the fact that she could not do her usual paid employment may have affected the mortgage payments, not because she hasn't been able to take in rescued animals... Tina S. , full name and address supplied (letter)
Western Gazette 27.12.02 STOP THIS WITCHHUNT - I had to respond to the malicious and disgusting letter written by Jo Hone concerning Liz Stewart. We have known her for many years and the huge amount of her life spent on helping thousands of animals in desperate need.... What a sad individual Jo Hone must be spending her life on a personal witch hunt against someone who has done so much good.... Wendy Strickland, Stalbridge Road, Henstridge (letter)
Western Gazette 18.12.02 ANIMAL RESCUER REFUTES MORTGAGE ALLEGATIONS … Liz Stewart says a witch hunt against her resulted in a letter in last week's Western Gazette suggesting she had problems paying her mortgage on Balsam Farm, Wincanton, because she had stopped fund raising for her animal-rescue activities…"I have risked my freedom for animals on more than one occasion and I will not stop working on their behalf. It is my mission in life and I hope those people who are trying to make things difficult for me will stop." (story)
Western Gazette 12.12.02 'UNLIKELY' TO ACT AGAINST SANCTUARY - The inquiry into the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue Centre at Wincanton by the Charity Commission is continuing... (story)
Western Gazette 12.12.02 THE TRUTH IS OUT - Congratulations, you have at last made Liz Stewart tell the truth. Because she has been stopped fund raising for the past few weeks, she could not pay her large mortgage and was in danger of losing her house. I do not have a Phd in maths, but even I worked out that fact out 18 months ago.... Jo Hone, Larkspur Crescent, Yeovil (letter)
Western Gazette 5.12.02 ANIMAL SANCTUARY 'WAS NEVER CHARITY' - The owner of an animal sanctuary spoke of her relief this week after an initial investigation by a Government watchdog failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing. This week the Charity Commission confirmed it was satisfied the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue Centre at Balsam Farm, Wincanton, was not claiming to be a registered charity... The sanctuary caused outcry recently when Colin and Liz Stewart applied to turn it into a sanctuary for 40 dogs and 30 cats. Residents stormed a South Somerset District Council to protest about the idea, which was turned down.... (story)
Western Gazette 28.11.02 ANIMAL LOVER IS KIND AND HONEST Re: The front page article which appeared in the Wincanton edition of the Western Gazette in connection with the Charitiy Commission's investigation into the Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue Centre.... I have always found Liz to be kind, straighforward, honest and dedicated 150 per cent to her work for the welfare of animals.... Eva Gane, full address supplied (letter)
Western Gazette 28.11.02 COUPLE SACRIFICE ALL FOR ANIMALS - I was horrified to read the front page article in stating that Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue is being investigated for "misappropriation of funds" by the Charity Commission. I have known founders Liz and Colin Stewart for over 20 years... Thank you Liz, from the bottom of my heart. Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Gazette 15.11.02 CHARITY WATCHDOG PROBES SANCTUARY An animal sanctuary is being probed by a Government watchdog over allegations of misappropriation of funds. Somerset and Dorset Animal Rescue run by Liz Stewart at Balsam Farm, Wincanton, is being investigated by the Charity Commission.... Spokesman Kevin Snow said: "It is not registered as a charity but does received public donations. We have opened investigations following allegations of the misappropriation of funds and the failure of the rescue centre to register with the commission.... (story)

Reading Chronicle 30.1.03 Huntingdon cash is animal tragic - MANY of you will remember watching a programme on television a few years ago which exposed the cruelty that animals were subjected to in the laboratories in Huntingdon Life Sciences… BUT can anyone explain to me why we, the taxpayers, are paying for them to continue in business?... ANNE WILLIAMS Old Bath Road Sonning (letter)

Eastern Daily Press 30.1.03 Fishermen protest as seals go free - The RSPCA has hit out at fishermen protesting over the release of seals that have recovered from a killer virus… Police were called to remove six fishermen who opposed the release of four phocine distemper virus (PDV) seal pup survivors into the sea at Morston… The fishermen used their car to block the path of the returning RSPCA workers and claimed that releasing the seals back into the water would have a detrimental effect on cod stocks and other fish…. a spokeswoman for the RSPCA denounced the fishermen's claims… "This sort of behaviour is sadly symptomatic of the imbalance that exists between the fishermen and the natural environment," she said… But earlier, Ivan Large, chairman of North Norfolk Fishermen's Society, said the disease was nature's way of dealing with over-population and that more seals should not be returned to the wild at Morston…. "We are angry that they bring seals from all over the country, nurse them back to health and then dump them all near Blakeney," he said…. (story)

AVON VALE BOXING DAY
Swindon Evening Advertiser 29.1.03 There's no alternative - SO apparently we have an expert here Phil Beaven who has all the answers to fox control… If we do not keep foxes under control they will infest our towns and be a big problem. Just wait and see. I REEVE Wootton Bassett (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 9.1.03 It is time for a ban on hunting - I WAS intrigued to read in Friday's Adver that 2,000 people turned up to watch the hunt set off at Lacock on Boxing day. As one of the protestors, who was actually there I would estimate the crowd to be 600 and that is being generous… I was also interested in a bizarre letter from Simon Hart, director of Campaign for Hunting in Thursday's Adver…. I can tell him unless there is a total hunt ban so that animals can live their lives unmolested, the likes of Simon Hart will know no peace. PHIL BEAVEN Merton Avenue Swindon (letter in archive)
Wiltshire Gazette & Herald/Chippenham News 2.1.03 Protest dogs start of hunt - THE streets of Lacock were packed with thousands of protesters and supporters on Boxing Day, for what may have been the last Avon Vale Christmas hunt. Among the estimated 3,500-strong crowd was Malcolm Clark of the Wiltshire League Against Cruel Sports and fellow hunt protesters… But Jonathon Seed of the Avon Vale Hunt rubbished suggestions that this would be the last Boxing Day hunt. He said: "I am positive that the hunting bill will not be passed and we will be here to hunt again next Boxing Day." Anti-hunting protesters were conspicuous by their complete absence from the Tedworth Hunt's Boxing Day gathering in Pewsey…. (story in archive)
Bath Chronicle 27.12.02 THE FINAL HUNT? … The Avon Vale Hunt set off from Lacock shortly after 11am yesterday morning with hundreds of people lining the streets to wave them off. And more than 50 hunt protesters also gathered for the send-off outside the Red Lion in the High Street…. (story)

Scotsman 29.1.03 Wounded foxes - Lynne Mitchell writes passionately on the subject of hunting (Letters, 23 January), and is entitled to her views. But what she describes as cruel is often only the natural way of wild animals. The possibility of death is a daily hazard for all animals in the wild… I would prefer not to see an increase in the number of wounded foxes, and believe we should consider the risks to human life before blithely encouraging the greater use of rifles around the countryside after dark. MARY MUNRO Auchterarder Perthshire (letter)
Scotsman 23.1.03 Animal test - So, Ian Proctor (Letters, 21 January) believes that just because most people believe fox-hunting is cruel and immoral is no reason to legislate against it. Presumably he would like to see all laws against cruelty to animals repealed… LYNNE MITCHELL Lower Mains, Dollar Clackmannanshire (letter)
Scotsman 22.1.03 Cruel I am astounded by Ian Proctor’s claim (Letters, 21 January) that we should not legislate against fox hunting just because we find it cruel and immoral… NR Paterson ANSTRUTHER, FIFE (letter)
Scotsman 21.1.03 Prejudices - In her letter on fox-hunting (20 January), Sarah Bruce confuses a number of issues. In a tolerant society, the existence of opinions, held by some people, that hunting may be either cruel or immoral is no reason to legislate against it… Ian Proctor BONNYBRIDGE, STIRLINGSHIRE (letter)
Scotsman 20.1.03 Issues confused - Katie Grant (Opinion, 13 January) is being misleading when she claims the latest NOP poll shows less than 50 per cent of the population now support a ban on fox-hunting. The poll she referred to confused two issues, by asking questions that related to both animal welfare and civil liberties, so respondents had no indication of which issue they were being asked to support…. SARAH BRUCE The Causeway Edinburgh (letter)
Scotsman 13.1.03 Why politicians love to hate the sectarian blight - Katie Grant … THE hunting saga in England totters on. But lest you thought all was over up here, let me reassure you that it is not. On 5 June, three judges will hear the appeal by the Scottish Countryside Alliance to overturn the Watson Bill…. For a parliament to act against a minority whose livelihoods are at stake because of difference of opinion rather than provable fact would be a dangerous thing. The argument seems reasonable and could result in victory with honour… Public opinion is turning our way, with the latest NOP poll showing support for a ban well under 50 per cent and waning. Ugly scenes in public places could only jeopardise this… But if the judgment goes against the SCA, what then? I await instructions with interest. (story)

Horncastle News 29.1.03 Cruel practice of fox dumping …Sir Peter Tapsell, our MP, had sent the Minister’s reply to a question about urban foxes being dumped in the countryside to be destroyed or spread disease. The Union of Country Sports Workers is very concerned about this cruel practice which is similar to dumping unwanted Christmas pets… HENRY FOSTER Woodhall Spa. (letter)

Edinburgh Evening News 29.1.03 NCDL working with dog racers - I WRITE with reference "Racing is not a licence to kill" (Letters, January 16)…. I would like to assure Mr Hastie that the NCDL has never advocated banning greyhound racing, as we believe that greyhounds enjoy the sport. However, we are concerned about the standards of welfare for these beautiful creatures throughout their racing life and retirement… The NCDL and other animal welfare organisations have been working very closely with the greyhound racing industry for many years to improve welfare conditions for these dogs …. Clarissa Baldwin, NCDL Chief Executive and Chairperson of the Greyhound Forum Wakley Street, London (letter)
Edinburgh Evening News 17.1.03 Hounding the wrong people - WITH regard to Ross Minett’s of Advocates for Animals letter (News, January 13), there are thousands of people who own or train greyhounds and work in the sport who would not be in it if what he says were true… there are only 700-760 greyhounds at the Scottish racetracks. Furthermore, at the three major animal welfare centres in Edinburgh and the Lothians at the present time abandoned dogs of all breeds total 191 of which eight are greyhounds…. the numbers involved are extremely small and overall greyhound racing in Scotland does not have the problem Mr Minett would like his organisation’s donors to believe. Ms Anne Davidson Learmonth Crescent, Edinburgh (letter)
Edinburgh Evening News16.1.03 Racing is not a licence to kill - I REFER to the News report on the greyhound Orion abandoned in the vicinity of the National Canine Defence League centre at West Calder (News, January 6). As is par for the course when reporting on greyhounds like Orion the article closed by stating that thousands of greyhound are dumped or killed every year. This is a blatant untruth in respect of greyhound racing in Scotland and is one perpetuated by certain parties with an interest in denigrating the sport in their aim to destroy it and see it banned…. Hamish Hastie Greenheads Road, North Berwick (letter)
Edinburgh Evening News 13.1.03 It's a dog's life for greyhounds - SO we already have the first reported casualty of the greyhound racing industry this year ("You’re a lucky star!", News, January 9). Orion the abandoned greyhound is one of at least 10,000 greyhounds that are "retired" from racing in Britain every year… Many ex-racing greyhounds are simply abandoned and a large number are killed, sometimes by extremely cruel methods such as drowning or poisoning, because some owners and trainers are not prepared to pay the cost of having them put to sleep by a vet…. (letter)

Guardian 29.1.03 'Delicious!' - Rachael Oliveck was a committed vegetarian and animal rights activist for 14 years. But on Christmas Day she finally cracked, and tucked into some turkey - and she hasn't looked back since… (story)

Plymouth Evening Herald 29.1.03 WHY TRADE IN THESE EXOTIC CREATURES ? With reference to the article (January 13) concerning the pet section at Endsleigh Garden Centre, I was appalled that you should give what amounts to free advertising to an enterprise that makes money from selling live animals… BG HAYNES, Plympton
Andrew P Nunn, Endsleigh retail director, responds: Whilst it is impossible to legislate for every eventuality, our trained pets specialists are passionate about the animals in their care and make strenuous efforts to ensure that prospective owners are fully informed of the full implications of taking on any given species… (letter)

Guardian 29.1.03 'Delicious!' - Rachael Oliveck was a committed vegetarian and animal rights activist for 14 years. But on Christmas Day she finally cracked, and tucked into some turkey - and she hasn't looked back since… (story)

Scotsman 28.1.03 Countryside Alliance in radical staff shake-up - FORDYCE MAXWELL - RADICAL staff changes have been made at the Scottish Countryside Alliance as it limbers up for the May election campaign… The new-look headquarters staff is now Tony Andrews as chief executive, Allan Murray as Scottish director, Amy Kenyon as head of politics and media, and Nicola Chalmers-Watson in fund raising… Andrews… said yesterday: "The aim is, as I said then, to broaden our agenda, although our appeal against the hunting ban is still important."… (story)

Western Morning News 28.1.03 HALF-BAKED LAWS REVEAL LACK OF THOUGHT - As with the House of Lords, so with fox-hunting…. Now we learn at this late stage in the progress of the hunting Bill that no research has been done to establish the relative effects of shooting as a means of pest control as opposed to hounds… The thought of shot foxes limping around the landscape peppered with 12-bore pellets, eventually starving to death because they are no longer fit enough to catch their prey, is not one they want to bother with. Just so long as people are banned from riding to hounds the fate of the fox is immaterial…. While Government is seeking means to curb gun crime in the cities, does it really want to increase their use in the countryside against foxes without evidence of any reduction in suffering? Does it plan to retrain Birmingham gangsters as fox control operatives?... J Ward-Hayne, Modbury (letter)

York Evening Press 28.1.03 Shotgun nonsense - DURING his weekly ramble down Rural View, Grant Burton tells us about the awful problems of keeping a shotgun for game shooting (January 14)… The gun is an instrument of death, expressly designed for the taking of life, human or animal… Removing the existing controls would only exacerbate what is already a dangerous situation. Robert Holmes, Thorganby, York (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 28.1.03 ANONYMITY IN LABORATORIES MUST NOT BE PROTECTED - The National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) is delighted with the latest concession from the Government that more openness is needed on animal experiments, but is dismayed that it plans to delay action… The claim that freedom of information would threaten scientists' personal safety is a red herring… If the scientific community believes in what it is doing to animals in laboratories, it should be prepared to be questioned in public. Jan Creamer, NAVS, London (letter)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 27.1.03 WHY THE HUNT RUNS IN MY FAMILY'S BLOOD - Although I hail from a musical and military family with a mother who preferred a flutter on the bookies to getting too close to an animal she regarded as 'dangerous at both ends and b..... uncomfortable in the middle', I clearly inherited an equine gene… As a Barnett of Glympton, my wife has come from a distinguished Heythrop hunting family. Our eldest son, James, Henry's father, has married into an equally distinguished Beaufort family… If the political prejudices of a majority are imposed so as to ban the lawful activities of a minority, democracy itself will be in peril. In order to survive every hunt has to stand firm and refuse to be banned. No one should be tempted into a 'middle way' licensing scheme… If you are interested in helping to save your country please contact This England at PO Box 52, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1YQ or e.mail: john.gouriet1@virgin.net. (story)

Telegraph 27.1.03 BBC appoints its first countryside reporter after claims of an urban bias By Tom Leonard, Media Editor - The BBC is to appoint its first countryside correspondent after criticism that it an urban bias in its reporting… Previously the "rural affairs" brief has covered all environmental stories. The news was greeted by the Countryside Alliance as a significant step forward. The corporation was accused last year by alliance supporters of underplaying the importance of the Liberty and Livelihood March because of the urban, pro-Labour sympathies of its staff…. (story)

FERNIE SABS CONVICTIONS
Leicester Mercury 27.1.03 TRAVELLED SO FAR - I was interested to read the report (Mercury, Jan 13) of the court case where five hunt "saboteurs" were convicted of affray against the Fernie Hunt…. none of the five men came from Leicestershire, nor indeed from the East Midlands. They came from as far apart as Wolverhampton and Southampton. They were too old to be students, so why were they in Leicestershire?... I do find it somewhat strange that organised law breakers should travel so far to terrorise people with whom they do not agree. Andrew Robathan, MP, House of Commons (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 11.1.03 Protester attacked hunt car - AN ANTI-HUNT protester from Swindon has been ordered to do community service after he admitted attacking a huntsman's car. Five protesters, including 32-year-old Paul Davis, of Coate Cottages, pleaded guilty to affray following an incident at the Ferney Hunt in Leicestershire on March 9 last year… "These men were part of a group of about 10 or 12 who were all wearing scarves, hats and disguises, and dark green and black camouflaged clothing…. There was a slight collision between Mr Williams's vehicle and the group's Land Rover… They got out and attacked his car. The passenger side window was smashed, the light clusters were smashed, and the panels on the drivers side door were dented. He was unable to do anything other than lock himself in…." Davis and four others from Hungerford, London, Southamp-ton and Wolverhampton were all sentenced to 100 hours' community punishment and each ordered to pay £250 costs…. (story in archive)
Wolverhampton Express & Star 11.1.03 Huntsman terrified as protesters attack By David Banner - Five anti-hunt protesters, including a Wolverhampton man, attacked a huntsman's car while its terrified owner cowered inside, a court heard. The five men admitted affray at the Ferney Hunt in Leicestershire on March 9… Matthew Nott, 30, of Riches Street, Wolverhampton and four others from London, Swindon, Hungerford and Southampton, were all sentenced to 100 hours community punishment and each ordered to pay 250 pounds costs…. (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 10.1.03 HUNT-AFFRAY TRIAL COLLAPSE The trial has collapsed of a Nottingham woman accused of being part of a gang which chased and attacked a hunt supporter. Stephanie Fry, 21, of Ridding Terrace, was said to have been in a 12-strong gang of saboteurs which targeted a man before a hunt in Leicestershire in March last year. But Fry was bound over to keep the peace for a year. The development came after Baz Bhatia, prosecuting, was unable to continue the case for personal reasons…. Fry's co-accused, Charlotte Findall, 27, of Derby, was bound over for two years. Both had denied affray (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 8.1.03 HUNT ATTACK IS DENIED - A nottingham woman has gone on trial accused of being part of a gang which chased and attacked a hunt supporter in his car. Stephanie Fry, 21, is alleged, with another woman, to have been part of a saboteur group which targeted Gary Williams as he waited to watch the hunt…. Mr Bhatia said Mr Williams had parked on a lane near Laughton Hill when he noticed one of the Land Rovers pull up… Mr Williams attempted to drive off, but was in collision with a second Land Rover…. "It was plain both these Land Rovers appeared to try to box him in." Mr Bhatia said one of the Land Rovers "tailgated" Mr Williams. When he was forced to stop because of traffic around 12 people got out of the vehicles and attacked Mr Williams' Toyota…. The jury was told that five other people had admitted the offence and will be sentenced at the end of the trial. (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 8.1.03 HUNT ATTACK DENIED A Derby woman has gone on trial accused of being part of a gang of hunt saboteurs who chased and attacked a hunt supporter in his car. Charlotte Findall (27), of Moor Street, Derby, is alleged to have been part of a saboteur group which targeted Gary Williams as he waited to see the Fernie Hunt in Leicestershire on March 9 last year…. The court heard that seven people were arrested in nearby woodland, including Findall and Stephanie Fry (21), of Nottingham. Both deny charges of affray. The trial continues (story)
Leicester Mercury 15.5.02 Hunt saboteurs facing trial Six hunt saboteurs accused of violent disorder in Market Harborough are to face trial at Leicester Crown Court…. Anthony Wells, prosecuting, said the charges related to an alleged incident at the meeting of the Fernie Hunt, near Laughton, on March 9. The defendants were Charlotte Findall (26), of Moore Street, Derby; Matthew Nott (29) of Riches Street, Wolverhampton; Karl Hedner (24) of Holloway Road, London N19; and Paul Davis (31) and Stephen Short (37), both of Coate Cottages, Swindon. The sixth defendant, Stephanie Fry (20), of Ridding Terrace, Nottingham, was unable to attend the hearing…. Another hunt saboteur Nathan Brown (30) of Portswood Road, Southampton pleaded not guilty to causing £1,800 criminal damage to a Toyota truck belonging to Gary Williams at Laughton on that day. (story may be in archive)

Liverpool Echo 27.1.03 IT IS amusing how the prospect of another war with Iraq has brought the old CND campaigners out of the woodwork again. Since the USSR went toes up and the Berlin Wall came down, they've been a bit short of a cause, and had to diversify into animal rights and anti-hunting. Now they are back in business, doing what they've always loved best, which is opposing the USA… G.W.R. Hunt, Bebington. (letter)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 27.1.03 COUNTRYSIDE: Thousands bet on illegal bloodsport - UP to 30 people took part in a series of illegal hare coursing meets across Greater Peterborough. In what is thought to have been the biggest event in more than a year, gangs of men were betting thousands of pounds… Campaign group Countrywide Watch today confirmed that the event was illegal because the coursers had not been given permission to be on the land. The Government is currently trying to introduce a blanket ban on the sport. Hare coursers, who are well-known for trying to intimidate anyone who attempts to stop them, use mobile phones and the internet to tell each other about illegal meetings…. (story in archive)

BBC News Online 27.1.03 Lab protesters target wrong man - A Peterborough family claim they are being wrongly targeted by animal rights activists… protesting outside the headquarters of Huntingdon Life Sciences… But Barry Greenwood says stickers giving his name and address have been found near his home… they are mistakenly targeting his family because their home's previous owner had shares in the company…. (story)

Edinburgh Evening News 27.1.03 Is the meat-free diet for the chop? - Pamela Timms- ‘I WONDER, now, if vegetarianism is a type of eating disorder." Surprisingly, these are not, as you might think, the words of a BSE-addled, lifelong carnivore but of Philip Dundas who, until a couple of months ago was a strict vegetarian…. A recent survey by food organisation Realeat showed that in the past two years around 600,000 vegetarians have started eating meat again…. More worrying for the vegetarian movement, however, is that many lapsed vegetarians are finding they can actually feel better when they start to include meat in their diets again. This is perhaps not surprising as vegetarians often find it hard to get enough nutrients to stop them suffering from ailments such as anaemia, which is caused by a lack of iron in the diet…. (story) p>Telegraph 25.1.03 Villain or visionary? - Robert Uhlig meets Lord Haskins, rural tsar and most hated man in the countryside …. So why was the Liberty & Livelihood March, in which 470,000 people made clear their frustrations with the Government's rural policies, comprehensively ignored by the Government? "It was a fantastic march and yet it had no political impact. Very strange, but I think the messages being put out were confused, and the one message that came across strongest - hunting - was not buyable to the rest of the electorate. "The pictures of countryside people, who claimed to be poverty-stricken, going into clubs in Pall Mall for their lunch did not do the message any good. As soon as the MPs in London saw that, the March organisers lost the battle."… (story)

