December 2002

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Southern Reporter 31.12.02 THE HUNT GOES ON FOR BORDERS SUPPORTERS - HUNT supporters are expected to turn out in considerable numbers tomorrow (New Year's Day) for the traditional Buccleuch Hunt meet in Kelso Town Square…. On Boxing Day, both the Jedforest Hunt was out, while the Buccleuch Hunt held its traditional children's event…. (story in archive)

Lynn News 31.12.02 LAST POST FOR LOCAL HUNT? HORSE riders and hounds gathered at Fakenham Racecourse on Boxing Day, ready to join what could be the last-ever unlicensed West Norfolk hunt. Nearly 100 riders, about 34 foxhounds and more than 300 spectators turned out for the annual event… a new National Opinion Poll survey carried out in October and released by the Countryside Alliance suggested shrinking support for a hunting ban… joint master of the West Norfolk Foxhounds, Roger Lyles, told the Lynn News he was confident there would be another hunt meet next year on Boxing Day, and was pretty sure it would be licensed…. Mr Lyles said there were only two protesters at the Boxing Day meet. They were from the League Against Cruel Sports and were brandishing placards saying: "Go drag hunting instead."… (story in archive)

Northwich Guardian 31.12.02 PROTEST FAILS TO STOP HUNT FOX hunting supporters and animal rights protestors locked horns last week for the traditional Boxing Day hunt. A total of 25 riders with a pack of 29 hounds met at the Duke of Portland Pub in Lach Dennis for the Cheshire Forest Hunt on Thursday…(story in archive)

South Wales Evening Post 31.12.02 CONFIDENCE HIGH IN HUNTS - Tomorrows's New Year's Day meets could be the last for the Banwen and Carmarthen hunts… Banwen Miners' Hunt held a Boxing Day hunt setting out from the Castle Hotel in Neath and will set out again tomorrow from the Glamorgan Arms in Pontlliw. Senior master Billy Hancock said: ''On Boxing Day we had a good turnout with a lot of the public there…" Linda Parker, joint master of the Carmarthen Hunt, said: ''I think the support of the countryside and farmers shows it is something we have to stand up for…" (story)

Northwich Chronicle 31.12.02 Hunts go ahead as MPs debate future By David Hinde, Northwich Chronicle MID Cheshire's seasonal hunts passed without any major incident, in what could be their last year in their current form. On Boxing Day, the Cheshire Forest Hunt set off from the Duke of Portland pub at Lach Dennis with a pack of 29 hounds. They were met by 20 anti-hunt protesters, one of whom got into a slanging match with a hunt supporter, but there was no serious trouble and the hunt began just after 11am, watched by a crowd of 200… Paul Timpson of the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association said: 'There should be no compromise…' (story)

Gloucester Citizen 31.12.02 'ANGLING SAFE FROM HUNTING LAW' - Hunting legislation will not lead to the abolition of angling or horse racing, promise Gloucestershire MPs… Some MPs have rejected the repeated assurances of Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, that the Bill sets no legal precedents which could be used by animal welfare groups to abolish or impose regulation on other sports, such as angling… Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda said the revolt was "ridiculous" and that the amendments should be passed… David Drew, MP for Stroud, added: "I shall be voting for any amendment that brings an early end to hunting using dogs." (story)

Wrexham Mail 31.12.02 Poll's Result Is Against Hunting By Kevin Hughes, Wrexham Mail - THE results of a new opinion poll is set to strengthen the resolve of MPs to secure a total ban on hunting with dogs, claim anti-hunt campaigners. A MORI poll has shown that 80% of the British public thinks hunting wild mammals with dogs is cruel…. What do you think, write to the Mail with your views or e-mail (story)

Western Daily Press 31.12.02 THE FOX HUNTING ROW GOES HI-TECH - Armed with her tomato gun and protective clothing, Big Shot Bertha is a force to be reckoned with as she keeps watch over her roost… Created by West free-range egg farmers Dan and Tim Wood, it gives the player the chance to become a hen and fight foxes. On the website of Blackacre Farm Eggs, in North Cheriton, Somerset, Big Shot Bertha writes: "Throughout history us hens have not really got along with our fellow countryside neighbour ... the fox. "Now, with the introduction of the ban on fox hunting, poor defenceless hens are under threat from many, many more foxes!"… Since it was launched in the summer, around 84,000 people have visited the farm's website to play Shoot the Fox with hits from as far afield as America, Argentina and the Seychelles…a spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said the organisation does not believe foxes kill as many hens as the pro-hunting lobby claims. "The game is clearly an ingenious idea. But hens being torn apart by foxes is something that's increasingly exaggerated and used as a reason why hunting should remain," he said. (story)

Scotsman 31.12.02 High-powered rifle 'is most humane fox killer' - Fraser Nelson says (his report, 26 December) that Westminster’s proposed fudge on hunting is "a tougher ban than that imposed in Scotland, which has been criticised for allowing foxes to be shot - and meet a more protracted death". There has never been any intention to ban the shooting of foxes, either in Scotland or in England and Wales…. When the Countryside Alliance starts weeping crocodile tears over the cruelty of shooting foxes, one must bear in mind that it is one of the main proponents of the shooting of birds and mammals for sport…. LYNNE MITCHELL Lower Mains Dollar, Clackmannanshire (letter)
Yorkshire Post 26.12.02 Majority 'favour middle way' over hunting …A total of 41 per cent said the so-called middle-way option, put forward in the Government Bill at present before Parliament, struck a "balance between civil liberties and animal welfare". Only 18 per cent said hunting should be allowed to continue because it was "essentially a matter of civil liberties", according to the NOP survey for the Countryside Alliance. But those for a complete ban were outnumbered by those who support a compromise: 36 per cent said hunting should not be allowed to continue at all as cruelty was more important than civil liberties… (story)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT BLAIR'S PLAN IS? - At last Tony Blair's Bill for hunting has been announced, and I, for one, do not understand what he is trying to do. How an independent panel can decide who can hunt, and who can't is ridiculous… The "antis" say we should have better husbandry, but also want their free-range eggs - and you cannot tell a flock of chickens when to go to bed… When I lived in Hertfordshire, hunting was stopped in our village because the National Trust was worried about deer getting chased on to the road… After a few years we were overrun by mangy foxes which could not fend for themselves… No hunting: no horses, no horses to be fed, groomed, shod, harnessed or looked after by the vets. Mrs V Siddons Helston (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 DON'T WEEP 'CROCODILE' TEARS OVER THOSE HOUNDS - The likelihood of a ban on hunting with dogs has been in the offing since 1997, when Labour came to power, so why do the likes of D Summerskill continue to breed hounds knowing full well that they will be surplus to requirement, and then bleat on about how: "I can't sleep at night thinking about what might happen to them."? Stop breeding - you won't have to weep crocodile tears then…. How dare he accuse the RSPCA as being the organisation responsible for destroying most domestic animals in this country, when they devote all their time into caring and re-homing wherever possible?... F Cleaves, Par (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 Removing rights Why do members of the League Against Cruel Sports think they have the right to tell people what they should do? The same thing applies to the Government. Hunting is not against the law so why should they try and tell the country what they should do?... R Gale Penzance (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 Cruel sport - R D EVANS (WMN, December 17) appears to suggest that hare coursing should not be banned as it is not the same as hunting… Hare coursing is indefensible…. It is a cruel, needless sport and serves no useful purpose. John Phelps Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 WHY NOT CHECK THE 'UTILITY' OF PET CATS? - If the tests of "cruelty" and "utility" are to become part of law as applied to foxhunting, they should be applied universally to all activities concerning animals… The same tests must also apply to such activities as shooting and fishing…. The keeping of domestic cats, which have the habit of terrorising small wildlife, should also be scrutinised under the same criteria… J Ward-Hayne, Modbury (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.02 WE CAN'T LET ANARCHY RULE OUR SOCIETY Why bother to sort out international terrorism, when its basis is already manifesting itself on the streets of London?... This nauseating clash between hunt and anti-hunt supporters, with our police in the role of piggy-in-the-middle is a public disgrace… Having no firm point of view either way, I do have a positive opinion on decent public order and behaviour… All public assemblies should be properly licensed by our national and local authorities to a responsible committee of such assemblies…. the incipient progress toward anarchy and terrorism should be firmly dealt with on our own threshold. Frank Beer Liskeard (letter)

Western Daily Press 31.12.02 YET ANOTHER STATISTIC OF AN UNCARING COUNTRY - What a sick uncaring nation we have become, in this world where old people are bludgeoned to death for a few pounds, animals are hunted to exhaustion and torn to pieces and, above all, children are systematically tortured until death…. R S Blackmore Taunton Somerset (letter)

Scotsman 31.12.02 John Gow discovers field sports' popularity appears undiminished despite new laws - THE traditional country pursuit of shooting game birds such as grouse and pheasant is a very popular sport with 100,000 Scots regularly participating. It also is a major draw for visitors to Scotland…. Shooting may be popular in Scotland, but it isn’t the easiest sport in which to get involved. Dr Colin Sheddon, of British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said: "It’s not like skiing where you can go and hire equipment and give it a try. You need equipment and a shotgun certificate and also need to learn about shooting." Allan Murray, of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, said: "People who have grown up in the countryside learn about field sports and shooting from an early age…" The big news in 2002 was the Scottish Parliament’s passing of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill into law in August. This banned fox hunting, hare coursing and fox baiting. Nine of the mounted hunts have continued to function in a reduced capacity… (story)

Richmond & Twickenham Times 31.12.02 Having watched a fox cross the Sheen Road with a rat in its mouth, it occurs to me that they probably should not be fed as they are more likely to retain the goodwill of residents if they are seen to be 'earning their keep'.-Toby Barton, Upper Richmond Road West (letter)

York Evening Press 31.12.02 Help the animals - WHATEVER happened to democracy in this country?... I am, of course, talking about Cambridge University's application to build a new primate `research' centre. Despite being rejected twice, the Government has now decided that it alone will decide the third and final application… Sarah Shaw, Gordon Street, York. (letter in archive)

Northern Echo 30.12.02 Euan Blair romance is played down …. Rumours of Euan Blair's relationship with Rosie Willoughby, granddaughter of Lord Middleton, who owns a manor house on a 12,500-acre estate in North Yorkshire, have already featured in a Sunday tabloid. Controversy surrounding their apparent relationship has been heightened because Lord Middleton is chairman of his own Middleton Hunt, which is in stark contrast to the Government's views on hunting…. (story in archive)
York Evening Press 30.12.02 Hunt girl's dad dismisses Euan Blair romance story by Richard Edwards - A NORTH Yorkshire landowner today dismissed speculation that his daughter had found romance with the Prime Minister's son, Euan Blair… Grimston, near Malton, had recently been seen arm-in-arm with Euan, 18. Rosie's grandfather, Lord Middleton, is a Tory peer, a former president of the Country Landowners' Association and is chairman of the Middleton Hunt…. (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 30.12.02 COUNTING COST OF TOTAL BAN I read with my usual interest Chris Rundle's anti-hunt article…. Every year since the National Trust banned stag hunting on the Honicote Estate they have paid compensation to their tenants amounting to about £10,000 per annum for loss of grazing and damage to crops… They have also absolved their tenants from any responsibility for damage to hedges and banks caused by deer as they agreed the repair bill was an unfair imposition on the tenants and they did not want the cost of doing the repairs themselves…. the total deer damage bill on Exmoor at about £137,000 per annum excluding hedges and banks… David B Hosegood Williton Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 30.12.02 ANIMAL POISONER MAY BE AT WORK - Police are investigating whether hunting and domestic dogs are being targeted by a poisoner in Brixham. A valuable gundog is fighting for its life after a spate of pet poisonings on the edge of the town, and a spaniel puppy under training has already died… (story)
Torquay Herald Express 28.12.02 ANIMAL DEATHS POISON RIDDLE BY LIZ PHILLIPS - Police are investigating whether hunting and domestic dogs are being targeted by a poisoner in Brixham. A valuable gundog is fighting for its life after a spate of pet poisonings on the edge of the town, and a spaniel puppy under training has already died…. The road borders the private Lupton estate at Churston Ferrers where regular pheasant and rabbit shoots take place…. (story)

Northern Echo 30.12.02 WILDLIFE - RAY Mallon questions whether the control of wildlife is acceptable (Echo, Dec 20)…. As for the hedgehogs, maybe the birds they are talking about are those bred specially for the money folks and their shooting parties. They could be relocated to the mainland but I suppose that will cost us and we can't be bothered. Easier just to slaughter them, after all, they are only vermin. - John Young, Crook. (letter in archive)

Aberdeen Press & Journal or Evening Express 30.12.02 ROSIE, 9, STAR OF THE HUNT AS RIDERS CASH IN ON MOCK FOXES A mock fox hunt in Aberdeenshire attracted a big turnout of riders from across the country at the weekend, and proved a particularly big day for one local little girl. Nine-year-old horse-rider Rosie Pope, of Lumsden, rode home in style following the two-hour outing. She was awarded a prize for best hunter…. This year's mock hunt - an event applauded by anti-blood sports groups for providing the thrill of the hunt without cruelty - took a new treasure-hunt-style format. Instead of pursuing a young rider wearing a riding hat with fox ears as in the past, hunters sought out fake foxes, which had been hidden across some 1,000 acres of countryside. (story)
Aberdeen Press & Journal or Evening Express 28.12.02 RIDER IS QUARRY The sound of the hunting horn will echo around Aberdeenshire today, although riders joining the festive-season chase will not be in pursuit of a live fox. Instead, riders from throughout the country will be taking part in a mock hunt near Rothienorman that has become a popular charity-boosting tradition over recent years…. (story)
Aberdeen Press & Journal 21.12.02 RIDERS IN CHARITY FOXHUNT CHASE - ALISTAIR BEATON - Around 40 riders are expected to take part in a mock charity foxhunt in Aberdeenshire next weekend. Riders from as far afield as Sutherland and Perthshire are set to saddle-up at Rothienorman next Saturday , to join in the fourth annual festive season event organised in aid of leukaemia charity the Anthony Nolan Trust… "It is a super venue, and should be another great day out and boost for the charity," said trust organiser George Walker… "The mock fox hunt gives all the atmosphere of the real thing, while benefiting a great cause and without harming a fox,"… He pointed out that hunt followers will also be welcome on the day… (story)
Aberdeen Press & Journal 5.12.02 CHARITY HUNT AT ROTHIENORMAN - A mock fox hunt will take place on an Aberdeenshire farm to raise money for leukaemia sufferers. The event, the fourth of its kind, will take place at Westertown Farm, Rothienorman, on December 28. All funds will go to the Anthony Nolan Trust… "Now that fox hunting is banned in Scotland, people are very interested in taking part in mock events. It gives people the thrill of real hunting without chasing real foxes."… (story)
Aberdeen Evening Express 5.12.02 MOCK HUNT FOR TRUST - North-east riders are being urged to saddle-up and help give charity a boost this Christmas. The Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust is holding a mock hunt on Saturday… (story)

Argus 30.12.02 Help save the Saltdean badgers Volunteers collecting petitions to save the Saltdean badgers are being asked to send them to campaign organisers who will present them to the Prime Minister… The badger coalition, which consists of badger groups, animal lovers and residents opposed to the cull, have been collecting signatures on the petitions, as well as carrying out survey work to establish the badgers' movements and numbers. Dr Stephen Harris, from the University of Bristol and an independent expert, is also preparing a report for Defra…. Anyone who has a petition should send it to the Saltdean Badger Coalition, c/o Southdowns Badger Protection Group, 71 Court Farm Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9DY. (story in archive)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 30.12.02 END BARBAROUS ANIMAL CRUELTY - The research industry that conducts animal experiments has always maintained that the animals they torture are not sentient creatures, so therefore they absolve themselves (vivisectors) of any moral concerns. However, Germany has just granted animals in its constitution the same rights to respect and protection as humans enjoy… PAT FOSTER Parkhall (letter)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 29.12.02 Hunts vow to continue by David Jeffels - HUNT leaders in Ryedale have vowed to fight on to save their sport after seeing the biggest turnouts on record for meets over the festive season… At Kirkbymoorside's Market Place, where the Sinnington hunt has been meeting each Boxing Day for 340 years, there was a crowd of more than 500, said master Andrew Osborne…. His sentiments were echoed by Frank Houghton-Brown, master of the Middleton hunt. "We have had huge turnouts at our meets over the Christmas period - at Malton, Langton and Buttercrambe."… The Saltersgate Farmers' Hunt's master, Andrew Brown, said that despite the grim weather on Boxing Day the hunt had seen its biggest ever turn out… George Atkinson, senior master of the Farndale Hunt, which has been in existence for more than 200 years, has the unusual distinction of not being a horse rider. "I follow the hounds on foot - being a sheep farmer on the moors I do a lot of walking - or I sometimes use the car."… (story in archive)

Sunday Times 29.12.02 Campaigners lobby to close hunt bill loopholes - ELEANOR COWIE - THE League Against Cruel Sports is preparing a new campaign to close loopholes in Scotland’s ban on foxhunting. Under the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, hunting with dogs is already illegal in Scotland, but the main hunts continue to use their foxhounds under the banner of “pest control”… Anti-blood sports groups say they will press the Scottish parliament to effectively end the presence of hunting packs in Scotland, if the hunting bill currently going through Westminster produces a blanket ban on all hunting with hounds in England and Wales… Meanwhile, the Countryside Alliance is to bring the first legal challenge against the Scottish legislation at the Court of Session early in the new year. Joe Scott Plummer, joint master of the Buccleuch Hunt, said the decision to bring the action was taken because the Scottish legislation is killing the sport. (story)

Sunday Independent (Ireland) 29.12.02 Getting a bit foxy with the seasonal huntin' Townies - MARY FINNEGAN - Where there's horses and hunting There'll be fighting andfornication! Clare Huntsman (c.2002). IT'S THAT time of year again. Townie Ireland working off Christmas excesses, invading the countryside and indulging in that indigenous Celtic ritual following the hunt. So if you believe hunting, like polo, is another British army import, wrong… word from the West confirms how a week ago Antis were out brandishing war-mongering banners and chanting threats at . . . a drag hunt… (story)

Scotland on Sunday 29.12.02 Year in review - Alex Massie … If Holyrood, notwithstanding the usual party sniping, was quieter this year, then the same could not always be said of the rest of the country. Sectarianism and fox hunting divided us. Despite the best efforts of hunt supporters - not to mention the 400,000 who converged on London for the ‘Liberty and Livelihood’ march - fox hunting was duly banned by the Scottish Parliament. This may have satisfied anti-hunt campaigners, but it remains a moot point whether foxes themselves would agree with the bill, since hunts have taken to shooting greater of their numbers than were previously claimed by the hounds… (story)

Sunday Independent (Ireland) 29.12.02 Hunting: sport or killing spree? - Yesterday I woke to the sound of gunshot; it was Christmas morning. Scenes of birds with their wings ripped apart hurling to the ground with a thud dampened my thoughts for the day. Killing sprees took place in every county in Ireland; countless foxes, hares and even a majestic stag were hunted to exhaustion by humans on horseback. Why, you may ask? For fun, of course…. B Wright, Association of Hunt Saboteurs.
The season of peace and goodwill has again been marred by the sight of red-coated hunters and their packs of baying dogs forcing their way on to land where they are not wanted, in search of foxes, hares and stags. Across Ireland, the social climbers and tin-pot aristocrats made their presence felt wherever "good sport" was to be had…. John Fitzgerald, Callan, Kilkenny (letters)

Observer 29.12.02 Bad hare day or a good call? - My objection to hare coursing (Will Buckley, last week), fox hunting and all blood 'sports' is that they are all attempts to clothe with respectability something that is deeply sinister and unpleasant in human nature, or rather in the nature of some humans. Taking pleasure in the pursuit and killing of animals is something that most people find totally repugnant… Peter Hatherley, Bridgend
Hare coursing in the 'Sport' section? Next week bull-fighting, no doubt. Shame on you. Ann Nee, London SE1
In January 2001 I wrote an article on hare coursing that was published in Observer Sport Monthly. In it I referred to the fact that two greyhounds can… 'pull it apart as if it were a Christmas cracker', a phrase for which I was taken to task by Sir Mark Prescott… I am grateful that one of the photographs used to illustrate Will Buckley's article last week showed two dogs grabbing each end of a hare, ready to pull it apart… Laura Thompson, London
Thank you for spoiling my Sunday with that lorryload of shite in which every brainless argument in favour of hunting was trotted out…. An ex-Observer reader, via email
I have been buying The Observer for 20 years, but no more…. D R Denman via email
Editor's note: Sorry to see you go. But we must point out that Will Buckley was not in favour of hare coursing. He was against banning it, which is entirely different. The Observer is a liberal newspaper and would question any Government ban. That does not mean we are in favour of hunting.
Would Will Buckley please let Blair… know that to ban hare coursing and hunting is following in the footsteps of only one other European leader to ban it - Adolf Hitler. Kevin Jones, Norfolk
What a refreshing change to see that The Observer recognise that country-sports enthusiasts are not all chinless toffs on horseback. I have voted Labour all my life - yet over the issue of banning hunting with dogs I am prepared to vote against the Government…. E Dearden, Cambridgeshire
It is rare to read an even-handed outsider's view of coursing in the press and Will Buckley did the subject justice…. Philip Naylor-Leyland Castor, Peterborough (letters)
Observer 22.12.02 Hare today, gone tomorrow - Will Buckley … Last Monday, the Government attempted once again to ban hare-coursing. On Friday, I decided to take an interest in the sport - in part, for the wilful reason that if politicians seek to abolish an activity it must have something going for it; in part, on the judicious grounds that it might be wise to watch the sport before forming an opinion on it…. It is an acquired taste, not particularly for me, but that is no reason to outlaw it. Just as I see no justification for the law to be used to prevent people in flats in Westminster consensually nailing each other's foreskins to coffee tables, nor can I see why people near the Fens should be prohibited from chasing hares with dogs on their own land. Personally, I find the public-relations industry repugnant. To such an extent that I would rather stand freezing and unfed watching hare-coursing in a field near Soham than sit down to lunch with Matthew Freud in a Soho restaurant. Yet I would be appalled should my repugnance form the basis for PRs to be driven underground… (story)

Scotland on Sunday 29.12.02 Year of cruelty in the countryside - CLAIRE GARDNER - WILDLIFE in Scotland has endured one of the worst years on record for crime, with scores of animals suffering agonising deaths at the hands of hunters. There were 250 cases of crime recorded against wild animals - excluding birds - in 2002, a 10% increase on the previous year. Even more disturbing, only 32 of the cases have so far been solved. Investigators have given Scotland on Sunday a dossier of photographic evidence of the abuse, much of which is too horrific to publish. The dossier, compiled by The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), includes details of animals such as deer, foxes and badgers which have been caught in illegal snares and left to suffer agonising deaths, strangled by razor-sharp wire, or left dangling by their legs for days…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 28.12.02 FESTIVE EVENT 'NOT THE LAST' SAY HUNTERS … Lincolnshire's four hunts remain optimistic that they will be able to continue hunting… John Green, joint master of the Burton Hunt, said: "In its present form and under the present clauses, the Bill makes it almost impossible for most hunts to operate…" He said there were the usual 65 riders and 500 supporters at the meet on Boxing Day at the Lincolnshire Showground. Alan Crowther, chairman of the South Wold Hunt, said the threat of rain diminished supporter numbers slightly at Louth Cattle Market to around 200…. Blankney Hunt joint master Margaret Morris said she was "always full of optimism"…The League Against Cruel Sports conceded it was possible that there could be hunts next Boxing Day given the time taken to create a new law. Spokesman Miranda White said: "We very much hope and anticipate that this has been their last Boxing Day…" (story)
Cumberland News & Star 28.12.02 BOXING DAY'S LAST TALLY-HO? …While some say it is a country way of life, others insist it is cruel and barbaric. What is for certain, though, is that fox hunting is a pastime enjoyed not just by farmers and the so-called country aristocracy, but by people from all walks of life. Boxing day this year saw hundreds across Cumbria turn out for hunts - a broad spectrum of people… Anne Wybergh, wife of the master of the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds hunt, Peter Wybergh, says: "It's a great tradition, part of the Christmas holidays…." Simon Hart, director of the Campaign for Hunting, believes criminalising hunting would be a travesty… One of its strongest opponents in Cumbria is Elaine Milbourn, the county's co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Cruel Sports pressure group…. (story)

(probably Bath Chronicle 28.12.02 PLEASE STOP HUNTING, CHARLES - Prince Charles is coming under increasing pressure from the Queen to stop hunting, it was claimed yesterday. Charles, his partner Camilla Parker-Bowles and sons Princes William and Harry are regular riders with the Beaufort Hunt… Thousands of supporters turned out to cheer hunts across the West. (story)

Scotsman 28.12.02 Sarah Smith's diary … The big news from the Scottish parliament at the start of the year was the foxhunting ban. When the bill was finally passed, I was inside the parliament building, announcing the result live on Channel 4 News - happily warm and dry, you might think. But I’d had to join a hunt on the very last day it would be allowed to ride out. It took place on what had to be one of the wettest days I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. I still hadn’t quite dried out by the time of the parliamentary vote. Eagle-eyed viewers may well have seen steam rising from my shoulders during the broadcast…. (story)

Telegraph 28.12.02 Peaceful demonstration - Had Sir Geoffrey Dear (letter, Dec 26) been present in Parliament Square on December 16, as I was, he would have seen an entirely peaceful, though noisy, demonstration… By 5pm news was coming through that the march of 3,000 to 4,000 from Hyde Park had been diverted by police across the river and was prevented from recrossing… This was a breach of trust by the police… and caused huge resentment among those gathered in the square. It was agreed by many of us that, on the stroke of 5.30pm, we would walk across the road in defiance of the police and stand against the railings of the Commons. This was carried out with comparative ease and no violence… Many law-abiding hunting and farming people received severe bruising; most of the bad language came from the police. I was lashed out at by a policeman with a baton - he missed - as I stood pleading with another policeman to stop hitting unarmed people with his baton… Richard Matson, Whitchurch, Shropshire (letter)
Telegraph 25.12.02 The battle for public opinion - I write as a member of the Countryside Alliance and a keen supporter of field sports…. but did not attend the demonstration in London on Monday. I have no doubt that the disorder seen there will do nothing to advance the alliance case, and may actively damage it… To be allowed to demonstrate in close proximity to Parliament when it is sitting is a privilege, not a right, and the alliance was fortunate that the Metropolitan Police allowed it so much latitude…. Sir Geoffrey Dear, Broadway, Worcestershire (letter)

Telegraph 28.12.02 Encouraging survey our report that a majority of the public would like to see a compromise on hunting (Dec 26) is encouraging for those who support country sports… any hunting regulator will need hard evidence that hunting is necessary and that alternative means of control do not work over much of England and Wales…. So the stronger the factual evidence put forward now, the more likely a framework which will deliver a happy outcome. We need to start demonstrating this evidence now. Genevieve Mather, Newbury, Berkshire (letter)

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 28.12.02 Not dodging the hunt issue J MONKHOUSE (Letters, December 12) implies that I won't define cruel sports as he asked me do (Letters, November 6)… I answered every point he raised… Unfortunately, my reply wasn't lucky enough to be chosen for publication but would refer him instead to the reply by B Jones (Letters, November 13). J YOUNG, Lancashire League Against Cruel Sports support group, Abbey Village, Chorley. (letter in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 27.12.02 Hunt cash could be better spent - J MONKHOUSE (Letters, December 12) asks whether an anti-hunt group supports Labour because they criticised the Countryside Alliance twice. Without knowing the answer, he then launches into a long and amusing diatribe against Labour…. Mr Monkhouse also says that 'beating up old people' and 'abuse of children' should be banned… in light of his sincere concern for these groups I'm sure he will give up fox-hunting so that the £1million it costs to police fox-hunting each year can be better spent protecting people. GREGG METCALFE, Moorhey Crescent, Bamber Bridge. (letter in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 12.12.02 People matter more than foxes - ONCE again, Jeanne Young has a go at the Countryside Alliance (Letters, November 6). I wonder, is it because she supports this inept Labour government…. The Countryside Alliance's march was not just about hunting. It was about the way the country is being destroyed by people who know very little about the countryside. Tony Blair did not go to election on a mandate of banning hunting alone. As I recall, his party went on a better NHS, better education and better policing, none of which has come about… J MONKHOUSE (Mr), Kent Walk, Helmshore. (letter in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 6.11.02 March won little support for hunting - IF it wasn't for the disgraceful behaviour of some Countryside Alliance (CA) supporters, one could feel a bit sorry for the hapless CA and the mess they made of their march… It is a shame Mr Fell, a CA spokesman, didn't use his letter (October 29) to condemn the marchers who held up placards depicting Tony Blair as Adolf Hitler and referring him to as 'Adolf Blair and his Dictators' or as 'Vermin'…. JEANNE YOUNG, Lancashire League Against Cruel Sports Support Group, Stanworth Terrace, Abbey Village, Chorley (letter in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 29.10.02 Attack united rural groups - THE Countryside Alliance thanks all in Lancashire who gave up their Sunday on September 22 to be part of the display of people-power which brought more than 400,000 people into London to march peacefully for liberty and livelihood…. TOM FELL, Countryside Alliance Regional Director for Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North West England (letter in archive)

Scotsman 28.12.02 Highland lairds divided over deer culls - JAMES REYNOLDS ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT - IN THE distilled light of a freezing December morning, the distant pristine whiteness of Lochnagar in its full winter raiment is broken only by the slow, sure movements of the magnificent dun-coloured deer climbing its crags… Counts carried out by the Nature Conservancy and then by the Red Deer Commission, now the Deer Commission for Scotland, revealed a rise in numbers from approximately 155,000 in the late Fifties to about 250,000 in the Seventies. Now, depending on who you listen to, numbers vary between 300,000 and 400,000. Around 70,000 of these are killed each year to try and keep the population static… While some landowners have ordered culling on a big scale, in June this year, Paul Van Vlissingen, a Dutch businessman who owns the 81,000-acre Letterewe estate in Ross-shire, criticised culling and called for wolves and lynx to be brought back to the Highlands to manage the deer more effectively…. (story)

Aberdeen Press & Journal or Evening Express 27.1.03 MEARNS HUNT GOES OFF WITHOUT HITCH - GORDON LYON - As protests against fox hunts were held south of the border, a Boxing Day hunt went ahead without incident in the Mearns. Laird of the Rickarton Estate, Richard Holman-Baird, led out seven other hunters on horseback to flush out foxes on his estate, leading to the death of one of the animals. As master of Kincardineshire Foxhounds, Mr Holman-Baird has continued hunting with his dogs, even after legislation by the Scottish Parliament which many people thought would prevent the practice…. Mr Holman-Baird demonstrated great control over the 35 foxhounds as members of the hunt prepared to ride out…. (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 27.12.02 A TIMELESS SCENE... BUT COULD THIS BE THE LAST BOXING DAY HUNT IN NOTTS? - Hundreds of people turned out to witness the start of what could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunt in Notts. About 40 people from the South Notts Hunt took part in yesterday's meet, which started from outside the Royal Oak pub in Car Colston… (story)
Independent 27.12.02 A traditional day for the foxhunters: animal rights protests and an uncertain future By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter - For Judy Gilbert, yesterday was a day of tradition and ritual. Clad in her green wax jacket, she arrived early in the picturesque square in the centre of the small Buckinghamshire town of Winslow for the annual Boxing Day meeting of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt… adjusting her bright purple hat at a rakish angle on her long grey hair she brandished her League Against Cruel Sports placard at the throng…. Yesterday's meeting attracted both the traditional hunt supporters and the equally traditional hunt opponents. But with the latter being outnumbered by at least 10-1 at what the League described as its biggest protest, sometime after 11am the hunt moved off to a small round of applause…. (story)
Telegraph 27.12.02 Peer and butler see off hunt saboteurs By Neil Tweedie and Stewart Payne - Lord Hesketh was forced to call on the services of his butler yesterday when hunt saboteurs attempted to disrupt the Boxing Day gathering of the Grafton Hunt… Speaking at the meeting of the Whaddon Chase hunt in Buckinghamshire, Baroness Mallalieu, the pro-hunting Labour peer, said: "It is political madness that this is still the number one issue…. The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent reported a good day out, despite the presence of up to 15 saboteurs in the fields. The 222-year-old New Forest Hounds set off from Brockenhurst, Hants, with cries of "Bollocks to Blair!" replacing the traditional "Tally Ho!"… Opponents were outnumbered as the newly merged Vale of Aylesbury, Garth and South Bucks hunt met at Mortimer, near Reading, Berks. The only voice of protest came from a passing motorist who yelled: "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves."… An estimated 2,000 hunt supporters turned out to see off the Beaufort Hunt at its meeting in Gloucestershire. Not a single protester was in evidence… One of the larger protests was encountered by the Cheshire Forest Hunt as it set off from the village of Lach Dennis, near Northwich. Twenty protesters held banners and shouted abuse at riders and their supporters. (story)
Telegraph 27.12.02 We'll fight on, say stag groups - Attempts to ban stag hunting would be fiercely resisted, Tom Yandle, chairman of the Master of Deerhounds Association, warned last night after riders enjoyed what could be their last traditional Boxing Day meet. More than 100 riders and 500 people on foot joined the Devon and Somerset stag hounds, which met in defiant mood at the White Horse in Exford, on Exmoor. The West Country is home to the country's only three stag hunts, the Devon and Somerset, the Tiverton and the Quantock…. (story)
Times 27.12.02 Fox hunts escape a hounding as the protesters stay at home BY HELEN STUDD - BRITAIN’S countryside community turned out in record numbers yesterday to support the traditional Boxing Day hunt at what could be one of its last meets in its present form. The Countryside Alliance estimated that around 250,000 people gathered across England and Wales, outnumbering protesters by more than 1,000 to one… (story)
Times 27.12.02 Saboteurs keep distance as huntsmen ride out BY HELEN STUDD …Two dozen protesters arrived armed with hunting horns and anti-scent spray and wearing black balaclavas, ready to renew their running battle with the Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt. But the hunters’ fury was directed more towards the Government and they were more willing to accept the protesters as small fry… Earlier this year hunt saboteurs were accused of blackmail and intimidation after they sent letters to hunt members offering an amnesty if they severed their links with the hunt. Several incendiary devices have been planted beneath cars, one under a farmer’s petrol tank, while windscreens have been smashed, bricks put through pub windows and wire laid out to garotte horses… The League Against Cruel Sports’ flagship protest in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, saw just 35 demonstrators turn out to oppose the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds hunt… (story)
Times 27.12.02 Hunts limber up for battle but won't say the B-word BY MELISSA KITE, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - DEFIANCE and denial were equally abundant yesterday as members of the Warwickshire hunt galloped along its well-worn tracks. As riders gossiped and shouted “Merry Christmas” to each other, it was as if someone had told everyone not to mention the B-word. The B-word, of course, being “ban”…. (story)
Mirror 27.12.02 PROTEST BATTLE CRY: 'YOU-WON'T MEET AGAIN' By Justine Smith THOUSANDS of protesters taunted fox-hunters that yesterday's gatherings might be the last of the traditional Boxing Day meets. Nearly 300 were held across the country - drawing an estimated 250,000 people, said the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance…. Biggest demo was staged in Winslow, Berks, after plans to harass the Essex Farmers & Union Hunt drove members to meet on private land for the first time in 60 years…. 20 campaigners had heated rows with an equal number of riders from the Cheshire Forest Hunt. Activist Nik Iddon, from nearby Warrington, said: "Hunting's days are numbered…." Former Tory Chief Whip Lord Hesketh was targeted by protesters as the Grafton Hunt met at his estate near Towcester, Northants…. In Reading, Berks, 50 riders from the Vale of Aylesbury, Garth and South Bucks Hunt were jeered by 15 protesters - watched by three van-loads of police…. Thirty protesters stood in driving rain to see off 75 riders and 200 walkers taking part in the 223-year-old New Forest hounds meet in Brockenhurst, Hampshire. About 200 riders set off with the Beaufort Hunt, near Tetbury, Gloucs… Members of one of the most-targeted groups in the country - the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt - said they had a "cracking" day out at Penshurst, Kent. Joint master Graeme Worsley said: "There were probably 500 to 600 members of the public, of whom about 20 were protesting… (story)
Worksop Guardian 27.12.02 THERE'S NO LOGIC IN TOTAL FOX HUNT BAN' - THE GROVE and Rufford Hunt was due to go ahead yesterday surrounded by controversy as anti-hunt MPs continue to push for an outright ban. The hunt was to leave from the White Horse pub at Barnby Moor, Retford, on Boxing Day morning and members were expecting a large turnout of supporters. "We are against a total ban because there is no logic in it," said hunt Hon secretary Bill Eastwood, speaking before yesterday's hunt… (story in archive)
Essex Evening Gazette 27.12.02 Essex: Waterlogged fields force cancellation of Boxing Day event - Expected confrontation between huntsmen and protesters turned out to be little more than a damp squib when the East Essex Hunt was cancelled. But passions ran high as protestors moved on to the Essex Farmers and Union meet at Grange Farm in the Street, Steeple. The Hunt was due to gather at the Onley Arms pub in Stisted at 11am on Boxing Day but overnight rain had left the surrounding countryside waterlogged and unsuitable for the horses… (story in archive)
South Wales Argus 27.12.02 Hunts are given a mixed reception by Mark Choueke … Animal rights protesters and others lined the streets of Bassaleg waiting for the horn to signal the beginning of this year's Tredegar Farmers' Boxing Day Hunt. But in Abergavenny, hundreds of local people turned out to support the hunt in what organisers said was one of the biggest Boxing Day gatherings for many years. The huntsmen and women were clapped on their way without a hint of protest…. Andrew Stack and his wife Marybeth from Cardiff were in Bassaleg to support the hunt… Protester Vikki Watkins, who works for Friends of Animals Under Abuse, said: "I can't believe we're still talking about hunting in this day and age…" In the picture: Huntsman Rick Dolphin rides out of Abergavenny town centre on Boxing Day. (story in archive)
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 27.12.02 HUNTING: Hunt rides out in defiant mood - MEMBERS of the Fitzwilliam Hunt rode out in defiant mood as they took part in the traditional Boxing Day meeting. About 30 riders joined the hunt yesterday when it started from Stilton, near Peterborough, while hundreds more people gathered on the streets of the village… Ashley Banks (56), vice-president of the East of England Coursing Club, who attended yesterday's meeting accused the Government of "fudging" the issue… (story in archive)
Leicester Mercury 27.12.02 BIG CROWDS WATCH BOXING DAY HUNTS - Hundreds gathered to see what could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings in Leicestershire. The Quorn, Cottesmore, Fernie and Atherstone hunts held their first major meetings since the Government launched its Hunting Bill, which could change the nature of the sport forever… more than 1,000 people gathered in Market Bosworth to see the Atherstone hunt… A small group of about six protesters were in the town, including Sheila Egginton, a cleaner from Hinckley… Hundreds watched as the Quorn Hunt met at Saxelbye…. (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 27.12.02 HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE SEE AREA'S BOXING DAY HUNTS - TIM JAYS AND ZOE CORNEY …Crowds turned out in force yesterday to watch the South Wold Hunt leave Louth Cattle Market. And at Brocklesby, the village's point-to-point course was lined with people eager to catch a glimpse of the colourful parade… The Brocklesby Hunt got underway with no interference from protesters or saboteurs. And the South Wold Hunt was also unaffected… (story)
Argus 27.12.02 Protesters hound fox hunt by Lilly Peel - About 40 animal rights activists protested against a traditional Boxing Day hunt in Sussex. Demonstrators gathered in Lewes High Street shouting and waving placards. More than 200 Countryside Alliance members also turned out to cheer on the 70 horses and riders, with signs that read: "Never underestimate a minority."… Sue Baumgardt, who carried a piece of bloodied fake fur nailed to a board, said: "I think hunting is disgusting and cruel…." (story in archive)
Argus 27.12.02 Will this be the last Boxing Day hunt? by Lilly Peel - The riders were greeted by deafening jeers and shouts as they rode into Lewes. A band of about 40 protesters gathered beneath the White Hart Hotel on High Street booing and waving placards, some with pieces of bloodied fake fur nailed to them… Carol Jones, a housewife from Angmering, near Littlehampton, and a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "I'm very disappointed with the Government…" Ann Chatterton, 60, has been fox hunting for 50 years and ridden with the Lewes hunt for 40…. (story in archive)
Cambridge News 27.12.02 Foxes outrun the Boxing Day hunt - THE biggest day in the hunting calendar went off without incident for the Cambridgeshire and Enfield Chase Hunt, which met at Eltisley Green, for possibly the last time… (story)
Newcastle Journal 27.12.02 See you next year, say defiant hunters By Graeme Whitfield, The Journal … Hunts took place in Corbridge, Wark, Glanton, Wooler, Otterburn, Haydon Bridge, Dyke Neuk, Shilbottle and Stamfordham, in Northumberland; and at Lanchester, Bishopton and Waskerley, in County Durham…. Jeremy Ashdown, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "We're going to start campaigning now to try to get North-East MPs to support amendments for a total ban on hunting…" But Richard Dodd, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said yesterday: "I was at Corbridge and the estimates were that there was about 400 or 500 people there…" (story)
Newcastle Evening Chronicle 27.12.02 Alliance hails hunt turn-out By Amy Cartmell, Evening Chronicle - Traditional Boxing Day hunts were supported across the North East despite fears they could be banned next year…. Wark, Glanton, Wooler, Otterburn, Haydon Bridge, Dyke Neuk, Shilbottle, Stamfordham and at Lanchester and Bishopton…. Richard Dodd, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "I was at Corbridge and the estimates were that there were about 400 to 500 people there…" (story)
Shropshire Star 27.12.02 Traditional hunts pass peacefully By James Whittaker - Shropshire hunt campaigners today claimed they were winning the battle to save their sport as traditional Boxing Day hunts were hailed a huge success…. In Newport a crowd of around 3,000 watched the Albrighton Hunt and Newport Carriage Driving Association's annual parade and meeting. But opponents claimed up to 100 people staged a peaceful protest. Crowds also gathered at Ludlow Castle to cheer the Ludlow Hunt and in Shrewsbury for the North Shropshire Hunt. There was no sign of protest against the Tanatside hunt from the Oswestry/Powys border at its meet in Welshpool or at the David Davies Hunt meet in Llanidloes. (story)
Shropshire Star 27.12.02 Crowds enjoy event despite shadow of a ban By Zoe Gough and Sue Austin … despite the shadow of a ban hanging over the hunts thousands of people turned out in support for the festive meets… In Newport about 70 members of the Albrighton Hunt met in front of the town's Royal Victoria Hotel… Master of the Hunt, Roger Hough, said: "There were about 35 anti-hunt protesters with banners and about 3,000 pro-hunt supporters. I think that says it all in the countryside." But June Guest, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said around 100 people had turned up to show support for their campaign… Meanwhile there were large crowds at Ludlow Castle to watch the Ludlow Hunt leave without protest… The North Shropshire Hunt's Boxing Day outing in Shrewsbury was well supported with around 40 horses taking part and around 200 people gathering to voice their support… No anti-hunt protesters were present…. The master huntsman of the Bridgnorth-based Wheatland Hunt today hailed its annual Boxing Day meet a huge success…. "… I would say there was between 750 and 1,000 spectators who came out to see us off." Between 80 and 100 people rode with the Sir Watkin Williams Wynn Hunt, otherwise known as the Wynnstay Hunt, at Malpas…. (story)
Western Morning News 27.12.02 PROTESTERS CHEERED BY BIG TURNOUT … Around 200 members of the League Against Cruel Sports from across the Westcountry gathered in Bedford Square, Tavistock, in time for the arrival of the Spooner's and West Dartmoor Foxhounds hunt at 11am. Ivor Annetts, South West spokesman for the League, said the demonstration had been "tremendous"…. But Guy Morlock, from Spooner's and West Dartmoor Foxhounds, denied the hunt members had been outnumbered. "We had 62 on horseback, and there were probably 4-500 others on foot who were certainly in favour of hunting,"…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 27.12.02 Hunts draw 'record numbers' - THOUSANDS of people turned out yesterday for what may have been the last Boxing Day hunts in their present form. An estimated 250,000 people attended nearly 300 hunts, according to the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance…. (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 27.12.02 Air of defiance at region's hunts - Reports by Sam Thomson, Jonathan Barnes, Annie Davidson, Liz Hearnshaw and David Green … The hunts which met in Hadleigh, Hawstead, Steeple and Bungay were met with noisy protests from dozens of anti-hunt campaigners, but passed without any major incident…. Liz Mort, spokeswoman for the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, said there had been a record number of people turning out to support the hunts… "There has been about 250,000 supporters turn out nationally and certainly in Norfolk and Suffolk there has been between 3,000 and 4,000 people taking part and supporting hunts."… Sally Brown, of Ipswich Animal Rights, did not believe the anti-hunting argument was losing support… (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 27.12.02 POLL BACKING FOR ANTI-HUNT GROUPS - Anti-hunt campaigners in Derbyshire believe a new poll will strengthen the resolve of MPs and help secure a total ban on hunting with dogs… Chris Williamson, Derbyshire spokesman of the League Against Cruel Sports and leader of Derby City Council, was not surprised by the figures…. But Johnny Greenall, joint master of the Meynell Hunt, dismissed the findings. Yesterday, the Meynell Hunt's traditional Boxing Day hunt took place in Derbyshire, with more than 500 people attending… (story)
Glasgow Herald 27.12.02 Fox hunts pledge to keep tradition alive - SHAN ROSS - FOX hunters in Scotland met for their traditional Boxing Day gatherings vowing to keep the centuries old tradition intact for future generations…. Typical of these was the Buccleuch Hunt in the Borders, one of the oldest in Scotland, established in 1826 and which attracted around 30 riders including a number of children…. Also in the Borders, the Berwickshire Hunt, which attracted a reduced number of 25 riders, broke with tradition and chased two male volunteers… Of the eight hunts meeting in Scotland to pursue foxes only a few, including the Kincardineshire Hunt, which managed to shoot one, were successful… A spokeswoman for Advocates for Animals said the members of Scottish hunts were merely "putting on a brave face"… (story in archive)
Northern Echo 27.12.02 Defiance at hunts' date with tradition by Gavin Engelbrecht and Kate Bowman - HUNDREDS of people turned out to show their solidarity with hunts across the North-East and North Yorkshire yesterday…. Up to 50 mounts of the Braes of Derwent Hunt attracted dozens of people to the Queen's Head pub, in Lanchester, County Durham… Simon Beckett, master of the Weardale and Tees Valley Beagles, said: "This is not the end. An awful lot depends on what happens between the Commons and the House of Lords…" scores of people gathered around more than 40 horses and their hounds, near the town's Golden Lion Hotel. Huntsman Joe Townsend said: "We have got a good turn out this year…. Large crowds also turned out for the Cleveland Hunt, which gathered at Great Ayton, near Middlesbrough…. (story in archive)
Daily Record 27.12.02 FOXY SET RIDE OUT FOR THE FUN OF IT - John Mceachran - ALL of Scotland's nine hunts were out yesterday - despite the ban on fox hunting… Joe Scott-Plummer, master of the Buccleuch Foxhounds, said: "They will have been out in some form or other…. (story)
Irish Independent 27.12.02 Tally-ho as hunters clash with saboteurs - Sarah Murphy and Charlie Mallon - IT was initially a game of cat and mouse rather than fox and hound as anti-hunt demonstrators and hunters prepared for their annual St Stephen's Day confrontation…. Bernie Wright claimed that as half a dozen of them staged a peaceful protest they were accosted… Gardai said the incident was blown out of proportion…. Meanwhile in Tramore, the traditional St Stephen's Day hunt got off to a lively start as dozens of saboteurs turned up to voice objections…. Independent councillor Eddie Walsh, is so opposed to the sport he tied himself to a lamp-post… (story)
Irish Examiner 27.12.02 Anti-hunt protests call for ban on bloodsports By Mícheál Lehane … The Association of Hunt Saboteurs (AOHS) and BadgerWatch Ireland made the call after holding protests at St Stephen’s day hunts in Waterford and Meath… (story)
Western Mail 27.12.02 Rivals look to end of row over hunting - HUNTERS in the Vale of Glamorgan were all too aware that yesterday's Boxing Day meeting could be the last of its kind…. The annual gathering is one of the biggest in the hunting calendar and is as much a social occasion as it is functional. This is perhaps why so many protesters feel so strongly, as the hunt has often been portrayed as a traditional blood sport of the upper classes - a bit of fun for the landed gentry…. The hunt also has the support of a large number of farmers across the Vale, who have foxes moved off the land. They also pay the Hunt to remove dead or injured stock to be incinerated or killed and fed to the hounds for a fraction of the usual cost… Richard Tiller, from the League Against Cruel Sports in South Wales, knows that hunting is a social event and would much rather see "drag hunting" take off than the sport be banned altogether…. (story)
Eastern Daily Press 27.12.02 Scuffles as hunts go ahead - Scuffles overshadowed a generally peaceful day around East Anglia yesterday as countryside folk turned out in force for possibly the last unlicensed Boxing Day hunts…. tempers flared in Wymondham town centre as protesters and supporters squared up to each other as hunters and hounds prepared to set off…. Hundreds turned out to support huntsmen and hounds at Fakenham Racecourse, Sennowe Park at Guist, Bungay and Bury St Edmunds… A woman was airlifted by helicopter from Sennowe Park yesterday lunchtime after being kicked on the leg by a horse. The East Anglian Air Ambulance was used because of difficult access for a land ambulance. The North Norfolk Harriers had set off just after 11am…. (story)
Kentish Gazette 27.12.02 Hunt Master: this wasn't our final Boxing Day meet - A MASTER of the East Kent Hunt is confident its future is secure despite mounting pressure to ban the bloodsport (Gerry Warren writes). David Potter was speaking after the traditional Boxing Day meet at Elham to which countryside supporters turned out in force. They considerably outnumbered about 30 hunt protestors who waved placards and hurled abuse at the huntsmen and women…. Hunt protestor Jill Berry said: "We knew the supporters would be out in force but we are not going away until hunting is banned…" David Wetten, who helped found the Hunt Saboteurs Association, added: "It is only a matter of time now…" (story)
Portsmouth News 27.12.02 Horse crashes on to thrown huntsman - A HUNTSMAN was today recovering after he was thrown from his horse which then fell on top of him during a hunt meeting. Experienced rider Simon Everdell was taking part in yesterday's event staged by the Hursley-Hambledon Hunt when his horse slipped in a muddy lane…. Meanwhile, Jeannette McClunan, 47, of Corhampton, was one of 20 anti-hunt demonstrators protesting with placards against the hunt at The Buck's Head… (story in archive)
Coventry Evening Telegraph 27.12.02 Hunt leaders stand ground By Samantha Clarke - Hunt leaders in Warwickshire remained in defiant mood after hundreds turned out for the traditional Boxing Day meet. Members of the Warwickshire Hunt, who held their traditional Boxing Day event yesterday, said more than 1,000 people turned up to Upton House on the county border with Oxfordshire to watch…. The Atherstone Hunt turned out yesterday in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. They were backed by hundreds who followed on foot and in cars…. (story)
Western Daily Press 27.12.02 ON THE BOXING DAY HUNT TO WIN SUPPORT - The furious debate over hunting with dogs escalated yesterday with hunt supporters and anti-hunt campaigners turning out at traditional Boxing Day meets across the country…. One of the biggest protests was made against the Avonvale hunt in Wiltshire. The hunt met in the centre of Lacock village, near Chippenham, and was confronted by a crowd of League Against Cruel Sports campaigners…. The biggest meet in the West saw more than 2,000 supporters and 200 riders on horseback meet at Worcester Lodge on the Duke of Beaufort's estate on the Wiltshire-Gloucestershire border… (story)
Western Daily Press 27.12.02 THOUSANDS REVEL IN TRADITIONAL PASTIME - They came in their hundreds, then in their thousands. Young and old, some nursing hangovers, others excitedly enjoying their biggest social event of their year. The Beaufort Hunt has met on the edge of Didmarton for more than 300 years but the presence of three police riot vans and TV outside broadcast crews reminded those gathering that this could be the last time…. This was one of the few hunts yesterday with no obvious protests, despite claims hard-line demonstrators would try to dismount Prince William. They were not there and neither, it seemed, was he… (story)
Scotsman 27.12.02 Something missing on Boxing Day hunts - JIM MCBETH - THE wail of a hunting horn was the signal for red-jacketed riders to urge their mounts forward in a scene that was stolen from a Victorian Christmas card. Stirrup cups had been quaffed, the hounds whipped-in behind the Master’s horse and country folk cheered as the Lanark and Renfrew Hunt set off, as it has done every Boxing Day since 1771…. While Lanark and Renfrew was not hunting to kill, the hounds of Buccleuch Hunt in the Borders were "shunting" - flushing foxes to guns, a form of hunting which circumvents the law prohibiting killing with dogs. Three other hunts - Ayrshire’s Eglinton, the Fife, and Britain’s youngest hunt, the five-year-old Kincardine - held similar events. But Berwickshire Hunt let the fox off the hook in favour of human quarry. David Law, the hunt captain, raced across fields pursued by companions on horseback. Jedforest and Lauderdale Hunts held token events, and the Dumfriesshire Hunt met for a "ride-out" near Lockerbie. (story)
York Evening Press 27.12.02 Boxing Day hunting protester `attacked' - NORTH Yorkshire police were today investigating allegations that a protester was attacked during a Boxing Day hunt in the county. Officers in Ryedale are trawling through CCTV footage of Malton town centre after claims that an anti-hunt campaigner was butted as Middleton Hunt followers gathered in the market square…. "We tried to find the alleged attacker after the incident but as the identification we were given was that he was wearing a green waxed jacket, it was difficult,"…. Jeremy Timm, joint master of York and Ainsty South hunt, said the level of support at the Boxing Day and New Year's Day meets showed how important hunting was in the community…. Richard Morley, from Derwent Hunt, said: "There's always a big turn out of the general public to show their support on both days… (story in archive)
Daily Post 27.12.02 Baroness calls for end to debate - THE League Against Cruel Sports held its biggest Boxing Day protest in Winslow, Bucks, where scores of demonstrators opposed the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds hunt…. Pro-hunting Labour peer Baroness Mallalieusaid: "Hunting has changed over the years that I've done it. Every year there are changes, and I expect there will be more…." (story)
Chester Chronicle 27.12.02 Peaceful protests at hunts - TRADITIONAL Boxing Day hunts ran without a hitch - despite fears of a clash between riders and saboteurs…. Last week Alex Park, huntmaster for the Cheshire Forest Hunt, said people had a right to demonstrate their opposition to hunting, but added: 'I am a supporter of hunting because I choose to do it. I have a right to do it. It's a legal activity. We contribute to the rural economy and the rural way of life and I don't believe it does any harm…." Sarah Hill of the North West Hunt Saboteur Association said: 'It's very simple - hunting is cruel. It's barbaric and it's not needed…" (story)
Gloucester Citizen 27.12.02 HUNT MEET COULD BE THE LAST RIDE Around 200 riders set off from Didmarton, near Tetbury, on the hunt which often attracts members of the Royal Family, from nearby Highgrove, although it was believed that none of them was taking part. Watching the hunt set off, joint master Ian Farquhar was defiant and said he did not believe this would be the last Boxing Day hunt of its kind… No anti-hunt protesters were present when the Beaufort hunt gathered. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 27.12.02 WERE THESE THE LAST BOXING DAY HUNTS? A STEELY determination was evident in droves of Cumbrian hunters and families who battled through downpours to take part in what could be their last traditional Boxing Day meetings… Hunts took place at Bewcastle, Blencathra, Welton, Ullswater and Melbreak, as well as a hunt by Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds… Peter Wybergh, master of the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds hunt at Welton, said he hoped the hunt would happen again next Boxing Day… Elaine Milbourn, Cumbria's co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Cruel Sports, hit out at the hunters and said taking children on hunts was tantamount to "child abuse"…. (story)
Manchester Evening News 27.12.02 Tempting treat to fox the hounds - GREAT-grandmother Joan Sinnott cooked up a novel ruse in a bid to foil a Boxing Day hunt. She baked a tasty casserole to tempt the hounds, hoping that they'd lose their appetite for fox if they were already filled up with meat and veg. Widow Joan was among demonstrators who turned up to protest at the Holcombe Hunt, at Rivington, Bolton…. George Dickenson, 74, joint master of the Holcombe Hunt, said around 80 riders and 1,000 supporters turned up…. The Cheshire Forest Hunt went ahead as planned in Lach Dennis, near Northwich, with 20 riders and a pack of about 30 hounds… (story)
Bury Times 27.12.02 Noisy protesters fail to stop hunt - ANTI-bloodsport protesters clashed with huntsmen at the annual Boxing Day Holcombe Hunt meeting at Rivington. More than 100 members of the League Against Cruel Sports banged drums, blew whistles and waved banners as up to 40 riders set off on the hunt from Rivington Barn…. Paul Timpson, spokesman for the North-west Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: "Our protests are designed to remind the hunt and its supporters that we find their activities to be an abhorrent attack on our wildlife." George Dickinson, joint master of the Holcombe Hunt, said: "It was a marvellous day and it went very well. The protesters made a lot of noise, but they didn't affect the hunt because we outnumbered them by 10 to one…." But Allan King, aged 47, from Adlington, said: "I've never been before. It's sickening. I won't come again." (story in archive)
Bradford Telegraph & Argus 27.12.02 Boxing Day hunts - the end of an era? - Boxing Day hunts passed peacefully in the district yesterday amid a hot debate whether they will continue in their present form. Around 50 riders, including children, joined the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt, pictured, which started at Gargrave village green. The start of the five-hour hunt was watched by a crowd of about 150 people… (story in archive)
Liverpool Daily Post 27.12.02 Is this the last call to hounds? By Mike Hornby Daily Post Staff … Up to 20 placard waving protesters took part in a noisy but uneventful demonstration at the Boxing Day meet of the Cheshire Forest Hunt. Animal rights activists gathered in the small village of Lach Dennis, near Northwich, as 20 riders set off from the Duke of Portland pub with a pack of 29 hounds. The hunt began shortly after 11am and was watched by around 200 local people and spectators…. (story)
Halifax Courier 27.12.02 HUNTSMEN STEP OUT FOR ANNUAL MEETING - DENSE fog threatened to put the brakes on the Colne Valley Beagles' annual Boxing Day Hunt but with a last minute reprieve, more than 50 enthusiastic supporters rushed off behind the hounds… (story in archive)

Guardian Guardian 27.12.02 Hunting compromise woos Labour rebels - Changes to bill will make it all but impossible for sport to go on - Nicholas Watt and Rebecca Allison - Tony Blair is to woo anti-hunting Labour MPs by accepting a series of backbench amendments to the government's controversial hunting bill which would make it all but impossible for the sport to continue… The compromise was suggested by Michael Foster, the Labour MP for Worcester who after the 1997 election proposed a private member's bill to outlaw the sport. Mr Foster, an aide in the Department for Education, said he could support the measure if it were changed in three key areas. These are: Extending a ban on hare-coursing to outlaw hare hunting altogether; Banning cubbing… Offering more categorical assurances that fox hunting will be banned in lowland areas… Placard-waving protesters greeted the Spooners and West Devon hunters in Tavistock and the Cheshire Forest Hunt… Several hundred people swelled the ranks of dozens of both pro- and anti-hunt supporters standing on opposite sides of the square as the pink-coated members of the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds hunt passed through…. (story)
Telegraph 27.12.02 Labour MPs plan revolt on Hunting Bill By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Labour backbenchers are planning to revolt against parts of the Government's Hunting Bill because they believe it sets a legal precedent that could lead to the abolition of angling, horseracing or dog racing… Led by Martin Salter, the Government's spokesman on shooting and fishing, backbenchers have rejected the repeated assurances of Alun Michael, rural affairs minister, that the Bill sets no legal precedents that could be used by animal welfare groups to abolish or impose regulations on other sports…. Mr Salter said: "You cannot make a utility case for coarse angling, for horseracing, for keeping pets or for greyhound racing. "I know that my colleagues will be proposing amendments to delete the utility tests from the Bill because, in the light of a total hunt ban, they are irrelevant…." Bob Clark, of the National Federation of Anglers, said: "Coarse fishing has a problem with these tests which must be taken out…. If MPs want to get hunting banned for class-based reasons, they will do it. However in their desire to ban hunting with dogs, they need to be careful they don't bring angling into the argument."… (story)
Independent 27.12.02 Supporters of hunting ban claim support of key MPs By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - A majority of MPs on the committee appointed to consider the Hunting Bill have supported a complete fox-hunting ban in the past, a study of their parliamentary records has shown….(story)
Independent 27.12.02 Mr Blair's cowardice on hunting has wasted far too much time already - "Well, here goes. Tally ho." Tony Blair's self-mocking ad lib at the start of his third Labour Party conference speech as Prime Minister will return to haunt him throughout his years in office… If Mr Blair had meant it – if he had defied the so-called Countryside Alliance and tried to ban hunting because it is cruel – we would have disagreed with him, but we would have respected him… It would have had no appreciable effect on the aggregate balance sheet of animal welfare in this country, because foxes would still be killed. Which is why The Independent argues that it is wrong to criminalise things people do simply because lots of other people – possibly even a majority – disapprove of them… Next year, the Hunting Bill will divert MPs from the serious issues of animal welfare, including European Union standards for battery hens, broiler chickens, pigs and animal experiments…. (story)
Times 27.12.02 Countdown to the ban on hounds (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 27.12.02 HAS FOX-HUNTING FINALLY HAD ITS DAY? DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT The great debate on its future will go on well into 2003. Forget the talk of war, caring for the elderly, education and health. The one subject that will be on most politicians lips in the New Year will be hunting. It is absurdly British that at a time when there are huge matters of state to debate that we spend so much time on this one subject… If only we had the time and will to debate other issues so thoroughly. This would improve all aspects of our lives. (story)
Worcester Evening News 27.12.02 Battle over the future of hunting RIVAL MPs Mike Foster and Peter Luff have been pitched into battle again over Government plans to severely restrict hunting. They have both been selected by their party bosses to sit on the Westminster committee that will decide the future of the controversial Bill…. (story in archive)
Bolton Evening News 27.12.02 A Week in Westminster By Dr Brian Iddon, Member of Parliament for Bolton South-east … A few days ago the Hunting Bill had its Second Reading debate in the House of Commons, and some readers may wonder why I voted for it when it does not propose an outright ban on hunting foxes with dogs. If the House of Commons had voted the Bill down, that would have been an end to it. MPs like me voted to get it into its Committee Stage, where attempts will be made to amend it to include an outright ban on fox hunting. If that does not succeed, further amendments will be attempted at the Report and Third Reading Stages of the Bill before it proceeds to the House of Lords… (letter in archive)

BBC News Online Friday, 27 December, 2002, 02:58 GMT Blair to woo anti-hunt MPs - The prime minister is expected to woo anti-hunt MPs by accepting amendments to the government's hunting bill which could mean an end to the blood sport, according to newspaper reports…. The apparent compromise come after hunters and protesters were out in force for Boxing Day hunts and amid reports that the Queen has ordered Prince Charles to give up hunting as it was damaging the monarchy's image… (story)
ITV 27.12.02 Charles to quit hunting? - The Queen is reported to be calling on Prince Charles to give up hunting if laws are passed to limit the sport… Charles and his family regularly ride with the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt which meets near his home at Highgrove, Gloucestershire… (story)
Mirror 27.12.02 QUEEN TELLS CHARLES: GIVE UP HUNTING By Harry Arnold - THE Queen has ordered Prince Charles to give up hunting to avoid damaging the monarchy. She has also said she wants Charles's partner Camilla Parker Bowles and sons William and Harry to quit the blood sport, even if the Government introduces only a partial hunt ban….(story)