Telegraph 25.1.03 Country notebook: still up in the air - Germaine Greer has a novel idea for the safe return of stolen property …. Everyone thinks that because I'm against the ban I must like fox hunting and the people who do it. But I don't. I don't like foxes much either, but I dislike bans more than I dislike huntsmen or foxes. What I don't understand is why we have to create new crimes when we can't deal with the perpetrators of the old ones… Maybe what the Blairites like about making hunting a crime is that it will be pretty conspicuous. As the perpetrators will be on horseback in the open countryside, the police might actually be capable of tracking them down, catching them and arresting them. Our prisons can then fill up with huntsmen while the tiny minority of convicted burglars carry on burgling under the guise of community service…. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 25.1.03 DOGFIGHT: EDWARD VERSUS MP NICK - LYNETTE PINCHESS - Edward Enfield - the father of TV comic Harry Enfield - is locked in a bitter war of words with a Notts MP. The row broke out after Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer wrote to The Times outlining his opposition to fox-hunting. Edward Enfield read the letter and took offence - as he is a strong supporter of hunting… And when he failed to get a proper reply he wrote a scathing attack on Dr Palmer in his column in The Oldie magazine… Dr Palmer said MPs are not allowed under House of Commons rules to correspond with non-constituents. He told the Evening Post he is not a fan of fishing for sport, but added there was zero probability of Commons action to ban it…. (story)

Times 25.1.03 Hare coursing - Mr Alun Michael tells us (letter, January 23) that the Hunting Bill now before Parliament sets two tests, utility and least suffering… He concludes by insisting there is nothing in this Bill that has any implication for shooting and fishing... When I reflected on his logic, I did not know whether to laugh or weep RICHARD ASSER, Tadmarton Manor, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX15 5TD.(letter)
Times 23.1.03 Hare coursing - Sir, Hare coursing (Dr Lewis Thomas’s letter, January 15) fails both of the two tests, utility and least suffering, set by the Hunting Bill which is now being considered by committee in the Commons. There may be a need to control the numbers of hares in certain locations to prevent damage to crops. But hare coursing does not pretend to be a means of pest control… This Government has no intention whatsoever of placing restrictions on the sports of angling and shooting. ALUN MICHAEL, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, SW1P 3JR (letter)
Times 15.1.03 Hare coursing as recreational sport - Sir, The Minister for Rural Affairs, Alun Michael, in his statement last month to the House (Hansard, December 3, col 757), stated specifically: “We have no intention whatsoever of placing restrictions on the sports of angling and shooting.” Hare coursing clearly falls into the same category as shooting or fishing, which are recreational sports… Judged therefore by the minister’s so-called “golden thread” of cruelty and utility, there can be no “incontrovertible evidence” to ban hare coursing if shooting and fishing are to remain unrestricted. Yours faithfully, LEWIS H. THOMAS, Smiths Cottage, North Heath, Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8UA (letter)

NEW FOREST BUCKHOUNDS LETTER
Western Daily Press 25.1.03 HUNT FACTS ARE WRONG - In December, you published a letter from Roger Bell in defence of hunting with hounds in general and deer hunting in particular. In that letter, Mr Bell made some statements about the way the now-disbanded New Forest Buckhounds operated… Mr Bell states the hounds never touched the deer. I have film of the New Forest Buckhounds attacking the hunted deer on two separate occasions… The New Forest Hounds has lost some of its pack after the dogs were killed on the railway and on major roads in pursuit of the fox… It is ridiculous for Mr Bell to blame those who support a ban for the excesses that might be practised by aggrieved ex-hunters. If animals are more cruelly treated or drastically culled after a ban, as is happening now in Scotland, it merely demonstrates the depths to which humans can be brought when they steep themselves in hunting and killing for fun…. Frankie Horan New Forest Animal Protection Group Protect Our Wild Animals Christchurch Dorset (letter)
Newark Advertiser 20.12.02 Deer cull ROGER BELL, Southampton (Full address supplied.) (letter may only be on website for a week)
Worcester Evening News 19.12.02 Why the deer went into decline - ROGER BELL, Southampton. (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 14.12.02 HUNTING AND THE NEW FOREST'S DEMISE - The New Forest has been a hunting forest for more than 1,000 years… The New Forest Buck Hounds hunted the fallow buck… Due to the selective nature of hound use, only weak or lame animals fail to escape…. Roger Bell Address supplied (letter)
Wiltshire Times 13.12.02 The worst enemies are those who claim to protect - THE New Forest has been a hunting forest for over 1,000 years, it is a national treasure…. When The New Forest Buck Hounds were disbanded in 1997 there were 3,500 head of fallow deer in the New Forest. By the end of this year the Forestry Commission will have culled the population to just 600 head… Whether you approve of hunting or not it is an inescapable truth that it is the best way of conserving their populations…. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED. (letter in archive)

Hull Daily Mail 25.1.03 SLAYINGS WERE A FOX'S DOING - Popular writer Ernie Teal today joins the Mail with his unique insight into country life. Don't miss his diary every Saturday from now on… Urban foxes, as I have stated many times in my column, have only one real predator to fear - the wheeled vehicle… Foxes have to kill other animals to eat for survival, but they also kill wantonly…. They are wanton killers, but that is how the creator intended them to be. As humans we also do more than our share of butchery… (story)

Bolton Evening News 25.1.03 Help us to end bears' misery - FURTHER to the picture of the freed Asiatic bear in the Bolton Evening News on December 17, a very informative heart-rending programme was shown on BBC television on January 2… Jill Robinson, Animals Asia Founder, first uncovered bear farming in 1993 and has worked tirelessly since then in an attempt to bring an end to this horrendously cruel practice… Bolton Support Group are dedicated fund raisers for this cause… B J Walker Stitch-mi-Lane Harwood, Bolton (letter in archive)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 25.1.03 Bears say thanks - On behalf of the bears I would like to thank those of you who have given your signatures to my petition(s) to stop the cruel bear-bile farming in China… Wendy Tapsell, Redcar Road, Greengates (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 25.1.03 I appeal to your readers not to buy toys or ornaments that are made of real fur. There seems to be an increased number of shops and stalls that are stocking kittens in a basket and other such products…. Jane Rowe Bicester Oxon (letter)

Oxford Mail 25.1.03 Sorry for that slur - Life-like toys in the form of cats, using real cat fur, are on sale in a stationery shop in Summertown, Oxford, and at a newsagents in Burford… In reply to your male correspondents demanding an apology for my suggestion that fur was formerly worn only by prostitutes, I apologise unreservedly. Surely, even most prostitutes would not sink that low. IAN JUDGE Staverton Road Oxford (letter in archive)

Oxford Mail 25.1.03 Disgusting industry Ralph Leavis states that if animal rights' campaigners cared more about children than animals, the killers of the tragic hit-and-run victim Ross Doyle would be in jail. Does he think we are a breed apart?... May I offer a challenge to Mr Leavis? Join us leafleting, on our stalls and on our demos when we stand in the cold at Dover docks, as transporters tear around the roundabout at full speed throwing the animals all over the place, then enter the dock to disgorge their pitiful cargo to hell. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter in archive)

Telegraph 24.1.03 Peterborough - Tebbit the hawk - A written parliamentary question by Lord Tebbit has surfaced. It asks whether the Government's declared aim of culling Westminster's pigeons is "compatible with its policies towards animal rights and welfare"…. "They say that the pigeon is a pest, while presumably the fox is a cute, cuddly creature. If I stood in the middle of London with a 12-bore, shooting pigeons, there'd be terrible trouble. I wouldn't do it, of course, as it would prove the hawk was more efficient than me." (story)

Hexham Courant 24.1.03 LIVESTOCK BURIAL BAN CRITICISED - LIVESTOCK laws that will ban burial of fallen animals on-farm may force farmers to pile animal carcasses for disposal at farm gates. The European Union laws, set to come into force this April, will stop farmers from burying dead sheep from all but the most remote fields and fells on their farms… "In the past when animals died we would have had a pit where we could burn the carcasses and record it, or we could take them to the kennels, which would do a service for farmers by taking dead ewes and cattle, feeding them to the hounds and burning the rest. But even the kennels are under threat."… (story)

Chester Chronicle 27.1.03 ANDREW Rawling of the League Against Cruel Sports (Points of View, January 10) should be ashamed of himself for referring to, and raising comparisons with, the Nazi propaganda exponents when speaking about his pro-hunting opponents. The Chronicle should be ashamed of picking up the words for a cheap inf lammatory headline for the letter…. J MILLER Oldfield Road, Ellesmere Port (letter)
Chester Chronicle 20.1.03 I AM afraid I must take issue once again with the views expressed by Mr Rawling of the League Against Cruel Sports in last week's Points of View. I stand by the head count at the Mouldsworth Meet - there were nearly 80 on horses and between 220 and 240 foot supporters, counted by two different people… On Boxing Day, there were more protesters than riders but the number of supporters on foot (again in the 220 area) outnumbered the protesters by eight to one… On Boxing Day and again on New Year's Day, the three hunts which cover Cheshire (ourselves, Cheshire Hounds and Wynnstay) all met in Cheshire and the only time protesters appeared was at our Boxing Day fixture… ALEX PARK M F H Joint Master, Cheshire Forest Hunt
IT IS quite possible that Andrew Rawling of the League Against Cruel Sports (Points of View, January 10) was at a different hunt to that of Alex Park and the Cheshire Forest since there were Meets held at various locations by several hunts on the day in question!... The vitriolic rhetoric of Mr Rawling is illinformed and reminiscent of the more audacious Soviet propaganda of the Cold War era HUW ROWLANDS Warrington Road, Mickle Trafford (letter)
South Cheshire Chronicle 15.1.03 OVER the years we have become used to over-the-top propaganda spouted by the hunting fraternity. Cheshire Forest Hunt Joint Master Alex Park (Views, January 8, 'No show from the opponents of hunting') is no exception… ANDREW RAWLING League Against Cruel Sports, Cheshire (letter)
Chester Chronicle 13.1.03 OVER the years we have become used to over-the-top propaganda spouted by the hunting fraternity. Cheshire Forest Hunt Joint Master Alex Park… is no exception. He claimed more than 300 people turned out to see hounds on Christmas Eve, with very little opposition. He must have been at a different hunt to the one I attended!... On Boxing Day he claims 220 hunt supporters and 25 demonstrators. Again a completely ridiculous figure. In fact there were more protesters than riders…. ANDREW RAWLING League Against Cruel Sports (Cheshire), PO Box 796, Chester CH2 2XB (letter)
South Cheshire Chronicle 8.1.03 I SHOULD like to respond to the feature which you carried anticipating trouble at the hunt meets over the Christmas period. Despite a barrage of Press releases and Internet publicity from our opponents, we had a trouble-free series of meets and even those who created the publicity failed to appear! On Christmas Eve, a crowd of more than 300 supporters turned out to see hounds away from The Goshawk in Moulds-worth and there was not one protester present. On Boxing Day, we had more than 220 people out at The Duke of Portland in Lach Dennis and there was a small demonstration - about 25 people - at the meet. Finally, at our children's meet from The Dog Inn in Peover, we had more than 100 mounted and nearly twice as many on foot, and again no protesters…. ALEX PARK MFH Joint Master, The Kennels, Peover (letter)

Worcester Evening News 24.1.03 Anti-hunt MPs are out of step - I SEE Helen Smart (You Say, Monday, January 13) thinks anyone who supports hunting is undemocratic. If she looked at things a bit more carefully, she'd see that it's the MPs against hunting who are out of step with the majority of ordinary people…. If Helen Smart thinks hunting people are undemocratic, just watch Tony Blair take us into a war with Iraq without a vote in Parliament. Our MPs will stay at home and vote for a hunt ban so that our servicemen and women can return to a land fit for foxes, rats and rabbits. Now that's democracy at it's best. ALAN COOK, Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 24.1.03 PARADOX OF HUNT BAN - Why is Helen Weeks content to allow foxes to hunt rabbits, but not content to allow dogs to hunt foxes, which have no other natural predator?... Helen Weeks states that licensing would be a betrayal of Labour voters and backbenchers and a slap in the face for democracy. A total ban of hunting would be a betrayal of foxes and other quarry species… Stephen Little Royal Crescent Bath (letter)
Western Daily Press 18.1.03 NO LICENCE FOR THIS KILLING - The pro-hunt MPs and peers, who are commissioning a study to investigate the use of guns on foxes, seek to delay and mislead, because it is based on the false premise that the fox is a pest and hunting is needed to control it… Far from being a threat, the fox can be a good friend to this country's farmers. It has been estimated that foxes save farmers in the region of £100million a year in agricultural damage by keeping the rabbit population down… Helen Weeks West Coker Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 24.1.03 IN DEFENCE OF THE FOX - I write in support of the letter written by Jane Rowe re the much maligned fox. During the foot-and-mouth crisis here in the Forest of Dean, 5,000 free roaming sheep were slaughtered. The lambs of the remaining, unshepherded ewes should have been easy pickings for the evil fox. And, if we are to believe the rantings of the hunting fraternity, we should not have had a sheep population at all…. I have seen a fox remove and bury a stillborn lamb from a field - but have never seen a fox attack or kill a live lamb… Name and address supplied (letter)

Cambridge News 24.1.03 Coursing can save hares From Mr S P Wilson, High Street, Little Willingham - … The gentleman says he saw hares caught for the Waterloo Cup in the 1980s. At that time thousands of hares were shot every year. But because of the beginning of the decline they were caught to help the population across the country. I make my answer very clear that if hares are caught for dogs to chase I will disagree with it because it is not fair to the hare…. If you want the hare to be extinct, ban hare coursing because farmers are not going to be dictated to by people who don’t know what is going on in the countryside in 2003… If Mr and Mrs Michalak want to save the hare, they should take notice of what I have written and not write like two spoilt children. (letter)
Cambridge News 8.1.03 Let’s have Coursing From Rod Norden, The Square, Stow-cum-Quy - YOU would think by reading MR S P Wilson’s letter (News, December 30) we are overrun with brown hares doing untold damage to the countryside… I would like to point out I don’t belong to any animal rights or nut-cutlet brigade and if hare coursing is going to be banned would it be possible for the powers who run the Country Fair held every August in Quy Park to spice it up a little this year and have some real live hare coursing in the main ring, so we all know what we are going to be missing… I can tell Mr Wilson not far from where he lives back in the early 80s I saw with my own eyes, all done above board, hares being netted to take north for the Waterloo Cup as there was a shortage of hares in the north that year… (letter)
Cambridge News 13.12.02 Hares are torn apart - From Mike and Ingrid Michalak, Swaffham Road, Burwell - MARK Prescott and Charles Blanning’s defence of hare coursing (News, December 5) made interesting reading. Killing hares may not be the object of coursing but hundreds are caught, many ending up in a living tug of war between two greyhounds… (letter)

Whitehaven News 23.1.03 A WAY OF LIFE IS CHANGING - "I LIKE wild places and the people who live in them - they have to be rugged," so says Willy Poole, described as one of England's last few remaining characters in an age of political correctness. He likes to speak his mind and what's more he likes to air his views to whoever will watch or listen. And so he does in Willy's World 2 - his second video portrait "of a country way of life that is fast disappearing". And when it includes fox hunting, deer stalking and the like some will say "good for that"…. Fox and trail hounds figure prominently. There can be no finer sight, or sound, as the packs give chase and voice. Fine, sleek horses, adorable terriers, puppy shows. Filmed in the Borders, Northumberland and the Cheviots, it's all there in 60 minutes of compulsive viewing and parts of it are not for the squeamish…. Copies of Willy's World 2 can be obtained for £13.99 plus £2.60 p&p from Studio Arts Television, P.O. Box 405, Aylesbury, HP22 4WH. Also from website www.willypoole.com (story)

Bath Chronicle 23.1.03 IT'S NOT ONLY WELL OFF PEOPLE WHO GO HUNTING - Badger diggers claim to be digging for foxes, says David Thomas (Letters, January 11). As usual, David Thomas is attempting to ride his hobby horse - this is not about digging, he is diametrically opposed to foxhunting as all his previous letters have indicated. He blatantly states that cruel pastimes like fox-hunting would have been illegal decades ago had it not been for a misinformed public. Get real, Mr Thomas. It is, sadly, people like you who are misinformed due to your bigotry… DUNCAN WARRINER Neston Road, Corsham (letter)
(from Bath Chronicle website) 17.1.03 CRUEL SPORTS HAVEN'T ENDED - Cruel pastimes like fox hunting would have been illegal decades ago, had it not been for a misinformed public…. As long as fox-hunting is legal it is difficult to prosecute illegal badger baiters/diggers because when caught they claim they were digging for fox. Badger baiters being part of the fox hunting culture, having close links with the terrier men, who all share an interest in pitting their dogs against fox or badger… DAVID THOMAS Hisomley Wiltshire (letter)
(from Bath Chronicle website) 13.1.03 HUNTING IS CRUEL AND NEEDLESS - Cruel pastimes like foxhunting would have been illegal decades ago had it not been for a misinformed public. This has been due to the fact that the so called Broadcasting Complaints Commission says the establishment bias towards cruel-sports especially, within the BBC, was behind their jurisdiction. Because as long as foxhunting is legal, it is difficult to prosecute illegal badger baiters/diggers because when caught they claim they were digging for fox…. DAVID THOMAS Hisomley Westbury (letter)

Evesham Journal 23.1.03 Food for thought in the hunting debate - WITH regard to Lewis Potter's offal letter last week, vainly seeking to justify the freedom to kill wild animals with trained hounds as a Field Sport. It clearly failed to understand that the meat of freedom requires responsibility for it's proper digestion!... MICHAEL PARKER, Grange Cottage, Main Street, Sedgeberrow (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 23.1.03 Depressing familiar language of the hunt - IT was with a mixture of sadness and disgust that I read the latest outburst from your correspondent Mr Lewis Potter. Such expressions as `liberty' and `freedom of choice' are depressingly familiar language coming from the mouths of the hunting and shooting fraternity…. the blood `sports' fraternity, who are lacking in the slightest vestiges of humanity, compassion or decency. MALCOLM GREEN, Fountain Court, Waterside, Evesham. (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 16.1.03 Don't understand the real taste of life? - AH, a New Year and a volley of seasonal greetings from the anti-hunters ringing in the pages of last week's Journal. A fine winters fare indeed of inaccuracy and half truths seasoned with just a little spite…. Away with your grey miserable gruel Misses Moyse and White. Go find the kitchen of real democracy and look up a meal called Freedom of Choice. LEWIS POTTER, Pershore Road, Evesham. (letter)
Evesham Journal 9.1.03 Ancient and pointless event - I AM disgusted that a report on the number of spectators who turned out to watch The North Cotswold Hunt was included in the January 2 issue of the Journal… I am not proud to be part of a community which takes part in and supports this ancient and pointless exercise. MISS ZOE WHITE, Church Lane, Pinvin (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 9.1.03 Season of goodwill to all for all things? - I AM writing in response to the article featured in last week's Journal concerning the `Hunt Meet' on Boxing Day in Broadway and Kineton. For numerous, consecutive years myself and many friends have protested in peace against hunting with hounds in Broadway… I feel obliged to explain why I failed to protest this year and it is because of the sole reason that I feared for my safety. Being a young female, male hunters have on occasion directed their anger towards me in aggressive manner… MISS CHARLOTTE MOYSE, Abbot Chryrtons Place, Evesham. (letter in archive)
Evesham Journal 2.1.03 Record crowds for hunt meets RECORD crowds turned out to see the hunt on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, in the wake of the controversial parliamentary debate over the sport's future. The North Cotswold Hunt met in Kineton and Broadway and was surrounded by good-natured supporters…. In the run-up to Christmas the League Against Cruel Sports was urging anti-hunt supporters to turn out and demonstrate, although it is believed only about six turned up in the Cotswolds… (story in archive)

Northampton Chronicle 23.1.03 Anglers should take responsibility - While walking by the canal at Bugbrooke Wharf on Thursday, January 16, I was shocked to discover a dead robin entangled with hook and line on a branch… When will the anglers and angling clubs responsible for this menace to our wildlife behave decently and see it is removed? M Hindson, Park Drive, Northampton (letter)

COUNTRYSIDE PARTY LETTER
North West Evening Mail 23.1.03 GIVING A VOICE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE - RICHARD ORMROD Countryside Party Treasurer The Croft, Sunnyside Culloden Moor Inverness (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 22.1.03 CHANCE TO STAND FOR ELECTION - Richard Ormrod, Countryside Party treasurer, The Croft, Sunnyside, Culloden Moor, Inverness, IV2 5EE (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 20.1.03 CHAMPIONS OF COUNTRYSIDE - I am writing to introduce The Countryside Party to your readers. This party was created specifically for the purpose of giving the people who live, work and "play" in the countryside an opportunity to obtain a voice in the democratic process that was not provided by the existing political parties… RICHARD ORMROD The Countryside Party Culloden Moor Inverness (letter)

Whitehaven News 23.1.03 TRAILING WORLD MOURNS LADY BANDRESS - LADY Bandress, the HTA's record-breaking hound, is dead - and the last of her pups will be running in the 2003 season…. (story)

Daily Record 23.1.03 Sick hobby - I WATCHED a news report this week on badger baiting in the Borders. What kind of people get enjoyment from watching a trapped animal being ripped apart by blood- thirsty dogs?... W. Campbell, Renfrew. (letter)

Cambridge News 23.1.03 Animal activists in court - FIFTEEN animal rights protesters have appeared in court accused of a public order offence during a demonstration in Cambridge last month… in relation to a demonstration against Cambridge University's plans to build a primate research centre at Huntingdon Road, Girton… (story)
Cambridge News 21.1.03 Eight more charged over march - POLICE have charged eight more people in connection with an illegal animal rights march through Cambridge last month… The eight charged yesterday were Dawn Hurst, 30, from Bolton, Kate Jones, 22, from Liverpool, Thomas Harris, 19, from Eversham, Francis Cornwell, 54, from Milton Keynes, Dennis Smith, 30, from Bournemouth, Karen Currie, 34, from Bournemouth, Paula Diment, 35, from Elizabeth Terrace, Wisbech and a 16-year-old boy from Solihull…. (story in archive)
Cambridge News 4.1.03 Brave stand on HLS - From Kathleen King, Selwyn Road Cambridge - DIANE Gracey’s letter (News, December 7) in support of the work carried out by such organisations as Huntingdon Life Sciences was well reasoned and made valid points… Please thank Diane Gracey for her letter (letter)
Cambridge News 9.12.02 Animal rights demo members arrested - POLICE arrested 18 animal rights campaigners during a day of protest in Cambridgeshire yesterday. Up to 200 people were involved in demonstrations at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) near Alconbury and outside 307 Huntingdon Road, Girton – the site of Cambridge University’s proposed primate research centre. The protests were part of a day of action by animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), which aims to close down HLS to mark the firm’s half-century. Protester John Woods said: “We went to Girton with the idea of putting pressure on the proposed new laboratory… (story)
Anglia TV 9.12.02 Animal rights protesters arrested - 18 animal rights protesters have been arrested for public order offences after staging unauthorised protests in Cambridge… (story)
Cambridge News 7.12.02 Hear silent protest From Diane Gracey, Carrick Close, Cambridge - I WAS distressed and angered to read in the News (December 3) that SHAC is planning a national event at HLS on Sunday at noon. As a sufferer from an, as yet, incurable disease, multiple sclerosis, I think that SHAC is quite wrong in its propaganda and activities… In July, SHAC mounted a demonstration on Parker’s Piece. I mounted my own, lone protest at the event, displaying a notice stating why I was there, what my views were and why I was so opposed to SHAC… I would like to turn out on Sunday to mount yet another lone protest. But my MS makes me unable to tolerate the cold… As you watch reports of the event, or read about it in the press,remember the many millions like me who can’t be there because they are too ill. They will be a silent and invisible presence – but, I hope, a far, far more powerful one. (letter)
Cambridge News 3.12.02 Police prepared for HLS demonstrators - POLICE are bracing themselves for a week of demonstrations against Huntingdon Life Sciences. The animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is holding a worldwide week of action against the company to mark the 50th anniversary of HLS's formation…. (story)