Times 27.12.02 French hunters scent a boom FROM ADAM SAGE IN DREUX FOREST - AS THE stag lay dead in the field, the hunting horns fell silent. The master of hounds raised his hand, and waited until the pack had stopped its baying and was silent too. Then he lowered his arm and the dogs leapt forward, jaws open as they threw themselves upon the carcass… It was a scene to make an animal rights activist rage. But, here in the Dreux Forest, west of Paris, there were no animal rights activists, only dozens of villagers gathered around in a respectful circle. In France, stag-hunting — along with all the other types of hunting that are threatened in Britain — is largely uncontested… (story)

Times 27.12.02 Scots masters find a way round the law BY GILLIAN HARRIS, SCOTLAND CORRESPONDENT - IN THE five months since the Scottish Parliament’s ban on hunting with dogs came into force, hunts have had to find inventive methods of culling foxes so as to remain on the right side of the law. Most of Scotland’s hunts have become gun packs, and can ride out with hounds as before, but once the dogs have flushed out a fox, it is shot…. There have been no prosecutions against the gun packs and only one complaint. Kincardineshire Foxhounds were accused of acting illegally by allowing a dog to kill a fox… Dumfriesshire Hunt disbanded in November… The Berwickshire Hunt has employed David Law to act as quarry for the dogs, in a practice known as the Clean Boot…. (story)

Telegraph 27.12.02 Peterborough - Foxy Tarrant - Opponents of hunting, who were out in force yesterday for what they say will be the last Boxing Day meets in history, raise the blood pressure of many countrymen, not least the bonhomous television presenter Chris Tarrant. "People are fed up of the countryside being interfered with by spin doctors who have never been outside the City of London in their bloody lives," says Tarrant, a keen angler, in the Field…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 27.12.02 DO THE pro-hunting fanatics who recently hung up a dead fox on a tree in the Vale Royal area, with a notice about 'Real Cheshire Hunting Country', honestly think that they can convince local residents that they still have a just cause?... KATHERINE WATSON Rushton Drive, Bramhall, Stockport (letter)
Manchester Evening News 17.12.02 WHAT were the pro-hunt fanatics who recently hung up a dead fox on a tree in the Vale Royal area, proclaiming that this was real Cheshire hunting country, trying to prove?... Post-mortem examinations of foxes killed by hounds including two savaged to death by Cheshire hounds in the past year show a consistent pattern of severe chest, abdominal and flank injuries and organ damage, implying an excruciatingly painful death…. Regulating the sport with a code of conduct has not prevented what the code in theory condemns as unsporting behaviour for example Surrey Union Hunt videos surrounding a wood and preventing foxes from escaping 11 days after the ordeal of cub hunting and the start of full foxhunting, or their violent confrontation of spectators on the scene who were ridden down and assaulted…. Katherine Watson, Bramhall (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 27.12.02 MEP'S LOGIC ON HUNTING IS FAULTY - Can we assume that Roger Helmer MEP uses the same logic when attacking the euro as he does when defending hunting? Which judge in a court of law would accept his plea that hunting is not cruel because those who hunt say it is not… NORMAN ELSDON Oakdale Road Carlton (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 19.12.02 HUNTING'S 'UTILITY' TEST IS DANGEROUS The government's proposal on fox-hunting depends upon two tests for cruelty and "utility". No one could disagree with a cruelty test but people who hunt know (as the Burns report recognised) that hunting 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? ROGER HELMER MEP East Midlands Conservative Party (letter)

Chester Chronicle 27.12.02 I WOULD like to raise several points regarding foxhunting. I attended Christine Russell MP's surgery on Saturday, December 7, to discuss this issue. The issue of cruelty to animals needs to be put in perspective and many people need to have a greater sense of proportion and realism…. PHILIP P G APPLETON Edgewood, Dee Banks, Chester (letter)

Chester Chronicle 27.12.02 MRS Loud writes in from Ruabon to support hunting on the grounds of 'liberty' and 'choice'… Shouldn't we then have any laws to protect living creatures, because that might infringe someone's 'liberty' to abuse them? CHRISTOPHER CLAYTON Brown Heath Road, Christleton (letter)

West Cumberland Times & Star 27.12.02 Fudge and subterfuge SIR - As one who abhors the very idea of hunting and killing wild animals for pleasure, I was disappointed that the Government's manifesto pledge to ban all hunting with dogs has become just another meaningless promise…. BILL MacCREADY, Newlands Gardens, Moorclose, Workington0020 (letter)

Newark Advertiser 27.12.02 Politics and animal welfare - I read the letter from the RSPCA press officer, Jo Marlow (News Views, December 13) with a mixture of amusement and frustration. I was amused at the naivety of the arguments and frustrated that a supposedly neutral charity, set up for the benefit of animal welfare, should have become such a political organisation. The attempt to justify the reasons not to ban fishing was at best pathetic and at worst hypocritical…. RICHARD A. SHELDON, Hall Farm, Darlton.

Newark Advertiser 27.12.02 Rat trap As long as the RSPCA, continues to employ ill-informed staff of the ilk of Jo Marlow (News Views, December 13) it is no wonder that we of other persuasions, and especially fishermen, can give little credence to its assurance that it has no intention of campaigning for a ban on fishing…. I would suggest anyone with an urge to alleviate the suffering of animals transfer their allegiance (and donations) to some other non-political organisation such as the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. - PETER WESTON-DAVIES, Church Lane, South Scarle (letters may only be on website for a week)

Cumberland News 27.12.02 Fight goes on to ban all hunting - ACCORDING to polls taken at the time, more than 80 per cent of those taking part in the pro-hunting march in September did not vote Labour, so the government is hardly going to lose vast countryside votes, especially when most of the people who live in the country stayed at home (opinion, The Cumberland News, December 6)… ELAINE M MILBOURN, Torpenhow, Wigto (letter)

Daily Record 27.12.02 DRESSED TO KILL - PRINCE Charles dressed for the occasion yesterday when he went out shooting on the royal Sandringham estate…. (story)

Craven Herald 27.12.02 Debate archaic - The latest debate on the `moral' issue of using living animals in medical research (BBC Radio 4, The Moral Maze), was as archaic and meaningless as the subject itself… Dr Michael Mansfield in the Ecologist Vol 32 tells us: "Environmental factors account for most causative influences in 75 per cent or more of most cancers."… Thousands of hapless animals will be doomed to die for a cause that will ensure the equally trusting human guinea pigs may well be curd to death. Unless you say differently. JACQUELINE SHORTLAND The Garden Flat, 3 Northumberland Terrace, West Hoe, Plymouth. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 27.12.02 JUST A COUNTRY GIRL AT HEART - Yet again Don Tinsey takes bits out of letters, and twists them to his own satisfaction. Many years ago we lived near a farmer called Ted Wheeller. He owned a herd of Jersey cows…. At no time have I ever classed myself as an expert on anything. I am just a person who was brought up in the countryside… Pamela Dean Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 16.12.02 HARDLY THE VOICE OF AN EXPERT Your correspondent Pamela Dean has, over the years, advised farmers what they should be or should not be doing. She has given advice on badgers, TB and every other countryside issue you wish to mention… she wrote: "The child at Oaklands kissed and stroked a Jersey (I think) cow."… The Jersey breed is the most easily distinguishable breed of cattle, with its stature and colour, in this country… Don Tinsey Cranham Gloucestershire (letter)

Glasgow Herald 27.12.02 In defence of the hedgehog campaigners I was saddened but not surprised by Melanie Reid's article (December 24) on the campaign to save the lives of 5000 hedgehogs. It is fatuous to assert that concern for humans and concern for non-human animals are somehow mutually exclusive… Lynne Mitchell, 12 Lower Mains, Dollar.
IN her Christmas message Melanie Reid expresses her disquiet over the fact that many of us, quite frankly, prefer animals to the majority of people…. If Ms Reid goes back and re-reads, or perhaps even reads for the first time, what she has written she will find a few clues as to why we think the way we do… David W Weir, 17 Bute Street, Gourock (letters may be in archive)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 27.12.02 FESTIVE FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Sir, - To all those who sat around a beautiful no-killing, no-suffering Christmas table at this supposed caring time, I would like to wish you all a very happy spiritual time and a good life. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

BBC News Online Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 14:15 GMT Hunts reopen bitter debate … Speaking from the Whaddon Chase hunt in Buckinghamshire, Countryside Alliance campaigner Baroness Mallalieu said: "It is political madness that this is still the number one issue… Hunt organisers in Gloucestershire estimated about 2,000 supporters watched the start of the Beaufort Hunt…. About 200 people and 20 protesters watched the start of the Cheshire Forest Hunt in the village of Lach Dennis, near Northwich. Campaigners also held peaceful protests at hunts in County Waterford and County Meath in the Irish Republic… (story)
BBC News Online Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 07:57 GMT - Hunts reopen bitter debate … Polls carried out for both sides of the hunting debate provide a mixed message about the way public opinion is divided over the issue… A Mori poll of 1,000 people for the anti-hunt alliance, Campaigning to Protect Hunted Animals (CPHA), found 82% would describe hunting as cruel or inhumane… One Foot In The Grave star Annette Crosbie backed anti-hunt protesters on the eve of her appointment as the new president of the League Against Cruel Sports… (story)
Sky News 26.12.02 BOXING DAY HUNT PROTEST - Thousands of people turned out for Boxing Day hunts - but this could be the last time the traditional Christmas meetings take place… (story)
Ananova 26.12.02 Boxing Day hunters gather as change looms - An estimated 250,000 people are gathering for what could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings in their present form… But a majority of voters support the so-called "middle way solution" and want to see hunting continue, though with regulation, a poll published today by the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance suggested. Of the 1,000 people questioned, 41% said the option struck a "balance between civil liberties and animal welfare"…. The League Against Cruel Sports is preparing to hold its biggest protest in Winslow, Bucks, where scores of demonstrators were expected to oppose the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds hunt… (story)
Independent 26.12.02 Hunts ready for what may be final great gathering on Boxing Day By Terry Kirby Chief Reporter - More than 250 hunts are meeting across the country today for their traditional Boxing Day outing, in what may be the last great gathering amid moves by Parliament to restrict hunting with hounds… A poll for the Countryside Alliance shows that while about 36 per cent of those questioned thought hunting should be banned, 41 per cent thought it should continue in regulated form. Another 18 per cent rejected any kind of control, giving an overall majority for hunting in some form…. (story)
Independent 26.12.02 Hunted down for an exclusive interview: Mr Fox By Terence Blacker - In an unusual, perhaps unprecedented break with tradition, one of the unsung heroes of the festive season across the British countryside, Mr Charlie Fox, has exclusively agreed to answer a few questions for readers of 'The Independent'… "… you must be pleased that this is something of a red-letter day for you. Almost certainly it will be the last Boxing Day on which fox-hunting as we know it…" "Yes, it will be very odd without the noise, the silly uniforms, the smell of violence in the air." "Obviously, you feel strongly about those who hunt you." "Of I don't mean them, you bloody fool. It's the other lot, rushing across the countryside in khaki and balaclavas, frightening the horses and leaving that disgusting aniseed stuff all over the place. It's messy, it's silly and it's very undignified."… "What many readers of The Independent are anxious to know is whether, from the fox's point of view, hunting is cruel."… "…speaking personally here, I do find the alternatives rather less attractive. Poisoning, trapping, being wounded by some tosser who thinks that a fox can be killed by a 12-bore – on the whole, these things cause considerably more discomfort than being hunted." "But they are all less visible." "Precisely, and I can see why that would appeal to human beings…" "Charlie Fox, thank you – and take care of yourself." "I always do that." (story)
Telegraph 26.12.02 Majority 'now in favour of compromise on hunting' By Charles Clover, Environment Editor and Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent - A majority of the British public would like to see a compromise over hunting with dogs, despite the determination of most Labour MPs to push through an outright ban on the sport…. (story)
Times 26.12.02 Support swings to system of licensed hunting BY OUR COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - HUNT supporters are buoyed today by a poll showing that most people, even among Labour voters, believe that hunting with dogs should continue under licence… (story)
Times 26.12.02 Shelf-stacker rides out with Beaufort toffs BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR One of the country’s most fashionable hunts, the Duke of Beaufort’s, which is favoured by the Prince of Wales and his sons, gathers today for what could be one of its last Boxing Day meets…. the hunt has been derided for its blue-blooded links, but a supermarket shelf-stacker, a second-hand car dealer and a cook are among those who will gather for the most important date in the hunting calendar, determined to shake off their “toffish” image. Linda Milsom, 37, worked a full shift at the Tesco store in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on Christmas Eve and was looking forward to an exciting chase near the duke’s estate at Badminton…. (story)
Times 26.12.02 The protesters' quarry - ANIMAL welfare activists are to target numerous hunts today, with one of the biggest protests expected to be organised by the League Against Cruel Sports at the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds meet at Winslow, Buckinghamshire. The league has, however, dropped plans to target the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt, which has seen frequent noisy demonstrations in the past. The meet has been switched to private land to avoid confrontation… (story)
Times 26.12.02 Why hares but not rabbits? - A LABOUR supporter who lives on the second-largest council estate in Europe has emerged as the unlikely champion for hare-coursing against government plans to ban the sport (Valerie Elliott writes). Vini Faal, 45, who runs a fly-poster business and is a tenant on the deprived Wythenshawe estate outside Manchester, is preparing to lobby every Labour MP to allow his sport to survive in England and Wales… When he has approached some anti-hunt MPs to press his case they have said: “But you can still catch rabbits.” Mr Faal is unimpressed: “Please can someone tell me the difference between a rabbit and a hare? My dogs certainly don’t know and most of those MPs wouldn’t know the differences at all…. (story)
Scotsman 26.12.02 Both sides claim poll victory over rights and wrongs of foxhunting - FRASER NELSON WESTMINSTER EDITOR - OPINION POLLS will say anything you want if the questions are chosen carefully enough. This is the conclusion of polls released by the opposite sides of the foxhunting debate, who both claimed evidence that the majority of Britons agree with them…. The Scottish Countryside Alliance said yesterday that it is preparing to launch a major political offensive in the New Year pointing out the flaws in the legislation enforced this year by the Scottish Parliament. It has advertised for four new posts to boost its campaigning in areas such as policy development, public awareness and membership. (story)
Western Mail 26.12.02 Warning on hunting compromise - Rhodri Evans, The Western Mail - HUNTS across Wales will be setting out this morning with their future hanging in the balance. Boxing Day has traditionally been the biggest hunting day of the year, and Wales currently has more than 100 hunts…. Federation of Welsh Packs spokesman David Thomas is confident that hunts could prove they were the best method of controlling the fox populations if the licensing system is introduced…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 26.12.02 Boxing Day events - The following hunt meetings were due to take place in Yorkshire today:… (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 26.12.02 Region prepares for hunt protests By David Lennard … John Ibbott, master of Waveney Harriers, was confident of a large turnout of supporters for the traditional meet which sets off from Bungay town centre…. the Easton Harriers will be meeting in Saxtead Green, near Framlingham. Joint master David Nunn said: "We always welcome members of the public who turn out on what is an extremely important occasion for us." The Stour Valley Beagles will be setting off from the Debenham Cherry Tree, while the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds will be meeting in the Market Square at Hadleigh… Other Suffolk hunts include the Thurlow Foxhounds, who will be setting off from Great Thurlow Hall, near Haverhill, and the Suffolk Foxhounds will be holding a traditional Boxing Day meet from Hawstead, near Bury St Edmunds. In Essex, the Essex Farmers and Union Foxhounds will be setting of from private land at Grange Farm, Steeple, near Bradwell. The East Essex Hunt is due to set off from the Onley Arms in Stistead, near Braintree, but that meet was in doubt last night because of flooding in the area, while the Essex Foxhounds will be meeting in Matching Green, near Harlow…. Liz Mort, of the Countryside Alliance, also hoped members of the public would show their support for hunting…. Lawrie Payne, the East Anglian representative for the League Against Cruel Sports, believed the end was in sight for the Boxing Day meets… (story)
Eastern Daily Press 26.12.02 Boxing Day hunts go ahead - Traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings will be held across Norfolk and Suffolk today, with a new poll claiming public support for a compromise that would allow the sport to continue under licence… Joint master of the West Norfolk Foxhounds Roger Lyles predicted large support for the Boxing Day meeting… The North Norfolk Harriers are meeting at Sennowe Park today, 11am and then at Holkham Hall, also 11am, on Saturday. The North Norfolk are at Stody Lodge, Melton Constable, on Tuesday. The Waveney Harriers meet at the King's Head, Bungay, today and at Somerleyton Hall on New Year's Day, both at 11.30am. The Dunston Harriers meet at Wymondham Market Cross today, 11.30am, and at the Grange, Fundenhall, on New Year's Day. (story)
Wolverhampton Express & Star 26.12.02 250,000 protesters against hunt packs By David Banner - An estimated 250,000 people were gathering today for what could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings in their present form. As the Albrighton Woodland Hounds club was due to meet at Hagley Hall today for its annual ride, the threat of a new Hunting Bill launched by the Government earlier this month was looming large. If the Bill becomes law it will change the nature of hunting with hounds forever… The League Against Cruel Sports was preparing to hold its biggest protest in Winslow, Buckinghamshire, today, where scores of demonstrators were expected to oppose the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds hunt… (story)
Shropshire Star 26.12.02 End of era for foxhunting? By Zoe Gough and Lisa Rowley … In Newport thousands of hunt enthusiasts lined the streets of the town for the Albrighton Hunt. Campaigners against the hunt also staged a banner-waving protest, but the event passed off peacefully. Master of the Hunt Roger Hough said around 3,000 people had turned up to watch the festive tradition… June Guest, from the League, said around 100 protesters had turned up… Meanwhile hundrends of people turned out to watch the North Shropshire hunt… (story) (photo) (photo)
Western Daily Press 26.12.02 MOST ARE AGAINST ALL-OUT HUNT BAN - Most people support a compromise solution to the row over hunting and want to see it continue under regulation, a new poll shows… (story)
Newcastle Journal 26.12.02 The Journal - Voice of the North - By Neil Mckay, The Journal - Hunt day poll shows backing for control - Thousands of hunt supporters are expected to be out in force across the region today as a poll shows the largest group want to see the practice continue under regulation…. (story)

Newcastle Journal 26.12.02 Forget the fox, they are hunting men now By Robert Brookes, The Journal - From atop a Pictish broch high in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, the clamour of hunting horns and howling of hounds can clearly be heard in the valley below - and I know they are hot on my heels… Instead of going to the pub I had willingly agreed to be chased across five miles of Walter Scott's finest countryside by a pack of baying dogs… At least David Law, standing alongside me on the scattered stones of the ancient encampment above the River Whiteadder near Duns, knows the ground well… It's been almost a year since he replaced the little red rascal as the Berwickshire Hunt's weekend quarry and, so far, he's done an admirable job playing Mr Fox along with a handful of other enthusiastic runners…. "If it wasn't for the Berwickshire Hunt my wife would be out of a job because they employ her as a groom."… Master of the Hunt Jeremy Whaley… says. "It must be made clear that this is not a substitute for fox hunting," he adds. "It's simply to keep people in employment, maintain the pack and the traditions of the hunt itself. "We've lost jobs since the ban came into being, going from three full-time workers to two part-timers…. (story)

Edinburgh Evening News 26.12.02 Scottish Countryside Alliance gears up for New Year push - The Scottish Countryside Alliance is poised to launch a major political offensive in the New Year, it was confirmed today. The SCA, which hit the headlines for its opposition to anti-fox hunting laws, has drawn up a radical strategy for 2003 to 2006… SCA’s chief executive Tony Andrews said he wanted "a step change" in the organisation to make politicians listen to the countryside in the run-up to next May’s elections…. (story)
Scotsman 27.12.02 Group hunts for more help - A CAMPAIGN group is poised to step up its lobbying on rural issues with the launch of a new recruitment drive. The Scottish Countryside Alliance has created several new positions, including a director of political affairs, campaigns manager, membership and events manager, and a team co-ordinator…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 26.12.02 Killer instincts on the moors - Hunting with falcons is one of the few activities likely to be untouched by the Government's assault on fieldsports. Frederic Manby reports from Coverdale on on grouse, hawks, dogs and men… (story)

Reading Chronicle 26.12.02 Hunting law is barking mad - THE act to ban hunting has been published and will shortly be debated in the House of Commons. Before vermin lovers clap their hands, they should be aware that the act bans hunting mammals with dogs, not just fox hunting. Part 1 clause 1 of the act has serious implications for all dog owners…. PAUL HARDY via e-mail (letter)

Scotsman 26.12.02 Killing to survive - CJG Fforde (Letters, 18 December) advances a superficial argument, while leaving himself open to the most basic of rip-ostes: that the animals portrayed in TV documentaries like David Attenborough’s Life of Mammals as murderous beasts are, in fact, killing to survive… Applying this analogy to fox-hunting, it is not often that we see an emaciated horseman desperate for the taste of fox flesh… ANGUS MAIR Orchardtown, Udny Aberdeenshire (letter)
Scotsman 23.12.02 Not a sport - I cannot understand how CJG Fforde (Letters, 18 December) can compare David Attenborough’s filming of wildlife with that of hounds pursuing a fox… If the fox is destructive, we must find more humane ways of eradicating it other than the "sport" of a mob of dogs chasing and butchering a single animal… DAVID BINNIE Church Street Broughty Ferry, Dundee (letter)
Scotsman 18.12.02 Cruel spectacles - If the thought of a fox being caught by hounds is too much for the great British public to bear, on the basis that it might die through being "torn to pieces", why are we fed a diet of animals being torn to pieces and eaten alive as entertainment?... On Life of Mammals we anticipate yet more zebra or buffalo being torn to pieces by lions, impala being torn to pieces by cheetahs or hyenas, etc… CJG FFORDE Douglas Park Brodick, Arran (letter)

Aberdeen Press & Journal 26.12.02 GUNNING FOR MORE VISITORS - A campaign to put Blairgowrie back on the tourism map by highlighting its field sports tradition is being backed by an MSP. Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser believes the tourists who pass the Perthshire town by might stay if it is promoted as a "game town"…. (story)

Aberdeen Press & Journal 26.12.02 SHOPPERS TO GET THE LOWDOWN ON ANIMAL CRUELTY …Advocates for Animals wants shoppers to avoid cashing in on cheap, after-Christmas sale items which may be contributing to cruelty. It is offering callers free information packs with basic tips such as ensuring that toiletries or cosmetics have not been tested on animals… The hotline number is 0131 225 6039. (story)
Crewe Chronicle 24.12.02 Hunt battles gather pace By David Holmes, Crewe Chronicle FOLLOWERS of fox-hunting and its opponents will clash over Christmas as emotions heat up over whether it will be outlawed…. In Cheshire, demonstrations are planned by hunt saboteurs for the Cheshire Forest Hunt's Christmas Eve meet at The Goshawk pub, Mouldsworth, and again on Boxing Day at Lach Dennis, near Northwich. Sarah Hill, of the North West Hunt Saboteur Association, said: 'It's very simple - hunting is cruel, it's barbaric and it's not needed…" (story)

Shropshire Star 24.12.02 Saboteurs or not, the hunt will go on - By James Whittaker - Anti-hunt campaigners who plan to sabotage the annual Boxing Day hunt in Newport have been dismissed as "irritating" by the leader of the Albrighton Hunt. Patrick Webster said today that campaigners would not spoil the annual spectacle of horses, hounds and carriages parading through Newport… But members of the Shropshire League Against Cruel Sports believe support is growing for their campaign. June Guest, from the league, said she expected more than 100 banner-waving protesters to turn out… Mrs Guest said she expected the protest to attract larger numbers this year because of the controversy surrounding government talks on hunting… (story)

Leicester Mercury 24.12.02 HUNTS EXPECT BIG SHOW OF SUPPORT BY CHARLIE STANDLEY Huntsmen say they are confident traditional Boxing Day meets will be a success, despite the spectre of Government legislation on blood sports… Atherstone Hunt will meet in Market Bosworth town centre. Around 100 horsemen and 30 to 40 pairs of hounds will be joined by up to 4,000 followers on foot, according to chairman Andrew Groves…. Quorn Hunt's meet at Saxelbye Park is expected to attract 200 people to see the 80 to 100 horsemen and 16 pairs of hounds, according to spokesman Rad Thomas…. Oakham is the traditional venue for Cottesmore's December 26 meet of around 100 horsemen and 20 to 25 pairs of hounds…. Joey Newton is a member of Belvoir Hunt, which is meeting at St Peter's Hill, near Grantham. Up to 1,000 spectators are expected… (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 24.12.02 COUNTY HUNTS EXPECT 'REAL SHOW OF SUPPORT' County hunts will mark the highpoint in their year on Boxing Day with high hopes for record support… The Burton Hunt will meet at the Lincolnshire Showground, the Blankney will gather at Sleaford Market Place and the South Wold will meet at Louth Cattle Market…. The Brocklesby Hunt meets at the point to point course in Brocklesby, north of Market Rasen….(story)

Horncastle News (24.12.02) It’s war! ‘Rural peasants’ are ready for action - We are approaching war. Iraq can wait. It’s a civil war. The politically-correct urban mind against the rural peasant with a genuine hunting gene… eople who would ban hunting are mostly like children who won’t eat certain food because they are told they wouldn’t like it. They should grow up, try it, and the majority would like it…. HENRY FOSTER Woodhall Spa (letter)

Liverpool Echo 24.12.02 Liverpool Echo - FURTHER to my letter headlined A Dog's Chance (ECHO, November 22), I do not think people get the point I was trying to make. Liverpool should have a greyhound stadium… People opposed to the stadium are bringing up the welfare of the dogs as their main objection. No-one will ever know whether the dogs enjoy themselves, but as they have been purposely bred to race I think that they do… E. Prendergast, Aintree (letter)

East Anglian Daily Times 24.12.02 Charity's victory on bear farms By Sam Parker - THE founder of an Essex-based international charity committed to helping animals in South-East Asia is celebrating a major victory. After a four-year battle, the Animals Asia Foundation, based in Clacton, recently gained confirmation from the Chinese government that it intended to stop the cruel practice of bear farming…. Chief executive Jill Robinson, who founded Animals Asia in Hong Kong in 1998, is delighted the Chinese government has taken such a momentous step…. (story)

Guardian 24.12.02 Why vegans were right all along - Famine can only be avoided if the rich give up meat, fish and dairy - George Monbiot (story)

Guardian 24.12.02 It's time to talk turkey - Your photograph of Trevor the turkey (Free as a bird, December 23) decorated in tinsel by a farmer who has grown fond of him, but who will presumably be sending many other animals to slaughter, illustrates our confused attitudes to animals… Richard Mountford, Animal Aid (letter)

Southern Daily Echo 24.12.02 Fur cats removed from sale - ORNAMENTAL cats made of rabbit fur have been withdrawn from sale from Eastleigh's Swan Shopping Centre after a Bishopstoke shopper claimed they were offensive… fur started to fly when Jenny Meldrum, 51, of Cotton Close, Bishopstoke, spotted them… (story in archive)

Western Morning News 23.12.02 WAR PLANS COULD BE DISRUPTED BY HUNTERS - PREPARATIONS for war may be disrupted by pro-hunt militants, according to information intercepted on the Internet Certain websites have indicated that extremists are planning to bring Britain to a standstill by blockading fuel depots and key motorway junctions. And the campaign may be timed to coincide with any military action in Iraq, to cause maximum disruption…. (story)

Argus 23.12.02 Protest poised for Boxing Day hunt by Krista Beighton - Hunters and protesters are preparing for another showdown as this year's Boxing Day Hunt approaches… The Southdown and Eridge Hunt will meet in High Street, Lewes; the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt will meet in The Green, Battle Abbey; the Chiddingfold, Leconsfield and Cowdray Hunt will meet in Petworth and the Crawley and Horsham Hunt will meet in Shipley. Members of the Hunt Saboteurs' Association have pledged to disrupt hunts where possible…. An active member of the Brighton group, who does not wish to be named, said: "We break the law if direct action necessitates it but we never intend to. All we want to do is save the foxes and we will do whatever it takes. We don't wear masks because we are afraid of being recognised by police - we wear them because we don't want the hunters to see who we are."… Fay Marshall, 68, is a member of the League Against Cruel Sports and lives in West Sussex. She said: "It will be a peaceful demo with the simple aim of showing that the majority of people think tormenting animals for fun is a disgraceful activity."… (story in archive)

Bolton Evening News 23.12.02 Hunt demo - ANTI-hunt demonstrators have announced that they will protest at the annual Boxing Day hunt at Rivington when the Holcombe Hunt meet at Rivington Barn (story in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 23.12.02 Hunt target - HUNT saboteurs committed to the abolition of hunting with dogs will be targeting the Holcombe Hunt… quote from Paul Timpson, spokesperson for the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association (story in archive)

Chester Chronicle 23.12.02 Holiday hunting clashes looming By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle …In Cheshire, demonstrations are planned by hunt saboteurs for the Cheshire Forest Hunt's Christmas Eve meet at The Goshawk pub, Mouldsworth, and again on Boxing Day at Lach Dennis, near Northwich. Sarah Hill of the North West Hunt Saboteur Association, said: 'It's very simple - hunting is cruel…" The Cheshire Hunt will meet at Christleton on Christmas Eve and at Little Budworth on Boxing Day… Followers of the Sir Watkin Willliams Wynn's Hounds, 'The Wynnstay Hunt', which covers Cheshire, Flintshire and Shropshire, will be in Malpas on Boxing Day. (story)

Southern Daily Echo 23.12.02 Boxing Day hopes for the fox hunters by Chris Yandell - FOXHUNTING enthusiasts in the New Forest are looking for a massive show of support at their traditional Boxing Day meet. The New Forest Hounds are hoping hundreds of people will cheer them on when they set off from the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst (story in archive)

Bristol Evening Post 23.12.02 MPS IGNORE INVITE TO JOIN FOX HUNT - Over the past few years I have written to Bristol's local members of Parliament (Roger Berry, Jean Corston, Dan Norris, Dawn Primarolo) with an invitation to come with me and view the Boxing Day meet of a fox hunt… it was clear that they preferred the comfort of ignorance and bigotry to the inconvenience of honest factfinding…. I take this opportunity publicly to extend my usual invitation to them for the 2002 meet. As a Canadian now living in Bristol, I give my full and unreserved support to hunting with hounds. S Zhignesse, Kingfisher Drive, Bristol. (letter)

Shropshire Star 23.12.02 Evolution of humans and hunts - Whether one believes in the creation, or Darwin's Theory of Evolution, it is indisputable that homo sapiens evolved as a hunting mammal… Some persons in the "civilised" nations smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, gamble or indulge in homosexual activity. All are legal but hardly essential to sustain life, nor is hunting - but no divine power has drawn a demarcation line and stated "you are civilised human beings"… Keith Erlandson, Llangollen (letter in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 23.12.02 VOTE FOR BAN ON HUNTING IS DEMOCRACY IN ACTION - I AM writing to comment on the letter by Mr J Crawford of the Countryside Party, Points of view, December 14. Mr Crawford bemoans the lack of democracy associated with the Government's attempts to partly ban hunting with dogs. I must say that I agree with him. The Commons has voted on numerous occasions for a total ban of this wretched pastime. Yet, through the machinations of the unelected Lords, this ridiculous so-called sport remains legal…. I would, however, urge the Government to be fair and even-handed in this matter, in exactly the same way, that the Conservative governments of the 1980s and '90s were to the miners, dockers and steelworkers et al. David Goodes Well Park Close Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 14.12.02 DON'T LET LABOUR TURN HUNTERS INTO CRIMINALS - Like us, I am sure that many of your rural readers will be astonished by this Labour Government's decision to partly ban hunting… We are very concerned that the democratic process is being bypassed - 407,000 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in London… We have heard that plans are in place for acts of civil disobedience, to disrupt motorways and block bridges. We would ask that if Echo readers are planning this type of action, then please don't…. Let us now make our presence felt at the ballot box, where we will have greater effect and still stay within the law. Jim Crawford The Countryside Party Culloden Moor, Inverness (letter)

Northern Echo 23.12.02 FOXHUNTING - YOU published a letter from John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports (HAS, Dec 18). This is a good opportunity for Mr Cooper finally to answer the question I posed in Hear All Sides earlier this year. It was based on the fact that an ex-employee of the League revealed in The Northern Echo that the League once used snares to catch foxes, something of an eye-opener, given that the League campaigns for a ban on all snares. So, Mr Cooper, please tell us: do you think your organisation's own use of fox snares was justified: yes or no?... AM Mitchell, Northumberland. (letter in archive)

Northampton Chronicle 23.12.02 Why is stealing pets really not stealing? - STEALING is no longer a criminal offence so long as you steal children’s pets and promise to give them a better home. Or this is the view of the Chief Constable of Northampton or his member of staff who saw fit to take no further action against the thieves stealing ferrets from children…. Peter Cripps, High Street, Ravensthorpe (letter)
Northampton Chronicle 11.12.02 Children’s anguish as pet ferrets are taken - A HUNT saboteur who admitted stealing two pet ferrets from a group of children will not have to appear in court or give them back to their young owner. Fourteen-year-old Nico Riley, from Guilsborough, was looking after ferrets Pinky and Perky for a friend and took them out on Saturday afternoon.Nico and his two friends, aged 14 and 12, attracted the attention of a group of hunt saboteurs who were in the area for the Pytchley Hunt… A police spokeswoman confirmed: “The group talked to them about the alleged cruelty of keeping ferrets in small boxes and confiscated the ferrets from the boys. Police arrested a 32-year-old man from Huntingdon, who admitted his involvement in the theft of the ferrets… The ferrets have not been recovered. The man said they were being looked after by someone else and have a good home.”... (story)

Bolton Evening News 23.12.02 Bear necessity - IT WAS heartwarming to read that 20 rare bears had been re-homed in a sanctuary…. The pain and suffering is horrific for these poor creatures. So if you really need to use Chinese medicines, check the ingredients and save a bear from this horrid procedure -- all for someone's profit! Mrs J Webb Sandford Close Harwood (letter in archive)

Northern Echo 23.12.02 ANIMAL WELFARE - WELL Christmas is here again, peace and goodwill. Sadly, this goodwill does not stretch to birds. Chickens and turkeys spend their short, sad lives grossly overcrowded… How can we say we are a nation of animal lovers when we allow millions of animals to be reared in appalling conditions and killed in terror and pain?... DJ Noble, Darlington. (letter in archive)

Northumberland Gazette 23.12.02 CULLING IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PIGEON PROBLEM - CULLING is not the answer to the district's pigeon problem, a leading bird control expert said this week after a whistlestop tour of the area's hotspots. Guy Merchant, of the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PICAS) which advises local authorities, told the region's first forum held in Alnwick, that shooting pigeons is not a solution… (story in archive)

Independent on Sunday 22.12.02 If it's Boxing Day, it must be Winslow Eye witness: Hunting - The two sides are gearing up to play out an old English custom By Cole Moreton …. While the Government has decided to stop stag hunting and hare coursing, it now intends to let the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt and others continue under licence…. Patrick Martin tries not to be overwhelmed by weight of numbers as he stands among 72 female foxhounds in his yard a few miles from Winslow…. Come Thursday, when steaming, restless horses stand among the crowds, the protesters will look and feel like outsiders. Ask anybody in the pub or street whether the hunt should survive and you get the same answer: a blank stare as if it were a daft question, and a word beginning with T… Barbara smiles. "You see? We quite like it, really. Tradition, that's what it is." (story)

Observer 22.12.02 Pro-hunt militants plot blockade war - Plan to paralyse Britain by cutting fuel supplies and clogging motorways - Mark Townsend - A concerted campaign of major disruption is being planned by pro-hunt militants following last week's protests outside Parliament. Extremists are plotting blockades of fuel depots similar to those that forced Ministers to declare a state of near emergency two years ago. A weekly closure of key motorway junctions throughout the UK is also being seriously considered…. (story)

Observer 22.12.02 Country matters - As 400,000 rural protesters march on London,even urbanites start baying for blood - Euan Ferguson - It was an amazing phenomenon, whatever your stance. No fewer than 407,791 people, all in the same place, all at the same time - and astonishingly, all of them related! Such cheap gags were the order of the day for class-war London lefties who stood, aghast, as the country came to town for what was claimed as the biggest civil liberties march ever seen in Britain: the Liberty and Livelihood March was, for a massively disgruntled rural Right, their own Jarrow… But, confused and sometimes hypocritical though the marchers may have been, when the dust settled, the awkward fact remained that something was wrong in Britain. Even some London liberals began quietly to conclude that there might be something faintly, well, illiberal about banning fox hunting, especially when the move was widely seen as a sop to backbenchers for their support earlier in the year for beleaguered Stephen Byers… (story)

Hull Daily Mail 21.12.02 HUNT EXPECTS GOOD TURNOUT - Fox hunting enthusiasts today vowed to be out in force on Boxing Day, despite the storm of controversy over the tradition's future…. Festive crowds traditionally attend meets of the Holderness Hunt on Beverley Westwood, and the Middleton Hunt in Market Place, Driffield. Members of both hunts were among pro-hunting campaigners who took part in a demonstration in London earlier this week to oppose the Government's Hunting Bill… (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 21.12.02 MP'S INPUT ON HUNT BILL Notts mp Paddy Tipping has been selected to sit on the committee which will consider the Hunting Bill…. "I want to ensure that the Bill brings an early end to the sport of fox-hunting by mounted pack in low country areas…" (story)

Guardian 21.12.02 Talking with the animals - Thank you for Tim Radford's article… The only characteristic that may end up differentiating our species from those we hunt, cage in the circus and experiment upon, is grandiosity. Ingrid E Newkirk President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (letter)

South Wales Argus 20.12.02 Uncertain days as hunts get set to ride by Paul Platt MONMOUTHSHIRE'S two fox hunts will meet on Boxing Day for what could be one of the last times, if a Commons revolt is successful… Both the Monmouthshire Hunt and the amalgamated Curre and Llangibby Hunt will set off on Boxing Day morning with around 50 riders and 32 hounds - under the shadow of an uncertain future… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press or Bristol Evening Post 20.12.02 HUNTERS TO RIDE AGAIN - Members of the Berkeley Hunt will return to their traditional Boxing Day venue in Thornbury as the future of their sport remains uncertain… This time the hounds will be brought back to Thornbury's High Street just ten days after the Hunting Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons… The neighbouring Beaufort Hunt will meet at Worcester Lodge, just outside Didmarton, at 10.45am. Massive crowds are expected to turn up to what traditionally attracts one of the biggest fields of riders of the season… (story)

Telegraph 20.12.02 Government 'determined to bring in anti-hunt law' - Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, signalled yesterday that the Government was determined to get an anti-hunting Bill on to the statute book. As it emerged that two-thirds of the MPs sitting on the committee dealing with the Hunting Bill favour an outright ban, Mr Michael said the Government had "a specific manifesto commitment to enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on hunting with dogs"…. (story)
Telegraph 20.12.02 End column By Peter Simple - In Westminster this week, there were enough demonstrations and counter-demonstrations to suit almost anybody's tastes…. Of all these passionately disputed causes, only one directly concerns the people of England. It is, of course, the cause of hunting. Those who support it are the remnant of a certain kind of genuine, decent, honest English people, now, it seems, condemned to become an oppressed minority in their own country… It is this, not eternal quarrels in the Middle East or President Bush's eccentric "war against terrorism", that should concern us most in England now. (story)
Telegraph 20.12.02 Frank Johnson: Commons sketch - Appropriately, the last Commons sitting of the year showed Labour MPs to be in good spirits, and after lunch, possibly on good spirits…. As if they were not in a good enough mood already, there was also hunting. Yesterday, for Labour MPs who hate hunting, it was the Christmas meet. Harry Barnes (Lab, Derbyshire NE) complained to Alun Michael, the minister responsible for the forthcoming anti-hunting bill, that the hounds caused damage to "riding schools, farm animals, and people in their gardens." Why stop there? Would no Labour MP speak up for hound-threatened garden gnomes and lawnmowers?... (story)
Argus 20.12.02 Hunt Bill fight for MP by Linda Harrison - Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames is on course for angry clashes with anti-hunt MPs after being picked to play a key role in shaping the Government's Hunting Bill. The Conservative MP has been chosen by party whips to sit on the 32-person committee which will decide the future of proposals to severely restrict hunting with dogs… (story in archive)
Cumberland News 20.12.02 HUNTING BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN - CUMBRIA's annual Boxing Day hunts will be held next week - but if the controversial new Hunting Bill is passed, they could be the last. Five hunts in Eskdale, Patterdale, Welton, Sedbergh and Keswick will take place on Thursday, the highlight of the hunting calendar… Around 2,300 Countryside Alliance supporters met for an official rally in Hyde Park on Monday, while a further 700 to 800 protestors, many from the hardline Countryside Action Network, converged on Parliament Square… Tina Walker, who lives in Hutton, near Penrith, and who regularly attends hunts with the Cumberland Foxhounds, was one of those who made the journey to support the protesters… Eric Martlew, Labour MP for Carlisle, is one of those backing a complete ban on hunting. Speaking at Parliament on the night of the demonstration, Mr Martlew said: "It is the beginning of the end for hunting as we have known it in this country… Elaine Milbourn, co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Cruel Sports in Cumbria, condemned the Government for not listening (story)

Hexham Courant 20.12.02 PAINTING SOLD A WATERCOLOUR of the Tynedale Hunt at Gunnerton Crags in 1954 sold for 1,667 in a Newcastle sale last week. The painting, by North-East artist Tom Carr, features portraits of several members of the hunt, including Rosamond Benson, George Blackett, and Mr and Mrs Roy Dickinson… (story)

Cheshire Chronicle 20.12.02 THE arguments over hunting with dogs continue and last week there was an article in The Daily Telegraph (December 9) which described the 'control' methods used against foxes in Scotland, where hunting with hounds has been banned for four months…. I believe that one pertinent question should be raised and answered. Why persecute and kill foxes at all? I do not believe that there is evidence to indicate that foxes pose signif icant problems, other than to perhaps game birds being raised for shooting…. It is interesting to compare the situation in the island of Hokkaido, Japan, where the same red fox enjoys both the admiration and freedom from persecution that it lacks here MALCOLM HARRY ESPLEY Tattenhall (letter)

Scotsman 20.12.02 Hunting - Dr Julie Christie is perplexed by the inefficiency of old-fashioned fox-hunting… Is this the same efficiency that has driven cod stocks to the point of extinction, seen the decline of many bird species… the perceived cruel and inefficient method of fox control may be far better for the fox than the much more efficient killing method. W Duncan ARMADALE, WEST LOTHIAN (letter)
Scotsman 17.12.02 Healthy diet - Does Jenny Hjul (Opinion, 12 December) honestly believe that two-thirds of the world’s 300 million Buddhists who eat no meat have a lower IQ, and are more prone to behavioural disorders than people like herself who do?... What makes it even more bizarre is that she champions a sickening pastime where people take great pleasure in watching animals being chased to exhaustion and then killed by a pack of dogs…. SARAH BRUCE, The Causeway Edinburgh (letter)
Scotsman 14.12.02 Efficient fox controls - Jenny Hjul appears to misunderstand the reasoning behind the campaign to end hunting with hounds (Opinion, 12 December). The majority of campaigners understand the need for farmers to control pests on their land, including foxes. What they do not understand is why such a cruel and inefficient method is being employed… (DR) JULIE CHRISTIE, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (letter)
Scotsman 12.12.02 Is she eccentric enough to be a judge? - JENNY HJUL - HUNTING with hounds has been banned in Scotland for four months, but during that period a record number of foxes have been killed - a total of 250 since August, compared to 150 in the same months last year…. I wonder if the animal-rights campaigners who fought for this law were fed a meat-free diet as children. I only ask because doctors are now saying that iron-deficiency anaemia, which is proven to lower IQs and contribute to behavioural problems, is three times more common in vegetarians than in meat-eaters…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 20.12.02 Opposing views of Hunting Bill protest - From: Dr SE Farmer, Crook Tree Farm, Hatfield, Doncaster. Sir, – It was with great sorrow that I read of events outside the Houses of Parliament on the afternoon of the second reading of the Hunting Bill. Nobody wanted it to come to this, but this reaction reflects the despair, bitter disappointment and heartbreak faced by the hunting community. I have lost count of the number of times I have been down to Parliament Square and protested peacefully, now we have found out just where asking politely gets you these days… it is no surprise to me that frustration and fury are at last rising to the surface….
From: Sean Connor, Aurelia House, Cunliffe Road, Bradford. Sir, – I see from the Yorkshire Post (December 17) that several members of the countryside squirearchy were arrested during the riot outside the House of Commons on Monday night. This was a deliberate attempt, by these remnants of feudalism, to intimidate those MPs who wish to outlaw the barbaric practice of hunting with hounds…. These forces of countryside reaction should go back to school and learn how they can stop inflicting BSE and foot-and-mouth disease on the rest of us. (letters)

Derby Evening Telegraph 20.12.02 FOXES ARE TERRORISED FOR HOBBY Yet more holes have been dug in the long-running hunting debate by someone who should know better (Opinion, December 16). The Countryside Alliance's West Midlands regional chairman ,Peter Presland, used an argument to support fox-hunting which I've noticed is quickly replacing that old favourite: "The fox wouldn't participate if he didn't like it!"… Roger, DAR/Derby Hunt Sabs. (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 16.12.02 FOX WILL BE VERMIN IF HUNTING IS BANNED - City council leader Chris Wilkinson claims that the fox is the farmers' friend because it "...hunts rabbits and rats". Perhaps he would care to explain to your readers precisely what makes it acceptable for a farmer to rely on foxes to control pest rabbits, but unacceptable to the point of proposed criminality for him to rely on hounds to control pest foxes… I can tell him that hunting people no more "get enjoyment from killing things" than do people who eat meat… As at least three former executive directors of the League Against Cruel Sports have pointed out, remove hunting and the fox will revert to the status of vermin… Peter Presland, West Midlands Regional chairman Countryside Alliance, Cloud Lodge, Mappleton, Ashbourne (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 5.12.02 FOXED THE LOT! The new Government proposals to control foxhunting appeared to please neither side of the heated debate in Derbyshire yesterday… Johnny Greenall, joint master of the Meynell Hunt, said from his home at Wootton Hall, near Ashbourne, that a hunting ban could lead to a drastic fall in the number of foxes because people would shoot more foxes than before….Kay Chapman, East Midlands director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "This Bill is a total abortion and is not an acceptable compromise…" Chris Williamson, leader of Derby City Council and an executive member of the League Against Cruel Sports, dismissed this argument as "nonsense", saying the fox was a friend to the vast majority of farmers because it hunted bigger pests like rabbits or rats…." (story)

Wiltshire Times 20.12.02 Bird-brained about cruelty? I SUPPORT a ban on hunting with dogs, but the number of foxes killed is very small compared to the millions of chickens, turkeys and ducks suffering atrocious conditions in factory farms… why is it ignored by the public? Why no ban? L POWELL, Hill Street, Trowbridge (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 20.12.02 TURNING TABLES ON THE HUNTERS Your front page picture of a pro-hunter being restrained by a city policeman filled me with glee. I was further enchanted to see Countryside Alliance supporters being charged by mounted police, and officers with sub-machine guns… For once, I was happy to feel my income tax was being spent in a good cause… Roy Franklin Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 20.12.02 WORSE FATE No-one seems to wonder how foxes die if not killed by hunting dogs…. they suffer a few moments when caught by dogs, but I'm sure their fate is worse otherwise. Vera Perry Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Shropshire Star 20.12.02 Tradition? It's just a cruel mask - So, we have a Government bill on hunting, banning hare coursing and stag hunting, but leaving foxes to be chased, killed and torn apart… On Boxing Day the Albrighton Foxhounds will be meeting in the centre of Newport… As soon as the hounds leave Newport they are set about looking for, chasing, ripping apart and killing foxes…. Kevin Leftman, Shropshire Animal Action (letter in archive)

Yorkshire Post 20.12.02 Hunt begins for top gamekeepers - NOMINATIONS are being invited for the Gamekeeper of the Year… It will be awarded at the Country Land and Business Association Game Fair, which is expected to draw 125,000 visitors to Harewood House, near Leeds, on August 1-3 next year. The judging panel comprises representatives from the CLA, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the National Gamekeepers' Association, and Farmers Weekly magazine, who will visit shortlisted keepers… (story)

East Kent Mercury 20.12.02 MP's new bid to ban live animal exports - ABOUT 100 Members of Parliament from all political parties have signed a Kent MP's new parliamentary motion calling on the Government to ban the export of live farm animals. Gwyn Prosser, who represents Dover and Deal, has been campaigning against live exports of farm animals since he was a serving Merchant Navy officer, has tabled a new Early Day Motion in the House of Commons…. (story)

Telegraph 20.12.02 Duchess offers to save hedgehogs By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent - A duchess offered yesterday to provide a haven for 160 hedgehogs after three charities launched a campaign to save the lives of 5,000 hedgehogs that are due to be culled in April…. The Duchess of Hamilton, who recently gave a home to a turkey that fell off a lorry on its way to market, said she would be happy to have 160 hedgehogs on her estate in East Lothian. She added: "My husband stopped the shooting of estate pheasants years ago so we have no problem with the hedgehogs taking eggs."… (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 19.12.02 Duchess in noble gesture to save hedgehogs - THE Duchess of Hamilton has pledged to rehouse up to 160 of the Western Isles hedgehogs earmarked for slaughter… Kay Hamilton, a dedicated animal rights campaigner, said she would be more than happy to offer a large number of the hedgehogs a new home on her two East Lothian estates… (story)

Cambridge News 19.12.02 Vet arrested at protest - A VETERINARY surgeon who lives near Newmarket is due to appear in court next week after being arrested during a protest over the controversial Hunting Bill. David Dugdale, 41, from North Street, Freckenham, was one of four people charged following the demonstration outside Parliament on Monday night…. (story)

Cumberland News & Star 19.12.02 PACKS BREED FOXES TO HUNT SAYS MP ERIC - THREE Cumbrian fell packs have been accused in Parliament of deliberately breeding foxes to hunt. Carlisle MP Eric Martlew said the Ullswater, Melbreak and Blencathra hunts created "artificial earths" - places for foxes to live… "All hunts have strict rules of control," said Edmund Porter, chairman of the Central Committee of Fell Packs, which covers the three hunts. "Nothing like this goes on. They all have to abide by a strict code of conduct…." (story)

Essex Evening Gazette 19.12.02 Maldon: Boxing Day hunt changes location - The Boxing Day foxhunting meet will not take place in Maldon High Street, it has been revealed. It will be the second year in its 60-year history that the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt will take place at a location out of the town… The League Against Cruel Sports claimed the decision as a victory for its protests (story in archive)

Times 19.12.02 Hunt ban protest and democracy FROM DR NICK PALMER, MP FOR BROXTOWE (LABOUR) - Mr Paul Greenwood (letter, December 18) claims that “honest country people were forced into a confrontation with the police”… The demonstration illegally blocked the entrance to Parliament, police were assaulted and firecrackers were thrown at police horses and a passing MP…. The democratic way to oppose an Act of Parliament is to stand for an election on a platform of overturning it. Mr Greenwood is welcome to try his luck in Broxtowe at the next election….(letter)
Times 18.12.02 Use of police at pro-hunt protest - Yesterday afternoon a number of people gathered to protest against the Government’s illiberal and unworkable Bill to ban hunting with dogs… We met peacefully in Hyde Park and our leaders told us that we could, under police supervision, walk to Parliament Square, make a bit of noise, lobby our MPs, and shine torches at 5.30pm… On moving off from Hyde Park we were faced with a huge police presence. They led us by a devious route… to the southern side of Westminster Bridge, where they had formed a roadblock of double-decker buses to prevent the main body getting to Parliament Square. Those of us who reached Parliament Square by a different route were faced with massed mounted and dismounted police and were hugely frustrated. The result was that honest country people were forced into a confrontation with the police…. The outcome is that law-abiding citizens cannot trust the police, and that the countryside has finally lost patience with an urban Government that has no interest in its problems… PAUL GREENWOOD, Kemble House, Minety, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9RP (letter)

Times 19.12.02 Sir, The anger displayed on Monday by a faction of Countryside Alliance supporters outside the Houses of Parliament is a dire warning to those MPs planning an outright ban on hunting… We face the prospect of organised civil disobedience. These countrymen and women will never give up. They are well funded, brave and believe they have right on their side… CHARLES PATERSON, 17 Woodstock Street, W1C 2AJ (letter)

Times 19.12.02 Cruelty to wildlife - Parliament passes by a large majority a Bill to control foxhunting and it is also reported (December 18) that a large cull of hedgehogs is to take place in the Western Isles. These events surely encapsulate the problem of trying to prevent cruelty to wildlife… by killing one fox the total suffering of wild animals is, in fact, reduced. RICHARD FARNSWORTH, 11 Rushley Avenue, Dore, Sheffield S17 3EP (letter)

Banbury Guardian 19.12.02 HOUNDS ARE REALLY FRIENDLY CREATURES - I have read the article (Banbury Guardian, November 21) about the Tappers and their small terriers… I have passed the Tappers’ ten acres, once a beautiful wildlife habitat that has now been landscaped beyond belief. Suburban garden in the middle of the countryside! How were they allowed to do that?... As for the fencing erected to protect their super suburban trees and shrubs – I doubt any wild deer, badger, rabbit, indeed fox, could enter and even exit and if they did, I am sure those terriers would enjoy a good chase. Susan Gibb The Mill Lower Tadmarton (letter)
Banbury Guardian 28.11.02 GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT - I was compelled to write after reading Family see Hunt Horror, (Banbury Guardian, November 21). I read with disbelief that they thought their pet dogs would have been killed. What a load of rubbish!... Mrs LM Dudfield, Park Farm, North Newington (letter)
Banbury Guardian 22.11.02 HUNT HORROR ON FAMILY'S DOORSTEP - A FAMILY has added to calls for a hunt ban after they say hounds chased a fox into their garden before killing it. Michael Tapper and his mother Jen watched in horror as the fox raced across their paddock… The incident happened at the Tappers' home, Valentine Barn, just outside North Newington when the Warwickshire Hunt flushed four foxes out of a hay barn… (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 19.12.02 RILED BY THOSE WHO INSULT US TOWNIES … I get so angry when I read the letters by some country folk-cum-pro-hunt people. They can't seem to put pen to paper without insulting townies and trying to make out that we are illiterate and ignorant… I cannot understand why these people want to jolly around the countryside watching animals being torn to pieces after a long and exhausting chase… Name and address supplied (letter)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 19.12.02 FOXES HAVE A NATURAL RIGHT TO SURVIVE - In reply to the letter on fox hunting (December 16). The writer condemns the Government, which I am sure we all do in hindsight, to protect the rights of minorities. Surely the fox is a minority. I am working class, and proud of it, but this does not give me the right to pursue a wild creature to the point of exhaustion and finally destruction in the name of sport…. JOHN DEGG Stoke-on-Trent (letter)

Plymouth Evening Herald 19.12.02 BLOODTHIRSTY - I was very interested in Mr Neil Mitchell's letter… If drag-hunting is not acceptable to the hunting fraternity, I assume that it is the cruel and cold-blooded chase and horrendous kill that gives them enjoyment. M CHAPPLE St Budeaux (letter)
Plymouth Evening Herald 9.12.02 DRAG HUNT …I for one have thoroughly enjoyed 'hunting' in years past, riding to hounds and savouring both the thrill of the chase and the invigorating fresh air… Instead of foxhounds we followed bloodhounds, and instead of live prey a scented 'drag'… Would a switch to drag hunting (if an enforced ban is eventually imposed) not provide continuity of the hunting heritage, culture, sport and business here in the Peninsula? If so, should we not begin preparing for it now? NEILL MITCHELL, Chief Executive, Devon and Cornwall Business Council (letter)

Bath Chronicle 19.12.02 FOX HUNTING NO DIFFERENT TO DOG OR BULL FIGHTING - I am writing to express our concern at the Government's proposed legislation on hunting with hounds… The League Against Cruel Sports opposes fox hunting because chasing an animal to exhaustion before it is disembowelled by a pack of hounds is intrinsically cruel… DAVID THOMPSON Chairman League Against Cruel Sports Wiltshire support group Bailey's Barn Bradford on Avon < target=main href="">(story)

Herts Advertiser 19.12.02 Mayor's hunting card 'insensitive' - I was surprised at the Mayor of St Albans' Christmas card this year. To depict a hunting scene, albeit in Wheathampstead in 1902, is insensitive… PAULINE F. DURRANT, Marshalswick Lane, St Albans. (letter in archive)

Bucks Free Press 19.12.02 Terrified walkers fear they could be shot By Vince Soodin - TERRIFIED walkers using Naphill Common fear they could be hit by pheasant shooters who are allowed to go shooting without warning the public. Residents from the village are furious that Sir Edward Dashwood, who owns Naphill Common, has awarded a licence to tenants at Cookshall Lane Farm which lets them shoot on the Common…. Janet Hussey who uses the common says she is worried she may not be able to walk her dogs…. (story)

Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph 19.12.02 POACHERS PUT IN THE FIRING LINE - Police believe they have finally laid a trap to snare the legendary Lincolnshire Poacher. The poacher image is traditionally linked with Lincolnshire, but now county police chiefs have joined forces with their Humberside colleagues in a bid to try to eradicate the illegal act, by setting up a new panel… (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 17.12.02 STOP THE BARBARIC POACHER - PETER CRAIG - Lincolnshire landowners will unleash hi-tech weaponry in the fight against poachers. Poaching in the countryside around the Grimsby area is leaving a trail of death and destruction, according to police. And Lincolnshire's Poacher Watch committee aims to expand its security scheme in the troubled northern Lincolnshire area…. (story)

Cotswold News 19.12.02 Report illegal hare hunters, say police - POLICE are appealing to the public to report any suspected illegal slaughter of hares in the Cotswolds… (story in archive)

Dumfries & Galloway News 19.12.02 RANGE RABIES ROW BY BOB GEDDES - THE Scottish Executive says the public is not being put at risk by the testing of a deadly new poison at the Kirkcudbright Range. The top secret experiments using the new poison code-named T3327 on the sprawling 4,500 acre range have come under fire from locals as well as MPs and MSPs, They are concerned that the poison tests aimed at finding a humane and effective way to cull foxes if an outbreak of rabies hits the country, were carried out without any information being given out by the Government or Ministry of Defence… (story in archive)
Sunday Herald (Glasgow) 15.12.02 Foxes killed in rabies experiment - By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor - Foxes have been deliberately killed by the government in a secret experiment carried out in Scotland, the Sunday Herald can reveal. State scientists poisoned the wild animals at a site in Dumfries and Galloway in order to test a new, lethal chemical known only as T3327. They wanted to know whether the poison would be an effective way of eradicating foxes in the event of an outbreak of rabies…. 'The whole thing reeks of cruelty and suffering of the highest order,' said Les Ward, director of Advocates for Animals… As well as foxes, there are fears that badgers and other wildlife might have died after eating poisoned bait…
Duck shoot 'will save rare species' - Thousands of over-sexed ruddy ducks are going to be shot by the government because they are endangering the rare Spanish white-headed duck… nimal Aid called it a 'sick genetic cleansing operation'. Director Andrew Tyler said: 'The whole scheme is callous, cynical and anti- democratic.'…
Hedgehog cull to protect birds - A SCHEME to wipe out hedgehogs on the Western Isles is likely to be given the go-ahead this week from the government conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage… ' Killing these animals is totally unacceptable,' said Ross Minett, campaigns director of Advocates for Animals… (story)

Burton Mail 19.12.02 Govt warning for animal activists - by STEVE DOOHAN - THE GOVERNMENT has issued a stark warning to animal right extremists that attacks on "legitimate" companies such as a controversial guinea pig farm near Burton will not be tolerated… Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt defended the decision to provide commercial services to HLS – and vowed to protect other companies such as David Hall and Partners from harassment… (story in archive)
Guardian 18.12.02 Lifeline for Huntingdon - Government insures target of animal rights protests - Jill Treanor - The government yesterday threw a lifeline to Huntingdon Life Sciences by stepping in to provide insurance to the animal testing laboratory which is the subject of persistent protests by animal rights activists…. The protests are conducted by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac) which targets individuals with both violent and non-violent tactics… (story)
Times 18.12.02 DTI to cover animal test lab BY MARK HENDERSON, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT - HUNTINGDON Life Sciences, the Cambridgeshire laboratory targeted by violent animal rights protesters, will be insured by the Government after a campaign of intimidation against its private insurers… (story)

Torquay Herald Express 19.12.02 EAT WITH KINDNESS - As Christmas draws nearer and the food buying and preparing begins, may I urge people to consider buying organically reared meat and poultry… As a member of Compassion in World Farming I have been made aware by photos and videos of the cruelty involved… PATRICIA SAGE, Queens Road, Brixham (letter)

Telegraph 18.12.02 Anti-hunt MPs dominate Commons committee By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent Anti-hunting MPs will have a clear majority on the committee that is being set up to deal with the next stage of the Government Bill to restrict the sport…. The Commons backed the Bill by 368 votes to 155. Although MPs were offered a free vote, the House divided largely along party lines… Yesterday the Countryside Alliance said the Government faced a "long fight" if it wanted to stop hunting. He predicted that tempers would "boil over" if a fair solution was not found…. (story)
Coventry Evening Telegraph 18.12.02 MP in hunting ban bid -Nuneaton MP Bill Olner has backed campaigners calling for a total ban on hunting with dogs, including fox hunting…. (story)
Western Morning News 18.12.02 A FREE VOTE, BUT MPS STICK TO PARTY LINES Westcountry MPs divided broadly along party lines in Monday night's vote on the Second Reading of the Government's controversial Hunting Bill…. (story)
Times 18.12.02 Alliance loses control of militants - A VETERINARY surgeon is among four people to be charged over the angry protest outside Parliament on Monday evening to save the hunting tradition — a protest that has split the campaign…. The alliance also appears to have been out-manoeuvred by more militant hunting groups, such as the Countryside Action Network, and senior hunting figures believe that the Metropolitan Police let them down on the day… George Bramley, 20… was defiant about his part in the protest… He has hunted from the age of four, running with the Waveney Harriers and riding with the Tyndale Foxhounds… David Sherwood, 46, a kennel man with the Braes of Derwent Hunt from Whittonstall, Northumberland, is to appear in court on a drunk and disorderly charge… There is quiet seething among some senior alliance figures about the apparent change of tactics by the police… The Alliance hierarchy is furious that it has been outgunned by the militant groups and believes that it was misled by the police… One of the most senior figures in the hunting world has consulted lawyers after saying he was hit twice on his wrists by a mounted police officer during the hunt protest outside Parliament on Monday. Alastair Jackson, 57, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, said he had such serious injuries to his hands that they “blew up like a football” … (story)
Western Morning News 18.12.02 PRO-HUNT TEENAGER CAUGHT WITH WEAPON - JASON GROVES - A 14-year-old boy from North Devon was among those arrested during angry clashes between hunt supporters and police outside Parliament this week… the police yesterday said the boy, from South Molton, was arrested in possession of an offensive weapon. But the police said no further action would be taken against the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons… Meanwhile, politicians on both sides of the hunting debate warned that the angry scenes outside Parliament would do little to aid the cause of those who want to preserve country pursuit. Paul Tyler, Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, said that the "lunatic fringe" involved on Monday risked jeopardising the work of the many hunt supporters who were committed to using legal means… Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said that Monday's protests, which temporarily blocked the main entrance to Parliament, would only stiffen the resolve of those MPs who want to see a total ban on hunting… Anthony Steen, Conservative MP for Totnes, backed the view of many who took part in Monday's protests that the police had made the situation worse by over-reacting…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 18.12.02 HUNT BILL DEMO CHARGES A Melton man was today one of four people to be charged following an angry demonstration outside Parliament over the controversial Hunting Bill…. Salesman Marcus Wright (28), from Melton, was charged with assault on a police officer. Veterinary surgeon David Dugdale (41), from Freckenham, Suffolk, was charged for using threatening words and behaviour. Student George Todhunter Bramley (20), from Gillingham, Norfolk, was charged with breach of cordon and demonstrating in a non-designated area… (story)
Eastern Daily Press 18.12.02 Hunt march student charged - A Norfolk student was one of four people charged yesterday following an angry demonstration outside Parliament over the controversial Hunting Bill. George Todhunter Bramley, 20, from Gillingham, near Beccles, who is studying to be a farmer, was charged with breach of cordon and demonstrating in a non-designated area. … Mr Bramley said he attended the demonstration with his mother Trisha and was arrested after handcuffing himself to railings in protest at the Bill being debated by MPs… (story)
Ryedale Gazette & Herald 18.12.02 Violent scenes as hunting bill clears its first hurdle by James Slack PLANS to severely restrict hunting in North and East Yorkshire cleared their first hurdle in the Commons amid angry and violent scenes outside Parliament…. Conservative MPs, including Ryedale's John Greenway and Vale of York's Anne McIntosh, failed in an attempt to block the bill… (story in archive)
Torquay Herald Express 18.12.02 SUPPORTERS OF HUNTING JOIN NATIONAL DEMO BY PHIL LAVER - Hunt supporters claim violent clashes outside parliament were the fault police… Hunt supporter Michael Moore from Exeter warned further protests could be held. "People's way of life is under threat here so obviously they are going to protest."… (story)