Cambridge News 23.1.03 Animal line fills a gap - From Joan Court St Matthew’s Cat Collective Sturton Street Cambridge - I AM SO SORRY I have confused and annoyed Diane Gracey by writing letters representing different organisations (Letters, January 9). Perhaps I should just explain about the animal helpline in case she ever hears of anyone needing advice or support on animal-related matters. It is similar to the Samaritans… Oh dear – you and I disagree about animal experiments. I have read the scientific evidence and, as you know, I have come to the conclusion that these experiments are flawed… People do shy away if one compares animal torture with the Holocaust, but cruelty is involved in animal experimentation and, alas, we have clear evidence that human beings are capable of unimaginable torture to all sentient beings, human and non-human.We deny this at our peril. (letter)
Cambridge News 17.1.03 Stop lab suffering From Miss W M Reynolds, Gog Magog Hills, Babraham - I WOULD like to reply to Diane Gracey (Letters, January 9), who rightly denounced Ms Court’s likening of experiments on primates to the horrors of Nazi and Japanese war-time research…. In the light of the knowledge we now have, to proceed with experiments on primates is surely on a par with conducting them upon a slave race.Valuable results, the old “the end justifies the means” argument, would not, in my opinion, make the research morally justifiable… I do wonder why the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty group should consider it such a triumph to close down the Huntingdon Research Centre when the members must know that the research would be transferred to America, where the laboratory animals involved would lose even the meagre protection they have at Huntingdon. (letter)
Cambridge News 9.1.03 Nothing like Nazi horrors - From Diane Gracey Carrick Close Cambridge - THE letters from Joan Court which have appeared in Letters have come from an array of organisations. On December 30 she wrote on behalf of “Animals, People and the Environment”; on 10 August, “Animal Rights, Cambridge”; on July 15 “X-CAPE (Cambridge Against Primate Experiments)”. To complicate matters still more her letter of December 30 tells us she runs an animal helpline sponsored by “The Quaker Concern for Animals”… In her December 30 letter she picks up a theme she first voiced in her letter of August 10: that research involving animals is actually and morally equivalent to the horrors inflicted by Nazi doctors on Jewish victims in places such as Auschwitz…. The headline you inserted above her letter of December was “Let’s plan to be moral”. I have no argument with that, provided it is a valid morality, and not the vapourings of Ms Court and her kind. (letter in archive)

Times 23.1.03 Docking dogs' tails - Why do puppies scream when their tails are docked, if it causes no pain (letter, January 20)? After 25 years in veterinary practice, I have seen very few severe tail injuries in dogs. Is it justified to dock perhaps 1,000 pups to prevent a possible tail injury in one?... E. MORGAN JONES, 20 Birchwood Drive, Lower Peover, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 9QJ (letter)

Bath Chronicle 23.1.03 PIGEONS PUT ON THE SPOT - Special feeding zones may be introduced in Trowbridge to combat the problems posed by pigeons in the town centre… The Trowbridge Pigeon Control Initiative partnership will now draw up an action plan to include extensive consultation with local residents, using the advice given yesterday by the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS)… PICAS director, Guy Merchant, said: "The meeting has been very constructive…" (story)
Bath Chronicle 20.1.03 EXPERTS TO CLEAR UP PIGEON PROBLEMS - The dilemma of what to do with nuisance birds in Trowbridge will be the topic of the day when business and civic leaders meet tomorrow… Now Guy Merchant, the director of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS), is set to join local people at tomorrow's seminar to look at possible solutions. PICAS is a non-profit making organisation which advises on all aspects of non-lethal bird control, but specialising in the control of pigeons…. (story)

Rugby Advertiser (23.1.03) THE COMPASSIONATE SPIRIT OF JILL LIVES ON - THE memorial date for the tragic death of Jill Phipps is February 1. Jill died while actively protesting against the export of calves from Baginton airport…. The spirit of Jill, with her compassion, empathy and kindness lives on and those who are sickened by this mindless violation of animal rights. Have your say! Please write to your MP and MEP. Janet Cummings, Tower Road, Rugby (letter)

Oxford Mail 22.1.03 Hunt says sorry for trespass - A hunt has apologised for riding over a military training ground. Members of the Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase and a pack of hounds went on to the Ministry of Defence site off Widnell Lane, Piddington, on January 16… POWA spokesman Penny Little, pictured, said: "We can only wonder how many trespasses by the hunt go unobserved and unreported…" Hunt secretary Robert Vallance explained that members had met at Corble Farm, near Brill, and accidentally went on to about 50 acres of rough land that the Army uses for training. Mr Vallance said: "We have apologised to the MoD for any incursion on their land or embarrassment we might have caused… (story in archive)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 22.1.03 The writer who suggested that the desire to see bloodsports criminalised was a Left-wing plot will be glad to know that I've taken the liberty of sending his letter (T&A, January 9) direct to such pillars of the Right as Teddy Taylor and Ann Widdecombe… Sid Brown, Glenhurst Road, Shipley (letter in archive)

Gloucester Citizen 22.1.03 TRADITIONS GONE - We have recently revoked two traditions - the exclusiveness of male clergy and a crackdown on hunting. I wonder what will be next? Christmas, Bonfire Night, pantomimes, losing the Ashes?... ARTHUR DAVIS London Road Gloucester (letter)

Huddersfield Daily Examiner 22.1.03 Greyhound track plan attacked in petition By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner - GREYHOUND lovers are campaigning to halt plans for a dog racing track in Dewsbury. Plans for a greyhound track to be built on land owned by Kirklees Council and leased by Dewsbury Rams Rugby League Club near their ground at Owl Lane were revealed last November… The Tia Greyhound Rescue group, of Sowerby Bridge, is spearheading a campaign run by Kidderminster-based group Greyhound Action to stop the track being built. Tia volunteer Susan Dawson organised the petition and was presenting it to a full Kirklees Council meeting today…. (story)

Western Daily Press 22.1.03 MPS TO PROBE BADGER RISKS - Mps are to hold a new inquiry into the supposed link between badgers and the spread of bovine tuberculosis, it was revealed last night. Stroud Labour MP David Drew will chair the investigation, which will be carried out by a sub-committee of the Commons environment, food and rural affairs committee… (story)

Western Daily Press 21.1.03 UNFAIR TO THE COUNTRYSIDE - Roy Franklin keeps telling us what a countryside loving person he is. I don't believe him. In his last letter he urged anyone against hunting not to support businesses and farmers who are in favour of it. After all we farmers and rural businesses have gone through in the past few years, I find this callous…. C Weir Bridgwater Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 8.1.03 TIME TO HURT THE HUNTERS - May I ask all Western Daily Press readers who agree that hunting animals to their deaths is cruel, to consider participating in an economic boycott of all businesses that are connected either to hunting, or benefit hunt supporters in any shape or form. This could be farmers who allow the hunt on their land, blacksmiths, hotels and pubs used or owned by the hunt or its supporters, linked equestrian events, vehicle sales or companies who have hunt shareholders…. Here in Bridgwater, for example, an estate agent I sold a house through turned out to be a keen hunter… Roy Franklin Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 21.1.03 Needless violence - UNFORTUNATELY the ditherings of the Government have caused the hunting debate to rear it's ugly head once more.… The fact that it will take law and legislation to stop hunting brings disgrace on the people who degrade themselves by taking part in this pastime. Kevin Gaveney Newton Abbot (letter)

Western Morning News 21.1.03 LEAGUE HAS NO SOLUTIONS TO MANAGE DEER HERDS - The views of Paul Tillsley on deer conservation (WMN, December 11) might carry more weight if one were able to dissociate him from the fate of the 107 unfortunate animals that perished in the Baronsdown "sanctuary" in 12 months. Those that had not starved to death had to be dispatched. All this goes to show that the League Against Cruel Sports does not work for the welfare of animals. It campaigns against people…. The league shows no inclination or competence to manage the populations that accumulate on land under Mr Tillsley's control, so the opinions of its representatives should be treated as irrelevant. J Ward-Hayne Modbury, Devon (letter)
Western Morning News 13.12.02 HUNT'S IMPORTANCE TO AREA - I write with regard to the letter by Paul Tillsley - "Two sides to the story of hunting"… My late half-brother was the retained lawyer of the League Against Cruel Sports, and during one case to be heard in the Exmoor area, he decided, prior to the hearing, to do a few days research on the hunt and the people who lived in the locality. His investigations proved to be quite the opposite to Paul Tillsley's statements. There was barely a person in the whole area who did not have some connection with hunting. Roy Williams, Callington (letter)

Worcester Evening News 21.1.03 Some facts about the fox - RATHER than Maurice Brett being confused, I consider it is P King. He challenges Mr Brett to produce facts then, when he does, he says he's confused. If P King watched David Attenborough's programme The Life of Mammals, he'd have learnt some facts about the fox…. Another interesting fact that emerged from the programme was that the red fox is the nation's favourite mammal… MARION J LARGE, Lower Wick, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 8.1.03 Confused by practical matters of hunting IN his letter (You Say, Tuesday, December 24) Maurice Brett has obviously become very confused by the practical matters involved in hunting… Mr Brett is leading figure in POWA (Protect our Wild Animals) and is very adept at selectively quoting from the independent Burns report on hunting to promote its anti-hunting campaign. This is strange, as POWA twice failed to submit any evidence to Burns, yet suddenly its member have become experts on a report they previously shunned. P KING, Bransford, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 24.12.02 A compromising situation - I AM surprised that P King denies that the disembowelling of foxes by foxhounds is a frequent cause of their death (You Say, December 11)… And as for the incidents of fox and deer disembowelling I reported recently, P King need only look on the Hunt Saboteurs website for photographic evidence and the vet's report. MAURICE BRETT, Bromsgrove (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 11.12.02 It has failed to register - THE latest letter from Maurice Brett (You Say, November 27) claims to have horrific evidence of the protracted death a fox must suffer when caught and killed by hounds. The truth is he has no evidence that this happens, carefully avoiding specific references by using the words "likely" "apparently" and "guess."… The support for fox control and hunting by the majority of veterinary surgeons has been mentioned in the Evening News on several occasions, a fact that has singularly failed to register with Mr Brett. P KING, Bransford, Worcestershire. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 27.11.02 Horrific nature of the kill - THE horrific nature of hunting wild animals with dogs was once again confirmed by post-mortem evidence last month. Hunt protesters, having retrieved the remains of a fox killed by foxhounds, took them to a vet for post-mortem… Any attempt by the Government to preserve hunting in any form would be licensed cruelty of the worst kind…. MAURICE BRETT, Protect Our Wild Animals, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire (letter in archive)

Western Mail 21.1.03 Greater controls on air guns `pointless and unfair' - Andrew Clarke Newsdesk@Wme.Co.Uk, The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales - THE Countryside Alliance has criticised as "pointless and unfair" the Government's intention to tighten restrictions on air-gun ownership. The Alliance has called on Home Secretary David Blunkett to "address the real issues on gun crime and misuse rather than place further restrictions on responsible and legal firearm owners". The director of the Campaign for Shooting, Nigel Davenport, said, "Victimising law-abiding people who own and use air weapons properly does nothing to reduce gun misuse by the criminal fraternity… (story)
Western Mail 21.1.03 Air weapon attacks against animals on the increase - Elin-Angharad Davies Rspca, The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales - AIR weapon cruelty against animals has undoubtedly been on the increase in both the urban and countryside areas of Wales over the past year with scores of mindless attacks on pets and wildlife being reported to the RSPCA… (story)

Guardian21.1.03 Tests on animals vital for science – minister - Centre to research alternative methods 'worth exploring' - James Meek, science correspondent - Animal experiments remain essential for medical advances, human welfare, and protection of the environment, the government declared yesterday in an unequivocal endorsement that will please many scientists and anger animal rights activists. However, the government backed the idea of a British research centre on alternatives to scientific use of animals…. Michelle Thew, chief executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, said: "The government's statement today calls for more consultation on freedom of information for animal experiments, when action on this issue is already long overdue…" (story)
Times 21.1.03 All tests on animals must be published - BY MARK HENDERSON, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT AND VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - DETAILS of every animal experiment conducted in Britain will have to be published for the first time, the Government announced yesterday…. (story)
Western Daily Press 21.1.03 MINISTER BACKS ANIMAL TESTING - The Government yesterday gave its support to animal experiments… Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth said: "The Government agrees with the finding that animal experiments are necessary to develop human and veterinary medicine and to protect humans and the environment…" (story)
Ananova 20.1.03 Government backs experimenting on animals - The Government has given its support to experimenting on animals. The pledge follows a report published by an all party select committee of peers which said animal experiments are needed to make medical progress… (story)

Western Morning News 21.1.03 THE BIBLE HAS NEVER BACKED THE VEGETARIAN - The attack against the authenticity of the Christian Gospels, by H Lancre, should be viewed in the light of evidence provided by the Old Testament… Clearly the matter of vegetarianism is not a matter of Christian teaching, but entirely of personal choice. H D Branton Redruth (letter)
Western Morning News 7.1.03 TRUE CHRISTIANITY LIES IN HOW WE LIVE LIFE … Most of those who profess themselves to be Christians don't know the meaning of the word… Many of the beautiful teachings of true Christianity as originally taught by Jesus - boundless love, reverence for all creation, vegetarianism/veganism, anti-hunting, teetotalism, the honouring of women etc - were altered and suppressed to court popularity and make Constantine's new super religion, Roman Catholicism - with which he hoped to unite all the peoples of the Empire - more acceptable to the meat-eating, hunt-loving, alcohol-drinking, chauvinistic pagan masses of the day…. H Lancre St Austell (letter)

Western Daily Press 20.1.03 CALL THIS GOOD MANAGEMENT? - In response to a letter by Ian Gruncell, I take issue yet again with the assumption by hunt supporters that they are the only people with a true understanding of the countryside and its management. Foot-and-mouth disease, BSE, bovine tuberculosis, swine fever, scrapie, soil erosion, river pollution, irresponsible pesticide use; do farmers among them really have a deep understanding. guardians of the countryside? I don't think so… I will, though, take his advice and boycott food produced by farmers who hunt, or allow hunting on their land. I do not wish to subsidise bullies who torment and kill wild animals just to satisfy their blood lust. S Harding Wellington Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 7.1.03 LAND GRAB THAT CHANGED THE BRITISH COUNTRYSIDE FOR EVER I refer to the letter from Ian Gruncel - How Hunting Helped To Shape Countryside. The countryside as we know it was not formed by the Normans but came about from 1785-1815 when greedy, grasping upper-class landowners, not satisfied with the land they already owned, snatched the land from the common people… Mr Gruncel talks of the wonderful hedges, woods and clean rivers that the blood sport fraternity have bequeathed to us. Perhaps he would care to explain then why the vast majority of ancient hedges, woodland, pastureland and bogs have been destroyed by the same hunting landowners who claim to be the guardians of the countryside?... P Richardson Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 7.1.03 CONTROL IN HANDS OF FEW While I agree with Ian Gruncel that control of the countryside was governed by Norman warlords, this was solely for the benefit of themselves and not the English people or their natural wildlife… It seems strange to me that with the advancement of modern ideals, some members of our society still try to hold on to ancient practices. These people, even now, like to control, not for the conservation of species or the environment, but for profit, sport and financial control…. M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 30.12.02 HOW HUNTING HELPED TO SHAPE COUNTRYSIDE - In response to the constant stream of letters from the anti-hunt brigade I would like to respond with some facts. The whole structure of the British countryside as we know it, and which makes us the envy of tourists worldwide, is almost entirely due to the fact that it has been managed by the hunting, shooting and fishing members of our society… I do not hunt or shoot (although I do fish) and I was proud to have attended the Countryside March along with nearly 408,000 others… Please don't put such a large section of law abiding society in a position where they must be classed as criminals in order to defend their civil liberty. Ian Gruncel Dilton Marsh Wiltshire (letter)

Evening Standard 20.1.03 London's killing fields By Tom Coghlan, Evening Standard - An urban fox lies dead at a marksman's feet. He has just fired a bolt through its brain… The scene is played out at a large house in Wimbledon - and today it is being repeated all over London. Nearly 9,000 foxes were shot in streets and gardens last year alone…. The cull was revealed after the Evening Standard tracked down the hunter who is paid thousands of pounds a year to snuff out the London fox…. "What I do is control a nasty problem. There is one fox for every 15 yards in London today. We get 80 calls for help a day. People complain of the foul smell, of pet rabbits and guinea pigs being killed, of foxes messing everywhere…" (story)

Cambridge News 20.1.03 Demonstrators march - A PROTEST against a new primate testing laboratory in Girton passed off peacefully on Saturday with meditation and prayers. The group Meditate to Liberate, which was set up as an alternative to other animal rights groups with reputations for violence, gathered at the proposed site of the Cambridge University lab on Huntingdon Road…. The event's organiser, Patrick Brown, a Buddhist from Leicestershire, said: "We are just trying to provide an alternative for the many people that are against animal experiments…" One protester, Arthur Keighley, from Cambridge, heard about the protest from emails sent by a network of Animal Liberation Front activists…. Jean Parker, a Buddhist from Kingston, near Cambridge, said: "I don't think this will achieve very much because the decision is with the Government and I think they will probably back the university…." Pam Sephton, a Catholic from Girton, said: "I just can't bear the thought of animals in cages and people doing experiments on them…" Maxine Kaye, from Peterborough, who has raised hundreds of pounds for Wood Green Animal Shelter with sponsored walks and other activities, went to the protest with her two daughters…. (story)

Oxford Mail 20.1.03 Animal rights protesters tell story of farm fight - Animal rights campaigners who fought to close a cat breeding business near Witney have published a book based on the battle. The book, A Cat in Hell's Chance, has been compiled by campaigner Anny Malle and is based almost exclusively on protesters' accounts of the 30-month long campaign against Hillgrove Farm at Minster Lovell… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 20.1.03 CARLA MOVES TO SAVE COWS Animal-lover Carla Lane has stepped in to save cows at a West farm where six animals have already died, it emerged yesterday… The farmer, Richard Cox, was found guilty of two offences of animal cruelty in December 2001 (story)

Western Daily Press 20.1.03 PROFIT AND TRADE GOES BEFORE ANIMAL PLIGHT The welfare of billions of animals is in jeopardy, because profit and trade is put first. Compassion In World Farming is leading a global campaign to ensure that ethical and moral considerations such as animal protection take priority…Louise Piddington Welsford Avenue Stoke Plymouth (letter)

Chester Evening Leader 20.1.03 Move to clean up pigeons problem - CABINET members have approved measures to deal with Chester’s troublesome pigeon population…. The city council has worked with the Pigeon Control Advisory Service, a charity group, which has advised the council on humane ways to tackle the problem… (story in archive)

Bedford Times & Citizen 20.1.03 MAYOR RULES OUT GEESE CULL - Bedford Mayor Frank Branston has ruled out a cull to deal with the growing gaggle of geese on the Embankment. Instead the borough boss has backed a £21,000 package of measures aimed at minimising the mess and nuisance caused by the birds… pest expert Guy Merchant, director of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service, said: "The only way to deal with the numbers problem in Bedford and we have told the council this is to 'oil' the eggs with pharmaceutical paraffin solution…" (story in archive)

Sunday Times 19.1.03 Letters to the Editor: Ban snares - Congratulations on your article exposing the horrific injuries and agonising deaths caused by snares to wild and domestic animals and, even more worryingly, to endangered species such as the capercaillie (News, January 5). I would, however, have to agree with Bert Burnett (Letters, last week) that the ban on foxhunting has not led to a rise in the use of snares. Indeed, as expected, shooting has proved much more effective than hunting with hounds… Lynne Mitchell, Dollar, Clackmannanshire (letter)
Scotland on Sunday 12.1.03 Fox snare threat RE your story ‘Capercaillie face fox snare threat’… there is absolutely no evidence to support claims that gamekeepers are setting any more snares than they were 20 years ago; in fact there are fewer gamekeepers on less land! Scotland’s fox population has increased by 20,000% since 1970… The principal reasons for the capercaillie’s decline are climate change and excessive predation. Bert Burnett, Scottish Gamekeepers Association (letter)
Sunday Times 5.1.03 Foxhunting ban leads to rise in snared wildlife MARK MACASKILL AND DONALD COLLINS THE future of the capercaillie, one of Scotland’s most endangered species of birds, is being threatened by snares set by landowners to catch foxes. A rise in the use of the traps since foxhunting was banned earlier this year has resulted in more of the birds being caught and killed… (story)
Scotland on Sunday 5.1.03 Capercaillie face fox snare threat - JEREMY WATSON - SCOTLAND’S most endangered bird - the capercaillie - is being threatened by a huge rise in the number of fox snares being set by gamekeepers… (story)

Sunday Times 19.1.03 Dogs and cats feed boom in fur trade - NICHOLAS HELLEN SOCIAL AFFAIRS EDITOR - FUR TAKEN from dogs and cats is being imported by the British fashion trade as the vogue for fur-lined garments continues to boom, prompting ministers to launch a crackdown…. Nick Palmer, Labour MP for Broxtowe, said the labelling initiative was the first step to a statutory ban on cat and dog fur throughout the European Union. “There are many people who might otherwise not object to the fur trade who become genuinely upset at the use of pet animals,” he said. But Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP for Scotland, said labelling would achieve nothing. “Nobody is going to buy cat and dog fur, so no trader will label their product as such,” he said. Importers would just sidestep the rules… (story)

Telegraph 18.1.03 Peterborough - Angling and shooting next, says Labour MP - Until now, Labour opponents of the proposed hunting ban have been restrained in their criticism of the Government. No longer, though: Kate Hoey, the most prominent pro-hunting Labour MP, has written a startling article for the next issue of the Field magazine, in which she alleges that the Government is deliberately misleading the public over the future of shooting and fishing… "The zealots who want to ban hunting will waste no time, if they are successful, in turning their campaign to ban other sports."… (story)

Western Gazette 18.1.03 GOVERNMENT ATTACKED ON COUNTRYSIDE PRIORITIES The South West's foremost countryside voice has panned the Government over it's priorities in restoring the rural economy following it's intention to move against hunting. NFU regional director Anthony Gibson fears the Government will still be obsessed with hunting in 12 months time without fundamentally addressing the desperate plight of the countr yside.... (story)
The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 18.1.03 HARE COURSING IS STRICTLY RUN - Your article on hunting (The Sentinel, January 6) was fair and perceptive with just one exception. You appeared to condemn hare coursing unreservedly, equating it with badger baiting. My guess is that you did so knowing next to nothing about coursing under National Coursing Club rules, for example legal coursing, and the contribution it makes to maintenance of both wild life habitat in general and the health and conservation of the brown hare as a species in particular…. PETER PRESLAND West Midlands Regional Chairman, Countryside Alliance (letter)

ISLE OF MAN FOX CULL
Isle of Man newspapers 18.1.03 HUNT FOR FOXES HALTED - THE hunt for fugitive foxes is being halted. In November, the Department of Agriculture appointed former Commonwealth Games marksman, Stuart Earle to hunt them down after sightings of two young foxes near the Ayres. However, the predators have so far proved elusive for Mr Earle, prompting the department to call off night-time search and destroy missions for the time being…. One fox could wipe out the entire nesting ground while a breeding colony of the predator could swiftly spiral out of control…. (story in archive)
Times 28.11.02 Marksman's squeak will lure island foxes to their death BY RUSSELL JENKINS THE Isle of Man’s fugitive foxes are facing a battle of wits with the man brought in to hunt them down, a former Commonwealth Games marksman versed in the countryman’s art of “squeaking”. Stuart Earle, 58, a gun dealer and accomplished sharpshooter, was yesterday on the Peveril Rifle Range, halfway up the island’s Snaefell peak and shrouded in mist and driving rain, preparing for his mission to track down and kill the rogue predators…. (story)
Times 27.11.02 Fox on the run as island calls in marksmen BY RUSSELL JENKINS AND VALERIE ELLIOT THE Manx Government is to use sharpshooters to hunt down a colony of foxes that threatens the Isle of Man’s delicate ecological balance… Wildlife experts fear that if the population of illegally imported foxes is allowed to reach a critical level, the predators will start to have a huge effect on the numbers of corncrake, hen harrier, little tern, grey partridge, skylark and lapwing that nest there… Foxes had not been seen for hundreds of years when, in the mid-1980s, a few were introduced illegally in order to provide sport. Tynwald, the Manx parliament, swiftly passed a law banning foxhunting… One officer, who did not wish to be named, said: "…for everyone who hates foxes, another four or five love them. You have to be careful.”… (story)
Isle of Man newspapers 25.11.02 FOX HUNTER NEEDED …the Department of Agriculture is to employ someone craftier than a fox. A month after the department's vermin control officer reported seeing two young foxes, the department is to appoint an operative responsible for trapping and shooting them…. Agriculture Minister John Rimington said that, while only a few reported sightings had been 'reliable' over the last few years, they had recently increased, which suggested 'illegal importations'… 'Not only would this threaten the internationally important, endangered and declining species of ground nesting and roosting birds but an increase in fox numbers would also lead to losses of game birds and agricultural livestock such as lambs and farmyard poultry. Keeping fox numbers to at least low levels would remove a serious ecological threat.'… (story in archive)

Northern Echo 18.1.03 LIFE OF MAMMALS - I THINK most people would find allowing a fox to enter a poultry house and destroy the inhabitants in the programme the Life of Mammals, no doubt to keep it authentic, most offensive and, for any younger viewers, rather distressing… Some years ago, coming home earlier than expected, I had a similar experience, the fox had killed all the birds but had only taken one and had laid the rest out in a straight line on the hut floor with hardly a mark on them… D Punchard, Kirkbymoorside (letter in archive)

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 18.1.03 Ban cat in a basket horrors - MAY I appeal to readers to boycott the sale of cats in a basket? These cats look cute but are made causing horrendous suffering to real cats and dogs… ELLEN ASHCROFT (Mrs), Accrington Road, Blackburn (letter in archive)

Gloucestershire Echo 18.1.03 PICTURES SHOW PLIGHT - Madam - I would like to thank you for the graphic photographs showing the aftermath of a crash in which a lorry carrying 5,000 chickens hit a wall… Maybe it will make the public think a little more about the mass production of factory-farmed animals…. Mrs J Mate, Cheltenham. (letter)
Gloucestershire Echo 17.1.03 BATTERY HENS DISGUST ME - Madam - So the RSPCA inspector thought it was sad to see the stress that the hens had suffered when the lorry carrying them crashed… I think it is disgusting, that hen batteries are legal. What of those not injured? I suppose they had to travel onto a less kind death… Joy Everett, Cheltenham. (letter)

Ledbury Reporter 17.1.03 Hunt apologises - THE North Ledbury Hunt has apologised to West Malvern Parish Council after a rider was seen on the playing fields at Old Hollow… (story in archive)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 17.1.03 Hunt followers disrupt peaceful country lanes - WHILE driving home from Leicester over the Christmas holidays I passed a hunt. I didn’t see any horses or dogs but I knew they were there because the narrow lanes were blocked by hunt followers who pulled up in large four-wheel drive vehicles, showing little regard for anyone who might want to pass… KATE THEEDOM Pentland Court, Oakham (letter)

Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 17.1.03 Countryside divided over hunting - Jeremy Godwin asserts that townies taking up a country residence have wrongly adjusted feelings when it comes to foxhunting (Herald, 14th December), unlike the country folk he suggests are more inclined to support it. How did he miss some of those letters from long-term and apparently born and bred country people who wrote in to say that not all country folk approve of foxhunting?... SYD EMMERSON Penrith. (letter in archive)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 17.1.03 FOXHUNTING FOR PLEASURE - I would like to refute Anthony Dod's 'facts' about fox hunting (Chronicle, January 9). First, I do not accept that fox numbers need controlling?-?and that is not the aim of fox hunting, which is actually done for pleasure… RICHARD MOUNTFORD, Development manager, Animal Aid, Tonbridge
The letter on foxhunting states that "the traditions, dress and the people who take part are very important to those who hunt". In that case, why not take up draghunting and follow an artificial scent?... Kevin Flack, South Darenth (letters)

Hexham Courant 17.1.03 CHECK DRAFT RIGHTS-OF-WAY MAPS CAREFULLY, COUNCILLORS WARN FARMERS AND LANDOWNERS - UNWARY walkers could be shot or prime pasture ruined if plans to allow public access to grouse moors and farmland are realised, councillors have warned. Hundreds of square miles of private land in Tynedale are set to be thrown open under Rights of Way legislation written in the year 2000…. (story)

Craven Herald 17.1.03 Pedigree pheasants perish in arson attack - SEVENTY pedigree pheasants and two ferrets were killed when arsonists attacked a Sutton farm in the early hours of Tuesday morning… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 17.1.03 BADGERS MAKE HISTORY - A badger expert from Bristol University has stepped into a row over plans to cull a family of the animals in Sussex. Professor Stephen Harris carried out an archaeological study and discovered that the sett is situated inside a soil formation created by prehistoric farmers… (story)

Cambridge News 17.1.03 Time to go in silico From Kathy Archibald, Europeans For Medical Advancement, Race Walk Priory Road Snape Suffolk - YOUR article “‘Pied Piper’ says HLS is Winner of Three-Year SHAC Campaign” (Business News, January 7) claims “there must be countless examples of how research work carried out by HLS on rats, rabbits and other furry faces has led to life-saving drugs”. Well, then – please name just one example. I predict with complete confidence that you will not be able to…. (letter)
Cambridge News 7.1.03 'Pied Piper' says HLS is winner of three-year SHAC campaign - Brian Cass, managing director of Huntingdon Life Sciences was followed through the streets of St Ives the other day. He says he felt a bit like the Pied Piper, except those following him were shouting "animal killer"…. SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) has taken its toll, yet, like Sisyphus and his boulder, would the one be what it is today without the other?... For the future, HLS is set to continue along its unenviable path, although more as heroes these days than as villains. (story in archive)

Leicester Mercury 17.1.03 BAN ON ANIMAL-TESTING WELCOMED Euro MPs representing Leicestershire have welcomed the ban on selling virtually all animal-tested cosmetic products…. (story)
Telegraph 16.1.03 Testing cosmetics on animals banned by EU - Using animals for testing cosmetics was banned by the European Parliament yesterday after a 13-year battle between activists and French perfume producers… Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Brussels (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 16.1.03 COSMETICS PRODUCTS OUTLAWED - Cosmetics products which have been tested on animals will be outlawed from 2009. A vote in the European Parliament yesterday has now paved the way for new legislation to be brought in… MEP Phillip Whitehead, a spokesman on consumer protection, said: "This deal will have profound implications for Britain…It is a major victory for animal welfare…" (story)
North West Evening Mail 16.1.03 MEP'S VICTORY OVER ANIMAL TESTING LAW - NORTH West MEP Chris Davies is claiming victory after the European Parliament approved a new law ending the sale of cosmetics tested on animals… (story)
Dundee Courier 16.1.03 GO-AHEAD TO END TESTING ON ANIMALS - THE EUROPEAN Parliament yesterday gave the go-ahead to end the testing of cosmetics on animals in the European Union, writes Steve Bargeton, political editor… Scottish Tory MEP John Purvis, a long time supporter of the ban, welcomed the decision… (story in archive)

Worcester Evening News 17.1.03 Say grace... M BURCHER says God puts us on this earth to be custodians of animals. In that case, why did he give us a taste for eating many of them? GEORGE COWLEY, Warndon, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 4.1.03 Let's all go veggie - THE mass production of animals for human consumption is becoming sickening, and makes a good case for vegetarianism…. M BURCHER, Worcester (letter in archive)

Essex Evening Echo 17.1.03 Shoebury: Puppy's killer `must be caught' - A leading animal rights campaigner has urged Shoebury residents to help catch the killer of a puppy stabbed and left to die. Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, expressed his shock after the body of the cocker spaniel bitch was found on East Beach…. (story in archive)

Telegraph 16.1.03 No other role - Sandy Mitchell, in his amusing article for newcomers to the hunting field (Outdoors, Jan. 11), quotes me as "having led the last mounted cavalry charge in British military history, on donkeys up a hill in Cyprus"…. J N P Watson, Shipley, W Sussex (letter)
Telegraph 14.1.03 Just a word to the wise - Visitors are welcome at any hunt - but there are a few rules to follow, says Sandy Mitchell - With legislation to curtail hunting like icy breath on their necks, many hunting people are going hell for leather to squeeze in as many days on horseback as they can before it is too late… I learnt this early on in one of my first jobs, as a hunting correspondent on a country magazine, when my predecessor instructed me in the correct form. His advice was not to be questioned: he was a retired major in the Guards who had been out with some 350 different packs in Britain and Ireland. His other claim to glory was having led the last mounted cavalry charge in British military history, on donkeys up a hill in Cyprus…. (story)

Western Daily Press 16.1.03 HOUNDED AT HOME - Don Tinsey writes (WDP, January 9) that pensioners who fought in the war are more concerned about keeping alive than cruelty to hunted animals. I wonder how he would reply to 57-year-old Flora Johnson of Thorpe Satchville, who said she was upset and shaken when 200 foxhounds from the Quorn hunt invaded her land…. A Heritage Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 16.1.03 IT IS HUNTS THAT NEED CONTROL - The people who attend Boxing Day fox hunt meetings are different to those at the regular meets… I recall once, at a cub hunt of the Beaufort Hunt, a young cub was driven towards the hounds by people, including children of scarcely five years of age, beating the ground with sticks… E A Smith Ashton Bristol (letter)

Worcester Evening News 16.1.03 Carry on good work, Mr Foster - I THINK Ahmed Raza has a damn cheek to criticise Mike Foster over foxhunting… We all know the brutal way Muslims kill animals, so no wonder he doesn't care about a fox… Our country sends enough aid abroad and takes in far too many asylum seekers. MRS A TONGUE, Worcester (letter)

Hereford Times 16.1.03 Hunt says sorry for distress - As the Master responsible for The Radnor and West Herefordshire Hunt on New Year's Day, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Mr Mark Balcombe, (Letters, January 9), for any inconvenience or distress we may have caused him and his family when our hounds strayed on to his property… Richard Marfell, Upper Wall End, Monkland. (letter)
Hereford Times 9.1.03 In a hunting maelstrom - Madam, We had the dubious pleasure of part of a fox hunt taking place on our land and like countless others have had to get use to this annual "recreational activity". It was the second time we had hounds charging maniacally round our garden and woodland. A red rider leading was blowing his horn to no avail. The hounds were simply ignoring him, leaping over fences all over the place. We were in the middle of a hunting maelstrom…. As a family of six we do not agree with fox hunting but most of the time we simply ignore it… Mark Balcombe, Henwood Spinney, Dilwyn (letter in archive)

Berwickshire News 16.1.03 Fox suffering — ‘it is the will of Parliament’ - In reply to Mr Guthrie, I would point out that we do not allow children out with the gun pack… I have looked in Yellow Pages, there are no "marksmen" available so we make do with experienced licensed people with shotguns. The gun pack has been out on 12 days, 22 foxes have been shot at, of these eight were killed by the guns, two were caught by the hounds after being wounded by guns, and three were wounded and got away to die of their wounds over a period of days or weeks. The fate of of the other nine foxes shot at is not known for sure, but they are thought to have been clean misses… in 22 years of hunting foxhounds before the "Watson Act", I have never left a fox injured at the end of a days hunting. Either they were caught by hounds, shot at point blank range after being dug out of a hole, or got away unscathed… Gun pack work is fox extermination. I do not like it, but fox control is necessary and whilst we are denied the method that guaranteed not to maim foxes, gun pack work carries no higher risk of maiming foxes than other legal forms of fox control… Jeremy Whaley MFH Reedy Loch, Duns, Berwickshire (letter)
Berwickshire News 9.1.03 Shooting at foxes dangerous to public and an accident waiting to happen - How disappointing it was to read the front page of the ‘News’ on 02/01/03 and find that the SPORTS?/men/women/boys/girls of the Berwickshire Hunt are still able to have their bloodlust satisfied, albeit on Tuesdays only and in a different manner…. Are these marksmen/women toting the guns the same people who argued a short while ago that tearing foxes to pieces with dogs was more humane than shooting them?... it surely must be very dangerous for the general public to be out and about enjoying the countryside when rifle/shotgun toting amateur gunmen fire a fusillade of bullets at a rapidly moving fox!... To my mind, accidents are just waiting to happen. … I would be interested to find out is how many of the foxes chased are killed cleanly? Could someone also tell ‘News’ readers the total number of foxes killed to date?... A GUTHRIE, Duddingston Road, Edinburgh (letter)

Portsmouth News 16.1.03 FOX-TRAP PLAN TO PROTECT SEABIRDS …Hundreds of wild birds nesting at Langstone Harbour Nature Reserve died last year because of severe weather conditions and prowling foxes… The 2,906 pairs of black-headed gulls that nested on the RSPB reserve mostly laid three eggs each but just 345 out of the more than 8,000 eggs produced young that survived to adulthood…. Chris Cockburn, warden of the RSPB reserve, said: 'We may have to start trapping them and taking them away from the area before releasing them where they cannot attack the colony.' (story in archive)

GRIMSBY URBAN FOXES
Grimsby Telegraph 16.1.03 CUNNING IDEA - I would like to comment on the article by Mr Jim Moy on his cunning idea to deter urban foxes ( Grimsby Telegraph, January 4). The chemical that should be used to deter foxes is called Renardine…Anthony Dacko (address supplied). (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 15.1.03 BELOVED DOG DIES FROM FOX DISEASE …Heartbroken Norman Atkins (54), of Bentley Street lost his dog, Ben, when he contracted canine meningitis. He was told by his vet his dog had caught the illness from feral foxes' urine. A tearful Mr Atkins said it is not the first time foxes have wreaked havoc in his life. A groundsman at Grimsby Town's Blundell Park home, he caught a virus from foxes last year and was off work for a week…. (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 6.1.03 DON'T MESS WITH NATURE - I read in the Telegraph (December 30) about the plan to trial a new fox deterrent in Cleethorpes. Why? Who says that we have a problem with foxes and how do we know this new fox deterrent is safe?... Dave Alderson (fox lover) Signhills Avenue, Cleethorpes (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 4.1.03 CUNNING IDEA TO DETER URBAN FOXES? Could Jeyes fluid be a deterrent for Grimsby-area residents unhappy about the presence of foxes in their gardens? The suggestion has come from Cleethorpes resident Jim Moy, a former councillor, who has been concerned about the impact the creatures are having on his flower beds. Since putting down the fluid as a disinfectant against the mess left by foxes, he has been encouraged that the scent may also be acting as a repellent… (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 30.12.02 FOX DETERRENT TO BE TESTED IN RESORT - Love them or loathe them, foxes are increasingly common in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Local Government Reporter Jim Wright looks at plans to stop them being a nuisance… A Hertfordshire-based firm called Concept Research has developed an ultra-sound alarm which is reckoned to put the wind up Foxy Loxy…. (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 17.12.02 FOX GROUP CONTACTS With regard to recent letters in the Telegraph regarding problems with foxes, the follow contacts may be able to offer assistance: The Fox Project… The Mammal Society… National Fox Welfare Society… C. Cooke, Grimsby (Full address supplied) (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 11.12.02 LESS OF A PEST -With reference to Jim Wright's article on urban foxes (November 30). Foxes do not: deal or take drugs, steal cars, commit arson, cause a nuisance with fireworks, get drunk, vandalise their own environment… (Name and address supplied). (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 7.12.02 FOX PROBLEM IS ESCALATING - Reference your article about foxes (Grimsby Telegraph, November 30) and previous similar articles of my own and others over the past couple of years. Various people have attempted to get the council to recognise there is an ever increasing problem. However, they always reply saying their hands are tied. I for one can tell you that I invested in one of the devices that emits a high-frequency sound designed to deter the foxes and can tell you it doesn't deter them!... B Walledge, Manley Gardens, Cleethorpes (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 6.12.02 With reference your article on the menace of foxes in Cleethorpes and the damage they do to cars. What about those teenagers who damage, steal and burn out cars… How about culling them? Society would be much better off…. Mrs M Banks, Blenheim Place, Cleethorpes. (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 30.11.02 RISE IN FOXES CALLS FOR SOME CUNNING - Basil Brush may have made a welcome return to our TV screens but it is his real-life friends who are causing a stir in Cleethorpes. The fox population is said to be booming - and not everyone's happy. Local Government Reporter Jim Wright went on their trail…. The commission was presented with a petition expressing disquiet and signed by residents of Terrington Place and Penshurst Road. Several wrote supporting letters cataloguing such grievances as: Racing pigeons being snatched from lofts, Safety threats posed to babies in pushchairs or toddlers at play… Urine on flowers and garden vegetables… Cats and other household pets being attacked, thereby incurring three-figure veterinary bills for their owners… Coun Pat Vessey (Lab, South) reminded Mr Bunn that foxes were "beautiful animals" - to which he responded: "They are, except when they're sliding down the windscreen of your car."… (story)

CIWF CHRISTMAS TURKEY LETTER
York Evening Press 16.1.03 Shocking treatment - HEARTFELT thanks to Michael Langtry for highlighting the practices which are causing so much suffering to British farm animals… I have not only became a vegetarian, but joined Viva to campaign against these shameful abuses. Lucinda Scott, Heslington Croft, Fulford, York. (letter in archive)
Surrey Mirror 13.1.03 Factory farming is torture for turkeys - NOW your readers are sick and tired of eating turkey perhaps they can either pat themselves on the back because they bought free-range or organic, or, like Scrooge, suffer the ghosts of Christmas past, present but hopefully not the future. At the moment about 10 million turkeys are reared every year just for the festive season; the majority of these are factory farmed in large windowless buildings with up to 25,000 birds crammed into each shed… If you want to know more about the truth behind the way turkeys are reared please call Compassion in World Farming on 01730 268 863. Amy Rundle Kingsley Road Horley (letter)
York Evening Press 4.1.03 Pig farmers' woe - MICHAEL Langtry and Viva are wrong (Letters, January 2). British farm animals are better cared for than anywhere else in the world…. My "free" pigs will soon be replaced by caged ones in other countries. Fred Henley, Green Farm, Seaton Ross, York. (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 2.1.03 Far from humane - SALLY Gregory (Letters, December 27) claims that British farms treat animals humanely. Anyone who wants to see… that our farms are anything but humane, has only to visit www.viva.org.uk... Michael Langtry, Vanburgh College, York University, Heslington, York (letter in archive)
Malvern Gazette 27.12.02 Spare a thought THIS Christmas, spare a thought for the poor turkey? And I don't mean just because he's dead, he probably suffered terribly during his short life…. If anyone wants to learn more about the truth behind the way turkeys are reared, I would encourage them to call Compassion in World Farming… DAVID JOHN, Britten Drive, Poolbrook, Malvern. (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 27.12.02 Talking turkey - I READ with amusement the letter by D J Bouthwood asking readers to spare a thought for the poor turkey… Obviously, the author had studied turkey psychology and turkey farming to know the "facts"…. how can you be sure that a turkey reared indoors would be less content than a free-range turkey?... As long as your Christmas dinner, was reared in this country, it will have had a better quality of life than anything reared elsewhere in the world. The farming standards in the UK do not allow for anything less. Sally Gregory, Moat Way, Brayton, Selby (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 21.12.02 The poor turkey BEFORE your readers start planning their festive feasts, can I ask them to spare a thought for the poor turkey?... Everyone can help. If you want to eat turkey for Christmas dinner make sure you buy one marked "free-range" or "organic"… If you feel inclined to try something different, there are also many excellent books that provide vegetarian recipes just for Christmas. D J Bouthwood, Alma Court, Off Alma Terrace, York (letter in archive)
Lancaster Citizen 20.12.02 Letters: Spare a thought for the poor old turkey this Christmas - Before readers start planning their festive feasts, may I ask them to spare a thought for the poor turkey? Not because he's dead but because he's probably suffered terribly during his short life…. If anyone wants to learn more about the truth behind the way turkeys are reared I would urge them to phone Compassion in World Farming… R. Anderson (address supplied). (letter in archive)

Eastern Daily Press 16.1.03 Mother horrified at fur toy gift - A Norfolk woman has spoken of her horror after finding out that a toy kitten bought for her by her son is made from real fur. Animal lover Pauline Paul, of Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich, and her friend Margaret Wilkinson, from Poringland, became aware of the use of real fur in ornaments and toys from China after it was highlighted in a day-time TV show… (story)

Paisley Daily Express 16.1.03 ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP JOIN THE BATTLE TO BLOCK HOUSES PLAN - AN animal rights group has joined the fight to stop houses being built at a local beauty spot…. furious locals opposing the controversial development on environmental and heritage grounds, welcomed the news that campaigning group, Animal Concern, has joined their protest… Campaigns consultant John Robins told the Paisley Daily Express his organisation backed villagers in their objections because the development would remove a valuable wildlife resource from Elderslie… (story in archive)

The Citizen (Lytham St Annes) 16.1.03 Call for inquiry after gorilla death - ANIMAL rights activists are calling on council officials to launch an inquiry into the welfare of animals at Blackpool Zoo following the death of one of its best loved apes… But members of the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) are calling for the closure of the zoo following the death of Kukee who came to the zoo as a three-year-old in 1971… (story in archive)

Telegraph 15.1.03 Hunting ban 'in breach of human rights' - Two hunt enthusiasts began a legal challenge yesterday against the ban on fox hunting, claiming their human rights had been breached. Jeremy Whaley, master of the Berwickshire Hunt, and Brian Friend, both of Duns, Berwickshire, claim the ban prevents them from enjoying a traditional lifestyle and cultural rights enshrined under European legislation… Mr Whaley and Mr Friend, members of the Union of Country Sports Workers, describe themselves as followers of the "ancient cultural activity and lifestyle of hunting with hounds". They claim that the ban violates the Human Rights Act… They also argue that hunting is a historical and cultural activity and that the ban breaches Article 27 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights… (story)
Times 15.1.03 Petition calls for Scots hunting ban review BY GILLIAN HARRIS, SCOTLAND CORRESPONDENT - TWO men campaigning for the ban on foxhunting in Scotland to be overturned submitted a petition yesterday calling for a judicial review into the legislation. Jeremy Whaley and Brian Friend, who are associate members of the Union of Country Sports Workers, claim that the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill violates their human rights. The case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh is expected to last four days… (story)

Argus 15.1.03 MP's quip angers anti-hunt members - Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames has made his presence felt in the Westminster committee discussing plans to severely restrict hunting. Clashing with anti-hunt Labour MP Candy Atherton, he produced one of his trademark withering put-downs… He urged Labour members trying to ban the pursuit to listen closely to his remarks, as he believed they had never "been hunting, or seen a hunt." Ms Atherton intervened to say she came from a rural area and that she had watched hunts on "several occasions." He replied: "The honourable Lady is certainly luckier than she looks." (story in archive)