Western Gazette 18.12.02 HUNTERS RIDE OUT FOR 'PENULTIMATE' MEET … Kevin Hill of Laburnham Crescent, Crewkerne, believes this year's Seavington Hunt, which traditionally rides through Crewkerne on Boxing Day, could be the penultimate one. Mr Hill gathers evidence for the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund For Animal Welfare and is an anti-hunt campaigner…. THE Seavington Hunt leaves Market Square, Crewkerne, at 11am on Boxing Day after the annual pram race at 10.30am. (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 18.12.02 HUNTING: 'This could be last hunt before ban' - ANIMAL rights protesters today said this year's Fitzwilliam Hunt Boxing Day meet might be the last… Former city councillor, and regional representative for the League Against Cruel Sports, John Johnson said: "Hopefully, this will be the last time the Fitzwilliam Hunt will be able to kill foxes here…. George Bowyer, Master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, which has previously been marred by protests, said today: "I don't think this will be our last Boxing Day Hunt…" (story in archive)

Guardian 18.12.02 Do animals think? - When a fox hears the hounds baying and starts to run, is it obeying some ancient instinct, or does it 'know' to be afraid? - Tim Radford (story)

Oxford Mail 18.12.02 Bill must be amended - …. We face the prospect of seeing state-approved hunting, a deeply offensive and sick possibility…. The majority of animals killed by hounds, lurchers and terriers are foxes. I urge Mr Smith's constituents to write to him, pressing him to support an amendment to ban foxhunting outright PENNY LITTLE, Protect Our Wild Animals Rectory Road Great Haseley (letter in archive)

Oxford Mail 18.12.02 Anger and disbelief - Again, I totally agree with Ian Judge's comments regarding hunting with hounds. However, Ralph Leavis, not for the first time, left me feeling a mixture of anger and disbelief (Oxford Mail, November 19)…. Human beings should know better. Hunting animals to their deaths is a sick, so-called 'sport'…. I don't need to get inside these cowardly bullies' heads to see they enjoy torturing and killing animals, as it can be seen in their faces…. GILLIAN WHITTY Van Diemans Lane Littlemore Oxford (letter in archive)
Oxford Mail 23.11.02 Hunts are generous … Ian Judge (Oxford Mail, November 11) has taken exception to your picture showing members of the Old Berks Hunt Supporters handing a cheque to Helen House hospice…. I know that the Old Berks Hunt Supporters have given donations to Riding for the Disabled, motor neurone disease sufferers, cancer research and hospitals… It would be interesting to know if any anti-hunt organisations, with all their millions of pounds, contribute… ALLAN BUSBY Marcham Abingdon (letter in archive)

Bolton Evening News 18.12.02 Deliver MPs an anti-hunt message - John Cooper Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports Union Street London (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 18.12.02 TIME TO HALT THIS ARCHAIC RITUAL THAT MARS CHRISTMAS John Cooper League Against Cruel Sports London (story)
Northern Echo 18.12.02 FOXHUNTING - John Cooper, Chairman League Against Cruel Sports (letter in archive)
Bath Chronicle 17.12.02 HUNTING DOESN'T NEED DEAD FOX - As the annual spectacle of a Boxing Day hunt meets creeps up on us again, I would urge your readers to give some thought to this archaic and cruel tradition… They might wish to attend one of the meets where the League Against Cruel Sports organises an annual demonstration. These are listed on our website at www. league. uk. com… This year, the League Against Cruel Sports sent a representative along to a drag hunt and discovered that most riders preferred it to chasing foxes…. JOHN COOPER, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports, Union Street, London (letter)

Western Daily Press 18.12.02 Sir - Janet Hall is saddened because I "lacked conviction" by selectively quoting former League Against Cruel Sports boss Graham Sirl… I hesitate to quote the other two former LACS bosses, Richard Course and James Barrington, and invite her to ask why they left the anti-hunt organisation and why they no longer oppose hunting?... Mal Treharne Countryside Alliance Aley Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 18.12.02 TRUTH ABOUT DEER DRIVES Congratulations to Chris Rundle for putting into print a truthful picture concerning the cruelty of staghunting. I would, however, take issue with Mal Treharne… in particular the secret deer drives which he claimed had never taken place. During the 1960s, when I first became a staghunt saboteur, I many times met the legendary Master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Bob Nancekivell. On one occasion, when I questioned him about deer drives, he gave me a half-smile and a knowing wink and replied: "You're not supposed to know about them."… deer control expert Kenneth Whitehead… "Apart from the poacher and perhaps the farmer anxious to protect his crops, the only people who still regularly use a shotgun on red deer are members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds who, from time to time, organise deer drives to cull, principally, surplus hinds…" I Pedler Paulton Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 12.12.02 WHO'D GRANT THE LICENCES? - Congratulations to Chris Rundle on his excellent article, Go For The Swift Kill… As far as utility is concerned, there can be little doubt that any outbreak of rabies among our fox population could not be controlled by horse riders and hounds… C P Harrell Pill Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 11.12.02 £5M BLOW FOR THE ECONOMY - Chris Rundle's hatred of hunting people is clear in all his writing, but he really should be more careful with his facts… he must know that, in fact, deer are extremely destructive creatures… An independent survey commissioned by West Somerset district council reported that hunting attracted about £5million annually to the local economy, much of it by the Devon & Somerset Staghounds. To suggest that such a loss to a fragile economy can be compensated by an increase in visitors, who presently stay away because they dislike stag hunting, is just nonsense. R Dunn Minehead Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 9.12.02 CHRIS SAYS IT ALL - done Chris Rundle. Brilliant article, we couldn't agree more. We had been thinking of changing our daily newspaper because of the pro-hunt coverage…. Jane Jones and Steve Harding Address supplied (letter)

Scotsman 18.12.02 Stanley Brodie (Letters, 16 De-cember) is being disingenuous. It was the bloodsports lobby that demanded to be allowed to continue using dogs to flush out foxes to be shot… No-one is forcing the hunts to kill greater numbers of foxes. If they choose to do so, then there is no-one to blame but themselves… LYNNE MITCHELL Lower Mains, Dollar Clackmannanshire (letter)
Scotsman 16.12.02 How act makes fox-hunting with dogs legal - It is widely believed, particularly by MSPs, that by the enactment of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, fox-hunting has been banned in Scotland. That does not appear to be the case. On the contrary, the act positively authorises its continuation, subject to certain qualifications. What is not allowed is hunting foxes if the deliberate purpose is to flush out, chase and kill them by the use of dogs alone. But that prohibition is subject to exceptions, so that fox-hunting with dogs is made lawful provided that the primary, genuine, intended objective is to shoot a fox once it has been flushed from cover by hounds… STANLEY BRODIE, QC, Blackstone Chambers, Temple, London (letter)

Western Gazette 18.12.02 HELP FREE WILD ANIMALS - Jackie Sharman, Deputy manager, The RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Hospital. (letter)
Western Morning News 3.12.02 ORPHANED CUBS WILL NEED YOUR HELP AGAIN - I am writing once again to appeal to the animal-lovers amongst your readership who may be willing to help the RSPCA with our carefully-monitored programme of releasing rehabilitated animals back into the wild… Finally, the RSPCA is regularly accused of taking van-loads of mangy town foxes on to the moors and hills of the Westcountry and releasing them. This is patent nonsense…. Jackie Sharman, Deputy Manager, RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Hospital, Taunton, TA3 5RT (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 23.11.02 SOAPBOX: WE NEED YOUR HELP IN SENDING FOX CUBS BACK TO NATURE - Jackie Sharman, deputy manager, RSPCA Wildlife Hospital, West Hatch, Taunton. (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 22.11.02 GIVE A FOX CUB A HOME - I am writing once again to appeal to the animal-lovers amongst your readership who may be willing to help the RSPCA with our carefully monitored programme of releasing rehabilitated animals back into the wild. Our recent appeal for sites for the release of fox cubs met with a wonderful response, and we are now looking for further sites for badger cubs an fox cubs for next season… People wanting to get involved in the scheme should not allow hunting on their land…. JACKIE SHARMAN, RSPCA Wildlife Hospital West Hatch Taunton (letter)
Western Daily Press 22.11.02 CUBS GET NEW LEASE OF LIFE - I write once again to appeal to the animal lovers among your readership who may be willing to help the RSPCA with its carefully monitored programme of releasing rehabilitated animals back into the wild…. Jackie Sharman Deputy Manager RSPCA Wildlife Hospital West Hatch Taunton, Somerset (letter)

Guardian 18.12.02 Dutch authorities ignored threats to Pim Fortuyn - Andrew Osborn - Negligent government and law enforcement bodies failed to protect the assassinated Dutch anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn, despite clear warnings, an independent inquiry concluded yesterday. But no amount of police protection would necessarily have prevented Fortuyn, who hated security, being shot by an animal rights activist, its report adds…. Volkert van der Graaf, the man who was arrested within minutes of the shooting, was alleged to have broken his long silence last month to say that he had killed Fortuyn because he had been worried about his growing political influence… (story)
Sunday Telegraph 24.11.02 Pim killer confesses - Volkert van der Graaf, the animal rights activist charged with murdering Dutch anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn, has confessed (story)
Scotland on Sunday 24.11.02 Man accused of shooting Pim Fortuyn confesses - ROBERT JULIUS - THE vegan animal rights activist charged with murdering Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn in May has confessed, saying he believed the charismatic right-wing populist was a danger to society, prosecutors revealed yesterday…. (story)
Sunday Times 12.5.02 Fortuyn killer linked to earlier death - THREE days before Christmas 1996, Chris Van de Werken, an environment officer… went jogging in the woods near his home… Alerted by gunshots, passers-by found Van de Werken's body on a cycle path… This weekend, as the Netherlands mourned Pim Fortuyn, the populist right-wing politician, police were investigating links between his assassination last Monday and what became known in Nunspeet as the "Christmas murder". Volkert van der Graaf, 32, a militant animal rights campaigner who was arrested immediately after killing Fortuyn, had also come into conflict with Van de Werken…. van der Graaf was already taking his first steps into the animal rights movement. He founded the Zeeland Animal Liberation Front, which daubed slogans on the facades of restaurants with frog's legs on the menu… Van der Graaf became a vegan and joined anti-vivisection and environmental groups. Then, in 1992, he founded Milieu Offensief (Environment Offensive), which was opposed to all animal farming…. (story)
Scotsman 11.5.02 Death list fears as thousands mourn Pim Fortuyn - DUTCH police put three leading members of Pim Fortuyn’s party under 24-hour guard last night as thousands of mourners paid an emotional tribute to the slain politician. Their names were found, along with maps of their suburbs and detailed descriptions of their homes, in the car of his suspected killer… investigators confirmed they had a video showing the suspect with two other people in a city where Mr Fortuyn was campaigning onthe day he was shot. It raised the question of whether he was acting alone or as part of a group… (story)
Guardian 9.5.02 Activist in court over Fortuyn's murder - Mystery surrounds 'quiet, hardworking' animal rights campaigner - Ian Black in Harderwijk - Volkert van der Graaf, the animal rights activist charged with murdering the populist politician Pim Fortuyn, appeared in court yesterday but did little to clear up the mystery of the most sensational killing in Dutch history… Having studied environmental science at Wageningen University a decade ago, Mr Van der Graaf spent recent years lobbying central government and meat manufacturers on factory farming and other animal-rights issues…. (story)
Times 9.5.02 Accused vegan was 'a fanatic who cared only for animals' BY MARTIN FLETCHER IN HARDERWIJK - A MAN charged yesterday with assassinating the maverick Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was a fanatic who did not care about humans at all, a farmer who knew him well said yesterday. “It was animals, animals, animals,” Peter Olofson said… The police are now investigating whether Mr van der Graaf was responsible for a murder during that period. In 1996 an environmental officer who worked closely — perhaps too closely — with local farmers, went jogging along a road near Nunspeet, a town eight miles from Harderwijk. His bullet-riddled body was later found in a lay-by… his interest in animals and the environment began in elementary school, where he hated even putting worms on fish hooks. At the age of 15 he began working at a bird shelter on the Zeeland coast, helping to rescue seabirds covered in oil, but left because the shelter used mousetraps… (story)
Scotsman 9.5.02 Suspect in Fortuyn case is charged - Gareth Jones in Amsterdam - AN ANIMAL rights campaigner was charged yesterday with the murder of the Dutch anti-immigrant politician Pim Fortuyn… (story)
Western Morning News 9.5.02 ACTIVIST IS CHARGED WITH ASSASSINATION …The suspect was identified by colleagues as Volkert van der Graaf, 32, an activist with the group Environmental Offensive…(story)
Irish Times 9.5.02 Dutch activist charged on Fortuyn killing From Denis Staunton, in Rotterdam ….Friends of Mr Van Der Graaf expressed surprise at his arrest, describing him as a mild-mannered opponent of factory farming. The suspect, who is married with a baby daughter, took more than 2,000 legal actions to ensure Dutch farmers obeyed environmental and animal protection rules…(story)
Telegraph 8.5.02 Fortuyn's killer 'in feud with party man' By David Graves in Harderwijk - THE militant animal rights activist suspected of murdering the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is a vegan who declared on an internet site that "protecting animals is civilising people"… Last night, Jim Janssen van Raaij, the number three of the Fortuyn List party, said the suspect "had had trouble" with a party member and pig farmer, Wien van den Brink… (story)
Telegraph 8.5.02 Dutch assassin is militant green activist By David Graves in Harderwijk - THE assassin of the Dutch anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn is a militant environmental activist, prosecutors said last night… The man, who is married, belonged to a militant environmental group and had written extensively about green issues on an "animal freedom" internet site… (story)
Times 8.5.02 An animal lover assassinated by a vegan ...a nationalist, he will be buried abroad FROM RICHARD OWEN IN ROME AND MARTIN FLETCHER IN ROTTERDAM … Mr Fortuyn was a well-known animal lover who was never without his lapdogs Kenneth and Carla. The man suspected of killing him is a vegan animal rights activist who believes that protecting animals civilises people… Mr Fortuyn told one green organisation that he was “sick to death of your environmental movement” and had pledged to try to overturn a new ban on breeding animals for fur, but one of his colleagues said the Pim Fortuyn List did not have a “very developed policy” on animal rights… (story)
Independent 8.5.02 Suspect is animal rights activist By Leyla Linton … Volkert van der Graaf, identified yesterday as the man in police custody, belonged to Milieu Offensief (Environment Offensive) a small animals rights group. "Protecting animals is civilising people," he had declared on a website… he became a vegetarian and later a vegan when he started his studies in Wageningen. He joined a local anti-vivisection group and fought for the right of students not to use animals in their lab work… (story)
Guardian 8.5.02 Suspect is animal rights radical - Andrew Osborn in Rotterdam and Ian Black - The man arrested over the murder of Pim Fortuyn is a hardcore animal rights activist who appears to have acted alone, it emerged yesterday… The Dutch security service admitted the man, a vegan anti-fur campaigner, was known to them but said he had not been involved with the law before… (story)
Scotsman 8.5.02 Fortuyn may have been killed over animal rights - Foreign Staff - THE assassination of the Dutch right-winger Pim Fortuyn took a bizarre turn yesterday as police identified his suspected killer as a vegan animal rights activist… From an early age, he described being shocked by the deaths of animals. "People think it normal that you eat animals, and that you let fish suffocate in nets when you catch them. But inside me arose a sense of justice; such things shouldn’t be happening in a civilised country, I thought, but there’s no one to stand up for them."… (story)
Scotsman 8.5.02 Fortuyn to appear on Dutch voting list - Foreign Staff …the murder suspect was identified yesterday as a 32-year-old, environmental and animal rights activist. Volkert van der Graff, caught minutes after the shooting, was described as a "white Dutchman" married with a child from a small village in the Netherlands’ Bible belt… (story)
Daily Record 8.5.02 VEGAN FACES CHARGE OVER PIM SHOOTING - THE man accused of killing Dutch right-winger Pim Fortuyn is an animal rights activist and fanatical vegan, it was revealed yesterday… (story)
Irish Independent 8.5.02 Suspect held in Fortuyn probe 'is a militant green activist' (Daily Telegraph, London) (story)

Ananova 17.12.02 Hunting Bill clears first hurdle despite protest - Labour backbenchers are warning they will seek an outright ban on hunting with hounds…. In Parliament Square, more than 3,000 mainly pro-hunting demonstrators staged a noisy protest, setting off fireworks and sounding klaxons… (story)
BBC News Online Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 00:19 GMT Hunting vote sparks angry scenes - The government's Hunting Bill cleared its first Commons hurdle amid angry scenes outside parliament during which eight pro-hunt campaigners were arrested… (story)
Daily Mail 17.12.02 Hunting Bill clears firsts hurdle The Government's Hunting Bill has cleared its first hurdle amid angry scenes during which eight pro-hunt campaigners were arrested in Westminster… Police said during the melee one police horse suffered a minor cut to its hind leg and three others lost shoes. (story)
Express 17.12.02 Hunting Bill clears firsts hurdle - The Government's Hunting Bill has cleared its first hurdle amid angry scenes during which eight pro-hunt campaigners were arrested in Westminster…. (story)
Guardian 17.12.02 Pro-hunt protesters try to storm parliament - Nicholas Watt, political correspondent - Police were forced to close the main entrance to parliament last night after hundreds of pro-hunting supporters attempted to storm the Palace of Westminster while MPs debated the issue… At the height of the protest, around 1,500 hunt supporters converged on Parliament Square. Up to 800 members of the hardline Countryside Action Network, who gathered in the square, were joined by a similar number of supporters from the more moderate Countryside Alliance who converged on Westminster from a rally in Hyde Park… Anti-hunt Labour MPs made clear that they would vote for the bill last night at its second reading to ensure that they will have a chance to amend it next year… (story)
Independent 17.12.02 Hunt supporters in violent protest as MPs debate Bill By Ben Russell and Matthew Beard - Six people were arrested during violent scenes last night when hunt supporters attempted to force their way into Parliament during a debate on hunting with dogs… Some set fire to an effigy of Tony Blair, while others climbed lamp posts and the Commons gates in noisy scenes which brought Parliament Square to a standstill and closed Westminster underground station... Alastair Bulmain, said: "Everyone here has come to support those involved in the sports threatened by this bill. We are a law-abiding minority trying to make a living and make our voices heard."… Andy Trotter, the Metropolitan police Deputy Assistant Commissioner added: "I'm thoroughly disappointed by totally unreasonable actions of protesters gathered in Parliament Square today, and also saddened they felt the need to behave in such a manner…." (story)
ITV.COM 17.12.02 Labour MPs in hunt ban vow The Government's controversial Hunting Bill is one step closer to becoming law after a Tory bid to block it was defeated in the Commons…. Leading anti-hunt campaigner Labour MP Tony Banks said he would back the Bill's second reading as a vehicle for securing an outright ban - saying it was "crass" to vote against it. Senior Labour MP Gerald Kaufman said he would do the same, warning: "Until we get the complete ban this issue will come back and back and back to this House."…. (story)
Sun 17.12.02 Hunt riot at Parliament By MIKE DARVILL and GRAHAM DIGGINES - HUNTING supporters clashed with police in violent scenes outside Parliament last night as MPs debated a ban on bloodsports… cloth-capped protester Nigel Rawlinson said the ugly scenes were justified… Mum Vivien de Haan, 41, from Broomfield, Shropshire, took her twin 14-year-old daughters Frances and Hannah and 10-year-old son Hugo to the demo… Anthony Robb, from Huish Champflower, Somerset, accused the Government of “sacrificing a culture for the sake of appeasing the Left wing”…. (story)
Telegraph 17.12.02 Angry hunt supporters lay siege to Commons By George Jones and Andrew Sparrow There were ugly scenes last night as hundreds of hunt supporters defied mounted police to block the main gates to Parliament. Demonstrators staged a noisy sit-down protest, bringing chaos to Parliament Square as MPs debated a Government Bill to allow some foxhunting to continue in England and Wales under a strict system of registration… (story)
Telegraph 17.12.02 Yesterday in Parliament Reports by Michael Kallenbach, Parliamentary Correspondent - Protesters told to show respect - Hunt supporters who gathered outside Westminster yesterday to protest about the Government's plans to ban hunting with hounds were criticised for not showing respect for Parliament. Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, broke from his prepared statement to MPs as he introduced the Second Reading debate in the Hunting Bill to say that he had listened to all sides of the argument in the past eight months. It was disappointing that the demonstrators "are not showing small respect"…. Tony Banks (Lab, West Ham) said the issue was a morale one. Killing animals was as wrong as killing humans. (story
Telegraph 17.12.02 Notebook By Vicki Woods I had no time to chain myself to the Commons railings - Late on Sunday night, my Yorkshire friend rang to ask if I had "anything planned for Monday"…. (story)
Times 17.12.02 Hunters storm the gates of Parliament BY VALERIE ELLIOTT AND GREG HURST - ABOUT 3,000 angry prohunting protesters attempted to storm the main gates of Parliament last night as MPs debated the Hunting Bill… Alun Michael, Rural Affairs Minister, told MPs that nothing better illustrated “the tribal nature” of the debate than the protest. Red-faced and shouting with anger, he accused some Tory MPs of supporting the protesters and suggested they were defying Parliament. A Labour MP had a lighted flare thrown at her as she walked into the Commons, she told The Times. Phyllis Starkey, MP for Milton Keynes South West, said that she was walking towards the main gates of the Commons when the flare was thrown… Labour MPs told ministers the party would never forgive them if the frontbench “payroll vote” was used to permit registered foxhunting. Mr Kaufman, MP for Manchester Gorton, said that ban supporters would strike out the registration system at the Bill’s committee stage next year… (story)
Scotsman 17.12.02 Pro-hunt protesters clash with police at Commons PRO-HUNTING campaigners clashed with police outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday as they protested against moves to curb their sport in England writes Alison Hardie…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 17.12.02 Pro-hunt six arrested at Commons - SIX pro-hunting campaigners were arrested during a noisy demonstration outside Parliament as MPs resumed their impassioned debate on foxhunting, police said last night…. (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 17.12.02 Pro-hunt campaigners in protest scuffle HUNDREDS of East Anglian pro-hunt campaigners were caught up in rowdy and passionate day of protest on the streets of London that saw six protestors arrested by police…. Liz Mort, eastern regional spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance, attended the rally and, while she did not defend the actions of the more unruly protesters, said that yesterday's events left the Government “in absolutely no doubt of the level of anger that many rural communities have reached”…. (story)
Worcester Evening News 17.12.02 Scuffles outside Parliament as Hunting Bill clears first hurdle PLANS to severely restrict hunting in Worcestershire cleared their first hurdle in the Commons amid violent scenes outside Parliament… (story in archive)
Northern Echo 17.12.02 Furious clashes in pro-hunt protest Angry protestors clashed with police outside Parliament last night as MPs resumed their impassioned debate on hunting with dogs… (story in archive)
Shropshire Star 17.12.02 Battle vow on hunt ban By Craig MacFarlane and John Hipwood - Shropshire countryside campaigners today vowed to fight "tooth and nail" to prevent hunting being outlawed - even if it meant breaking the law…. Protest Master huntsman of South Shropshire Hunt, Andrew Cook, said today: "Our backs are very much against the wall and we have exhausted peaceful means of protest…." Master huntsman of the Wheatland hunt in Bridgnorth, Myles Salmon, added: "I was in London yesterday and it is a great shame that our protest has had to come to the stage of breaking the law. But this is what happens when the Government do not listen. It will only get worse as well."… (story)
Bolton Evening News 17.12.02 Town's MPs back bill on hunting BOLTON MPs have backed the Government's hunting bill with both Brian Iddon and David Crausby voting in favour of it at its second reading last night. Bolton West MP Ruth Kelly was unable to take part in the debate due to her commitments as Treasury Minister but in the past she has voted for an outright ban on hunting with dog… (story in archive)
Cumberland News & Star 17.12.02 BAN ON FOX-HUNTING 'WILL NOT DIE IN DITCH' … Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael insisted that the stalemate between pro and anti-hunt campaigners must be ended as he prepared to debate the subject in the House of Commons…. But Labour backbenchers have signalled that they will oppose this reprieve for hunting in Cumbria. More than 100 MPs have signed a Commons motion saying only a total ban is acceptable…. (story)
North West Evening Mail 17.12.02 HUNT FUTURE STILL UNSURE - A LOCAL hunt leader has spoken of his frustration at the continuing uncertainty over the future of foxhunting… Edmund Porter, veteran master and huntsman with Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds, said: "It is, has been and will continue to be a very frustrating time unt-il this reaches a resolution…." (story)
Belfast Telegraph 17.12.02 Ulster MP in House apology By David Gordon - SOUTH Antrim MP David Burnside has apologised to the House of Commons for not declaring a past commercial interest during Parliamentary exchanges on hunting. Mr Burnside today said the apology was a "technicality" that had stemmed from a complaint against him from the League Against Cruel Sports. The UUP MP said his company, David Burnside Associates Ltd, had a financia l relationship with the Countryside Alliance, a leading pro-hunting body, up to March 2002…. Mr Burnside said he had spoken to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, Philip Mawer, and he agreed it was a technical matter…. (story)
Irish Examiner 17.12.02 Angry protest outside Parliament as MPs begin debate on fox-hunting - HUNDREDS of hunt supporters and animal welfare groups in London last night staged a noisy demonstration outside Parliament as MPs resumed their impassioned debate on fox-hunting… (story)
Western Mail 17.12.02 Michael condemns `tribal' protesters - RURAL Affairs Minister Alun Michael last night hit out at pro-hunt campaigners who staged a rowdy demonstration outside the Commons as MPs debated the future of hunting…. Newport West MP Paul Flynn said he had witnessed at least one act of violence while being escorted through the "loutish" protesters outside Parliament… (story)
Western Mail 17.12.02 `Legislate on principle not on prejudice' - YESTERDAY supporters of hunting held a rally in Westminster. Mark Hinge, political director of the Countryside Alliance Wales outlines the reasons behind the action… (story)
Essex Evening Echo 17.12.02 Southend: Teddy backs Hunting Bill - Sir Teddy Taylor and David Amess have voted in favour of a Bill to restrict foxhunting…. (story in archive)
Kent Today 17.12.02 Hunters who stormed gates of Parliament branded 'louts' KENT MPs have condemned a mob of hunt supporters who tried to storm the main gates of Parliament last night as the Hunting Bill was being debated…. (story)
Western Morning News 17.12.02 ANGER OF THE COUNTRYSIDE BOILS OVER IN CITY PROTEST - Protesters blame police as demonstration turns violent… Land agent Trevor Glasper, 55, from Branscombe… , a member of the East Devon Hunt, was one of many protesters to blame heavy handed policing for the violence… Andy Pollard, a shepherd from Exmoor, said that he would lose his job with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds if the Government ban on stag hunting went ahead…. Paul Ridgers, a Conservative councillor on West Devon Borough Council, said that a hunting ban would have a "devastating" impact on the rural Westcountry, which is one of the most hunted regions of the country…. (story)
Western Morning News 17.12.02 THE BATTLE OF PARLIAMENT SQUARE - Hundreds of police battled to stop thousands of angry hunt supporters smashing their way into Parliament yesterday… About 3,000 of the 'official' Countryside Alliance demonstrators, many of them deer hunters from Exmoor and the West, together with West hare coursers, behaved impeccably…. Labour MP Paul Flynn said he had witnessed at least one act of violence while being escorted through the 'loutish' protesters. The Newport West MP described the crowd as 'threatening'… (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 17.12.02 ANGRY PROTESTS AS HUNT BILL PASSES HURDLE The Government's controversial Hunting Bill was one step closer to becoming law today…. The Bill passed its first hurdle when MPs voted to allow it a second reading in the Commons amid angry protests outside, which saw eight arrests…. Members of the Brocklesby and South Wold Hunts in Lincolnshire were unavailable for comment (story)
Gloucester Citizen 17.12.02 BLAIR EFFIGY BURNED BY HUNT SUPPORTERS - The first shrill blast of a hunting horn was heard in Parliament Square just after 3pm. Within minutes hundreds of hunt supporters surged across the green in front of the Houses of Parliament…. In the end, there was a 200-vote victory for the Government but the real work to blunt the legislation now begins. Outside, the hunt demo became increasingly bitter and hostile. An effigy of Tony Blair was burned to roars of approval (story)
Gloucester Citizen 17.12.02 'WAKE-UP CALL' TO PM FROM HUNTERS - Tony Blair, this is your wake-up call - that is the message from a county pro-hunting group after six people were arrested in scuffles at a demonstration outside Parliament… Henry Berkeley, master of the Berkeley Hunt in Gloucestershire, who attended the demonstration, said: "I think the Government will get a severe wake-up call from this."… (story)

East Anglian Daily Times 17.12.02 Stag hunting helps to sustain economy - The finest herds of Red Deer in Europe are found in England, on and around Exmoor… why do the locals put up with the herds of deer? Because hunting provides the major portion of total income in many parts of the South West and especially Exmoor… The banning of Stag hunting will be the biggest tragedy – not just for the deer herds but all the people who live and work on the Moors… PETER AUSTIN, Aldham, Ipswich (letter)

Worcester Evening News 17.12.02 Hunters protected otters THE letter from Richard Britton (You Say, November 27) brought up the subject of otter hunting… Otter hunting was never banned in England. In actual fact, the packs of otter hounds voluntarily disbanded around 1970. They had monitored otter numbers for decades and warned they were dwindling fast through because of pollution in our rivers…. J WOOD, Rushwick, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 10.12.02 Limited knowledge of the hunting issue - RICHARD Britton writes about life in the country… It is a great shame that he chooses to use fiction rather than deal in facts… Let me tell him that otter hunting was never banned in this country… TIM PINNEY, Peopleton, Pershore (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 10.12.02 Unlawful practices - I MUST thank Richard Britton (You Say, November 29) for using his expert knowledge as a marksman to confirm the difficulties and dangers of using firearms to control foxes… Mr Britton makes allegations of `'bagged'' foxes being released to hunt. This is against all the rules of hunting and a criminal offence. I trust he will bring any evidence of such activity to the attention of the authorities… JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 29.11.02 At least he will not have been hunting... JON Burgess's desperate delvings (You Say, October 30) into the personal background of those who oppose his grotesque hobby of hunting with dogs... The hours he has spent "researching" his opponent's history, will as the saying goes "keep him off the street," or rather in Jon Burgess's case, keep him out of the hunting field.... A KNITTEL, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 29.11.02 Who truly cares for life in the country? I'M sorry for Jon Burgess' apparent confusion over the terms hunting, animal welfare, culture and conservation.... Yes, I did indeed once hunt.... What a crime that otter hunting with dogs was banned - perhaps we should have hunted them to extinction?... Having shot in the Regular Army Rifle Team and captained Great Britain teams overseas, I am well aware of the difficulties of a clean kill at night.... RICHARD BRITTON, Martley, near Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 5.11.02 If I can further help his investigations... WHAT a desperately anxious person Jon Burgess of Malvern must be, and what a pity that he has had to spend so much time and trouble checking up on the Berkshire Hunt… I stated that I had hunted with The Garth Hunt and the Sandhurst Academy Drag Hunt in Berkshire… I am delighted that before long, the despicably cruel pastime of hunting will soon be a thing of the past, and will merely provide historical research for Mr Burgess. RICHARD BRITTON, Martley, Worcestershire (letter in archive)

Tivyside Advertiser 17.12.02 Huntsman knocked out by horse - A horseman had to be air lifted to hospital last Saturday after being knocked unconscious by a 17 hh hunter. Tim Hawker was flown to Morriston Hospital after being crushed by his own horse during the Tivyside Hunt meet at Fronlas Farm, Crymych… hunt member Helen Evans of Llangolman said Saturday's incident was inexplicable. "One minute Tim was sitting on his horse talking, the next minute he was lying on the floor. Who knows why horses do this? All I can say is that horses, just like people, have got brains. It's just that sometimes they don't use them." (story)

Worcester Evening News 17.12.02 Why are we never given an answer? CAN I be the only reader of the Evening News who has noticed that every time Jon Burgess asks Maurice Brett, Anita Knittel or John Cooper to come up with some proof about their anti-hunting stories we are never given an answer? I am still waiting for the name of the hunt accused of fox breeding in the Lake District.... I might be wrong, but is the anti-hunting campaign being run on the throw-enough-muck-and-some of it might stick theory? Don't bother to reply to this one - I think I already know the answer. ALAN COOK, Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire. (letter in archive)

Manchester Evening News 17.12.02 We mustn't compromise on cruelty - WHEN asked "Hunting: Does ban go far enough?" (Postbag Debate, Dec 4), an overwhelming majority of your readers voted No…. The vast majority of people believe that it is not acceptable, and that there can be no compromise on cruelty…. Anti-Hunt, Cheshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 17.12.02 REPORT GIVES A REALISTIC VIEW OF COUNTRY - My congratulations to your reporter David Humphrey for his sensible, down-to-earth story on the hunting issue. Unlike the biased rubbish that Chris Rundle continually writes on the subject, it was good to see a reporter that had taken the trouble to get down to the harsh realities of country life from people with close ties at the blunt end, such as farmer John Cook… Ray Bird Acton Turville Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 17.12.02 WE NEED TO KNOW TRUTH - May I thank Kevin Hill for bearing witness to the desperately sad spectacle of stags being torn apart and shot to pieces by the hunt. All animal activists know the sickening, pit-of-the-stomach feeling of the horror and revulsion we feel as we inform ourselves and others about how animals are killed… Hunt people are of the same ilk as the publican recently prosecuted for torturing a kitten to death for a snuff movie. Hunt sabs and animal activists are often reviled in the press, through ignorance. But those of us who know the emotional costs to these people - passionate about the rights and wellbeing of animals - hold them in high esteem… A Heritage Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 17.12.02 Cruel chase - IN reply to Diana Scott, joint master of the hunt for 15 years on Exmoor, how cruel can you get? Farmers see a sick, older or weaker deer and she thinks it is a good idea to chase it with a pack of hounds…. D Down, Launceston (letter)

Western Morning News 17.12.02 Loose cannons - A FRIEND and I were riding our horses along a quiet country lane when a bystander advised us to trot on quickly as shooting was about to start. At that moment, two shots were fired, and although we shouted to hold fire, we had only gone a short distance further when more were fired…. Members of my family attended both Countryside Alliance marches. With such inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour I wonder why we supported them… Elizabeth A Ross, Holne, Newton Abbot (letter)

Times 17.12.02 Use of animals in medical research - While every effort to find alternatives to animals in medical research should be encouraged (letters, November 28, December 5 and 10) I believe that the campaigns of anti-vivisection groups are often unrealistic. The scientific community wouldn’t use animals if it wasn’t necessary… THOMAS BROMLEY, (Executive Secretary), Seriously Ill for Medical Research, PO Box 504, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LU.
As a physician, I must disagree with Dr Mark Matfield (letter, December 5). Both medical advances cited by him are, in my view, due to non-animal research methods… Just because animals are used in drug development, which for safety purposes is a legal rather than scientific requirement, doesn’t mean that they are essential to the advance of modern-day medicine. Yours faithfully, RAY GREEK (Medical Director), Europeans For Medical Advancement, PO Box 38604, London W13 0YR. (letters)
Times 10.12.02 Research on animals - Dr Mark Matfield, Director of the European Biomedical Research Association (letter, December 5), says that research on primates is “essential” because of their similarities to us… I would like to see more transparency about what happens to laboratory animals rather than sweeping assertions that the end justifies the means. Yours sincerely, D. W. EVANS, 43a Temple Gate Road, Leeds LS15 0HF (letter)

Telegraph 17.12.02 Duchess adopts turkey to save it from the oven By Auslan Cramb - A duchess has adopted a turkey "to save it from becoming Christmas dinner" after it fell off a lorry while being driven to market… Now fully recovered, it is been given a comfortable home by the Duchess of Hamilton, the wife of Scotland's premier peer, on the 500-acre Archerfield Estate, near Edinburgh…. The Duke of Hamilton, who two years ago supported his wife's boycott of Jenners, the Edinburgh department store, after it refused to stop selling pate de foie gras, said they both believed in animal welfare… (story)

Shropshire Star 17.12.02 Help stop this cruel factory farming - Everyone who detests what is happening to animals in Britain's abysmal factory farms and slaughterhouses now has a great opportunity to express their revulsion… Please show your support for Viva!'s campaign to end factory farming by signing their online pledge at S Greenwood, Market Drayton (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 17.12.02 DOG SLAYING IS TIP OF THE ICEBERG - I have read the letter from Mrs Pearce regarding the distress caused by pictures of cruelty to dogs by the Peruvian army…. I would like to inform readers that Animals Asia is a foundation to help abused and tortured animals… Jane Somerset Bridgwater Somerset (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 15.12.02 Dogs die to teach Peru's soldiers how to kill By David Harrison, Environment Correspondent - Barechested commandos brandishing knives take turns to charge towards a live dog, tied and spreadeagled between vertical poles… The troops belong to the Peruvian army and the slaughter of the dog is the climax of a series of "bravery tests" to train them to be ruthless killers. The barbaric ritual has been uncovered by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), a British charity which last night expressed disgust at the cruelty… (story)
Western Daily Press 12.12.02 HAUNTED BY THE IMAGE OF AGONY - I was utterly horrified by the images of the dog used for hand-to-hand combat training by the Peruvian army… J Smith Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 12.12.02 STRING UP THE PERUVIAN CHIEFS - I feel I must write to say how sickened I was by the barbaric pictures showing the Peruvian army killing those poor dogs. I felt sick and upset upon reading it… (letter)
Western Daily Press 12.12.02 HORRIFIED BY DOG SLAUGHTER - I have been a reader of the Western Daily Press for 20 years - probably more - but it is the first time that an item has upset me and made me feel physically sick… Mrs Patricia Pearce Paulton Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 11.12.02 CRUELTY THAT DEFIES BELIEF - Dogs used in combat practice by the Peruvian army, the donkey tortured in Greece… The world will never be a better place as long as there are such vile people in it… W Beer Clevedon Somerset (letter)

Meridian TV 16.12.02 Hundreds march against ban on hunting By Hugh Kirby - A woman from Hampshire is threatening to defy any attempt to ban hunting, even if it means going to prison. Victoria Collins runs a livery stable at Cheriton near Winchester.... 95% of business at Victoria Collins' yard is dependent on hunting.... Her mother and father would be out of a job too, they both work for the Hampshire hunt. (story)
Guardian 16.12.02 New attempt to break hunting stalemate - Ministers may push through manifesto commitment - Michael White, political editor - Senior ministers are still clinging to the hope that a politically messy confrontation can be avoided between the pro- and anti-hunting lobbies as MPs prepare to vote on the issue tonight for the sixth time since 1997… Alun Michael… old Sky News: "The point is that at the end of the day this can't go on. It has gone on for years; it has taken up parliamentary time. There are far more important things to be dealing with than hunting, and therefore we need to bring it to a conclusion."… Pro-hunters have been less hostile to the compromise than their opponents for reasons the anti-hunters again underlined yesterday. Not only would the licensing and monitoring scheme be "a bureaucratic nightmare" it could allow 90% of hunts to survive, said the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals…. (story)
Telegraph 16.12.02 Taxpayer will foot bill for groups to oppose hunts By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Animal welfare groups would be paid by the Government to contest the right of anyone who wishes to hunt with dogs under a clause of the Hunting Bill which has its Second Reading in the Commons today… The provision could mean that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the League Against Cruel Sports or the International Fund for Animal Welfare would be paid by the state to contest every application to register to carry out hunting legally under the Bill. Applications are expected not only from the 201 fox hunts in England and Wales but also from tens of thousands of individuals who want to be able to hunt vermin with dogs… James Gray, the Conservative rural affairs spokesman, said it was "disgraceful and absurd" to make grants to animal welfare bodies and not to hunts, lurcher owners and gamekeepers who would be caught up in the Bill's red tape…. (story)
Times 16.12.02 Taxpayer to fund anti-hunt groups BY VALERIE ELLIOTT AND MELISSA KITE - ANIMAL welfare groups are to be given taxpayers’ money to challenge applications by hunters to continue their sport under government plans for registered hunting. Details of the grants, which would be paid out to anti-hunt bodies such as the League Against Cruel Sports and which could cost the taxpayer millions, emerged in the fine print of the Hunting Bill…. Iain Duncan Smith also raised the stakes by tabling an amendment to the Bill, refusing it a second reading. The Tory leader said the Bill “seeks to impose unjustifiable restrictions on individual freedom, would increase the suffering of foxes and other animals that will be culled by less humane means, threatens the future of dogs and horses used in hunting and would rob British citizens of their livelihood”. (story)
Yorkshire Post 16.12.02 Hunting stalemate must end, says Minister … Rural affairs Minister Alun Michael said the Government hoped that the Commons and Lords would accept its Hunting Bill, which gets its Second Reading in the Commons today. But he indicated that even if Labour MPs spark a new clash with the Lords by amending the Bill to introduce a more widespread ban on hunting than that envisaged by the Government, the Bill will be driven through. He suggested the Government would, if necessary, invoke the Parliament Act - which allows the Government to over-ride the Lords' objections…. (story)
Western Daily Press 16.12.02 STAGHUNTERS MAKE A FINAL BID TO HALT BAN - Labour peer Baroness Ann Mallalieu is expected to launch a last-ditch bid to save staghunting today as MPs debate proposals which could see it banned within 18 months… Baroness Mallalieu hunts regularly with the Devon and Somerset staghounds, one of only three packs of deer hounds which now survive and all operate on Exmoor. The others are the Tiverton staghounds and the Quantock staghounds, now driven increasingly to hunt on the moor with much of their own territory out of bounds thanks to hunting bans by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission… (story)
Cumberland News & Star 16.12.02 MINISTER WANTS HUNT BAN BILL SPEEDED UP - RURAL affairs minister Alun Michael has underlined his determination to force a ban on fox hunting through Parliament. Pro-hunting Cumbrians are expected to join a protest march in London today to coincide with the second reading of the Government's Hunting Bill…. (story)
Western Morning News 16.12.02 PRO-HUNTING CAMPAIGNERS IN NEW BATTLE - MARK CLOUGH - HUNT supporters from across the Westcountry will be heading to London today to lobby Parliament as it begins considering the controversial anti-hunting Bill…. Among those taking part in the protest will be Diana Scott, one of the joint masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, who will be part of a small delegation meeting Mr Michael today… Caroline Lewis, the daughter of Gilmore Lewis, the huntsman for the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, said any move to curtail hunting would have a huge impact on members of her family…. (story)
Western Morning News 16.12.02 BACKBENCHERS POISED TO FORCE A TOTAL BAN The Parliamentary stalemate over foxhunting must be broken so that more important issues can take centre stage, a Government Minister insisted yesterday… (story)

Evening Standard 16.12.02 Police arrest six in Commons hunting protest - Six pro-hunting campaigners were arrested during a noisy demonstration outside Parliament as MPs resumed their impassioned debate on foxhunting…. Mounted police were forced to hold back protesters from the gates of Parliament as scuffles broke out in Parliament Square… (story)
Ananova 16.12.02 Protesters stage demo as MPs decide future of hunting - Six pro-hunting campaigners have been arrested during a demonstration outside Parliament… Scotland Yard said approximately 2,300 supporters marched from Hyde Park to Horseferry Road and then moved off to join the lobby queue. There were also about 700-800 protesters in Parliament Square, believed to be supporters of the Countryside Action Network … (story) (photo) (photo)
BBC News Online Monday, 16 December, 2002, 19:11 GMT - Hunting debate attracts angry demo - Six people were arrested as hundreds of hunt campaigners have staged a noisy demonstration as MPs debate new plans to resolve the hunting debate… (story)
ITV.COM 16.12.02 Scuffles at pro-hunt demo Scuffles broke out in Parliament Square as around 2000 hunt supporters staged a noisy demonstration while inside MPs resumed their heated debate on foxhunting… Protesters in Parliament Square tried to break through police lines and join other marchers who had arrived in the area earlier… Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter from the Metropolitan Police said they have 700 officers on duty. He said that there had been agreements between the police and the demonstration organisers and he was "very disappointed that they had breached those agreements."… (story)
Anglia TV 16.12.02 Angry scenes at hunting protest - Campaigners from our region have joined hundreds of hunt supporters and animal welfare groups tonight in staging a noisy demonstration outside Parliament as MPs resumed their impassioned debate on foxhunting…. (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 16.12.02 Hunting communities lobby Westminster BY SAM THOMSON - THOUSANDS of people from the rural population of East Anglia will descend on London today in their latest show of strength against a possible ban on hunting…. Richard Burge, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Monday will see the start of a campaign to bring home forcibly to Parliament the depth of rural concern and frustration over the Bill…" Liz Mort, spokeswoman for the Eastern Region Countryside Alliance, added: "The Brown Hare population in East Anglia is healthy, largely because those who have an interest in coursing and hare hunting have an interest in its conservation…" (story)
Southern Daily Echo 16.12.02 HUNDREDS MARCH ON WHITEHALL by Clare Kennedy - HUNDREDS of fox-hunting supporters from the New Forest were due to march outside the House of Commons today as the Hunting Bill gets its second reading. A 1,000-strong contingent, including members of the New Forest Hounds armed with banners and placards, will make the journey to the capital in time for this evening's reading…. (story in archive)
Gloucester Citizen 16.12.02 FOXHUNTERS IN NEW MAJOR PROTEST MARCH "THIS Government has declared war on the entire hunting movement." That is the verdict of leading foxhunter Henry Berkeley, master of the Berkeley Hunt. So great is Mr Berkeley's fury at the Government's new hunting legislation, he is today joining around 500 Gloucestershire protesters marching on parliament for the second time in three months… (letter)
Wolverhampton Express & Star 16.12.02 Hunting fans protest over ban - A Wolverhampton man was among protesters at a lobby of Parliament today, who are angry at plans to ban deer hunting and hare coursing… Wayne Drew, who works at the British Oxygen Company, in Lower Walsall Street, Wolverhampton, is a licensed slipper for hare courses all over the country…. The Countryside Alliance's West Midlands director Clare Rowson, said: "Monday will see the start of a campaign to bring home to Parliament the depth of rural concern and frustration over the bill, whose current unfairness and inconsistency has caused widespread suspicion that it is a 'divide and rule' tactic." (story)
Worcester Evening News 16.12.02 Frustration and anger at new Bill - HUNDREDS of protesters from rural Worcestershire and Herefordshire will be heading for London on Monday to vent their anger at the Government's Hunting Bill. Seven coaches from the two counties will be taking parties of protesters to the capital and many others will be travelling independently to join thousands of countryside campaigners from all over the country… Bob Brierley, spokesman for the Worcestershire Hunt, said alternative methods of culling foxes were far more cruel than hunting, which takes out the weak and the old…. (story in archive)
York Evening Press 14.12.02 Hunt supporters return to London - HUNDREDS of bloods sports supporters from North and East Yorkshire are expected to converge on London on Monday. They are planning to join a demonstration, organised by the Countryside Alliance, timed to coincide with the reading of the second half of the controversial Hunting Bill, calling for a ban on hare coursing and stag hunting…. Hundreds in the hare coursing industry across North and East Yorkshire are expected to attend the rally, including Jackie Teal, who runs a greyhound training kennel employing five people in Malton…. (story in archive)
Cumberland News & Star 14.12.02 HUNT PROTESTERS TAKE TO STREETS IN ROW OVER BILL - HUNDREDS of Cumbrians are expected to join a mass lobby of Parliament to protest at wide-ranging plans to outlaw hunting… Cumbria's Countryside Alliance Regional Director Tom Fell said: "Monday will see the start of a campaign to bring home forcibly to Parliament the depth of rural concern and frustration over the Bill…" (story)
Western Mail 14.12.02 Hunt supporters ready for Parliament rally WELSH hunt supporters are expected to be among thousands of protestors planning to encircle the Palace of Westminster on Monday to show their anger at the Government's proposed Hunting Bill… "Rural Wales is angry at the proposals and I have no doubt that their resolute support will be en mass in London on Monday," said Mark Hinge, political director of the Countryside Alliance Wales…. (story)
Western Daily Press 13.12.02 DEFIANT MARCH TO WAR ON HUNT BAN - Thousands of countryside campaigners are to protest outside Parliament as a mark of defiance against the Government's new hunting proposals…. Monday's protest will coincide with a debate in Parliament about the Hunting Bill…. Mal Treharne spoke on behalf of the Quantock Staghounds by highlighting the importance of hunting to the South West…(story)
Lincolnshire Echo 13.12.02 HUNTERS IN MASS LOBBY - Pro hunt campaigners from Lincolnshire will be joining a mass lobby of parliament next Monday… Countryside Alliance Regional Director for the East Midlands Kay Chapman said: "We aim to bring home forcibly to Parliament the depth of rural concern and frustration over this issue." (story)
Malvern Gazette 13.12.02 Warning on Hunting Bill THE joint master of Ledbury Hunt is urging field sports enthusiasts to join a demonstration outside Parliament on Monday, December 16, for the second reading of the new Hunting Bill…. (story in archive)

Shropshire Star 16.12.02 Truth of foxhounds and birds - The disturbing effects of foxhounds upon other wildlife (Shropshire Star, December 2), is frequently magnified for reasons which might be mischievous. Mr Roger Hough, Master of the Albrighton Foxhounds, is quite correct to point out that no birds are breeding on any reserve at this time of the year and any birds which might have been disturbed, would have quickly returned to the area and no harm done…. Keith Erlandson, Llangollen (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 2.12.02 Hunt ignored bird area, says group By Adele Edmonson … Shropshire Animal Action says it will call for government action after it claimed the The Albrighton Foxhounds took the hunt through land protected under a scheme by the Department of the Enivornment, Farming and Rural Affairs… They say they have filmed evidence of riders blatantly ignoring signs, as well as horses and a quad bike charging across land that was either part of or next to the breeding site … Mr Roger Hough, master of the Albrighton Hunt, said they were hunting within a mile of Lapley on Saturday but had not been aware of any restricted areas… DEFRA today said it was possible the site was protected but confirmed birds would not be breeding at this time of year. (story)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 16.12.02 LAW SUPPOSED TO PROTECT MINORITIES - Sir, - I'm writing to you to express my anger at the attack on hunting with dogs yet again. I for one find it extraordinary that a Government which I stupidly voted to get into power, which said that it would protect the rights of minorities, can even contemplate such a bill…. I know that the suffering is less than any - and yes I do mean any - other animal killed in this country. And that goes for the beast that your nice leather shoes came off! The thing is I'm there to ensure my quarry is killed with swiftness and minimal suffering... are you? NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Guardian 16.12.02 I recommend fox oil (Letters, December 14), a vile-smelling turps-based liquid, obtainable from rural hardware stores… Christopher Squire, Twickenham, Middx
Perhaps the papergirl could carry and occasionally blow a hunting horn, or maybe take a hound along on her round. There should be a lot of both available on the market soon. Revel Barker, Gozo, Malta (letters)
Guardian 14.12.02 Foxy fears - The lateness of our beloved Guardian on several mornings, and its complete absence this morning, turns out to be due to foxes. Our young papergirl is frightened of them and has returned to the newspaper shop in tears most mornings… Marielaine Church, Nottingham (letter)

Western Daily Press 16.12.02 CHARITIES FREE FROM CRUELTY - People may wish to get a copy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) free guide to health charities that do not fund animal experiments… Dawn Carr PETA Europe Ltd PO Box 36668 London SE1 1WA (letter)

Western Daily Press 16.12.02 ANIMAL LAWS SO OUTDATED - Readers will be interested to know that on December 5, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to accept a report by Plaid Cymru MEP, Jill Evans, on EU Directive 86 609, which governs all animal experiments…. Wendy Higgins Campaigns Director BUAV (letter)
Western Morning News 10.12.02 BRITAIN HAS SHAMEFUL RECORD ON VIVISECTION - Readers will be interested to know that on December 5 the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to accept a report by Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans on EU Directive 86 609, which governs all animal experiments across Europe… Wendy Higgins, Campaigns Director, BUAV (letter)
Bath Chronicle 10.12.02 BRITAIN SINGLED OUT OVER CRUEL ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS Readers will be interested to know that on December 5 the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to accept a report by Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans on EU directive 86 609, which governs all animal experiments across Europe… For more information about what MEPs are doing for lab animals, contact the BUAV at 16a Crane Grove, London N7 8NN or e-mail info@buav. org WENDY HIGGINS (letter)

Observer 15.12.02 Animal rights supporters to spy on hunts - Gaby Hinsliff, chief political correspondent - An army of volunteer animal rights supporters will be expected to police fox-hunting across Britain under plans for licensed blood sports which critics warn could be a recipe for chaos… the Government admits the only way of telling whether rules have been broken will be by animal welfare workers, many of whom may have clashed with local hunts in the past, volunteering to follow meets and spy on any misdemeanours… 'Unless our people are out observing, the hunt is a law unto itself,' said Lis Key of IFAW… In one case earlier this year, the New Forest Hounds were banned from hunting for a month after being caught digging out a fox which had gone to earth. The hunt was caught only because IFAW monitors saw and reported the incident…. Peter White of IFAW, one of only five full-time hunt monitors in the country, said the New Forest Hounds had been watched so closely only because they hunted on public land, unlike most hunts…. (story)

Sunday Telegraph 15.12.02 CPRE is neutral - In my piece on hunting last week (opinion, Dec 8), I was billed as President of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. The CPRE has a policy of neutrality on field sports issues, which I endorse. It should have been made clear that I was writing in a personal capacity. Max Hastings, Hungerford, Berkshire (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 8.12.02 This silly hunting fudge will never work - By Max Hastings …it is often easier to rally sentiment around a small thing than a big one. Even as Mr Blair plunges deeper into difficulties on public services, trade union power and money, he finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place, or rather between a brown furry animal and the permanent alienation of the upper-middle classes… In reality, no sane farmer who had a serious fox problem would send for the Quorn or the Pytchley to deal with it. A lot of smart hunts go for weeks without catching anything. They are in the same business as the RSPCA, if either side could bear to admit it. In hunting countries, foxes are religiously preserved…. Then I think of Trollope and Surtees, of Stubbs and Alken and the whole great literary and artistic heritage woven into the fabric of foxhunting over three centuries, and pity vanishes… (story)

Telegraph 14.12.02 The Scottish experience shows, says Lucy Whaley, that fox-hunting with guns is not the answer… Under the new law in Scotland, police usually attend at the start of the day to check that guns are in place: a minimum of two is advised by the Masters of Foxhounds Association. Here at the Berwickshire we have had up to six guns… Three true and recent fox stories. One: this week a fox was shot and wounded as he ran from the wood. He somersaulted and ran on. Hounds hunted him into an earth, where he was bolted, shot at again and eventually killed - some 20 minutes after he was first wounded. Two: a friend found a fox dying of gunshot wounds in her barn, stinking of gangrene. Her husband was away and there was no foxhound handy, so she bravely shut her eyes and whacked him on the head with a spade. Three: at an English hunt last week, we saw a fox "coursed" (hunted by sight rather than scent) by hounds across two fields. As he negotiated each hedgerow, he gained a lead and escaped - which would not have happened if he had not been strong and healthy. Which was the luckiest of these foxes?... (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 14.12.02 COUNTY'S PRO-HUNT LOBBY TO PROTEST - KEVIN PEACHEY - Countryside-dwellers from across Notts and the region will join a march in London on Monday against a ban on hunting. The national protest will be staged on the same day as the second reading in Parliament of the Government's Hunting Bill…. Kay Chapman, Countryside Alliance regional director for the East Midlands, said: "Monday will see the start of a campaign to bring home forcibly to Parliament the depth of rural concern and frustration over the Bill."… (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 14.12.02 PRESS MPS TO AMEND BILL ON HUNTING WITH HOUNDS - Being caught and torn apart by a pack of dogs is undoubtedly cruel, hunted animals will often suffer a long and agonising death…. I felt angry because the Government has not proposed that fox hunting should be banned… Mrs Frances Wicks, lphington Road, St Thomas, Exeter (letter)

Lincolnshire Echo 14.12.02 POACHERS TARGETED - Criminals who kill wildlife in the north of the county are being targeted by police from two forces. Lincolnshire Police have teamed up with officers from neighbouring Humberside in a bid to catch poachers… (story)

Burton Mail 14.12.02 BOMB MAN JAILED BY CHRIS WATSON - AN ANIMAL rights terrorist who sabotaged an East Staffordshire guinea pig farm has been jailed for his part in bombing campaigns on an abattoir and science testing laboratory. David Blenkinsop, 36, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison… Outside court, Animal Liberation Front campaigners gathered to show their support for Blenkinsop (story in archive)
Telegraph 13.12.02 Animal rights saboteur is jailed By Edmund Conway - An animal rights activist who used home-made bombs to terrorise abattoir workers and employees of an animal testing laboratory was jailed for five and a half years yesterday. David Blenkinsop, 36, the son of a former ministry of agriculture employee, planted explosives on lorries at an Oxfordshire livestock plant and on workers' cars at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) in Cambridgeshire, Oxford Crown Court was told…. (story)
Times 13.12.02 Animal rights bomb maker jailed for attack on lab and abattoir BY SAM LISTER - ONE of Britain’s most notorious animal welfare terrorists was jailed for 5½ years yesterday for his part in bombing campaigns on an abattoir and an animal testing laboratory. Oxford Crown Court was told that David Blenkinsop, 36, made incendiary devices to inflict terror on workers at Mutchmeats Livestock Process Plant in Witney, Oxfordshire, and Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire. Blenkinsop, the son of a former Ministry of Agriculture worker, is currently serving 4½ years for attacking Brian Cass, the director of Huntingdon Life Sciences…. Stephen Kamlish, mitigating, read a letter from Blenkinsop which said he had now turned his back on violent direct action. “I continue to hold those views but I now feel that what I did was both wrong and counterproductive,”… A letter was read in court from Carla Lane, the screenwriter and animal welfare campaigner, who hired Blenkinsop to work at her animal sanctuary in West Sussex. She said he had worked hard. “Me and my staff missed David. He was a genuine and caring person.” (story)
Guardian 13.12.02 Animal rights bomber jailed (story)
Scotsman 13.12.02 Animal rights activist jailed for bomb terror … David Blenkinsop, 36, made incendiary devices which were placed under lorries belonging to an abattoir and under the cars of employees of an animal testing laboratory… Blenkinsop is already serving four-and-a-half years for illegal activities while campaigning for animal rights. He was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison for a break-in at a guinea pig farm in Staffordshire, and three years for his part in an attack on the managing director of Huntingdon, Brian Cass. (story)
Yorkshire Post 13.12.02 Animal rights activist jailed over car and lorry bombs … David Blenkinsop, 36, had made incendiary devices which were placed under lorries belonging to an abattoir and also under the cars of employees of an animal testing laboratory. Oxford Crown Court heard how the devices were used to inflict terror upon the workers during two separate incidents in May and August 2000…. (story)
Cambridge News 13.12.02 Animal rights man jailed for car bombs - AN animal rights activist who targeted employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for his part in two bombing campaigns. David Blenkinsop, 36, had made incendiary devices which were placed under cars of employees of the animal testing laboratory and also under lorries belonging to an abattoir…. Defending, Stephen Kamlish said Blenkinsop was fundamentally a "decent man" who had been involved in animal rights from an early age. But he said that interest had grown from hunt saboteuring to more unlawful activities for the cause.... Sentencing him to five-and-a-half years' imprisonment, Judge Anthony King said he had a right to hold his strong views but said: "Nothing justifies what you have taken part in." (story)
Oxford Mail 13.12.02 Animal rights activist jailed for bombing … David Blenkinsop, 36, of Broadhurst Manor Road, Horstead, West Sussex, admitted possessing, and aiding others to construct, incendiary devices to destruct property…. Prosecuting, John Price said he had endangered the lives of innocent workers. Blenkinsop also admitted making 15 devices used to blow up cars belonging to employees of Huntingdon Life Sciences, near Cambridge, in August 2000… Animal Liberation Front spokesman Keith Mann said: "He's not the first person to go to prison for something like this, and he won't be the last."… (story in archive)
Argus 13.12.02 Animal rights bomber jailed - A friend and former employee of Sussex animal rights campaigner Carla Lane has been jailed for helping to stage two bombing campaigns. David Blenkinsop made incendiary devices which were placed under lorries belonging to an abattoir and cars owned by employees of an animal testing laboratory…. (story in archive)
Ananova 12.12.02 Animal activist bomber jailed - An animal rights activist has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for his part in two bombing campaigns. David Blenkinsop made and placed incendiary devices under lorries belonging to an abattoir and also under the cars of employees of an animal testing laboratory…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 13.12.02 A STARRY, STARRY NIGHT AT THE HUNT BALL - Five hundred people danced the night away during the Quorn Hunt ball recently… (story)

Bridgwater Mercury 13.12.02 Does hunting have any future? FISHING could be next for legislation, according to Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger… (story in archive)

Cumberland News & Star 13.12.02 D-DAY FOR FOXHUNTING FOXhunting should be banned - that's the democratic decision of a group of year six pupils from Richmond Hill School in Aspatria… Mrs Routledge said when the final voting was cast there was one abstention, 12 against a ban, and 14 for a ban (story)