Torquay Herald Express 15.1.03 SELECTIVE QUOTES FROM HUNT REPORT - In his letter of January 2, R A Gagie quotes selectively from the Burns Report on hunting with dogs, commissioned on behalf of the Government in 2000. I accompanied Lord Burns on all his visits to hunting events and at every stage of the inquiry…. Mr Gagie uses four sentences of a report than ran to well over 100 pages, in order to argue that the Burns Report supported a hunting ban. This was not the case… it is right that this matter can only be justly resolved on the basis of principle and firm, unequivocal evidence. This is best dealt with by way of some kind of regulatory framework which is able to distance itself from propaganda or political pressure. SIMON HART Director, Campaign for Hunting London (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 2.1.03 CRUELTY TO FOX SELF EVIDENT - The terms of reference of the Burns inquiry into fox hunting were clearly laid down…. There is however proof of the cruelty they witnessed… 'Fox 31 Royal Artillery Foxhounds, Salisbury Plain April 3, 2001 cause of death. Profound trauma by repeated dog bites…. R A GAGIE, All Hallows Road, Paignton (letter)

Yorkshire Post 15.1.03 Hunting for the clichés From: Gordon Rees, North Parade, West Park, Leeds. J Gardner (Yorkshire Post, January 8) and I clearly have different views on hunting but for him to accuse me of writing in clichés is what really hurts…. It is no good cherry picking just one's own point of view because the bottom line is that we all have to live cheek by jowl with each other. Write in clichés? Moi? (letter)
Yorkshire Post 8.1.03 Overrun by gangs of howling curs From: Jason Gardner, Huddersfield - Sir, – I was delighted to read the letter from Gordon Rees ("Beleaguered hunters stand firm", Yorkshire Post, January 4). It takes someone who lives in West Park, Leeds to be an expert on rural affairs. We live out in the country and have done so for 40 years. We have had to put up with the local hunts throughout that time. We feed the local foxes and other wildlife only to have the place overrun at frequent intervals by gangs of howling curs attended by their mindless dogs intent on ripping every living thing to pieces for their personal amusement… (letter)
Yorkshire Post 4.1.03 Beleaguered hunters stand firm From: Gordon Rees, North Parade, West Park, Leeds - How encouraging to read a headline in the Yorkshire Post (December 27) "Hunts drew record numbers". The attacks on hunting, which would not be tolerated in any other civilised country, are merely a cover for the continuing Blairite attacks on all things British and on all traditional things that the British hold dear….
From: Harry Mead, High St, Gt Broughton, Stokesley, North Yorkshire. - Though personally opposed to hunting, I was extremely disappointed not to find the Cleveland Hunt in the Yorkshire Post's list of Boxing Day meets of Yorkshire hunts. It can't be stressed often enough or strongly enough that Cleveland is in Yorkshire…. (letters)

Louth Leader 15.1.03 I protested at the hunt - I was interested to read the article on the front page of the Louth Leader regarding the Boxing Day hunt. However, I found two sentences quite surprising “without an anti-hunt protestor in sight” and “we did not see a single protestor…" I myself attended the meet in Louth’s cattle market, and along with two others was protesting…. Last year the South Wold Hunt could not take place due to the foot and mouth crisis. However, I did not hear stories of the countryside becoming overrun with foxes within this period or causing mass devastation to livestock… On numerous occasions on national television and newspapers it has been proved that money raised by the Countryside Alliance from events such as September’s Liberty and Livelihood march in London all goes towards supporting fox hunting… Judith Hall Brinkhill, Lincolnshire (letter)
Louth Leader 1.1.03 TALLY HO! Hunt supporters out in force on Boxing Day - SOUTH Wold Hunt members were determined not to allow drizzle and the uncertainty surrounding their sport dampen their spirits on possibly the last Boxing Day meet. A crowd of several hundred massed in Louth's cattle market to watch 40 mounted riders charge off after the hounds, without an anti-hunt protestor in sight… (story in archive)

Shropshire Star 15.1.03 Hounds do not have to be killed - Various pro-hunters have attempted to influence public opinion by stating that, in the event of a hunting ban, all the redundant fox hounds would have to be killed… Most fox hounds after neutering would make fine pets and would be snapped up by animal lovers against hunting… Ken Parry Bicton (letter in archive)

Cambridge News 15.1.03 Brave man worth MBE From Thomas Bromley SIMR Executive Secretary PO Box 504 Dunstable Bedfordshire GAIL Record (Letters, January 4) writes expressing how upset she was that Brian Cass, who is director of Huntington Life Sciences, received a CBE. I was equally upset that a brave friend of mine who was confined to a wheelchair most of his short life didn’t live to receive the MBE he so richly deserved. Andrew Blake lost his battle against a rare genetic disorder called Friedreich’s ataxia in May… In 1991, Andrew founded Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR) and he fought animal extremists with as much guts as he did his illness… (letter)
Cambridge News 4.1.03 From Mrs Gail Record, Peterborough - I READ recently about Brian Cass, head of controversial animal test laboratory Huntington Life Sciences, receiving a CBE. I was particularly upset and disgusted to hear that Prince Charles awarded him with a personal endorsement. I think this is disgraceful of the Prince…. (letter)

Essex Evening Echo 15.1.03 Noak Bridge: Hens plucked from peril - Battery chickens have been given a new lease of life - thanks to animal lovers. Jackie Kendall of New Waverley Road, Noak Bridge, has made it her mission to rescue chickens from around the county and she even has some as pets. After an appeal in the Evening Echo, Jackie raised enough cash to buy 25 chickens from a battery farm and give them a new home at the Rescuers' Wildlife Sanctuary in Benfleet… (story in archive)

Western Mail 14.1.03 Anti-hunts tax `unfair' - A PROPOSAL to give animal welfare groups taxpayers' money to oppose licence applications to hunt with dogs has been described by the Farmers' Union of Wales as grossly unfair… The FUW's senior policy officer, Rhian Nowell-Phillips, said, "This proposal is outrageous and grossly unfair when you consider that hunt packs will not have access to the same government funds to defend their right to control pests…" (story)

Western Mail 14.1.03 FUW warns of attacks - Andrew Clarke, The Western Mail - BADGERS and foxes are equally as dangerous on the farm to young children and pets as big wild cats, the Farmers' Union of Wales warned today. The union delivered its warning after Gwent member Jill Bowen-Bravery revealed a badger was the likely attacker of her small seven-year-old collie who recently sustained a huge gash requiring 64 stitches that had to be inserted by a vet at a cost of £600…. Last July 14-week-old Louis Day was reportedly savaged by a fox who crept into his home in Kent and attacked him while he slept on a sofa with his mother near open patio doors… (story)

Border Telegraph 14.1.03 The Scottish Parliament madhouse - I refer to Derek Brownlee’s most informative letter regarding the police presence in Midlem at a recent meet of the Buccleuch Hunt… any illegal killing would have to be witnessed, either by two reliable civilian witnesses, or two police witnesses, both of whom would really have to be duly booted and spurred and on horseback… This is classic ill-thought-out rubbish legislation made not as in the past in the Westminster madhouse, but in our very own. — I am, etc., Angus Mackay. Monkswood, Gattonside (letter)

Shropshire Star 14.1.03 Tally ho is answer to criminals - A letter written by "name and address supplied" in the Shropshire Star on January 7 gave me an idea… Why don't we round up all the drug dealers, car thieves, burglars, rapists, paedophiles, murderers and anyone who conspires to force up taxation to fund their waste, then release them one at a time into the countryside hotly pursued by the local hunt? It would save us a fortune in court and prison costs, appease the huntsmen, give the foxes a break and open the door to a fresh bunch of honest politicians…. Dale Richards Shrewsbury (letter in archive)

Shropshire Star 7.1.03 Humans are worst of vermin - I am confused by Mr D Oakley's ideas. On one hand he writes about the need to apply Bible principles in daily life, on the other he condones cruelty to animals in the form of fox hunting. Having been an acquaintance for many years of a farmer I am reliably informed that foxes do not kill for the hell of it… We are surely, the most pernicious vermin of all. Name and address supplied (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 13.12.02 What next, a ban on predator animals? Passing a law to ban fox hunting in my opinion is a mistake, especially by people who have not lived in the country… I suggest to MPs and to all those who want a fox hunting ban to think again - or is it their plan to ban hunting by other wild animals, such as the catching of rabbits by a ferret, or birds of prey swooping down on wildlife… Donald Oakley, Shrewsbury (letter in archive)

Sunderland Echo 14.1.03 Not the only cruel sport THE leader column of Friday, December 27, let us all know that the editor welcomes legislation that will end the hunting of foxes in this country. A sport he described as barbaric and elitist. I would suggest that if the editor was prepared to open his eyes and look around, he would see that there are a great number of things taking place much more barbaric than hunting foxes… I wonder if the editor will support the thugs of the animal rights lobby when they turn their attention to the sport of horse racing and angling, as they surely will, once New Labour's tinpot parliamentary malcontents have got their way and hunting is banned…. Mary Metcalfe, Warwick Drive, East Herrington (letter)

Western Morning News 14.1.03 Royal grip was firmer WE READ that the Queen is trying to do a damage limitation job for the monarchy by asking Charles to give up hunting. Surely she should have been aware many years ago of public feelings on this matter…. Elsie van der Steen Paignton, TQ3 IBD (letter)

Oxford Mail 14.1.03 We're on same side - Ralph Leavis is again mischief-making, accusing animal rights' activists of being unconcerned about human issues… People who are genuinely compassionate oppose all forms of oppression and cruelty, whether against humans or other animal species… Have a heart, Mr Leavis. Show some compassion. Campaigners for human and animal rights are on the same side. JIM CRAWFORD Burton Place Oxford (letter in archive)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 14.1.03 RSPCA committed to helping animals - I WRITE in response to D J Gravestock's letter (Swindon Evening Advertiser, January 7, 2003) in which it is unfairly and inaccurately claimed that the RSPCA is only a caring society when television cameras are rolling… I would like to assure readers that the RSPCA is committed to promoting kindness and preventing cruelty to animals with or without cameras present. LUCY CLARK Regional Press Officer RSPCA Regional HQ PO Box 6047 Basingstoke, Hants (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 7.1.03 Different in front of cameras - After reading the article about the dog abandoned at Swindon Railway Station… I wonder if the Animal Hospital film crew had been around, would there have been a different response from the RSPCA, as they seem willing to do anything in front of the cameras for publicity. D J Gravestock Member NCDL Moredon Swindon (letter in archive)

Sunderland Echo 14.1.03 Ruddy duck silence AS we go into the year 2003, bird lovers are still left uncertain as to the fate of the ruddy duck. The silence of Defra regarding the matter is very disquieting. Their only response to letters of concern is "Your comments have been noted"… John Cowen, Stewart Terrace, Edinburgh (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 14.1.03 MEAT-FREE DIET CAN BE HEALTHY - It was unwise for Dr Sydney Bush to accuse E Girling of being ill-informed when his own short letter contains so much false information and flawed reasoning… It is a proven fact that it is possible to live healthily on a meat-free diet… Chris Hobson, South View, New Ellerby (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 11.1.03 VEGETARIANISM CAN HELP FEED STARVING - Re: Sydney Bush (Mail, December 23 and 24). Vegetarianism does help the underprivileged and the millions, including children, of starving people in the Third World… E Girling, Sigston Road, Beverley (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 2.1.03 CONTRADICTIONS OVER MEAT-EATING FACTS - I wish Dr Bush would be more decisive (Letters, December 10 and 23)… Dr Bush must know that the USA and Britain have the highest heart disease rates in the world because of their diet. Steve Broom, Apollo Walk, Hull (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 23.12.02 DON'T THINK YOU'RE CLEVER BY GOING VEGGIE … Vegetarianism holds no benefits for the underprivileged and is more religion than science. Sydney J Bush, Anti-Coronary Clinics (UK) Ltd, Brook Street, Hull. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 10.12.02 MEAT WAS NEEDED TO HELP ME TO GROW - It is sad to read E Girlings ill-informed letter… I remember during meatless wartime days, when I could not grow properly compared with the butcher's son. Not until joining the Army and qualifying for cookhouse fatigues did I get enough meat and grow 28 pounds of muscle in two months. Sydney J Bush, M D Anticoronary Clinics (UK) Ltd, Skidby. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 3.12.02 EATING MEAT IS CRUEL AND UNNECESSARY - Well over 50 billion animals are slaughtered worldwide every year to satisfy the lust for meat… As a Christian country, we should sacrifice our desire for meat to save the weak and vulnerable in this world. Mrs E Girling, Sigston Road, Beverley. (letter)

Argus 13.1.03 Used to be - As noted in the article but, sadly, not in the headline ("Charity's vet backs hunt ban", The Argus, January 7), Bill Swann no longer works for the RSPCA. So, any views expressed by him are personal ones and not representative of the RSPCA's considered stance on the Hunting Bill. We agree with Mr Swann that hunting with dogs is cruel and should be prevented but do not share his optimism that the proposed tribunal system would ensure the majority of fox hunting would end… -Jackie Ballard, Director General, RSPCA (letter in archive)

JOHN COOPER LETTER
Worcester Evening News 13.1.03 Failed to answer question - IN the Evening News of Friday, November 8, I invited John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, to give his views on why such a high number of officials have departed his organisation after dramatically changing their opinion about hunting. Mr Cooper wrote to the Evening News on Tuesday, December 24, but failed to use the opportunity to reply to my question… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 26.12.02 Huntsmen could well follow a false scent - John Cooper Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 24.12.02 Huntsmen could well follow a false scent - John Cooper Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 24.12.02 Think about archaic and cruel tradition - JOHN COOPER, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter in archive)
South London Press 20.12.02 Write for a complete ban - John Cooper Chairman League Against Cruel Sports Southwark (letter)
Bucks Free Press 20.12.02 Ban Boxing Day bloodsports John Cooper Chairman League Against Cruel Sports Union Street London (letter)
Wiltshire Times 20.12.02 Are cubs entitled to our protection? - I WRITE in response to the letter from Name and Address Supplied (Wiltshire Times, December 13). This person stated that "Due to the selective nature of hound use, only weak or lame animals fail to escape". How then does this person explain cub hunting?... MANDY GRIFFITHS, Tower Hill, Dilton Marsh (letter in archive)
Wiltshire Times 13.12.02 Who are animals' worst enemies? - I WRITE in response to the letter from John Cooper, chair, League Against Cruel Sports… When and if a hunting ban with dogs is made law what will the League Against Cruel Sports turn its attention to? Or will it disband and share its funds between its supporters? ARTHUR TENCH, Perch Pool, Shearwater, Warminster. (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 10.12.02 FIND OUT THE FACTS - DON'T LISTEN TO THIS PROPAGANDA - In any debate it is important to keep to fact, rather than fiction. It would seem that John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, has been listening to too much of his own misleading propaganda to know the difference… Mr Cooper cannot have it both ways. Firstly he says that thousands of foxes have been killed during the autumn hunting season, then later he claims that hunting has no impact on fox numbers!... he turns to the emotional statement that unwanted hounds are then shot! No huntsman puts down hounds unnecessarily, and it is certainly not something they enjoy having to … . In reality who destroys most domestic animals in this country, many perfectly healthy, but ones for whom homes cannot be found? The RSPCA… Michael H C Moore, Joint Master East Devon Hunt (letter)
Western Morning News 3.12.02 Confused yet? JOHN Cooper, of the League Against Cruel Sports writes "Over the past few months, thousands of young foxes have been killed by the hunts" (WMN, November 12). A little further along he states "Since the last hunting season, evidence has been produced, proving that hunting has no effect on fox numbers… Perhaps in his desire to convince everyone what little effect hunting has, Mr Cooper has done his best to confuse the issue. He certainly has me confused. Roy Williams, Callington (letter)
Wiltshire Times 22.11.02 Against hunting with dogs - JOHN COOPER, Chair, League Against Cruel Sports. (letter in archive)
Horncastle News 20.11.02 Foxes need to be killed to prevent damage - May I comment on the letter ‘Hunting: No effect on fox numbers’ – November 6. This letter is full of false emotion…. H H FOSTER, Woodhall Spa (letter)
Western Morning News 12.11.02 END THIS TORTURE OF OUR WILD ANIMALS - John Cooper, Chair League Against Cruel Sports London (letter)
Worcester Evening News 8.11.02 A hunting work of complete fiction - THE Evening News (You Say, November 1) carried a letter from John Cooper, Chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). His correspondence, currently making the rounds of the regional Press, contains a description of hunting and terrier work that is complete fiction… I would very much appreciate Mr Cooper giving his views on why at least two of his predecessors, along with numerous executives at LACS, have left their posts in the organisation to openly support the continuation of hunting on the grounds of animal welfare or conservation… JON BURGESS, Malvern (letter in archive)
Horncastle News 6.11.02 Hunting: ‘No effect on fox numbers’ - JOHN COOPER, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Sunderland Echo 6.11.02 Cruel hunting - John Cooper, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Bucks Free Press 5.11.02 Now cubs are dead, the hunts are running - John Cooper, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports London (letter)
Western Daily Press 1.11.02 DRAG HUNTING IS WAY FORWARD - John Cooper Chair League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Morpeth Herald 1.11.02 CRUELTY OF THE HUNT MUST BE ENDED - JOHN COOPER, Chairman League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 31.10.02 FOX CUBS KILLED IN NAME OF SPORT - Over the last few months, thousands of five- and six-month old fox cubs have been brutally killed with packs of dogs in the name of sport…. Since the last hunting season, evidence has been produced proving that hunting is not pest control… John Cooper, chair, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)

Shropshire Star 13.1.03 Outdated attitude to hunting - Your correspondent, K.Gratton (Star, January 6) tries to compare fox and stag hunting with the archaic practices of dog fighting and bear baiting… Hunting a completely wild fox or deer in its natural surroundings cannot be likened to dog fighting or bear baiting, in which the outcome could only be death. Both foxes and deer have a good chance of escaping… The problem is not really one of concern for animal welfare, but an attitude to those who hunt which is a hundred years out of date. B Lewis, Stapleton, Shrewsbury (letter in archive)

(possibly Exeter Express & Echo) 13.1.03 PUPPIES ON SHOW IN IVYBRIDGE - The Dartmoor Hunt Puppy Show was held at The Kennels in Kennel Lane, Ivybridge… (story)

Leicester Mercury 13.1.03 PUTTING LEISURE TO THE 'UTILITY' TEST? - The Government's new proposal on fox-hunting depends upon two tests - for cruelty and utility. No-one could disagree with the cruelty test, but people who hunt know (as the Burns report recognised) that hunting with hounds is no less humane than other culling methods…. If we have to convince the Government that our sports and pastimes are useful, what about football or stamp collecting? Are they useful? Will they be banned? What about shooting and fishing?... Roger Helmer MEP, East Midlands Conservative Party (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 8.1.03 WILL THERE BE FISHING BAN? The Government's proposal on fox-hunting depends upon two tests - for cruelty and "utility". No-one could disagree with the cruelty test, but people who hunt know (as the Burns report recognised) that hunting with hounds is no less humane than other culling methods…. Closer to home, what about shooting and fishing? The Government has repeatedly assured us that a hunting ban will not lead to the banning of pheasant shooting and angling, but what is their "utility"?... Roger Helmer MEP, East Midlands Conservative Party. (letter)

Scotsman 13.1.03 Law makeover closes animal testing loophole - ALASTAIR DALTON AND NICOLA SMITH - THE multi-billion pound cosmetics industry will this week be forced to rethink the way it works when a European law bans most animal testing for new beauty products… The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection has led a European coalition of animal groups that have lobbied for change since 1990. Wendy Higgins, the group’s campaigns director, said: "This is potentially a historic moment, since to eradicate cosmetic animal testing from the European Union is quite an achievement. However, it is shameful that it has taken so long to do this. We are also disappointed we have a staggered sales ban."… (story)

Bristol Evening Post 13.1.03 VEGANS LOOK FOR CITY HQ …The Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, whose declared aim is to convert everyone into vegans, wants to quit its offices in Brighton for a new venue in the city centre because of Bristol's attraction as a multicultural, dynamic and progressive city… Viva campaigner Alistair Currie, said: "Our director Tony Wardle will be in Bristol this week to get a feel for the place and look at the different properties available… When Viva moves to Bristol, all of its staff, who have to be vegans - which means that, unlike vegetarians, they don't eat any dairy or animal products, - are expected to follow (story)
Argus 12.11.02 Veggie group to quit city by Karen Hoy - The group Viva!, which promotes vegetarianism and animal rights, is pulling out of Brighton and Hove because of the high cost of living… Campaigner Alistair Currie said: "We rely on donations and volunteers and the salaries we offer are not that generous. They don't go as far as they would in other places." (story in archive)
Bristol Evening Post 21.10.02 ANIMAL ACTIVISTS MOVE TO BRISTOL …The Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, whose declared aim is to convert everyone into vegans, is interested in getting out of its offices in Brighton for a new venue in the city centre because of Bristol's attraction as a multi-cultural, dynamic and progressive city… Alistair Currie, a campaigner with Viva! , said that one of the main reasons for the move was the high cost of living in Brighton… (story)

Sunday Times 12.1.03 Saving caged bears - YOUR report Rescuers “worsen” plight of bears (World News, December 1) requires clarification. By paying for bears to be rescued from captivity in China, Animals Asia is not exacerbating the problem. When a bear farm closes, it closes for good. By compensating farmers and allowing them to pursue alternative employment we are, in fact, reducing the risk of those same bears being slaughtered and fuelling an illegal underground trade… Jill Robinson Founder & CEO Animals Asia Foundation (letter)
Sunday Times 1.12.02 Rescuers ‘worsen’ plight of bears LYNNE O’DONNELL, BEIJING - A BRITISH animal charity that helps to rescue bears from Chinese farmers who “milk” them for their bile has been accused of inadvertently exacerbating the problem. The Animals Asia Foundation (AAF), which operates from Hong Kong, struck a deal two years ago with authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan to close down all bear farms with fewer than 50 animals and move the animals to sanctuaries…. Critics claim the AAF may have created a lucrative market in bears, giving farmers an incentive to catch more of them… Jill Robinson, the AAF’s British founder who was awarded an MBE in 1998 for services to animals, rejected criticism of the scheme…. (story)

Telegraph 11.1.03 Peterborough - Sabotaged - The cold snap that hit Britain this week has at least done Prince Charles's local hunt, the Beaufort, a good turn.The other day, a group of saboteurs, intent on wreaking havoc, came unstuck - or should that be stuck? - when they turned up at a Beaufort meet…. "Strangely, most of us decided that rather than hauling them out, we had more urgent matters to deal with. So there they sat, until a garage came to tow them away." (story)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 11.1.03 MP backs the change of law over airguns - A West Bromwich MP campaigning for a change in the law on airguns has welcomed news that the Government is to ban the carrying of replica guns and air weapons… Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East, launched a campaign last year after a seven-year-old boy playing near his home in Great Barr was nearly blinded by teenagers who fired an airgun at him... "This is also a victory for animal welfare groups like Sandwell Swan Watch who have regularly voiced their concerns about the number of wild animals and birds that are killed by air guns…" (story)