West Cumberland Times & Star 13.12.02 'LOOK OUT - BOLD REYNARD IS ASTIR' - HUNTING has been in the news again. It seems to crop up with monotonous regularity. Why it does so is a mystery. The world is on the brink of war, we face the threat of attack from terrorists, the economy isn't what it should be, drug abuse is growing at an alarming rate, just to mention a few topics which should occupy the minds of our politicians. But what do they choose to spend valuable time on? Hunting, of course! A strange set of priorities…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 13.12.02 Death of Mrs A, a top horsewoman - ADVENTURER, rally driver, master of foxhounds and top horsewoman, Pat Aldersey, who died recently at her home at Broomhall, near Worcester, was by any standards a remarkable woman…. From 1972 to 1982, she was joint master of the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt with her husband John… Mrs Aldersey's funeral will be at Norton Parish church on Tuesday, December 17, at 12.30pm. (story in archive)

Telegraph 13.12.02 Opinion instead of fact - It appears that the RSPCA is using opinion instead of fact to justify its illogical dislike of mink hunting. While trapping is commonly carried out, it is stunningly ineffective, with studies showing that, in one example, during 12,981 trap days, 60 mink were caught…. William Proudfoot, Longfield, Kent (letter)
Telegraph 12.12.02 Wellington booted - find it perplexing that the Duke of Wellington should consider hunting with dogs to be the most effective way of controlling mink, considering his role as a vice-president of the Game Conservancy Trust… Colin Booty, Senior scientific officer, RSPCA, Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Telegraph 10.12.02 Shooting and trapping cause pain and stress - During the great hunting debate, I have read or heard next to nothing about control of the other great pest of the countryside, the mink, which was originally imported into this country. I am absolutely certain that the most effective way of controlling this voracious and extremely harmful animal in England is by hunting with hounds… The Duke of Wellington, Heckfield, Hants (letter)

Yorkshire Post 13.12.02 Hounding of the hunters From: JW Buckley, Throstle Cottage, Aketon, Pontefract…. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence at all to support a ban on hunting, and the Government knows this. (letter)

Western Daily Press 13.12.02 THE QUESTION OF CRUELTY - I am pleased to see that Mal Treharne is still answering letters and columnists' opposition to hunting with dogs… Why do the hunts kill immature fox cubs? Why disturb and block badger setts?... Why shoot hounds only halfway through their lives?... Why feed your dogs on raw flesh?... M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 13.12.02 HUNTING FAILS THE CRUELTY TEST - Before New Labour came to power they declared their strong opposition to the so- called sport of hunting with hounds . Now almost six years later they are still prevaricating and fudging over the issue…. RA GAGIE, All Hallows Road, Paignton (letter)

Wiltshire Times 13.12.02 People are too self-interested - CERTAIN government ministers, Labour luvvies in the BBC, like the cruel sports lobby, are treating the rest of us as if we were all fools in an attempt not to upset the establishment…. DAVID THOMAS, Hisomley, Near Westbury (letter)

Darlington & Stockton Times 13.12.02 Inconsistent Bill - The announcement by Alun Michael, that the government is to ban hunting in some circumstances, and allow it in others is a monument to its indifference to its own expensively-collected evidence, its metropolitan attitude to the countryside, and its sheer political expediency in the face of a fanatical element of its own backbenches… ROB BURTON Chairman, Cleveland People's Countrysports Action Group, Crathorne. (letter in archive)

Kent/Sussex Courier 13.12.02 ISSUES WRONG ON RURAL ECONOMY - The publication of the sanctimoniously worded Bill on what has been emotively named Licensed to Kill? proves what I have been trying to say since Alun Michael's consultations in September, that the Government has got the issues regarding hunting and its place in the rural economy completely wrong…. The Countryside Alliance got it right when they said the march was all about liberty and livelihood, otherwise those of us who support hunting are merely fighting political claptrap. Ann Haig McVitty, Goldsmiths Avenue, Crowborough (letter)

Gloucestershire Echo 13.12.02 HARMLESS COUNTRY SPORT OR TORTURE? - The debate over hare coursing has reared its ugly head again as police claim a gang of men with vehicles and dogs are illegally killing hares across Gloucestershire… All competitive coursing looks set to be banned under the Government's New Hunting Bill… Becky Hawkes, an RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We are against all hare coursing and hunting with dogs…. Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, called on animal rights activists in Gloucestershire to help the police catch illegal hare coursers wherever possible…. Charles Blanning, secretary of the National Coursing Club, defended licensed hare coursing…. (story)

Sussex Express 13.12.02 CONCERN OVER HARE COARSERS - A LEWES farmer has voiced concern over aggressive hare coursers who have been trespassing on his land…. East Sussex National Farmers' Union chairman John Padfield said: 'Illegal hare coursing is a major problem on the South Downs where the land is open at any time of the year…. Hare coursing is currently legal if permitted by a land owner or if carried out under the rules of the National Coursing Club (story in archive)

Kent/Sussex Courier 13.12.02 SEEK BETTER INITIATIVES - Richard Jeffryes defends the pheasant industry as a provider of jobs and as a good economic resource for rural England… This is surely a pathetic argument for promoting cruel sports such as pheasant shooting… Richard Mountford, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 6.12.02 POSITIVE FOR RURAL LIFE - Mary McNulty asks why is pheasant shooting is an asset to the countryside (Courier, November 15). The rearing and shooting of pheasants produces a demand for a range of goods and services. The construction of rearing and laying pens, wire netting, gates. The maintenance of woodland and clearance of game rides ensures employment to woodland workers… Richard Jeffryes, Mascalls Pound, Paddock Wood (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 15.11.02 SPIN AT WORK ON PHEASANT SHOOTS Simon Clarke tries to justify pheasant shooting (Courier, November 1), but why is it an asset to the countryside?... If guns need airing, clay-pigeon shooting is a more humane option… Mary McNulty, Palmers Green Lane, Brenchley (letter)
North Devon Journal 15.11.02 IT ADDS UP FOR SHOOTING - I must thank Animal Aid for its letter last week in the Journal. I should declare my hand - I do a little shooting as well as being very interested in the countryside and conservation… The shooting industry goes to great lengths to make statistics available to the public… To suggest the shooting industry is depriving the 'public purse' is entertaining too - larger shoots are VAT registered and shooters buy a Game Licence for all of £4. However, registered charities should stray away from politics because that could affect their charitable status and the valuable tax credits to which they are entitled and which would go to the same schools, hospitals and public services Ms Lilly suggests are deprived… Philip J. Milton, Darracott Rise, Braunton. (letter)
Sunderland Echo 12.11.02 Merciless killing - Becky Lilly, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid (letter)
North Devon Journal 8.11.02 PLENTY OF TRUTH IN PHEASANT CLAIMS - Simon Clarke of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation refers to the Animal Aid report as containing "unsubstantiated allegations"… BECKY LILLY, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1AW. (letter)
Yorkshire Post 6.11.02 Views on life in the country find favour - The Yorkshire Post on October 30 contained a letter from Jim Davenport saying that killing pheasants for pleasure and fun is morally unacceptable… From: J W Buckley, Throstle Cottage, Aketon, Pontefract (letter)
Yorkshire Post 30.11.02 Pheasant shooting is simply immoral - Your lead letter (October 25) from Simon Clarke of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation wishes to inform us that "pheasant shooting is invaluable to the British economy and countryside"…. I am ashamed to admit that I am not a member of Animal Aid or any other animal rights organisation. From: Jim Davenport, Chapel Row, Copt Hewick, Ripon, North Yorkshire. (letter)
Shropshire Star 5.11.02 Shooters have been twisting the truth - Simon Clarke of The British Association for Shooting and Conservation refers to the Animal Aid report as containing "unsubstantiated allegations" and "twisted half truths", and he also challenges us to produce our evidence (Shropshire Star, October 28)…. Becky Lilly, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid (letter in archive)
Northern Echo 2.11.02 SHOOTING - SIMON Clarke of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (HAS, Oct 23) refers to the Animal Aid report as containing "unsubstantiated allegations" and "twisted half-truths"… If Mr Clarke had watched BBC2's Countryfile on October 20 he would have seen samples of the evidence obtained by Animal Aid… I fail to see how shooting is 'invaluable to the British economy'. - Becky Lilly Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid. (letter in archive)
North Devon Journal 1.11.02 PROVE THE CLAIMS ABOUT CRUELTY - Simon Clarke, BASC, Marford Mill, Wrexham (letter)
Manchester Evening News 29.10.02 Our challenge - Simon Clarke, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Wrexham (letter)
Western Morning News 29.10.02 SHOOTING IS THE BANE OF SOME PEOPLE'S LIVES - Simon Clarke, of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), is being dishonest in his attack on Animal Aid… In the Devon village of Oakford, where I manage an ancient woodland for conservation, many local residents are tearing their hair out over a nearby shoot that is flooding the area with pheasants… Theo Hopkins, Lifton (letter)
Western Morning News 29.10.02 Animal welfare - SIMON Clarke (WMN, October 23) writes advocating the sport of pheasant shooting and Dick Lloyd (WMN, October 22) writes in defence of the sport of stag hunting… I find it difficult to think of a name more absurd and contradictory than the British Association for Shooting and Conservation… John Phelps, Exeter (letter)
Shropshire Star 28.10.02 Challenge from the shooting fraternity - Simon Clarke, British Association for Shooting and Conservation Wrexham (letter in archive)
Sunderland Echo 28.10.02 Smear campaign - Simon Clarke BASC (letter)
Yorkshire Post 25.10.02 Shooting season vital to rural economy From: Simon Clarke, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham. (letter)
Western Morning News 23.10.02 Shooting benefits - Simon Clarke British Association for Shooting and Conservation Wrexham (letter)
Northern Echo 23.10.02 PHEASANT SHOOTING - Simon Clarke, BASC, Wrexham. (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 23.10.02 PHEASANT SHOOTING BOOSTS THE RURAL ECONOMY - The pheasant shooting season is with us again and, as surely as the return of the autumn mist, the militant animals rights organisation Animal Aid is attempting to boost its coffers by slinging unsubstantiated allegations and twisted half-truths in an attack on the sport… The British Association for Shooting and Conservation - Britain's representative body for shooting sports - lays down an open challenge to Animal Aid: instead of resorting to cheap smear campaigns, let us examine your alleged evidence.Where malpractice is proven, we will act. Simon Clarke BASC Wrexham (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 13.12.02 BEWARE KILLER SQUIRRELS …Have any of the residents of Terrington Place and Penshurst Road heard of tolerance? If foxes are fouling your lawns then take two minutes to pick it up, wash your vegetables if they have been urinated on, put back bulbs that have been dug up, pick up pots that have been knocked over… Do people seriously believe that a fox poses a threat to a young child? Do people really believe that a fox would attack a child?... Karen Garrod, Cleethorpes (letter)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 13.12.02 DOCTOR IGNORED IN THE HOUSE -It is true that Dr Vernon Coleman gave his evidence to the House of Lords with respect to experiments involving animals. What Mark Richards did not go on to say was that they chose to reject the information…. COLIN MCLEAN Sandbach (letter)
The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 6.12.02 VIVISECTION DOESN'T WORK - News that Cambridge University wants to construct a primate laboratory deeply concerns me. Vivisection is an utterly invalid method of biomedical research for human health…. MARK RICHARDS Newcastle (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 13.12.02 HELP NON-ANIMAL RESEARCH GROW - Many of your readers will be receiving additional letters and parcels… We can sell these stamps, and stamped postcards (not Christmas cards), to help pay for non-animal research into cancer, heart and other illnesses…. Malcolm Yeatman, Non-Animal Medical Research UK, Parcel Reception/Security, 81 Beresford Avenue, Skegness PE25 3JQ (letter)

Argus 13.12.02 I'll never eat turkey again - I recently read in a Sunday newspaper that, each year, 35,000 turkeys are boiled alive… I will never be able to eat turkey again. Fortunately, I love roast vegetables so will enjoy them on Christmas Day. -V Croft, Walnut Close, Brighton (letter in archive)

Lewisham News Shopper 13.12.02 Eat veggies and save one turkey …Many people will be having a traditional turkey but why not break from tradition and try a vegetarian Christmas dinner… Compassion and goodwill at this time of year should extend to what we put on out plate. Visit for its Christmas veggie recipe pack. Veggie Christmases are fun and compassionate. David Mawson Verdant Lane SE6 (letter)

Worcester Evening News 13.12.02 Why not go veggie this Christmas? - THIS Christmas, why not dispense with tradition and have a vegetarian dinner?... For a free guide to celebrating Christmas without cruelty, featuring shopping tips, delicious veggie recipes and our own animal-friendly, mail-order catalogue, readers should send an SAE to Animal Aid… BECKY SMITH, Animal Aid Campaigner. (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 29.11.02 Consider a turkey-free Christmas - THIS Christmas, why not dispense with tradition and have a vegetarian dinner?... For a free guide to celebrating Christmas with our cruelty, send an SAE to Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1AW. Becky Smith Animal Aid Campaigner (letter in archive)

Rugby Advertiser 13.12.02 AS WE STUFF FOOD GIVE A THOUGHT TO WHAT THE TURKEY HAS BEEN THROUGH - CHRISTMAS is heralded as the season of peace and goodwill but for millions of animals it is a season in which the agony is piled on rather than reduced. We stuff ourselves with turkey… We watch bullied and sick-at-heart performing animals in the circus… There are many very good and intelligent reasons for being a vegetarian and this is one of them! Janet Cummings, Tower Road, Rugby. (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 13.12.02 Horses are the danger, vehicles are not - THE letter from Michelle Ingram (December 5) confirmed my belief that horse riding should now be banned. Instinctively, horses are wary and unpredictable animals. They do not like being ridden and do not like steel pieces in their mouths and tugged in all directions. Horses do not like being thrashed around circuits to within inches of their lives for the pleasure of gamblers and toffs in cashmere coats… Mike Forty Chevalier Close, Middleleaze (letter in archive)

Sutton & Epsom Advertiser 13.12.02 Pet shop removes monkeys from sale By Karen Styan News Reporter, Sutton & Epsom Advertiser - Animal lovers were up in arms last week following the discovery of two caged monkeys for sale in a Sutton pet shop…. One member of the protesting group, Margaret Williams, explained that the discovery was made by accident. "Members of the public told us about the monkeys when we were collecting signatures on a petition."… (story)

Burnham Times 13.12.02 BEAR NECESSITIES - Cannington College students wearing fancy dress walked in rain and gale force wind to Bridgwater to raise cash to save captured Asiatic Black Bears in China. The students are hoping to raise £2,500 for Animals Asia Foundation to rescue the bears… (story)

Dorking Advertiser 12.12.02 Government proposes ban on fox hunts By Monica Hawley, Leatherhead Advertiser THE future of fox-hunting in Mole Valley is hanging in the balance after the Government published details of its proposed Hunting Bill… Ian Agnew, chairman of the Surrey Union Hunt (SUH), which is based in Okewood Hill and was formed in 1799, said: "One thing that disturbs me is they are making a sacrificial lamb out of stag hunting and hare coursing…" Mole Valley MP Sir Paul Beresford said: "We are slowly finding an increase in foxes and I'm getting letters from people in urban areas saying they need to be dealt with because pets, especially cats and dogs, are getting diseases such as mange from them."… (story)

Buckingham Advertiser 12.12.02 'EMOTIONAL' ATTACK ON HUNTING - I HAVE always understood that under the law I am innocent of any offence until proven guilty. The proposed Hunting Act 2003 turns this principle on its head… Dr David A Rothery, Church Street, Silverstone (letter)
Guardian 11.12.02 Contrary to Dr Rothery's view that fox hunters have to prove their innocence (Letters, December 6), surely they are already pleading guilty of being cruel to a fox…. Brian Reid, London (letter)
Guardian 6.12.02 Extended debate on the future of hunting with dogs - I have always understood that under the law I am innocent until proven guilty. The proposed hunting legislation (Government hunts for a compromise, December 4) turns this principle on its head… it would make fox hunters guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent…. Dr David A Rothery, Silverstone, Northants (letter)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 12.12.02 HUNTING BAN WON'T LIFT NUMBERS - As fox hunting has reared its ugly head yet again and there are those, like John Abberley, who feel that hunting is necessary to 'keep the numbers down'… A study undertaken by the Mammal Society and led by three influential scientists, concluded that hunting only minimally affected fox numbers. During the foot and mouth crisis hunting was banned for roughly a year… fox numbers actually decreased… PAT FOSTER Weston Coyney (letter)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 12.12.02 FOXES HAVE RIGHTS TOO - Fox hunting is a cruel outdated sport, and the RSPCA carried out research during the foot and mouth outbreak, when hunting was banned, and the results showed no increase in fox numbers… I also go to feed foxes and we are animals like them. It isn't a sport because there aren't equal sides… Andrew Goldwater, aged 11, of Boothen (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 12.12.02 AND PIGS WILL FLY Speaking on the new hunting legislation, Mr Michael Weir of the Dartmoor Hunt states: "The big problem is that deer and foxes will suffer more if it is stopped..." Yes Mr Weir, and sows will rise up from their farrowing crates and soar over Haytor. M FOX, Greenway Road, Chelston (letter)
Torquay Herald Express CONTROLS PLAN WON'T WORK SAY HUNT BACKERS BY KATINA READ - New hunting legislation would be unworkable and unenforceable, say South Devon hunts… Michael Weir, of the Dartmoor Hunt, said they were still waiting to see the small print. On the surface, he didn't see how it could be fair or workable… (story)

Impartial Reporter 12.12.02 Vermin are beyond control - I see that Nature Alert and Nature’s Helper are bleating about farmers using pesticides… we have no compunction in tackling the foxes which ate the heads of our lambs or grey crows which would peck the eyes out of any sheep, unlucky enough to roll onto its back… If any hard-pressed farmer could diversify into making efficient traps for foxes and other vermin, he would find plenty of grateful customers among the sheep farmers. Yours, WHAT’S SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE . . . . (letter may be in archive)

Western Gazette 12.12.02 THE PLIGHT OF BADGERS - Nearly 3,000 badgers, mostly in Devon and Cornwall have been murdered by the Government. Why? Because some farmers are blaming them for TB;also blaming badgers are people like the Countryside Alliance. The Horse and Hound has also pushed for even more badgers to be killed.... Neal, full name supplied, Dorset Anti-Bloodsports and Animal Action, PO Box 1119, Dorchester. (letter)

Lancashire Evening Post 12.12.02 Fur flies over toy cats - Shops in Preston have sparked outrage among animal rights groups by selling cuddly ornaments – made from dead animals… Lorraine Holden, of Preston Action for Animals Group, said: "This is a pointless waste of an animal's life for such a tacky and worthless object…" Kevin Hegarty, spokesman for the RSPCA, said: "We are concerned about the rabbits' and goats' welfare and the conditions they were kept in…" (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)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 11.12.02 She's cook of the north! - FLAMBOYANT celebrity cook Clarissa Dickson-Wright enjoyed her day out with the Saltersgate Farmers' Hunt so much earlier this year that she made a return visit last weekend. She was the guest speaker at the hunt dinner at the Forest and Vale Hotel, Pickering, on Friday night and then spent the following day hunting in the Cropton and Newton-upon-Rawcliffe area…. (story in archive)

Guardian 11.12.02 Foxhunting must stop - You say in your leader (December 4) that foxhunting should take its proper subordinate position in our public debate. Yet MPs on both sides say they get more letters on this issue than on any other. And I, like many millions of citizens, feel deeply offended that this barbaric cruelty is allowed to continue for as long as it has… Keith Darlington, Gants Hill, Essex
…. In the rare cases where death with hounds is not instantaneous, it is a matter of a few seconds, whereas all shooting involves a very high risk of wounding. Killed by the only method that avoids any risk of prolonged suffering, a fox minds no more about being torn to pieces after it is dead than the dead lamb being roasted and eaten by Labour MPs belching out "barbaric" between mouthfuls. Duke of Buccleuch, KT, Selkirk
Those who take part in hunting activities are so devoid of normal ethical standards and so lacking in empathy for their victims that society must step in and restrain them, as they are unable to conform to a standard of behaviour which is acceptable… Penny LIttle, Great Haseley, Oxon (letters)

Bristol Evening Post 11.12.02 HUNTING OF FOXES SHOULD FACE BAN - A bristol pest control company… were recently reported to have caught 90-plus foxes in one week… So how can a rabble of unqualified, unlicensed part-time amateur fox hunters, using inefficient and archaic methods of pest control, think they can do better?... F Murray, Bedminster Down Road, Bedminster Down. (letter)

Bristol Evening Post 11.12.02 MPS NEED TO GET IN TOUCH WITH SOCIETY Transportation, housing, health and education have all been urgent issues. The fire service debate is still not resolved, not to mention the ongoing (alleged) reduction of crime and the imminent threat of armed conflict with Iraq. What does the government do? It continues with the legislation against hunting… R Beaumanor, Clifton. (letter)

Western Daily Press 11.12.02 APPALLING SAVAGERY AS STAG HUNTERS CLOSE IN FOR THE KILL - Mel Treherne's version of deer hunting is very different to my own experiences. Stags and pregnant hinds are driven to exhaustion before being shot. All in the name of sport…. Kevin Hill Crewkerne Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 11.12.02 WICKED SPORT - Mel Treharne in his letter defending deer hunting, said: "The deer to be hunted are carefully selected by 'harbourers' who know the deer herd intimately and pick out the old and weak individuals."… To say this is not cruel is unbelievable…. Rev HW Jones Swindon Wiltshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 10.12.02 STAG HUNTERS HAVE RUN OUT OF EXCUSES - It gave me great pleasure to read the letter sent in by Mal Treharne. I was so pleased to see that the hunting crowd have run out of spurious arguments to protect their filthy pastime… Since the Scottish Parliament has, thankfully, banned hunting with dogs I find it hard to believe the behaviour of its hunting crowd…. if anyone reading this thinks that sitting on a horse watching wild animals being blasted with guns is normal behaviour or, worse, enjoyable, I strongly suggest you seek therapy. What is the matter with you people? Why do you have to kill something to get your kicks?... S Harding Wellington Somerset (letter)

Shropshire Star 11.12.02 Greatest Briton also supported foxhunting - The recent BBC2 series "Great Britons" has again confirmed that Sir Winston Churchill was the greatest Briton of them all. At a time of unprecedented political attack on hunting with hounds, it is therefore worth remembering that Sir Winston was also one of its staunchest defenders… Peter Presland Countryside Alliance West Midlands Regional Chairman (Staffs, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire) (letter in archive)

Ananova 11.12.02 Stella angry over Madonna's fur coat - Madonna has landed herself in trouble with her designer friend Stella McCartney for wearing a coat made out of lamb foetuses. Dedicated anti-fur campaigner McCartney said she was appalled when she spotted the singer wearing it…. She told Glamour magazine: "I've been working on Madonna's honky ass for a very long time…. the other day she was wearing this lamb foetus coat, made from baby lambs that haven't even been born…" (story)

Horncastle News 11.12.02 Animnal lovers must stop this obscene, barbaric trade - For too many years the free trade rules of the World Trade Organisation have been wrecking progress on attempts to improve animal protection… Cosmetics are still tested on the eyes and skin of rabbits. Wild animals are still being trapped… The fight against battery cages for hens may be overturned by the World Trade Organisation… E T PATCHETT, Tetford (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.12.02 ANGLERS FEAR BAN ON THEIR SPORT ….The Government has suggested wild animals should only be killed by the method which causes the "least suffering". But leaders of fishing and shooting groups believe that, if the test becomes law as part of the planned Hunting Bill, it will be used to outlaw other game sports. Jeffrey Olstead, spokesman for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said last night he was "enormously concerned" about the implications of the Bill…Matthew Knight, a solicitor for the Countryside Alliance, said that "least suffering" was a "dangerous definition". (story)
Telegraph 7.12.02 Hunting Bill puts shooting and fishing in danger By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Fishing and shooting could face abolition as a result of precedents set by the Government's Hunting Bill, leaders of both sports said yesterday. Representatives of Britain's four million fishermen and shooters said they were concerned about what would happen if the tests of "utility" and "least suffering" were extended to their sports, both of which are done largely or solely for pleasure…. Lord Peel, president and former chairman of the Game Conservancy Trust, the scientific body which aids both sports, said: "A dangerous precedent has been set…." Lord Peel said that even if other field sports did not face abolition outright they could face "death by 5,000 cuts" over the next few years as a result of tightening regulation…. (story)
Times 7.12.02 Hunt Bill is 'a threat to shooting and fishing' BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - LEADERS of fishing and shooting organisations predict the eventual abolition of their sports if a new cruelty test applied to hunting becomes law…. Charles Jardine, director of the Campaign for Fishing, is also concerned. “This is opening up a Pandora’s box,” he said. “Where does ‘least suffering’ end up? What constitutes least suffering and is acceptable?”… A spokesman for the British Association of Shooting and Conservation said: “We would say that everyone in shooting wishes to cause least suffering. The point of shooting is to shoot cleanly and humanely. But a quango can easily be stuffed with people who think differently.”… A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said that it had no policy on fishing but was opposed to the shooting of wild animals and birds for sport “on the grounds that human entertainment is inadequate justification for destruction of life”. A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said that it had no policy against shooting or fishing but it would like to tighten up practices in game bird rearing…. (story)

Western Mail 10.12.02 Hunt campaigner predicts ban - HUNTING foxes with dogs will be outlawed in Wales sooner or later, one of the world's most experienced animal-welfare campaigners said yesterday. Brian Davies, who lives in the United States and organised donations of more than £1m to the Labour Party, predicted that the compromise deal recently offered by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael would be defeated in the Commons in favour of an outright ban… As founder of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, he orchestrated massive public support using photographs of defenceless seals… Conservative AM Peter Rogers, a farmer on Anglesey, said, "It's appalling that someone is donating that sort of money and interfering in politics in the UK when he doesn't even live in the country…" (story)

Oxford Mail 10.12.02 Scots arrive to hunt our foxes - Fox-hunting enthusiasts from Scotland joined an Oxfordshire hunt in a show of solidarity against moves to restrict hunting in England. The Duke of Buccleuch's Hunt, from south-west Scotland, spent December 9 hunting near Chipping Norton with the Heythrop Hunt… Oxfordshire anti-hunt campaigner Penny Little said: "I think it's a scandal that these people should come down and persecute the foxes in Oxford…." The huntsman of the Buccleuch, Trevor Adams, whose brother Anthony is huntsman of the Heythrop, said: "We're carrying on in Scotland under the laws…" The joint master of the Heythrop, Tonia Wood, said: "All hunting must be defended, including stag hunting and coursing, but we're prepared to participate in a reasonable compromise on a licensing system…" (story in archive)

Western Morning News 10.12.02 STANDING TOGETHER TO SUPPORT HUNTING AND COURSING - Alun Michael last week announced the Government's intention to ban stag hunting and competitive coursing and to subject all other forms of hunting (other than rabbits and rats) to a stringent licensing system. The Alliance rejects entirely the Bill's proposed ban on stag hunting and coursing… There will therefore be a peaceful mass lobby of Parliament led by Westcountry and coursing communities on the day of the second reading, on a date to be confirmed when the business of the House is made known. We stand together. Sam Butler Chairman, CA Campaign for Hunting (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.02 THERE IS NO 'FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE' FOR HUNT MINORITY - Last week the Government published its Bill which effectively ends hunting. It also announced the extension to homosexual couples of the legal benefits of marriage. In support of the latter the Government invoked fairness, justice, inclusiveness and the rights of minorities. But where are these important principles when it comes to hunting folk?... Norman Cowling, Widecombe-in-the-Moor (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.02 CLASS WAR VICTORY VERSUS ANIMAL WELFARE - The rspca would rapidly investigate and prosecute any farmer or wildlife park operator where 107 deer were reported to have died of starvation, or had to be put down in a 12-month period, as reported by the gamekeeper employed by the League Against Cruel Sports…Under the new leadership of Ms Jackie Ballard, I do not expect to see the RSPCA doing much serious investigation of the situation at Baronsdown, let alone prosecuting a fellow traveller on the animal rights front, but I would be very pleased to be proved wrong…. I await the views of Messrs John Phelps and Peter Anderson, those vocal defenders of the deer, with considerable interest. J Ward-Hayne, Modbury (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.02 BAN WILL NOT BENEFIT FOX - When the Government appointed Lord Burns to lead an inquiry into all aspects of hunting, his conclusions didn't serve the Government's purpose, so we have had another one - this time by Alun Michael. Both the Western Morning News and Carlton TV carried out polls, and the result in each case was in favour of hunting… Contrary to the League Against Cruel Sports propaganda, the majority are indifferent to a sport they never follow… H W Upham, Bovey Tracey (letter)

Leicester Mercury 3.10.02 'ANIMAL EXTREMISTS ARE BAD FOR OUR HEALTH' - Wendy Higgins of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection ignored 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, Executive Secretary, Seriously Ill for Medical Research (SIMR). (letter)
Worcester Evening News 19.9.02 A victory for sanity - WENDY Higgins, of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Evening News, August 2) ignores the fact that the recent House of Lords Select Committee report was actually a victory for patients' rights over the propaganda of groups campaigning against medical research… THOMAS BROMLEY, SIMR Executive Secretary. (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 13.8.02 VEIL OF SECRECY OVER VIVISECTION MUST LIFT - Wendy Higgins, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, London (letter)
Ilkley Gazette 8.8.02 Crucial report - Wendy Higgins, Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, 16a Crane Grove, London N7 8NN. (letter in archive)
ThisIsGloucestershire (poss. Gloucester Echo) 5.8.02 BUAV'S CALLS ARE VINDICATED - WENDY HIGGINS, Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (letter)
Worcester Evening News 2.8.02 We expect more of Labour - WENDY HIGGINS, Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. (letter in archive)
Southern Reporter 2.8.02 Time to heed lords' call for more humane experiments - WENDY HIGGINS, Campaigns Director, British Union for the abolition of Vivisection, London N7 8NN. (letter)
Wharfedale Observer 1.8.02 Animal report - SIR, - This has been a crucial week for Britain's lab animals with publication of the Home Office statistics on animal experiments for 2001 and the House of Lords Select Committee Report on vivisection…. Wendy Higgins, Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, 16a Crane Grove, London (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 29.7.02 THESE DISTURBING TRENDS IN ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS Sir - This has been a crucial week for Britain's lab animals with publication of the Home Office statistics on animal experiments for 2001 and the House of Lords Select Committee Report on vivisection…. The BUAV, which gave extensive evidence to the committee, has been campaigning for years for greater transparency, increased alternatives funding and an independent Home Office Inspectorate, and all these calls have been vindicated in this report…. Wendy Higgins British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection London (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.02 Destructive tendencies - ON what authority does Thomas Bromley, base his assumption (WMN Views, November 26) that "morally people should come before animals?"… It is totally immoral, toward whatever end. Experiment on yourself, Mr Bromley. Joy King, Chagford, Newton Abbot (letter)
Western Morning News 19.11.02 HEALTHY CAN AFFORD TO OPPOSE MEDICAL TESTING - Jacqueline Shortland ?(WMN, letters, October 29)? is presumably healthy and can therefore afford to be against the use of animals in medical research. But what about the millions of us whose lives depend upon prescription medicines?... Thomas Bromley, SIMR Executive Secretary (letter)
Western Morning News 29.10.02 THREE RS MUST APPLY TO MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS - Although I wrote in detail on the real facts regarding the pursuit of "alternatives" to animal experiments in medical research (WMN, August 6), it seems the patients' group SIMR (WMN, September 24) yet again choose to studiously and stubbornly ignore its content… Jacqueline Shortland, Plymouth (letter)
Western Morning News 6.8.02 LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - Like many who oppose experimentation on live animals in all its forms, it came as no surprise to me to learn that Brian Cass of Huntingdon Life Sciences, a vivisection stronghold, was awarded a CBE… FRAME, like other alternative societies, often with members being ex-vivisectors, do not condemn vivisection as the useless, illogical and irrelevant criteria it surely is… Jacqueline Shortland, Plymouth (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.02 PRO-HUNT MILITANTS ON THE MOVE …As reported in the Western Daily Press, the Real Countryside Alliance was formed earlier this year and immediately warned of direct action tactics that may break the law…. The Real CA is said to be attracting growing support in the West, which stands to lose thousands of rural jobs if hunting with hounds is banned. The organisation says it has hundreds of supporters, but yesterday Countryside Alliance spokesman Tim Bonner described it as "living in a dream world"…. Meanwhile, new evidence suggests foxes are being condemned to a slow and agonising death after being shot by people who have become exasperated at their growing numbers in the countryside…. (story)