Mirror 10.1.03 ANNETTE ON HER MOST IMPORTANT ROLE By David Edwards - THERE IS something disconcerting about sitting down to discuss the state of the world with Annette Crosbie. There she is, 68-years-old, dressed in a blue sweater and jeans looking like butter wouldn't melt when, without warning, the clipped tones give way to a furious outburst about the environment, the horrors of blood sports and the merits of direct action…. "When I think about it, I think humans are the nastiest species of animal on the planet..." she now hopes to make an even bigger mark as the new President of the League Against Cruel Sports…. "You see, I'm impatient, intolerant, judgmental, tactless - I'm not very nice, I'm really not. And if you don't do it my way, by God you'll be sorry."… she sympathises with those who decide to take direct action. "Of course you can't go around hitting people with bats. That's disgusting but I do think that some of their methods have been effective. "The campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences has been very clever - to frighten the banks into backing off is wonderful."… (story)

Chester Chronicle 10.1.03 Hunt debate a 'waste of time' with threat of war By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle - THE leader of the Countryside Alliance told its Cheshire members the organisation would not support any anti-hunting legislation based on 'prejudice and bigotry'. Richard Burge, who addressed a regional gathering at Chester Racecourse, yesterday, told The Chronicle parliament was wasting everyone's time debating hunting at a time of impending war… (story)

Herts & Essex Observer 10.1.03 Man attacked as hunt hounds raid sheep pen - A conservationist required hospital treatment after being mauled while trying to protect a flock of sheep from attack by hounds belonging to the Puckeridge Hunt. Tim Howes, 41, was bitten on his upper legs and suffered a severe cut to the middle finger of his right hand… They turned to see that the pack of hounds had burst into an electrified compound containing 16 Shetland sheep…. Mr Howes was then injured while trying to free one of the hounds which had caught its leg in the electric fence and was receiving a steady stream of shocks. He earthed the wire by placing his foot on it, only for the freed animal to round on its rescuer… Mr Howes claimed the hounds had inflicted minor wounds on at least seven of the sheep… Joint-master of the Puckeridge Hunt Diana Pyper apologised to Mr Howes for his injuries, but denied that the marauding hounds would have harmed the sheep…. Mrs Pyper suspected that the animals may have been injured running through brambles during the melee. (story may only be on website for a week)
Herts & Essex Observer 10.1.03 MAN HURT BY FOX HOUND ON HUNT - A man was subjected to a terrifying assault by a fox hound belonging to the Puckeridge Hunt after the pack burst into a compound full of sheep. Tim Howes (41) suffered a severe cut to the middle finger of his right hand and bites to the tops of his legs that required hospital treatment during the attack in Patmore Heath on Saturday afternoon…. (same story as above) (story may only be on website for a week)

Tenby Observer 10.1.03 Honeyscroft hunt Riders at a meet of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt at Honeyscroft, Jeffreyston, last weekend. (photo)

Exeter Express & Echo 10.1.03 I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IMMINENT HUNTING BAN - The East Devon Hunt master asks where were the anti-hunt protesters for New Year's Day at the Ottery St Mary meet, Echo, January 2. Well, there are several reasons we weren't there. We have won the argument that hunting is cruel…. After watching the diabolical scenes outside the hunters' recent Westminster protest, would there have been trouble?... Jennie Cook Address withheld on request (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 2.1.03 HUNT VOWS NOT TO GIVE UP Hundreds of fox hunting supporters gathered in the pouring rain for the East Devon Hunt's New Year's Day meet, convinced that Government plans to restrict and licence fox hunting would not mean an end to their pursuit. Supporters, huntsmen and hounds rallied to the cry of defiance by Joint Master of the Hunt Michael Moore. He vowed that the hunt would not give up its fight…. (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 10.1.03 HUNDREDS CHEERED BOXING DAY HUNT The anti-hunt brigade would have us believe that the vast majority would support a ban on hunting with hounds… on Boxing Day, when hundreds of hunt supporters cheered the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt. Among the good humour stood a miserable group of only about 20 antis. Richard Clark Plaxtol (letter)

Craven Herald 10.1.03 I particularly enjoyed the pictures that accompanied Sue Marshall's article on the Boxing Day Hunt… I only hope therefore that if this hunt does in fact take place again next year that your photographer will stick with it beyond the starting point, in order to give us equally colourful pictures of what is, after all, the essence of the occasion: the tearing to pieces of a fox in the name of sport. Bob Adamson, Fallowfield, Skipton (letter in archive)

Morpeth Herald 10.1.03 HUNT PROTESTERS REPRESENT ‘SILENT MAJORITY’ I feel compelled to write in response to the remarks made to me by a member of the Morpeth Hunt on New Year’s Day. I was there in silent, peaceful, protest when a male rider approached me and asked me if I had enjoyed the fireworks the night before… The implication was that my time would be better spent protesting about firework displays in the cause of animal welfare…. I told the gentleman on horseback that I did not want to argue with him but he seemed determined to engage me in conversation, so I asked him why the RSPCA was against foxhunting if it was not a cruel sport and his reply was that they had been ‘infiltrated’ by anti-Hunt people…. I might have been in the minority on New Year’s Day, but I represent the silent majority… ADA FOX Morpeth Northumberland Name and address withheld by consent (letter)

Shropshire Star 10.1.03 Airgun crackdown angers sportsmen By Nathan Rous - Countryside campaigners today criticised the Government's intention to crack down on air-gun ownership, branding the moves "pointless and unfair". Firing a broadside to Home Secretary David Blunkett, the Countryside Alliance said he was simply "tightening the screw" on law-abiding people instead of tackling the real issues of gun crime…. Clare Rowson, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Victimising law-abiding people who own and use air weapons properly does nothing to reduce gun misuse by the criminal fraternity…" (story)

Torquay Herald Express 10.1.03 MOVE TO CITY In reply to the article 'Anger over pheasant shoot' (January 2), there are two things to be said. If Gillian Gadsby and her friends do not like countryside sports i.e. shooting they should move to a city… More power to your elbow Mr Haddock. Happy shooting. PHILLIP G RICH Courtland Road Paignton (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 2.1.03 ANGER OVER FARMER'S PHEASANT SHOOTING BY LIZ PHILLIPS - Gunmen on a pheasant shoot at Churston have ruffled the feathers of horrified Brixham neighbours who treat the birds like pets. Wildlife lover Gillian Gadsby of North Boundary Road said: "It was so sad to witness a wanton act of appalling destruction…" Mrs Gadsby said several neighbours harangued the shooters over their boundary hedges, and were very concerned about guns being discharged within 100 yards of homes…. Shoot organiser Richard Haddock, who has regularly hit the headlines as a militant champion of farmers, insisted it was a legitimate event carried out by a licensed shooting syndicate… Mr Haddock denied the birds were wild. "I bought the birds and have regularly fed them for occasions like this…" (story)

Richmond & Twickenham Times 10.1.03 Beware the urban fox By Malcolm Richards - Plastic bags should be put inside a dustbin and not left out for the rats and urban fox, residents have been advised. The Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, Cllr Nicola Urquhart, has appealed to residents to play their part in disposing rubbish in the most thoughtful and tidy way. "The urban fox is here to stay and loves to attack bags of rubbish offering up treats," she points out. (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 10.1.03 WE CAN LEARN A LOT FROM MY TREASURE My adopted horse, Emma's Treasure, a retired race horse, was going to be put down because she could no longer run races and make money…. Yvonne Vinall Goods Station Road Tunbridge Wells (letter)

Worcester Evening News 10.1.03 Cruelty must stop - THE pig farmers may try to have us believe that they meet high welfare standards but this is far from the truth. I'm a supporter of Viva! the vegetarian and animal charity, and over the past year we have filmed inside British pig farms. Everywhere we pointed the camera we saw diseased, dead and dying animals…. MARY PARKER, On behalf of Viva! Brighton. (letter in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 10.1.03 SALMON NOT A VEGETABLE - If j P Kerswell Frost, Points of view, January 4, is a vegetarian then salmon or any other flesh should not be a concern as it would not be eaten… J M Northrop St Thomas, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.1.03 SCOTTISH FARMED SALMON COULD BE POISONING ME - Being vegetarian, I was delighted to see that supermarkets were offering vacuum-packed salmon slices at huge discounts. Unfortunately, what I have since found out has made me feel sick… Scottish farmed salmon can spend their lives crammed into cages, swimming in a soup of their own faeces, which they feed on… I feel angry, tricked and deceived by the way the supermarkets have marketed this supposed healthy alternative. J P Kerswell-Frost Exwick Villas Exeter (letter)

Irish Examiner 10.1.03 Compassion for keepers of the countryside - COMPASSION in World Farming supports the farmers’ call on the Government to keep them on the land… we would point out that food production is essentially different from other industries because this basic requirement for life keeps us all in touch with the land… Furthermore, farmers not only produce food but also play a vital role as custodians of our rural environment … Mary-Anne Bartlett, Director, Compassion in World Farming - Ireland, Salmon Weir, Hanover Street, Cork. (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 10.1.03 DON'T BUY EXOTIC ANIMALS IN UK - It was heartening to read about Wendy Brooker, Earthwatch Millennium Award winner (Courier, December 13). Her work contrasts sharply with the cruelty of the exotic pet trade… Richard Mountford Animal Aid Bradford Street Tonbridge

(possibly Worcester Evening News 9.1.03 Peaceful protest at cancelled hunt - RESIDENTS made a peaceful protest outside Alcester Town Hall on New Year's Day against the decision to call off the Stirrup Cup. Former High and Low Bailiffs, members of the Court Leet, townsfolk, representatives of the Croome and West Warwickshire hunt and the Marchioness of Hertford met at noon to keep part of the popular 50-year tradition alive… (story)

Tavistock Times 9.1.03 Hunt sorry for hounds? actions - Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt has apologised to a Walkhampton resident who claims a number of hounds ran across his garden during the New Year?s Day hunt. Graham Piper, who lives in Blackbrook Close, told the Times several hounds ?ran riot? through his shrubs and trampled on a sandpit, which was a Christmas present to his children…. (story in archive)

Independent 9.1.03 Tales of the Country: No kindred spirits, but plenty of friends By Brian Viner ….A letter has arrived from the master of the North Herefordshire Hunt, inviting me, as a loyal hunt supporter, to the annual hunt supper later this month. I have a bit of a problem with this. I seem to have been claimed as a supporter because I have not emerged as an opponent… I don't want to stand in the way of a tradition about which – no letters,please – I have no strong feelings… That doesn't mean, though, that I'll be swallowing the hunt supper…. (story)

Isle of Wight County Press 9.1.03 HUNTING BAN REASON From John Smith, 26 Bridgwater Close, Walsall Wood, West Midlands: HAVING read your article on your excellent website concerning the Boxing Day outing of the Isle of Wight Hunt, I feel compelled to reply to comments made by Richard Standing: "Why coursing and deer hunting should be banned is beyond me." I would have thought that the reason is obvious - they are both extremely cruel, causing undoubted suffering to the animals. (letter in archive)
31.12.02 31.12.02 HUNT RIDES OUT AMID PROTESTS By Jon Moreno - 'OUT-FOXED, OUT-DATED, out-voted' was one of the banners that greeted huntsmen at the traditional Boxing Day foxhunt from Carisbrooke Castle. But Richard Standing, joint hunt master of the IW Hunt Supporters' Club, said he was confident a compromise on hunting - being put forward by the government - would ensure the survival of the sport on the Island…. One League Against Cruel Sports campaigner, who attended under the pseudonym John Skinner for fear of reprisals from foxhunters, said the tradition was on a par with witch-hunting…. (story)

Ilkley Gazette 9.1.03 Hunting ban - Almost daily we are faced with legislation which is unnecessary and/or impractical. Increasingly the innocent and vulnerable are being let down by the law. Meanwhile, our legislators are spending time and resources on an issue which divides country and town more than any other…It is highly significant that, at present, the animal rights activists - frequently violent activists who should not be encouraged by Members of Parliament - have kept quiet about fishing, shooting and other activities involving animals… The ban for which our legislators bay will result in more cruelty to foxes through poison and gunshot, not less. B J CUSSONS 4, Curly Hill, Ilkley (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 9.1.03 SEEING FOR YOURSELF - Hunt supporters do not regard the public as stupid, as suggested by Roy Franklin. However, the public are very much misinformed by the type of letter he wrote…. I can honestly say that, apart from the rare accidents mentioned, which happened approximately 20 years ago, I have never seen any cruelty…. If Mr Franklin wants to stop cruelty to animals, he should do something about the cruelty to domestic animals - dogs and cats, etc - caused by the very loud noise of modern fireworks. Robert Hastings Harford Castle Cary Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 9.1.03 ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS ARE ATTACKING THE WRONG TARGET - So Roy Franklin, who is apparently a fanatical anti-hunt vegetarian, tells us that the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds are 'murdering' animals. This is typical of the misanthropic, mawkish, malevolent and muddled moral thinking of this group of revolutionary eco-warriors who would like to impose their values upon, and interfere with, other people's lives and livelihoods…. what is he going to do about animals that 'murder' other animals? It is only fair that they are tried and imprisoned along with hunters. After all, murder is murder, isn't it?.... Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 31.12.02 PHOTOS WE WILL NOT FORGET - Robert Harford, like many hunt supporters, thinks the general public is stupid. Those of us that have lived in the South West for decades know that certain pictures in the press that are notorious for exemplifying hunt brutality show conscious, live stags being tortured… As for farmers being ruined, they are mostly failed businessmen who the general public have been forced to bankroll since the war… Simon Hurt hopes the hunting debate will disappear in 2003. Well, it will never stop until the hunt stops murdering animals… while they still kill, sabs and antis will be pushing for abolition… Roy Franklin Bridgwater Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 23.12.02 THE CAMERA CAN REALLY LIE - The pictures which you publish of stags at the end of hunts are quite obviously taken by anti-hunters. But the captions supplied with the pictures are misleading which is, of course, the intention. One picture was of a man wrestling a stag in the water. In fact, the stag was already dead. The man was preventing the deer from being carried away by the fast-flowing river… We have people in Parliament who are giving this country to the farmer's enemies. The genuine farmer is being ruined. True country life is gone and England, my England, is no more.Robert H Harford Castle Cary Somerset (letter)

Hereford Times 9.1.03 Ban will not save one single life - A ban on hunting will not save the life of a single fox. Conservationists nationwide recognise that the present system works, current methods of properly conducted hunting, coupled with responsible gamekeeping, have resulted in a healthy and ecologically sustainable fox population, regulated at a sensible level tolerable to landholders… Peter James Hewitt, Browning Road, Ledbury. (letter in archive)

Hereford Times 9.1.03 Wake up and visit real world MADAM, If vermin control by humane methods (the alternative being gassing, snaring, poisoning, or hit and miss shooting) offends the sensibilities, perhaps those of that ilk should spend some time on a REAL working farm. It would mean getting dirty - and play havoc with the manicure. But an insight would be gained as to the long hours and dedication of ordinary, genuine,country people in tending and rearing stock…. K S Cameron, Hay-on-Wye (letter in archive)

Hereford Times 9.1.03 Simple choice of fox control … The majority who oppose hunting (including Mr. Dowling?) seem to accept the chance of wounding as a method of control whereas those who hunt know that the kill is instantaneous and those animals culled are likely to be the weak or injured (sometimes by other methods of control)…. G P Langer, Belpha, Dulas, Pontrilas (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 2.1.03 Misquotes from Burns' report Madam, Mr Langer (Letters 19 December) accuses me of being confused over the effects of hunting on fox populations… Mr Langer conveniently ignores the following direct quotes from Lord Burns (in the House of Lords): "Hunting is essentially a recreational activity in most lowland areas and in practice plays only a small part in pest control…. E J Dowling Silver Fir Close, Hereford. (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 12.12.02 Conflicting tales of countryside - First we were told that when hunting is banned, the country will be overrun by foxes. Then independent scientific research showed this was nonsense. So now (E Stainer, Letters November 21) we are told that without hunting there will be no foxes because they are only kept alive so that country people can gain pleasure from killing them…. E J Dowling, Silver Fir Close, Hereford (letter in archive)

Hereford Times 9.1.03 Met with a warm welcome all day - On Boxing Day, the Radnorshire and West Herefordshire Hunt met in Kington as it has done for decades. The welcome we received from our hosts at The Burton Hotel and hundreds who lined the streets was overwhelming. Many cheering us on neither hunted nor even lived in the countryside…. As we believe our sport has nothing to hide and is open to anyone, whether they ride or not, we advertised our Christmas meets widely (as did the League Against Cruel Sports!) and yet there was not one voice of dissent, either at the meet or during the day when we met walkers and ramblers. Where exactly are these legions of people who supposedly feel so strongly opposed?... MIRANDA LEE, Lower Pentre, Painscastle, Radnorshire. (letter in archive)

Dorset Daily Echo (9.1.03) Madonna may quit mansion SUPERSTAR Madonna may be quitting the countryside for good, according to recent reports. Her £9 million mansion, Ashcombe House, may soon be on the market again if national newspaper reports are to be believed. Just this week the pop singer and actress was said to have turned her back on the bloodsports which originally attracted her and husband Guy Ritchie to Ashcombe…. (story in archive)
Dorset Daily Echo (9.1.03) Madonna in estate ban on blood sports by Sharen Green POP singer and actress Madonna, who bought a multi-million pound estate near Shaftesbury for the shooting is now said to have turned her back on blood sports. Her two gamekeepers look set to get the push at the end of this season when she bans the shooting of game birds on her 1,200 acre estate at Ashcombe House, according to a national paper… Her mate Stella McCartney - daughter of Sir Paul and animal rights activist Linda - is also believed to have had some influence over the decision… Horse breeder Una Harley from just outside Shaftesbury said she was surprised at the news… "I personally don't like blood sports, though I'm not an anti-hunting saboteur," she said. I'm a vegetarian and I would approve."… (story in archive)

Grimsby Telegraph 9.1.03 DEER CULL CLOSES FIELDS - Louth's Westgate Fields will be closed to the public for a deer cull. The parkland will be closed this Sunday and Sunday January 26…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 9.1.03 DUCKS OUT OF WATER Have our food producers learned nothing? After bringing us cannibalism, BSE, Salmonella, E.coli and antibiotic resistant killer bugs, they're promoting duck as the new, healthy meat and local supermarkets are going along with it. In fact it is almost all factory farmed and unbelievably cruel…. Happily, you can help restore freedom to these wonderful birds by refusing to buy the meat, complaining to any store which sells it and by supporting Viva's "duck out of water" campaign…. Gemma Reid, Blaby. (letter)

Westmorland Gazette 8.1.03 Support strong for local hunt - MEMBERS of the Lunesdale Foxhounds returned home from the traditional New Year's Day hunt confident that this would not be the last. More than 100 spectators turned out to support the Brigsteer hunt while 60 participants took to the countryside for the annual event…. (story)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 8.1.03 Hunters and protesters come face-to-face at New Year hunt by Matthew Woodcock HUNT leaders in North Yorkshire vowed to keep fighting for their sport as they set out on what could have been their last New Year's Day meet. An enthusiastic crowd braved the driving rain to watch riders and hounds from the Derwent Hunt set off from The Hall, in Thornton-le-Dale…. Richard Morley, joint master of Derwent Hunt, said: "The turnout is really good considering the atrocious weather."… Protester Annabel Holt said she used to hunt herself before seeing the error of her ways…. Another campaigner, Dr Jayne Cuthbert, said: "Research has shown that the hounds only catch 2.5pc of foxes. The cruelty is compounded by the fact that the hounds are slow. The foxes' misery lasts for hours." (story in archive)

Carmarthen Journal 8.1.03 HUNDREDS TURN OUT FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY MEETS - New Year's Day Hunts across Carmarthenshire saw a huge resurgence in support. The Carmarthenshire and Paxton Hunts were out in force for the traditional day's meets. The Carmarthenshire Hunt set out from the town's Guildhall Square watched by a large crowd… Keith Jones, master of the Paxton Hunt, a gun pack which operates on foot within a six to seven mile radius of the National Botanic Garden at Llanarthne, described the day as successful. "It went very well, without problems. We had a good turnout of about 50 to 60. We usually have about 20 to 25…" (story)

Leicester Mercury 8.1.03 HUNT GROUP'S GIFT - The British Heart Foundation and the Countryside Alliance are to benefit from fund-raising carried out by Quorn Hunt Young Supporters… (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 8.1.03 WHEN TOWN AND COUNTRY OUTLOOKS ARE IN CONFLICT …Sitting in their back gardens, overlooking peaceful countryside, Churston residents were delighted to get a visit from beautiful pheasants who were tame enough to come fluttering over the fence to be fed… Then, suddenly, came judgement day. The shoot arrived and blasted the birds into oblivion… The farmer who had spent a lot of money rearing the birds for just this day protests that it is a commercial enterprise and the bird-lovers must have realised what would eventually happen….
Yet another Archers' storyline put our present village into the news recently. For many years it has been a tradition for the South Devon hunt to meet at the Sea Trout at Staverton. The event was listed in the hunt fixture card but, come the day, the landlord decided to withdraw the invitation… (story)

Western Daily Press 8.1.03 CULLING IS A NECESSARY EVIL The very existence of our national heritage - the unique red deer herds in the West Country - is in jeopardy with the proposed ban on deer hunting… I, as a veterinary surgeon, can defend deer hunting because it has a purpose - to cull - better than I can defend any other activity involving animals, be it for pleasure, financial gain, or both. I see far more 'carnage' on the racecourse than I do on the hunting field… The hunters are genuinely concerned for their deer. They are their custodians; they have successfully managed the herds. They monitor the deer and give a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, 52-weeks-a-year casualty service - all unique and free. D J B Denny B Vet, Med, MRCVS Worcester (letter)

Guardian 8.1.03 Animal rights group condemns Cambridge - A leading animal rights campaign group attacked Cambridge University today over its plans to build a laboratory in which monkeys would be used for testing. Michelle Threw, the chief executive of the British Union Against Vivisection, told a planning inquiry that the laboratory was highly controversial and unnecessary and that it would attract large numbers of protestors… (story)

Croydon Guardian 8.1.03 Animal exploitation - As ever, the Heritage column, on Kennards Zoo (December 18) was of great interest. But please let us be assured that in Croydon animals will never again be exploited to promote store sales…. F McCulley Stambourne Way SE19 (letter)

Market Rasen Mail 8.1.03 Buy fake fur - I wish to appeal to ladies not to buy real fur garments… We must try and stop this barbarity now. Mrs K Holland Legsby Road, Market Rasen. (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 7.1.03 ANGLING ISN'T NEXT - The League Against Cruel Sports was formed in 1924 to campaign against the cruelty of hunting wild animals with hounds… To R B Stainer who fears that angling or horse racing will be next. Don't worry old boy, even if it happens by that time you and I will be long gone. ROBERT GAGIE All Hallows Road Paignton (letter)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 VIOLENCE JUST STRENGTHENS ARGUMENT FOR HUNTING BAN - Looking at the pictures of the hunt supporters outside the Houses of Parliament (WMN, December 17) I tried in vain to seek out a kind, caring face in the crowds, but after careful searching, even with the help of a magnifying glass, was only able to see the cruel, contorted faces of the hunting brigade… F Cleaves Par (letter)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 Healthy suggestions INSTEAD of being ISO (I'm sick of) - Adrian Cooper, WMN, December 20 - let's be IS (I suggest): If urban dwellers are going to deprive the country of their legitimate pursuits, let the rural dwellers demand the end of brutal overpaid professional football…. Joan Calmady-Hamlyn Bridestowe (letter)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 Vote for death penalty …. it would be nice - certainly for the relatives and friends of those murdered - if justice (for them) prevailed, rather than endure the ongoing silence and seeming impotence of our MPs to call for the re-introduction of the death penalty. But then, I suppose, all their protracted debating for years about hunting with hounds, killing deer and foxes, is so much more a vital, national, important issue? Peter Mahoney Hayle (letter)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 TB vaccine overdue - THE article regarding hopes at last of a bovine TB vaccine must be good news for farmers and badger protection groups…. Pamela Dean Stroud (letter)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 VIVISECTION IS MERELY TRICKERY BY SCIENTISTS In his letter 'Humans come first' (WMN, December 17) Tom Bromley claims that only 'some' medicines cause unwanted side effects and then only rarely. So, presumably, he does not consider 70,000 deaths and serious side effects from prescribed drugs in the UK and 100,000 deaths and two million side effects in the USA to be of any significance?... we are the real "guinea pigs", and if you or the RDS, MRC, BMA and the NHS can refute that testimony I and WMN readers will wait with bated breath. If not, we shall know that vivisection is scientific fraud. Len Short Torquay (letter)
Western Morning News 7.1.03 TRY THE OLD WAYS TO NEW HEALTH - Thomas Bromley (WMN Views, December 17) thinks that only healthy people oppose animal experiments. Not true. There is a group called Seriously Ill Against Vivisection (SIAV). Hundreds of other people, with minor illnesses, refuse to take medical drugs which come from animal experiments. If Mr Bromley talked to some healthy people, he would find that they are mainly vegans, who also believe in natural herbal remedies, which were used long before vivisection drugs…. P Dyer Cannington, Somerset (letter)
Western Morning News 10.12.02 Meaningless research? - THOMAS Bromley's spurious comments (WMN, October 16) in attempting to make a good case for animal testing cannot go unanswered. He can produce as many "facts" as he likes from the drug companies, but he can't overcome reality with pseudo-scientific propaganda… L Short, For Animal Voices Torquay (letter)
Western Morning News 16.10.02 MAKING A GOOD CASE FOR ANIMAL TESTING - Adrian Cooper makes the bold statement that "There's no justification for animal testing) (WMN, October 8) which is not factual because under the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act you can only use any animal in medical research where no alternative exists… Thomas Bromley, Executive Secretary, SIMR Dunstable, Bedfordshire (letter)
Western Morning News 8.10.02 THERE'S NO JUSTIFICATION FOR ANIMAL TESTING - Thomas Bromley's defence of the use of animals in medical research (WMN, September 24) really will not do… Adrian Cooper, Lostwithiel (letter)
Western Morning News 24.9.02 ANIMALS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN RESEARCH - Wendy Higgins of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (WMN, 13th August 13) ignores the fact that the recent House of Lords Select Committee report actually was a victory for patients' rights and common sense over the propaganda of groups campaigning against medical research… Thomas Bromley, Littlehampton, West Sussex (letter)

Independent 7.1.03 KFC is cruel to chickens, says animal rights group By Michael McCarthy Environment Editor … Colonel Sanders may claim it tastes finger-lickin' good, but Kentucky Fried Chicken is produced using animal welfare standards that are unacceptable, an animal rights group claims today. The world's biggest chicken restaurant chain, is being pressured to make life better for the birds it uses with a campaign from the world's biggest animal rights organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta)…. Dawn Carr, director of Peta Europe, said: "KFC is the world's largest killer of chickens, and as such has a responsibility to treat these birds humanely…" (story)
Telegraph 7.1.03 Group attacks 'Kentucky Fried Cruelty' By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has produced posters and leaflets with the slogan "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" and has posted a critique on its website of the way it claims chickens are kept and slaughtered for KFC…. (story)
Irish Examiner 7.1.03 Animal rights group takes on fast food chicken giant KFC By Catherine Shanahan … PETA, (People For Ethical Treatment of Animals), is to take on KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), claiming to have hard evidence of abusive animal treatment by KFC suppliers… (story)
Ananova 6.1.03 Peta launches worldwide KFC campaign - Animal welfare group Peta has begun a global boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's seeking an improvement in the lives of 700 million chickens who become the chain's fried meals every year… (story)

Western Morning News 7.1.03 WILL PHOENIX BE RULE EXCEPTION? So, now Phoenix the calf is pregnant and expected to deliver next July (WMN, December 21)…. Would Phoenix have been rescued if she had been a male? Males are the by-product of the dairy industry and go for veal or are killed at birth… Most dairy cows are slaughtered when around six or seven, yet their natural lifespan is nearer 20 years. Around 20 per cent of UK dairy cows are lame at any given time. Phoenix may be luckier - but will she? What about the rest? Louise Piddington Plymouth (letter)

Cambridge News 7.1.03 Protester sparks off fresh farm row - THE National Farmers' Union (NFU) has dismissed claims by local countryside campaigner Robin Page who attacked the organisation in a magazine. The latest edition of Private Eye features a letter from the former One Man and His Dog presenter and district councillor for Barton in which he says the NFU is no use to the people it is supposed to represent… Coun Page is no stranger to controversy and recently spent a night in a police cell after being arrested for allegedly inciting racial hatred by calling for countrysiders to have equal rights with gays, blacks and lesbians at a rally in Gloucestershire. He was due to return to Stroud police station yesterday but the date for his police interview was put back…. Once a member of the NFU, Coun Page has now shifted his support to the newly formed campaign group Farm, which was set up by Zac Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire Sir James Goldsmith and editor of The Ecologist…. (story)

Scotsman 6.1.03 Tell it like it is if you want to take poll position - Katie Grant … the Tories should offer a Rural Bill - one that promises to get rid of the Mugabe elements of the Land Reform legislation and repeal Mike Watson’s stupid Protection of Wild Mammals Act…. My sister came a cropper out hunting. As we rang for the ambulance, somebody hissed urgently: "Don’t say it is a hunting accident. Say she has fallen off out riding." Would the paramedics really have been less speedy if they had known she was in hot pursuit of a fox? I don’t like to think so, but it says something truly depressing about the times we live in that it could even be suggested. (story)

Western Morning News 6.1.03 AT a time when our country is faced with monumental problems which need to be addressed urgently it seems to me that it is the height of irresponsibility to devote so much time and effort to the promotion of a Bill to ban hunting with dogs… H S J Courtier Exmouth Devon (letter)

Irish Independent 6.1.03 Fox hunting is barbaric - Sir In your edition of December 31 Mr Owen O'Reilly (Letters) claimed that "hunting is an intrinsic part of our cultural heritage and should be defended"… his cruel and barbaric so-called 'sport' was only indulged in by our British landlords and gentry of planter stock in the Ireland of our forefathers. This kind of snobbish, arrogant cruelty by today's native 'landed gentry' should not be tolerated in this educated and enlightened modern Ireland. Peter McConnell, Kingscourt, Co Cavan (letter)
Irish Independent 31.12.02 Hunting is part of our culture - I am not, in Siegfried Sassoon's terms, 'a fox hunting man' (my preferred sport is angling) but I nevertheless interpret criticism of this kind of activity as an attack on field sports in general and therefore cannot accept it. Every year I witness with dismay the anti-traditionalist, ostensibly liberal bloc coming out in force to voice their now jaded brand of anti 'cruel sports' rhetoric…. Of course, it would be incredibly naive to claim that field sports do not contain a necessary and unavoidable element of cruelty. But to substitute 'barbaric' for 'cruel' and thus facilitate the presentation of hunters and fishermen as no more than uncivilised barbarians is equally naive… Hunting is an intrinsic part of our cultural heritage and should be preserved and defended with as much energy as our language and our other, more acceptable, national sports. Owen O'Reilly, Main St, Virginia, Co Cavan (letter)

BOLTON EVENING NEWS HUNTING CORRESPONDENCE
Bolton Evening News 6.1.03 Cruel customs I FEEL I must write in response to all the letters about fox hunting and how cruel it is… As Mrs Fletcher rightly says (December 30): "We as a race should be beyond cruelty of any shape or form…. what about the slow, painful death of animals for Halal meat?... Perhaps we should be showing far more concern over this practice, which kills far more animals than fox hunting ever does. (Name and address supplied) (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 1.1.03 Only man kills for fun... MRS E Potter (December 21) says Alison Yates' letter (December 16) "arrogantly" presumes everyone is against foxhunting. The only arrogance is on the part of Mrs E Potter… Foxhunting is nothing but games for the gutless, and Tony Blair should honour his promise to ban it. G Metcalf Moorhey Crescent Bamber Bridge, Preston (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 1.1.03 Cruelty in the name of sport - I AM writing in reply to Mrs E Potter (Harwood) and her somewhat vicious and personal attack upon myself and the article about hunting. Mrs Potter, I would firstly like to inform you that, since I was 12 (I am now 33), I have been a vegetarian and, for the past five years, I've been a vegan…. you also talk about suppressing a dog's natural instinct to chase certain animals. So why, for example, are young hounds taught to hunt using fox cubs?... Your argument lacks logic, consistency and once again illustrates the weaknesses of hunting with dogs and further strengthens the campaign for a total ban on hunting with dogs. Mrs A Yates Union Street Egerton, Bolton (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 30.12.02 Is she living in Stone Age? I FEEL I must respond to a letter by Mrs Potter. Is she living in the Stone Age? I thought we as a human race were all beyond cruelty in any shape or form… Mrs Fletcher Thurstane Street Bolton (letter)
Bolton Evening News 30.12.02 Shame on them I REFER to the letter by Mrs E Potter on the subject of hunting on December 21, in which she accuses Allison Yates of arrogance. I have to day that I have rarely seen such arrogance as that displayed by Mrs Potter herself…. Those who partake in such an evil pursuit should hang their heads in shame. David Haworth Upper Mead Egerton, Bolton (letter)
Bolton Evening News 27.12.02 Fox hunts and our freedom... MRS E Potter of Harwood has certainly put the do-gooders in their place ("Where will a ban on hunting end", Saturday, December 21)…. In a world where violence, hatred and intolerance are now depriving us all of our freedom, and millions suffer from famine and starvation, she appears to have lost the plot…. Does she actually know the true meaning of the word freedom? That which all God's creatures were meant to enjoy…. Allan Ramsay Ashcombe Drive Radcliffe (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 27.12.02 It's so barbaric - I READ with disdain the letter from Mrs E Potter, with her arrogant threatening views on fox hunting…. Fox hunting is barbaric and immoral, and should quite simply be banned… I am a vegan. I do not wear leather clothes or buy leather furniture, and I am a dedicated pacifist… Mrs J West The Crescent Little Lever, Bolton (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 21.12.02 Where will a ban on hunting end? WITH reference to Alison Yates, Bolton Evening News, December 16, on fox hunting. Why does this woman so arrogantly presume everyone is against fox hunting? I am not, along with many more people…. Where would Miss Yates and people like her end their moaning? Ban fishing, ban horse riding, ban horse jumping, ban zoos, ban dog shows, ban pet shops, ban budgies in cages, ban this, ban that... Miss Yates, I challenge you to pistols at dawn -- a fight for freedom! Mrs E Potter Harwood (letter in archive)
Bolton Evening News 16.12.02 Hunting Bill does not go far enough - I AM contacting you to tell you of my disappointment with the Government's announcement that the new Hunting Bill bans deer hunting and hare coursing, but not fox hunting… I therefore urge people to write to their local MP, asking for their support in amendments to the new Hunting Bill which will make sure that all hunting with dogs is banned. Mrs Alison Yates Union Street Egerton (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 6.1.03 GIFTS BENEFITED LANDED GENTRY - Two points recently covered by the pro-hunting lobby need to have the other side of the coin provided. R Dunn, presumably with the intention of arousing sympathy, told of the destructive nature of the deer who left numerous root crops nibbled. However, I can well recall, some years ago, when the then chairman of the British Deer Society told how many farmers planted a crop of swedes or turnips on the periphery of their farms, convinced that the supply of venison thereby drawn to their guns provided a much more lucrative crop than the roots…. D Cronin Taunton Somerset (letter)

South Wales Evening Post 6.1.03 SUPPORT MOVES FOR HUNT BAN … My grandfather who was a Huntington farmer, owning hundreds of acres of land, abstained and forbade any form of blood sport on his land…. Our local MPs Donald Anderson, Martin Caton and Alan Williams should be supported and encouraged to reject the middle way of licensing and moot the Parliament Acts to overturn the House of Lords objections to having an outright ban on all forms of hunting and blood sports. Yvonne M Holley Gloucester Place, The Marina, Swansea (letter)

Birmingham Post 6.1.03 Gun groups back tough jail terms By John Revill, Birmingham Post - Proposals to impose heavy mandatory jail sentences on people who illegally carry guns have been backed by Britain's representative body for shooting sports. But another body voiced fears that the proposed five-year jail sentences for people found with illegal weapons could become a "badge of honour"…. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said it supported to moves to impose minimum five-year jail terms on anyone caught carrying a firearm illegally…. However, Albie Fox, spokesman for the Sportsman's Association, said a stiffer sentencing policy might not work…. (story)

Western Daily Press 6.1.03 150 HENS KILLED - More than 150 chickens were trampled to death as animal rights activists tried to "free" them from a farm, it was revealed yesterday… Farmer Martin Elliott found the dead and dying birds on New Year's Day, along with sprayed messages on the walls saying, "Unhappy New Year to you scum" and "No excuse for animal abuse". The symbol of the Animal Liberation Front was daubed on the walls. Mr Elliott, 41, said: "This is not animal welfare, it's animal violence." (story)
Times 4.1.03 Feather brained 'rescue' kills 150 chickens BY SIMON DE BRUXELLES - MORE than 150 chickens were trampled to death in the panic caused by animal rights activists trying to “free” them from a farm in Dorset. The raid took place at the Norfolk Cottage eggs farm in Poole during the early hours of New Year’s Day. Activists broke into a barn expecting to find battery hens kept in tiny cages; instead they discovered 7,000 free-range birds, which panicked at the noise and the light of the intruders’ torches... (story)
Dorset Daily Echo 3.1.03 Chicken carnage by Michael Litchfield - A NIGHT raid by animal rights activists on a Poole chicken farm left more than 100 12-week-old hens dead. Spooked by the raiders, who broke into one of seven chicken "houses" at Norfolk Cottage Eggs farm in Magna Road, the 7,000-plus hens stampeded and many were crushed and suffocated…. The Animal Liberation Front ensign was daubed on the wall in red, along with slogans, one accusing the owners of running an establishment "worse than Belsen"… Mr Ralph Wyatt, 76, who has been running the 50,000-chicken egg farm with his partner for almost three years, said: …" The raiders would have also been surprised because it's my guess they were expecting to find all the hens in cages. Battery hens were phased out years ago here and all the chickens are reared to RSPCA specifications…" The co-owners believe raiders this time had aimed to free the 7,500 hens from "House 11", but were unable to open large doors at the rear. "If they had succeeded there would have been mass carnage," Mr Wyatt predicted. "The foxes would have had a feast." (story in archive)

Western Morning News 4.1.03 FARRIERS FEAR FOR JOBS IF HUNTING IS BANNED - Farriers from across the Westcountry yesterday demonstrated their support for hunting and voiced gloomy predictions about the future of their rural businesses if the sport is banned. More than 40 riders from the Cury hunt - including many visiting blacksmiths - defied flooding to get together for the annual farriers' meet at waterlogged Helston in West Cornwall…. (story)

Telegraph 4.1.03 Country diary: poaching - Jonny Beardsall wakes a hibernating hedgehog … A fortnight ago, the Middleton hounds appeared outside his huge shop window. They were going half-bonkers. "I thought it was Frank, the huntsman, just winding them up for my benefit, so I opened the door." Frank pointed to the high wall adjoining the house just a few feet above his head. "There was this fox, sitting there as cool as you like. It was as if he was here for a fitting,"… (story)

Scotsman 4.1.03 Scotland's interests lost in the lure of law-making ….MSPs might ask whether some of those 60 bills were worth the trouble they caused. Most of the big rows in the Parliament’s short history have focused on measures that were highly divisive and largely symbolic, such as the repeal of Section 28, a law that had never been used, or a ban on fox-hunting that has not stopped hunts from going out, or foxes being shot… (story)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 4.1.03 Sid Brown in his letter of December 30 quoted MP Chris Leslie as writing "hunting with dogs has no part in a civilised society"…. I doubt if a young MP has the right to be so critical of his fellow countrymen. Mrs Hilary Westwood, Old Main Street, Bingley (letter in archive)

Guardian 4.1.03 McCartney attacks wildlife group for backing animal tests - Paul Brown, environment correspondent - Sir Paul McCartney has protested to WWF, the wildlife organisation, about its active support for chemical tests that cause the death of thousands of animals. The row is over the testing of chemicals in everyday use which are accumulating in human body fat… Writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Sir Paul says: "I was appalled to learn from Peta that the US office of the WWF has been a driving force behind the design and development of one of the largest animal testing programmes in international history."… WWF in the UK concedes that animal testing "is a difficult issue". It said large numbers of chemicals had been released which had not been tested, and the only way of getting some of them banned was to have them tested. "If there is an alternative we would support it," a spokesperson said…. (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 4.1.03 POLICE DOGS DO SUFFER - In response to the letter, Tex Would Have Told You It's A Police Dog's Life (Viewpoint, December 19) L Raynor is wrong in his assumption that my remarks "were based purely on opinion." In actual fact, they were based on my experience of situations where I have observed police dogs at work, and I can say categorically that there are indeed some seriously confused dogs out there… Do we really have the right to exploit and abuse them for some human gain? I think not. Mrs Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor. (letter)

Henley Standard 3.1.03 THE THRILL OF THE CHASE AND NOT A FOX IN SIGHT - A mounted man in a red coat . . . baying hounds . . . all the colour and sounds of a traditional Boxing Day hunt's meet. But there's no danger to foxes in the fields around Henley. This meeting, of the Windsor and Chiltern Bloodhounds (pictured by David Dawson outside Henley Town Hall) is after human prey... (story)

South Wales Evening Post 3.1.03 WE'LL BE BACK IN 2004, SAY HUNTS - What could be the last ever New Year's Day Banwen Hunt has galloped off into the countryside. But despite the threat hanging over their activity, the people involved in the hunt are confident they will be back…. Master of the Llandeilo Farmers' Hunt Elfan Bell, said the Government's Bill had flaws but he was happy to see licensing…. For Phil Fish, of Amman Valley Fox Control, it is his living and not a hobby… Both Carmarthen Hunt and Paxton Hunt, a gun pack which operates on foot within a six to seven mile radius of the National Botanic Garden at Llanarthne, said its New Year's Day meets had been well supported. (story)

Bucks Herald 3.1.03 PROTEST FAILS TO HIT HUGE SUPPORT FOR HUNT - HUNT supporters and protesters turned out in force in Winslow on what could be the last Boxing Day Whaddon Chase hunt with the government looking more likely to ban hunting than ever before. More than 100 protesters made their views known, branding fox hunting 'cruel and barbaric' as hunters set off from Winslow Market Square…. (story in archive)

Independent 3.1.03 Racing: Season starts under cloud of proposed hunting ban Point-to-point preview: Fixtures may be taken over by amateur clubs but traditionalists fear that many picturesque courses will close By Mick Connaughton - One of the dwindling number of sports still left unsullied by blatant greed and avarice begins its six-month cavalcade around the remoter fringes of the countryside when the 2003 point-to-point season starts on Sunday…. Alan Hill, joint master of the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, who has 12 point-to-pointers in his livery yard at Aston Rowant in Oxfordshire, explained the odd attraction… The Jockey Club is rumoured to be considering a system of licensing clubs, which would then stage amateur racing along the lines of point-to-pointing but without hunting being involved… Libby Gillman, chairman of the Point-to-Point Secretaries Association, was equally pessimistic: "Everyone I've spoken to is very gloomy. Many meetings require around 100 helpers, who are all voluntary and do it to help the hunt. If there was no hunt there would be no incentive for them. Also many landowners are strongly pro-hunting. If it is banned they will just pack it all in and we will lose most of our courses."… (story)

South Wales Evening Post 3.1.03 TALLY-HO - Farrier David Rees, of Wenallt Forge, Tonna, Neath, said a ban on hunting would cost him up to £3,000 a year in lost wages and would have a damaging effect on other businesses such as livery stables. "I shoe about 15 hunt horses every five weeks for six months of the year. I am a member of the Sennybridge Farmers Hunt and have been since I was 12," he said… (story)

Leicester Mercury 3.1.03 GENEROSITY OF QUORN HUNT … The Quorn Hunt Supporters' Association (QHSA) presented a cheque for £600 to the RAINBOWS children's hospice during the New Year's Day meet in Melton Mowbray Play Close…. Meanwhile, people requiring emergency medical treatment in the Vale of Belvoir will benefit from an earlier presentation by the Quorn Hunt. Members bought a doctor's emergency bag costing £1,000 from proceeds of a collection made at the Bob Chaplin Memorial Meet at High Holborn Farm, Upper Broughton… (story)

Herts & Essex Observer 3.1.03 ARSON ATTACK ON HUNT SUPPLIER - Animal rights activists look to be the prime suspects following a night of fires and desecration in Stocking Pelham. "Fox killers" was scrawled in red paint over the village church and a nearby animal feed business — which supplies the Puckeridge Hunt — was razed to the ground in a £250,000 suspect blaze during the early hours of Sunday. Police and fire experts have launched an inquiry into what happened just days after the Puckeridge Hunt's Boxing Day meet at Brent Pelham…. It was just 70/80 yds (64/73m) from the family homes of Edward Hitchcock and his father, Arnold… "Everything that was associated with the animal feed business was in that barn and was lost," he said. Tiggy the farm's tabby cat has not been seen since…. As investigators sifted through debris, Edward said: "We do supply the hunt yard with horse feed and tenants on some of our land are one of the masters. "Whether it was a case of mistaken identity or not, I don't know. As far as damage to the hunt, it has done none…. This year's Boxing Day hunt was widely expected to be the last traditional such event. There were 1,000 followers at Puckeridge's, and an estimated 200 at Essex Hunt's meet at Matching Green, said its chairman Michael Herbert…. (story may be on website for only a week)

Craven Herald 3.1.03 Huntsmen say 'we will be back' despite threat of legislation - HUNTSMEN may have attended their final Boxing Day meet if hunting with hounds is banned in 2003… "Foxes have got to be controlled and culled," argues Michael Bannister, joint master of the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt. "If they are not controlled they do an awful lot of damage…. The Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt was formed in 1945, and hunts twice a week throughout the season attracting average "fields" of up to 40 riders, rising to 80 on a Boxing Day… (story in archive)

Ledbury Reporter 3.1.03 Hunt encouraged for the fight ahead THE Ledbury Hunt says it is ready to face the debate which threatens its future encouraged by crowds who turned out to support the traditional Boxing Day meet. Hundreds watched as 50 members of the hunt enjoyed their stirrup cup outside the Feathers Hotel before heading for the countryside…. (story in archive)
Ledbury Reporter 3.1.03 Keeping up with tradition - THE crowd watching the Boxing Day meet of the Ledbury Hunt were treated to another tradition - a performance by the Silurian Border Morris Men…. (story in archive)

Chard & Ilminster News (3.1.03) High hopes for the hunt - LOCAL hunts determined to continue their traditional countryside persuit say they are staying optimistic despite the threat of an outright ban. Horses, hounds, huntsmen and women gathered in the centre of Chard and Crewkerne on Boxing Day for their highest profile meeting of the year… (story in archive)

Dorset Daily Echo 3.1.03 Flooding halts hunt … Members of the New Forest Hounds (NFH) had to cancel their first foxhunt of 2003 yesterday after heavy rain caused flooding in many areas… NFH spokesman Nick Smith said: "A lot of people were looking forward to going hunting yesterday and were very disappointed when the meet was cancelled…" The decision to cancel yesterday's NFH meet was praised by Frankie Horan of the New Forest Animal Protection Group… (story in archive)

Kent/Sussex Courier 3.1.03 HUNDREDS FLOCK TO THE HUNT HUNDREDS of supporters and dozens of riders from across the district trotted into Penshurst for what could be the last ever annual Boxing Day hunt… A large band of demonstrators and saboteurs numbering more than 30 attended… Sevenoaks farmer Anthony Dod said: "Clearly by the number of people here today there is a great deal of local support…." protester and saboteur Dave Wetton, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "We are not here for a punch-up, we just want to make our point that hunting is wrong and should be totally abolished…" But one of the masters of the hunt, Jeff Pegrum, of Hever, said: "We are just here doing our job as we always do and we are very glad to be back this year."… (story)

Hexham Courant 3.1.03 SUPPORTERS TURN OUT FOR HUNTS UNDER THREAT - THIS year's Boxing Day hunts in Tynedale were well supported despite fears for the future of the country sport. Masters of the five foxhound packs in the district felt that the biggest crowds they had seen in a long time had turned out in support of the groups this year. And none of the five hunts had any problems with anti-hunt campaigners…. Master of the Border Hunt Michael Hedley said: "I don't think I have seen as many people out in Otterburn as I did this year…." Master of the Braes of Derwent Alan Chapman said more than 50 horses were out on Boxing Day and there had been a tremendous following from the community… According to the master of North Tyne Hunt, Edward Thoburn, fox hunting is the most humane way of controlling the numbers of foxes…. Joint master of the oldest hunt in Northumberland, the Haydon, Andrew Gale believes that hunting is now bringing the community together because of the problems the countryside has faced in recent years.... Another group which could be affected by the possible ban on hunting are the Newcastle and District Beagle group…. Regional director of the Countryside Alliance and Northumberland County Councillor Richard Dodd was amongst at least 500 supporters at Corbridge on Boxing Day as the Tynedale Hunt set off. He said: "There was not a single anti-hunt member present and again the locals came out to support their local hunt." (story)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 3.1.03 HUNTING FOR THE ANSWER - There are hot potatoes and there are hot potatoes but nothing produces a clash of opinions quite so much as the future of hunting. Hundreds of supporters and dozens of riders came face to face with protestors from across the district for what may be the last ever annual Boxing Day hunt last week… Rural communities may still back the event but much of the public's opinion is strongly behind an outright ban…. Do you find comfort and pleasure in the traditions of the past or do you dream of a violence-free future, turning your back on hundreds of years of tradition?... (story)

Hexham Courant 3.1.03 MILESTONE FOR SURTEES' FAMOUS COUNTRY 'BIBLE' - A COUNTRYSIDE institution celebrates its 150th anniversary this week and it's all down to a Riding Mill man. Huntin', shootin' and fishin' bible The Field Magazine was launched on January 1, 1852, and its founding editor was Robert Smith Surtees… (story)

Hull Daily Mail 3.1.03 A WINTER'S TAIL HAD ME FOXED - Well, by far the best entertainment over Christmas was to be had by reading Wayne Coles' idyllic and charmingly tongue-in-cheek article on the Boxing Day meet of the (ye olde) Holderness Hunt… Pity Wayne didn't bring this delightful winter's tale to its usual conclusion, but I suppose a colour photo of a grinning huntsman proudly displaying a ripped-apart fox (or someone's hapless pet cat or dog) would put most decent people off their champagne. Carole Barley, Lamorna Avenue, Hull. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 3.1.03 I'D RATHER SEE TIGERS THAN HOUNDS - Please may I make a few points in response to your gushing account of the Boxing Day meets. Only 500 people watched the hunt on Beverley Westwood. Meanwhile, 22,319 went to see Hull City. I think that puts your "cry of defiance" into perspective…. Why don't we antis turn up to protest ? Simple. We know we've won. Jeremy Wilcock, Main Street, Kilnwick, near Drifield (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 27.12.02 HUNTERS TOAST THE THRILL OF THE CHASE … with the future of hunting again in the Parliamentary spotlight, there was an air of steely defiance as 500 people gathered to watch the Holderness Hunt's annual Boxing Day meet…. They had been less lucky at the Middleton Hunt in Driffield where the skies opened up to drench the participants and onlookers keen to take part in an occasion still seen by many as a way of life in the East Riding…. (story)

Harborough Mail 3.1.03 Another target for the anti-rural MPs? - WITH crime soaring, particularly gun-related… the Government concentrates on really serious issues, ie hunting… Before Christmas, Prince Philip attended a clay pigeon shoot. Think of those poor little creatures cooped up in the dark, then hurled skywards for a few seconds of freedom only to be shot to pieces! John Haynes, High Street, Welford. (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.1.03 OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE - Reading the Western Daily Press article Hounded By The Law and the mention of September's Countryside March, it amazes me how these countryside killers demand so much room in newspapers… They also now know what it feels like to be confronted by an impenetrable wall of people, just like a fox cub in their cub hunting season, with some even on horseback, forcing them back… human and animal abuse, but get the same treatment with police breaking arms, hips, punching and kicking, knocking people unconscious and abusing their authority when we oppose the Government's policies on all suffering. Every time, we are stalked by police intelligence units and policemen at the request of the hunts and their supporters. What a pleasant surprise to see the shoe on the other foot…. M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.1.03 KEY POINTS OVERLOOKED Allen Symonds claims that the simple answer to replace fox hunting without the loss of horses, hounds or jobs is to go drag hunting… The bottom line of fox hunting is to cull them where land owners and farmers wish it to be done. Not only could that objective not be achieved with drag hunting, but because there would be no end result to benefit the farmer, most would not want lots of horses galloping across their land… For hunts to survive they have to rely to a great extent on their annual membership fees from supporters, of which a substantial amount comes from car and foot followers…. drag hunting would be of little or no interest to them… Such a loss of income to the hunt would result at best in some hunts having to reduce their horses, hounds and work staff, while for others it would mean total closure…. A Watts Chippenham Wiltshire (letter)

Yorkshire Evening Post 3.1.03 MPs not interested in the fate of the foxes - While basically being in agreement with Mr Mozejko's letter about the hypocrisy of the MPs he names on their attitude on hunting, he is missing the point. Their real agenda as far as I am concerned is not a ban on fox hunting but a ban on fox hunters…. JOHN GRICE, The Close, Durkar, Wakefield (letter)
Yorkshire Post 11.12.02 Hypocrisy on hunting ban From: Richard Mozejko, Bradford Road, Keighley. The hypocrites have been at it again in the Commons with Messrs Kaufman, Banks and Michael at the forefront of the hunting ban…. Perhaps if the foxhunters called themselves a religion and chanted a mantra as the fox was being ripped to pieces, the above mentioned MPs would suddenly become their greatest supporters and the RSPCA would go to ground? (letter)

Bucks Free Press 3.1.03 What happens after hunt ban - I WAS interested to see the letter from the League Against Cruel Sports last week… During Christmas I saw a huntsman on the TV say that a "lot" of jobs would be lost if bloodsports are banned and that, alarmingly, hundreds of hounds will be destroyed. Less than ten people in Bucks will lose jobs… if hunt supporters haven't got hearts, then the animal welfare groups will care for the hounds. Name and address supplied (letter)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 3.1.03 ANIMAL ACTIVIST GETS YEAR OFF JAIL SENTENCE - Rae Schilling, 50, of Station Road, Otford, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Maidstone Crown Court in April, after pleading guilty to three counts of putting people in fear of their lives. But judges at London's Criminal Appeal Court have reduced her sentence by a year, ruling that despite the gravity of her offences she should not be rated as a long-term prisoner. The ruling means Schilling will be eligible for parole after serving half, rather than two-thirds, of her sentence. Schilling's war on supporters of the Huntingdon Life Sciences Ltd laboratory began in February 2000… Mr Justice Grigson accepted Schilling had shown remorse and was willing to undergo anger control treatment. He also agreed that, her animal rights activities apart, she was not a danger to society…. (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 2.1.03 HUNTING: 'MURDERER' TAUNTS GET NEW YEAR'S HUNT UNDERWAY - ANGRY protesters launched an attack on members of the Fitzwilliam Hunt as they set off on their traditional New Year ride…. A gang of about 15 members of the National Anti-Hunt Campaign shouted "animal abuser" and "murderer" when more than 40 riders gathered outside the Haycock Hotel, in Wansford, near Peterborough, for the annual hunt… Anti-hunt campaigner Pete Smith said: "When licences become necessary, I believe this hunt won't be granted one. It's barbaric and totally unjustified - it's just a pastime."… (story)

Powys County Times 2.1.03 WE´LL BE BACK, VOWS HUNT - TRADITIONAL Boxing Day fox hunts in Mid Wales are unlikely to become a thing of the past, at least for the time being, according to hunting enthusiasts…. Representative of the Federation of Welsh Packs and a member of the Teme Valley Hunt, David Thomas, said he believes the festive fixture will survive for at least another year, even in the worst case scenario for hunt supporters…. (story)

Morpeth Herald 2.1.03 HUNT TRADITION CONTINUES AT THE NEUK - THE traditional sounds of the Boxing Day Hunt rang through the Castle Morpeth countryside as hundreds turned out to enjoy their threatened sport. The Morpeth meet at the Dyke Neuk, Meldon, and the Newcastle and District Beagles meet at Stamfordham attracted none of the usual protests. Instead, organisers reported a positive, upbeat atmosphere and a healthy attendance, despite the miserable weather…. (story in archive)

Morpeth Herald 2.1.03 HUNT TRADITION CONTINUES AT THE NEUK - THE traditional sounds of the Boxing Day Hunt rang through the Castle Morpeth countryside as hundreds turned out to enjoy their threatened sport. The Morpeth meet at the Dyke Neuk, Meldon, and the Newcastle and District Beagles meet at Stamfordham attracted none of the usual protests. Instead, organisers reported a positive, upbeat atmosphere and a healthy attendance, despite the miserable weather…. (story in archive)

Dorking Advertiser 2.1.03 Sportswoman's pets feared stolen - OLYMPIC three-day horseriding eventer Pippa Funnell is offering a £1,000 reward to anyone who can help track down her two missing Jack Russells. Ms Funnell believes the two dogs, which went missing from her Forest Green home on December 17, may have been stolen… (story)
Argus 26.12.02 Olympic rider's pets vanish - Olympic medallist Pippa Funnell has offered £1,000 reward after her two prized dogs went missing. The horse riding champion last saw Jack Russells Toes and Fudgie nine-days-ago when she let them out for their usual run at 7am. When the terriers did not return she launched a search to find them, printing posters and distributing flyers and even enlisting the help of members of The Surrey Union Hunt…. "Members of the hunt have also taken their dogs out to look for Toes and Fudgie in case they have fallen into a hole and got stuck. But they seem to have vanished….." (story in archive)

Western Morning News 2.1.03 'WE'LL STILL BE HUNTING - There was a clear and steadfast resolve among huntspeople that yesterday's New Year's Day hunts would not be the last in the Westcountry. Hundreds of supporters, men and women, young and old, gathered under threatening skies in the village of Blisland in North Cornwall for the annual event. And they cheered off the 40-strong contingent of the North Cornwall Hunt as they rode out on to the nearby moorland. Similar scenes were repeated at Simonsbath where the Exmoor Foxhounds rode out… (story)

Western Morning News 2.1.03 A WAY OF LIFE IS IN THE BALANCE - Yesterday's hunts took place as a fierce debate rages about whether hunting should be banned… (story)

Eastern Daily Press 2.1.03 Hare hunt beats the rain - It was touch and go whether Dunston Harriers would hold their New Year's Day meet as the continued downpour turned fields into quagmires… The annual event, hosted by landowner Robert Bothway, of the Grange, Fundenhall in South Norfolk, usually attracts up to 60 riders. But only 14 yesterday braved the elements in conditions that were far from ideal, cheered on by more than 50 supporters…. As they rode off into the distance there was no sign of the anti-hunt protesters who sparked an angry exchange at the harriers' Boxing Day meet in Wymondham…. (story)

Lancashire Evening Post 2.1.03 Final ride for the Holcombe hunters? The oldest hunt in Britain rode out for what could be the last ever New Year's Day meet. As the threat of a ban on hunting with hounds looks imminent, animals rights protesters hope Lancashire's Holcombe Hunt will not be given permission to hunt again…. Joint hunt master George Dickenson said: "There are a lot of people who would like to think this was the last New Year's Day hunt, but we have been hunting since the 1300s…" North West Hunt saboteur Michael was one of those waiting in the countryside to protest about the hunt and try and save any hares tracked by the hounds…. Ian Richards, from the League, said: "The brown hares of Lancashire are still running for their lives, the legislative process has delivered too little too late… (story)

Gloucester Citizen 2.1.03 'KIDS' HUNT TRADITION HARMFUL' - Indoctrination or a centuries old harmless tradition? … for anti-hunt campaigners the annual Beaufort Children's Hunt is little more than "indoctrination" into a cruel sport which could leave youngsters mentally scarred for life…. Around 70 children from the Beaufort Hunt Pony Club gathered in a muddy quagmire in the village of Chavenage at 10.45am ready for the off…. Pat Hemming, of the Cotswold Support Group for the Abolition of Hunting said the meet was not a cuddly family day out… (story)
Western Daily Press 1.1.03 FURY OVER THE WEST'S CHILDREN OF THE HUNT - There was controversy yesterday when children as young as three were given their first taste of hunting. The tradition of the New Year's Eve Beaufort Hunt children's meet dates back more than half a century, and always draws crowds of several hundred to Gloucestershire. Yesterday, many of the smartly-dressed youngsters could barely see over the manes of the ponies they rode, and their proud parents were delighted to watch them take part in their first-ever hunting activity. But the League Against Cruel Sports slammed the event, saying it was "extremely disturbing" that children were being forced to take part in hunting at such an early age… After hundreds of supporters turned out yesterday, Captain Farquhar said: "I think as they look at the issue more people are being open-minded about it. People have made an extra effort to come and show their support." (story)

Hereford Times 2.1.03 A tradition to end? MORE than 1500 people greeted what could be the last traditional hunt in North Herefordshire on Boxing Day as government legislation is planned for this year. Joint Masters of the North Herefordshire Hunt, Gilly Bulmer, Phillip Blackman-Howard and Graham Baker led between 60 and 70 riders through Leominster… THE Ledbury Hunt turned out in their full glory on Boxing Day as young and old saddled up to continue an age-old tradition… More than 40 riders and a crowd of several hundred turned out to support the South Hereford Hunt's Boxing Day meet at the Tump Inn, Wormelow. (story in archive)

Tavistock Times 2.1.03 Hunt protest passes off peacefully - Ann Parsons - HUNDREDS of pro- and anti-hunt supporters gathered in Tavistock?s Bedford Square for the traditional Boxing Day hunt ? with each side claiming to outnumber the other… Ivor Annetts, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said around 200 members from across the West Country, with banners and placards, had mounted a demonstration… However, according to Spooner?s and West Dartmoor Hunt master Guy Morlock, 52 riders took part in the Tavistock hunt, with around 400 others on foot ?who were certainly in favour of hunting… (story in archive)

Buckingham Advertiser 2.1.03 FACE-TO-FACE OVER HUNTS - TRADITIONAL Boxing Day hunts were held across the area with a question mark hovering over their future. Supporters, spectators and protesters turned up at meets of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase in Winslow and Bicester. Near Towcester, Lord Hesketh played host to the Grafton Hunt at his home at Easton Neston and came face to face with hunt saboteurs in camouflage gear…. (story in archive)

Impartial Reporter 2.1.03 Hunt could be the last of its kind One of the largest turnouts in years followed this year's Fermanagh Harriers Boxing Day hunt. The fine weather may have brought out people in larger numbers but the threat of a ban on hunting proposed by the Government may also have been responsible. This year's hunt could be the last of its kind, in the long history of Fermanagh Harriers Hunt Club, now acknowledged as the oldest registered pack in the British Isles… (story)

Western Gazette 2.1.03 SUPPORTERS GATHER FOR BOXING DAY HUNT - Supporters gathered outside the Crown Hotel in Blandford on Boxing Day to witness the traditional Boxing Day meet of the Portman Hunt. And anti-hunt protesters, spurred on by the debate on the new Hunting Bill in the House of Commons earlier in the month, were outnumbered by police.... (story)
Western Gazette 27.12.02 THREATENED BOXING DAY HUNT 'WILL RETURN' - Hunt supporters in Dorset are confident that despite continuing moves in Parliament to ban their activities, today's traditional Boxing Day meets will not be the last. Hugo Busby of the Portman Hunt said: "Whether we will be allowed to hunt under the terms of the Bill I won't know until I have seen it, but as regards its being the last season, in political terms it won't be.... " (story)

Grantham Journal 2.1.03 ´WE´LL MEET AGAIN´ SAYS HUNT The Belvoir Hunt is upbeat despite fears that Boxing Day may have been the last meet on St Peter´s Hill, Grantham. About 60 riders, watched by about 300 rainsoaked observers, met on St Peter´s Hill green, as the hunt has done for more than a century. After the meet and the traditional stirrup cup with Grantham Mayor Jock Kerr, about half of the riders went hunting in the Allington area, following reports a fox had attacked chickens…. (story in archive)

Gloucester Citizen 2.1.03 SO-CALLED SPORT NOT 'HARMLESS' - I wonder how many people have ever had the pleasure of watching the gentle brown hare… It doesn't matter to the hare if coursing is legal or otherwise, death will soon come…. PAMELA DEAN Field Road Whiteshill Nr Stroud (letter)

North West Evening Mail 2.1.03 THE FACTS - With hunting currently under attack it is important accurate information is available… There are nine fell packs in Cumbria, two mounted packs, three packs of beagles and one pack of harriers… The North Lonsdale, holds its Boxing Day meet at the Crown Inn, High Newton, and has done so for many years. Alan Bolt Downfield House Leece, Ulversto (letter)

Irish Examiner 2.1.03 He came in the name of sport or tradition: I just live here - “IF YOU want to shoot, why don’t you go to a more desolate place?” That was the question I put to a man who entered a field next to my home, fired his rifle, caused panic to my horses and donkeys and raised two pheasants which, thankfully, continued their flight… Jane Welford, Scariff, Co Clare (letter)

Irish Examiner 2.1.03 Save the badger from mindless state slaughter - IRELAND is to eradicate 30% of its indigenous badger population for its unproven role in the spread of TB in cattle. Seventy-five exterminators have been employed by the Government to carry out this mindless slaughter… Bernie Barrett, BadgerWatch Ireland 5 Tyrone Ave., Lismore Lawn, Waterford. (letter)

Western Gazette 2.1.03 ATTITUDES JUST HAVE TO CHANGE - I was horrified to read the article in the Western Gazette yesterday regarding the treatment of cats in China.... Maggie Foster, Lampreys Lane, South Petherton. (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.1.03 Farming Editor Peter Hall reports on the dilemma facing rural young people as their way of life is threatened by hunting legislation - FARMER'S son Andrew Higgins has enjoyed foxhunting all his life - but with a possible hunting ban looming the future is now uncertain for him and his generation of young country people. Over the holiday Andrew celebrated his 18th birthday in style, with a meet of the East Cornwall Hunt… Andrew began whipping-in to his father a couple of seasons ago, joining two other volunteer whippers-in. "So long as I am master of the East Cornwall, Andrew will turn hounds to me," said Graham, who hopes that one day his son will take over the farm and, possibly, the hunt…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 1.1.03 LEICESTERSHIRE IN 2003 - FOXHUNTING - A ban on foxhunting has been one of the thorniest political issues of the past few years, but Leicestershire hunts are confident they will continue… (story)

Western Daily Press 1.1.03 CHARTING THE SLOW DEMISE OF CRUEL HUNTING - The demise of hunting has not been more graphically illustrated than in the pages of your paper in recent weeks. The appalling behaviour of hunt demonstrators in Parliament Square on December 16 is their last desperate stand. I witnessed the scenes in London, which were full of violence and intimidation…. Your correspondent's claim that other deer watch the dreadful spectacle of another deer being hunted defies belief. During a hunt day, other deer are constantly being disturbed and chased… Kevin Hill Crewkerne Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.1.03 COURT CASES PROVE POINT o veterinary surgeon David Dugdale was arrested on the Countryside March for using threatening words and behaviour. I hope any clients who take animals to him for treatment, and who oppose hunting, will change practice or see another vet…. Meanwhile, four pro-hunt protesters appeared in court for endangering the lives of other drivers on the M25 by driving at 30mph… These cases showed more evidence of the idiocy animal abusers and their apologists engage in while trying to save their grisly pastime. R Franklin Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.1.03 NO NEED FOR EVIDENCE OF THIS ANIMAL CRUELTY I am writing with regard to the letter by Ann Hughes, Points of view, December 20, where she declares her inability to understand the Hunting Bill… As far as needing evidence of the cruelty inflicted on sentient beings is concerned, the truth speaks for itself and is, ultimately, their defence… Francis Wicks, Alphington Road St Thomas, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 20.12.02 HARE COURSING AND DEER HUNTING ARE NOT CRUEL Although i was unable to attend the Countryside Alliance mass protest and lobby of MPs on Monday, I would like all MPs to know that I fully support this protest… This Bill is designed to divide the supporters of different kinds of hunting but it will not work and is a thoroughly bad Bill. Ann Hughes Silverton (letter)

Yorkshire Evening Post 1.1.03 Badger's torture in hell trap BY ROD MCPHEE - THE horrific death of a badger in a self-locking snare today brought a warning from sickened RSPCA officers: "We will catch you and prosecute."… The devices were banned under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, because their crushing action causes mutilation. But many people still use snares, and do not check regularly check them to ensure an animal is not suffering a painful, lingering death…. (story)

Western Daily Press 1.1.03 WRONG TO HAND OUT FUR COATS - For an animal rights group Peta to give fur coats to the homeless is patronising and insensitive… Mark Glover and Nicki Brooks Respect for Animals (letter)
Wolverhampton Express & Star 27.12.02 Fur coat idea so offensive - I strongly disagree that the giving of fur coats to the homeless is "a victory for common people - and common sense" (Stella Stokes, December 13). Rather, it is both patronising and insensitive… Nicki Brooks, Director, Respect For Animals (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.1.03 SICKENING TRADE IN HORSE MEAT SHOULD BE STOPPED - I have just read about a sickening trade that makes me ashamed of the human race. It details the conditions in which 87,000 horses a year are sent by road from Poland to Italy, where they are slaughtered for human consumption - for horse meat… To find out more, please contact Viva!... Mrs E Russell, Morchard Bishop (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 1.1.03 BULLFIGHTING AN OUTRAGE I was dismayed to see a picture of a bullfight captioned 'Traditional: Delight in Spanish culture' published in your This Is Travel section on December 7.I see very little to delight in the spectacle of an animal being goaded and killed. Barbaric is, to my mind, a more suitable word to describe bullfighting…. ANGELA CORKERY Seymour Drive Watcombe (letter)