Western Morning News 9.12.02 COMMUNITY READY TO FIGHT BAN ON HUNTING - As any Government Bill on hunting looks likely to include a ban on the pursuit of stags, NATHAN PYNN talks to residents of Exford who are prepared to protect their traditions and livelihoods… The stables and kennels of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds are based there and much of the village's workforce provides services for the hunt…. Huntsman Donald Summersgill has been with the hunt for 19 years… "I can't sleep at night thinking about what might happen to the hounds. If hunting goes there will be no other use for them - it's heartbreaking. I fear for the deer too - I'm passionate about them, and this is why I hunt."… The League Against Cruel Sports, which runs the Baronsdown deer sanctuary near Dulverton, refutes claims that the hunt contributes anything positive to the deer population on Exmoor. League spokesman Mike Hobday said it was "scandalous" to suggest that hunting deer ensured the health of the herd…. (story)
Western Morning News 9.12.02 'BILL CAN ONLY DO HARM TO VILLAGE' - For many businesses in Exford, the prospect of a hunting ban is almost unthinkable with many still reeling from the devastating impact that foot and mouth had on tourism last year… Pam Jeune, proprietor of the Crown Hotel… is so incensed by the Government's proposals that she has embarked on a personal campaign to have her voice heard by Tony Blair. "Every single night at 7pm I ring 10 Downing Street and leave a message on the answer phone which spells out what I think about this Bill," she said… (story)

Cumberland News & Star 9.12.02 38,000 FOR FALLING ON AND OFF WAGON - A CARLISLE accountant and huntsman raised 33,000 by giving up drinking and another 5,000 by taking it up again. John Lowthian, 63, of Rivermead, Wetheral, abstained from alcohol for nine months, but drank so much Red Bull as a substitute that he can no longer stand the taste. Hundreds of people pledged between 1 and 1,000 for the joint master of Ullswater Foxhounds to give up drink for nine months…. But nearly a year later, a few of his friends sponsored him again because they were worried he would never start drinking again…. The money raised was split between the Countryside Alliance, which got 27,020, Macmillan Nurses, which received 1,000, and an appeal for a new cancer centre at Dumfries received 10,571 (story)

Derby Evening Telegraph 9.12.02 PRINCE'S HORSE RESCUED FROM SLURRY PIT - A stranded horse, thought to belong to Prince Charles, was rescued by firefighters at the weekend… Johnny Greenall, master of the Meynell Hunt, which was staging the event and with which the Prince of Wales rides regularly, said that both horse and rider returned home safely… (story)

Telegraph 9.12.02 Scots ride rings round hunting ban - Field sports have adapted to the new law introduced north of the border banning hunting with hounds. Auslan Cramb reports …Hunting with hounds has been banned in Scotland for four months, but horses and hounds can still be seen every weekend streaming across the countryside… At the latest meeting of the Kincardineshire Foxhounds near Stonehaven, the most northerly pack in Britain, four men with shotguns mingled with the riders… After a successful day on Friday, during which two foxes were shot, Richard Holman-Baird, of the Kincardineshire hunt, said: "It is not hunting because there is no chase."… Allan Murray, of the Duke of Buccleuch's Hunt, which has killed 65 foxes this season, said: "The pageantry has gone and the colour is not there."… according to Mike Rumbles, the Liberal Democrat MSP… "The public perception was that the parliament was passing a Bill to stop foxhunting in its entirety. But in practice it is a disaster. It is the worst piece of legislation the parliament has passed and it makes us look stupid." (story)

Times 9.12.02 A view of hunting - As a working resident guest in your country I hesitate to comment on your internal disputes, but I find the goings-on with the foxhunting issue to be almost laughable…. To single out foxhunting as cruel when one considers the way we poison rats, slaughter cattle for meat or leave an elderly person on a long waiting list for a hip replacement seems to an outsider to be ludicrous… LEON M. ROE, 29 Abbotswood, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1UZ (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 9.12.02 PUT AN END TO FOX-HUNTING CRUELTY …I think fox hunting is cruel and barbaric; people on horses with dogs chasing a fox 'till it's dead…. It's an activity for the landed gentry and very cruel; people should not pretend it is not. David Treacher, Nelson Road, Hull (letter)

Northampton Evening Telegraph 9.12.02 More important things than a ban on hunting - I AM a town dweller. Much of my long working life has been spent in rural areas. I do not recall that any of the rural dwellers, mostly estimable, and some undoubtedly fox hunters, gave any indication of addiction to cruelty to children or animals…. I do not think that the anti-hunt lobby have made any case beyond sheer prejudice for the abolition of hunting. Neither have they produced anything constructive as an alternative… With war possibly on the near horizon, depression looming ever nearer, basic educational standards falling and the road and rail systems approaching total standstill, one might be forgiven for thinking that these people have more important things to think about than the abolition of hunting. JAMES SCOTT, Pebbleford Road, Kettering (letter)

Irish Independent 9.12.02 Control the hunters - Sir I refer to the news item in your recent issue concerning the shooting of deer in Glenveagh National Park… Is the blood-lust of hunters such that they are incapable of exercising any control?... There is absolutely no control over these gun club types whose record all over the country is one of self-indulgence, regardless of public or wildlife cost - Tom Sullivan, Clooneybeirne, Roscommon (letter)

Independent 9.12.02 Secret plan to breed monkeys for Porton Down research By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - A primate breeding centre to give scientists access to live monkeys for experiments is to be established at the taxpayer's expense at the military research centre Porton Down in Wiltshire… The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) said the establishment of a breeding centre dedicated to supplying monkeys to scientists would increase their use and set back plans to find alternatives… (story)

Argus 9.12.02 Horse sense - Why are 87,000 horses slaughtered each year, subjected to unbelievable cruelty while travelling by road? Because 87,000 owners haven't got a care in the world…. -Ms Linda Elliott, Horsham (letter in archive)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 9.12.02 CYNTHIA'S BACK WITH HER SALES - A charity car boot sale relaunched in North Staffordshire last year has raised more than £500 for animal charities. Animal rights campaigner Cynthia Lubacz resumed holding the Sunday sales after a 20-month gap at the Buxton Road Co-op store in Leek… (letter)

East Anglian Daily Times 9.12.02 Spirit of Christmas at Animal Aid fair …On December 1, I went to London and attended the Christmas without cruelty Fayre organised by Animal Aid. The fayre sported a large number of stalls from different organisations and charities (PETA, Compassion in World Farming, Vegan Society, Dr Hadwen Trust to name a few)…. and above all cruelty free. TINA CANHAM, Palmerston Road, Ipswich (letter)

Independent on Sunday 8.12.02 On Porlock Hill they are baying for blood - Eye witness: Porlock Hill, Exmoor - By Mark Rowe - A crisp day on Porlock Hill above north Exmoor offers one of England's finest views. A stag struts across the skyline, antlers silhouetted against the low winter sun, completing this picture postcard. Silence. Then the bugles blow and the redcoats appear, cantering in convoy with a pack of 40 hounds. The Quantock Staghounds, whose death knell was sounded by the Government last week, is on the hunt… (story)

Sunday Times 8.12.02 Mean Fields: Jonathan Miller: Crazy like a ministerial fox … In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both. This is precisely the talent of Alun Michael, the minister who is going to give parliament the opportunity to ban cruel hunting of wild mammals with dogs while simultaneously permitting necessary hunting of wild animals with dogs…. If I could be bothered, I would favour more direct action, such as putting people like Mr Michael into pig pokes and pelting them with rotten fruit… (story)

Scotsman on Sunday 8.12.02 Hunts claim fox deaths soar after ban - ALMOST twice as many foxes have been killed in the four months since hunting with dogs was outlawed than in the same period before the ban was imposed, hunts claimed last night… Joe Scott Plummer, master of the Buccleuch Hunt, who is also the Scottish representative on the Master of Fox Hounds Association, said his hunt had caught 65 foxes since the season began. At the same point two years ago - there was no hunting in 2001 as a result of foot-and-mouth disease - they had caught about 30…. Alistair Campbell, master of the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt, said they had caught 50% more foxes than last year. However, he added that many foxes were being injured rather than being shot dead because it was often difficult to kill them outright with a gun…. Tory rural affairs spokesman Alex Fergusson said: "This is exactly what we said would happen. The bill was always a joke, and in fact it can be argued that because of it, the hunt has been forced to adopt cruel practices." (story)

Scotsman on Sunday 8.12.02 Pheasant release no threat to songbirds - LOGAN Steele (Letters, November 24), voices concern that the release of pheasants may be harming songbird populations. As an ecologist employed by the Game Conservancy Trust and studying pheasants and other farmland wildlife, I hope I can allay such fears… Dr David Parish, Scottish Lowland Research Project, the Game Conservancy Trust, Newtyle (letter)
Scotland on Sunday 24.11.02 Pheasant v songbird - YOUR article about the growth of pheasant shooting made interesting reading… I wonder how much research has been done to assess the impact on our songbirds of releasing about 30 million additional pheasants a year into the countryside?... Logan Steele, Auchterarder (letter)
Scotland on Sunday 17.11.02 The great pheasant turkey shoot - YOUR correspondent misquotes me in ‘The great pheasant turkey shoot’ (News, November 28). What I actually said was that one of the reasons for the development of ‘driven’ pheasant shooting… was that ‘walked up’ pheasant shooting… was not the most challenging form of shooting… Christopher Graffius, director of communications, British Association of Shooting and Conservation (letter)
Scotland on Sunday 11.11.02 The great pheasant turkey shoot - JEREMY WATSON - A BEAUTIFUL autumn morning in the Scottish countryside and the pheasants are dying. Carcasses thump to the ground with monotonous regularity as guns blaze away at the flying targets flushed from the protective undergrowth…. "There has been a massive resurgence of interest in pheasant shooting," said Christopher Graffius, communications director for the BASC…. But not everyone shares the same perspective. Animal welfare groups said they were "disgusted" by the rise in game-bird shooting. "Pheasant rearing and shooting is now a massive business built on greed and excess, where birds are regarded as nothing more than feathered targets in a fairground-style shooting gallery, said the League Against Cruel Sports (story)

Hull Daily Mail 7.12.02 HUNTERS WILL FIGHT TO THE BITTER END Traditional fox hunting in East Yorkshire remains uncertain despite Government attempts to settle the controversial issue. The Hunting Bill will criminalise hunting in some areas, but licence it in others. Reporter David Taylor looks at the effects of the proposals on the region… Brandesburton farmer Chris Richardson, joint master of the Holderness Hunt, which is based at Etton, near Beverley, said the Bill was not satisfactory to anybody…. Professional huntsman Robert Howarth would lose his job and house that goes with his work at the Holderness Hunt if it failed to get a licence…. Steve Broom, of Hull, a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, accused the Government of "losing its bottle" over the latest proposals for hunting…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen 7.12.02 WHY - He lies there smeared with sheets of blood, His fur is a rag of dirt… That fearful, helpless, hunted fox, Forever Heaven blessed. The hunters came and took his corpse, And threw it to the hounds… (poem)

Cambridge News 7.12.02 Animal work cures 'fantasy' A DOCTOR told an inquiry into a proposed primate research centre the prospect of animal experimentation providing a cure for human brain diseases was "romantic fantasy". Ray Greek was speaking on behalf of a coalition of six animal rights groups opposed to Cambridge University's plans for a centre in Huntingdon Road, Girton…. (story)

Telegraph 7.12.02 Protesters give stars' fur coats to the homeless By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent - Homeless people in Liverpool are being offered unwanted fur coats by an anti-fur protest group. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had received coats from various people, including celebrities, who had a change of heart about wearing them…. (story)

Telegraph 6.12.02 Yesterday in Parliament - MPs will be given the chance to have their say on the Government's controversial plans to curb hunting with the Second Reading debate on the Hunting Bill on Dec 16… Guardian
Guardian 6.12.02 MPs will begin debating controversial plans to curb hunting before Christmas, the leader of the House of Commons announced yesterday…. (story)
Bolton Evening News 6.12.02 MP calls for total dogs hunt ban - A BOLTON MP has called for a total ban on hunting with dogs. David Crausby spoke after the Minister for Rural Affairs, Alun Michael, said he proposed to introduce a licence scheme…. (story in archive)
Western Mail 6.12.02 Expect a hunting showdown, warn peers - Andrew Clarke Andrew.Clarke@Wme.Co.Uk, The Western Mail - WELSH peers have warned the Government that it can expect a rough ride if the new hunting bill reaches the upper house. Lord Livsey of Talgarth, the former Brecon and Radnorshire MP, said there was no doubt in his mind the Bill would be sent back to the Commons if a total ban was proposed…. (story)
North Devon Journal 6.12.02 ARGUMENTS RAGE ON AS STAG HUNTING FACES BAN - Hunting with dogs in the region could be judged on a "case to case" basis under new proposals unveiled by the Government. And, according to local countryside organisations, the long awaited Hunting Bill was a "bureaucratic nightmare" which raised more questions than answers…. The League Against Cruel Sports South West spokesman Paul Tillsley said: "The Bill is simply not enough. Why ban stag hunting and hare coursing but not fox hunts?..." The Countryside Alliance's South West regional director Alison Hawes said: "The Alliance rejects the Bill's proposed ban on stag hunting - there is no reason why they should not be allowed to apply for a licence…." Exmoor Foxhounds joint master Nick Hawksley said: "Who sets up the tribunal? What is the appeal procedure? It raises more questions than answers…." (story)
Malvern Gazette 6.12.02 Caution over Hunting Bill - LEADERS of local hunts have responded cautiously to the new Hunting Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons this week… Val Allfrey, joint master of the North Ledbury Hunt, said: "I'm very glad the Government has not gone down the road of banning; they are talking and listening…" Pat Allen, joint master of the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt, said: "I don't see how it can be all right to hunt in one county but not in the next, which is what could happen…." John Holliday, huntsman for the Ledbury Hunt, said: "A hunt will have to prove utility and that hunting is the best method for controlling foxes, and we don't have any worries on that score…." Clare Rowson, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Regarding the bill's central principle of a registration and licensing system, we have long made clear that we would consider such a concept constructively provided that it is seen to be based on the Government's own criteria of `principle' and `evidence'…." (story in archive)
Somerset County Gazette 6.12.02 Exmoor told: give me facts - COMMUNITIES on Exmoor and the Quantock Hills faced one of their toughest battles for survival after the Government sounded the death knell for stag hunting and a bodyblow to the already struggling economy of the areas…. The national park chairman, Steven Pugsley, second deputy John Edwards and national park officer Dr Nigel Stone reiterated their grave concerns about the impact of a ban on the future of the red deer herd and the social and economic well-being of communities…. (story in archive)
Mid Devon Star 6.12.02 by W Bishop - LOCAL anti-blood sport campaigners are celebrating the outlawing of deer and hare hunting in Mid Devon, but say the limited licensing of fox hunting does not go far enough… League Against Cruel Sports spokesman Ivor Annetts, from Tiverton, welcomed the ban but added the test of "cruelty and utility" should also be outlawed… Alison Hawes, South West spokeswoman for the Countryside Alliance, which represents local hunts, said the new legislation will force farmers to either shoot or snare pests. (story in archive)
Bury Free Press 6.12.02 HUNTING GROUPS BLAST BILL CHANGES - HUNT supporters have denounced the Government's newly amended Hunting Bill which will ban stag hunting and coursing, but licence fox, hare and mink hunting…. Liz Mort, a spokeswoman for the East Anglian Countryside Alliance, said the organisation would be urging all the hunting bodies affected by the amendments to the Hunting Bill to stick together… Joint-master of the Suffolk Hunt James Aldous said: "The devil is in the detail, and while I think we all knew that licensing was coming, it is a point of concern that hunts might not be able to be registered if they do not meet the criteria."… Charles Blanning, secretary of the National Coursing Club in Newmarket, said: "It seems ridiculous to allow hunting of hares with the stated, sole intent of reducing the hare population but banning coursing when only 1 out of 8 of the hares we chase are captured and killed." Mandy Leathers, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said she was disgusted by the Government's concessions and that she felt they would lose a lot of support because of its 'broken promises'. (story in archive)
Hexham Courant 6.12.02 HUNTING BILL IS 'ILLOGICAL' SAYS MP - HEXHAM's MP Peter Atkinson has slammed Government proposals to introduce strict licensing restrictions on hunting… Master of the Border Hunt Michael Hedley, of Otterburn, said that the situation was not much clearer, but there was a glimmer of hope for upland hunts…. (story)

The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 6.12.02 BLAIR'S FOXHUNTING STANCE WON'T WORK - If gerald Kaufman hadn't beaten me to it, I'd say that Tony Blair is trying to run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. It won't work, Prime Minister. In going for a compromise on foxhunting, you risk being savaged by all and sundry…. I admit to being in a minority in arguing that foxhunting should be left alone. I believe it falls into the category where individual liberty should be protected. The hunters can please themselves as far as I am concerned. As a townie, I don't think it's any of my business… Although I wouldn't dream of hunting any kind of animal myself, I take great exception to anti-hunting fanatics who rely on bullying and intimidation and have even threatened women MPs who oppose them… I feel there's a lot of hypocrisy behind the Prime Minister's apparent desire to sit on the fence…. (story)

East Grinstead Courier 6.12.02 COURT SENTENCES HUNT PROTESTERS - Five anti-hunt protesters who were in a group which attacked kennels just outside East Grinstead in September 2000 have been found guilty at Guildford Crown Court of conspiracy to commit violent disorder… The five sentenced to community punishment orders were: Shaun Reeves, aged 28, of St Michael's Court, Tenterden, 220 hours; Joan Blanch, aged 51, of Tunbridge Wells, 240 hours; Michael Seal, aged 43, of Broomhill Park Road, Tunbridge Wells, 200 hours; Randolph McFarlane, aged 33, of Dyke Road Drive, Brighton, 200 hours; Kate Fowler, aged 31, Pycombe Street, Pyecombe, West Sussex, 200 hours… (story)
East Grinstead Observer 4.12.02 Hunt protesters given 1,000 hours of community service - FIVE anti-hunt protesters have been sentenced to more than 1,000 hours of community punishment following an attack on hunt kennels in Felbridge. Shaun Reeves, 28, of Tenterton, Kent; Joan Blanch, 51, and Michael Seal, 43, both of Tunbridge Wells; Randolph McFarlane, 33, of Brighton, and Kate Fowler, 31, of Pyecombe, were part of a 55-strong mob that hurled bricks and missiles causing more than £3,000 worth of damage to a house next to the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent hunt kennels in September 2000…. Seal, McFarlane and Fowler all received 200-hour community punishment orders while Reeves received 220 hours and Blanch 240 hours…. The judge paid tribute to the bravery of PCs Mark Blount and Paul Stevenson, who were first on the scene. Awarding them both £250 public rewards, he said they performed to the highest standard and acted beyond the call of duty… (story)
East Grinstead Observer 10.4.02 Mirror wins right to print addresses for a second time By Helen Backway, East Grinstead Observer - THE Surrey Mirror has once again won the right to publish the addresses of alleged anti-hunt protesters standing trial over an attack on hunt kennels. His Honour Judge Keith Bassingthwaite backed the Mirror's argument that a ban on printing the five defendants' addresses imposed by magistrates was an infringement of open justice. The decision on Monday came after the jury had retired on Friday to consider the evidence in the trial at Guildford Crown Court, where five women are accused of committing violent disorder. They all deny the charge... The names and addresses of the defendants are: Kate Botha, Eridge Road, Crowborough; Avril Mellor, Chatham Place, Brighton; Susan Dickens, Stoneham Road, Hove; Hella Gamper, Forest Rise, Crowborough; and Anoushka Rodgers, Thornhill Avenue, Patcham. (story)
East Grinstead Observer 27.3.02 Woman at hunt raid 'covered her face' By Will Green, East Grinstead Observer - A DEFENDANT broke down in the witness box as she denied involvement in an attack on hunt kennels in Felbridge. Kate Botha told Guildford Crown Court on Friday she had been the victim of violent boyfriends and patients at the medical unit where she works and opposed violence against animals or people... She is on trial with four other women for conspiracy to commit violent disorder in connection with the incident on September 2 2000 that caused thousands of pounds of damage.... Botha also admitted wearing a black kerchief over her face to avoid identification and said she had been on other animal rights demonstrations. The case continues... (story)
East Grinstead Courier 6.2.02 Verdict in anti-hunt trial not publicised - THE trial of a group of alleged anti-hunt campaigners accused of involvement in an attack on a hunt's kennels has ended... The outcome of the trial cannot be reported until the conclusion of a second trial, due at Guildford Crown Court at a later date. (story)
East Grinstead Courier 23.1.02 Hunt worker tells of terror as kennels attacked ...George Whittaker said up to 50 people attacked the kennels of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt on September 2 2000... (story)
Kent & Sussex Courier 21.1.02 HUNTSMAN 'LAUGHED AT ATTACKERS' - TWO huntsmen who were targeted by hunt saboteurs may have provoked the protesters, a court has heard. The trial continues. (story)
Kent & Sussex Courier 21.1.02 POLICE OFFICER TELLS OF KICKS - A POLICEMAN told how he was "grabbed, kicked and punched" after finding himself in the middle of a mob of anti-hunt protesters as they attacked a huntsman's bungalow...
Tandridge Mirror 17.1.02 Court hears of brutal attack on hunt kennels - A HUNT worker told a jury of his terror as masked protesters attacked his home with bricks and stones. George Whittaker said up to 50 people attacked the kennels of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt on September 2 2000... (continuation of prosecution evidence) (story)
Times 15.1.02 Mob 'besieged huntsmen in revenge attack' BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - A MOB of 50 anti-hunt protesters attacked the cottage of a huntsman in revenge for an injury to a hunt saboteur, a court (Guildford Crown Court) was told yesterday... Shaun Reeves, 27, of Tenterden, Kent; Joan Blanch, 49, of East Peckham, Kent; Michael Seal, 41, of Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent; Jason Nevill, 32, of Sutton, Surrey; Keith Bailey, 44, of Coleman’s Hatch, Sussex; Randolph McFarlane, 33, of Brighton, East Sussex, and Kate Fowler, 29, of Brighton, all deny conspiracy to commit violent disorder. (case continues today) (story)
Guardian 4.9.00 Hunt war grows as kennel is attacked - Jamie Wilson - The war of attrition between the hunts and the saboteurs escalated over the weekend when around 50 protesters wearing balaclavas attacked fox hound kennels in Surrey... (story)

Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 6.12.02 Animal rights activist 'may sue' by Tamash Lal - ANIMAL rights activist Paul Richardson is to complain to the Press Complaints Commission over a Sunday Express article which claimed he was the ringleader of a plot to injure Prince William during a fox hunt… In a front-page article, the paper claimed Mr Richardson was planning to knock Prince William off his horse during the Beaufort Hunt's traditional Boxing Day meet… "I have never demonstrated against the Beaufort Hunt, and I'm not planning to go there on Boxing Day."… (story in archive)
Telegraph 2.12.02 Hunt saboteur 'can't guarantee prince's safety' By Richard Savill - An animal rights activist admitted yesterday that he could not guarantee the safety of the Royal Family during anti-hunt protests. Paul Richardson, who has appeared on television as an authority on wildlife, was responding to a report that saboteurs planned to knock Prince William off his horse the next time he rides to hounds. A Sunday newspaper alleged that Mr Richardson, who runs the Cotswolds Swan Rescue centre, was organising saboteurs to disrupt the Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire on Boxing Day…. Yesterday, Mr Richardson, 62, who has appeared on the Channel 4 programme Pet Rescue, admitted that he was involved in "hunt sabbing", and that he had sympathies with the Animal Liberation Front…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 6.12.02 'CAN'T THEY JUST GO OUT HUNTING WITHOUT KILLING THE POOR FOX?' - The Government's new Bill will outlaw hare coursing and stag hunting. But it will allow hunting with dogs under licence. What do you think? Personally, I agree with foxhunting, but disagree with the killing at the end. The fun is certainly in the chase, and a lot of people's livelihoods are at stake in Lincolnshire. A way should be found to avoid the death of a fox. After all, at the end of the day, the poor old thing hasn't done anything wrong, has he?... (story)

Scotsman 6.12.02 Simon Pia's Diary - SIGNS that the ban on foxhunting is working well. Our man who runs with the hounds in the West of Scotland tells us: "One of the hunts now takes the hounds on Wednesdays, without the riders. Then the riders go out and jump familiar fences without the hounds." The Wednesday Pack Shoot has seen them kill more foxes in 2002 than they have in the past decade. Isn’t government-inspired conservation wonderful? (story)

Guardian 6.12.02 Shame on you for your leader (December 4) on fox hunting. Many of us think that the fact that we are prepared to give such an issue serious priority is a sign that in the long run there just may be some hope for the human species… Mary Woodward, St Albans
What better message could we give to children by banning foxhunting than this: Our society does not deliberately and needlessly inflict cruelty. Diane Kramer, Worcester
I wonder how much parliamentary, civil service and legal time has been spent on drafting proposed anti-hunting legislation since 1997? It certainly seems to be out of all proportion when one considers the scant amount of time permitted for parliamentary debates on the war against terror or Iraq. Robert Barker Hungerford, Berks
Mention of fox hunting in parliament produces outrage, anger, debate and banner headlines the next day. Mention of the government's action plan on epilepsy, discussed last week at a parliamentary interest group meeting, attracts about 10 MPs and peers… Why do animals provoke more debate than people? David Josephs, National Society for Epilepsy (letters)

Telegraph 6.12.02 Dog's dinner - It is refreshing to see the Government and huntsmen working towards the same end: a dog's dinner. Rupert Wilkinson, London SW1 (letter)

Western Morning News 6.12.02 COURSING BAN 'BAD FOR HARES' - MARK CLOUGH - The proposed legislation to ban hare coursing could endanger the very animals it is designed to protect, a Westcountry supporter of the sport claimed yesterday… hare coursing enthusiast Joanna Russell believes that far from protecting hares, the ban on coursing could ultimately lead to their drastic decline as landowners no longer feel the need to follow conservation measures which benefit the animals…. (story)

Telegraph 6.12.02 Screaming hares … As a person who shoots and hunts, I can only add that, on hare shoots, the sound of hares screaming when injured… I have never heard the scream of a hare on the hunting field; the hounds kill too quickly…. J Marshall, Tetford, Lincolnshire (letter)

Chester Chronicle 6.12.02 I FEEL I must concur with the letters from the pro-hunt lobby (Points of View, November 22) when they say the fox nailed to a tree was not the work of the hunting lobby as close examination of the corpse reveals no signs of mutilation… Surely the pro-hunt lobby should be pleased that another piece of vermin has been laid to rest? STEPHEN DORRANS Chester and District Green Party, Grange Road, Chester (letter)
Chester Chronicle 22.11.02 I WAS totally aghast at seeing the front page of the country edition last weekend. Any right-minded person will find the sight of a fox tied to a tree beneath a supposedly pro-hunting poster to be offensive. So who would do such a thing? Hunt supporters? Why would anyone trying to save hunting from being legislated out of existence be mad enough to perpetrate an act which would so flagrantly damage their cause? So to suggest that such an act is a representation of the minds and attitudes of those supporting the Cheshire Fox Hounds must surely be equally illogical…. I do ask people reading this letter ask themselves: Who would be motivated to perpetrate such a blatantly anti hunting act?... CHRISTOPHER ASHLEY Guilden Sutton
WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that the person who did this (the hanging of a fox corpse from a tree) is very sick and should be prosecuted with some vigour… However, you have no grounds whatsoever, other than opinion, to attribute this vile act to the Countryside Alliance. My first reaction on seeing the picture was that it was done by someone with a vested interest in discrediting hunting…. You give 36 lines to anti-hunting organisations and only six to the spokesman for the Cheshire Hunt. I understand that no-one contacted the Countryside Alliance for a quote… GUY JOHNSON Bowes Gate Farm, Bunbury
IT IS with utter dismay that I read your leading article in The Chronicle (Country edition, November 15, 'How low can these people stoop?'). I do not believe for one moment that the hanging up of dead foxes on trees and gates can be the work of any genuine hunt supporter… MICHAEL JENNINGS Oldcastle, Malpas
AS AN ardent reader of The Chronicle, I was pleased when you drew to a close the hunting debate… However, the letter from John Price (Points of View, October 18) and the coverage of the fox carcass at Rushton have made me re-think my opinion. The latter coverage was extremely ill-thought out, ignorant and biased…. Hunt officials were much saddened by the incident and did their best to remove the offending carcass but your journalist mysteriously arrived before them. A stitch-up? I think so. MR G D CHURTON Hanmer, Whitchurch
I REFER to your front page article (Country edition, November 15), featuring a dead fox. We agree with you that this seems to be a sick stunt. If there is to be an inquiry into this incident we would be pleased to do all we can to help. MRS C PATON-SMITH Marbury, Nr Whitchurch
YOU quite rightly highlight the sick stunt of hanging a fox's carcass to a tree underneath a pro-hunting sign. During the same week the national press report an anti-fur advertising campaign featuring a supermodel holding up the carcass of a skinned fox. Could they perhaps be related?... DAVID HIGHAM Coddington, Tattenhall
Editor's note: The Chronicle does not take an editorial stance for or against hunting, and leaves it to readers to decide on the issue for themselves, as with the recent well-publicised hunting poll.For last week's story, it was impossible to contact the Real Countryside Alliance as it is not an official organisation. However, Ellie Boddington, for the Cheshire Hunt, made clear her view that the incident was not the work of any hunt supporter, including the Real Countryside Alliance. (letters)
Chester Chronicle 15.11.02 How low can these people stoop - By Rachel Eaton, Chester Chronicle - COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have been blasted after a fox's corpse was wired to a tree in a sick stunt. The fox - left hanging below a pro-hunting sign - is believed to have been put there by the Real Countryside Alliance just days after the opening meet of the Cheshire Hunt…. 'These people are going beyond the grounds of decency in their campaign to save hunting,' said Chris Owen of the Animal Cruelty Investigation Alliance…. Ellie Boddington, spokesperson for the Cheshire Hunt, said: 'There is no way any hunt supporter or member would have anything to do with such a disgusting incident… Spokesperson for The North West Hunt Saboteurs Association (NWHSA) Paul Timpson said: 'To me, it seems more than just a coincidence that the Cheshire Hunt held its traditional opening meet at Oxheys and within a couple of days, just up the road, this poor fox appears nailed to a tree.'… (story)

Western Daily Press 6.12.02 WHY COUNTRY FOLK OPPOSE HUNT BAN - ON Tuesday, Defra Minister Alun Michael announced his proposals for the licensing of hunting with dogs… The Minister, however, claimed that "incontrovertible evidence shows that the activities of hare coursing and deer hunting cannot meet the two tests so these activities will be banned". Despite repeated questioning and a challenge from the Countryside Alliance Mr Michael has produced no "incontrovertible evidence"…. Graham Sirl worked for the League Against Cruel Sports for 22 years, and for the last nine was LACS's Head of West Country Operations. He has said: "I do now believe that hunting with hounds plays an integral part in the management system of deer on Exmoor and the Quantocks"… Those who really care for the deer of Exmoor and the Quantocks, like the stag hunters who manage them, will be fighting this Bill - not backing it (story)

Darlington & Stockton Times 6.12.02 Common courtesy - I consider myself a passionate supporter of the countryside and country pursuits, hunting included. It is with a amount of annoyance and anger I write to you…. Shortly before Brompton I noticed a huntsman running out of a field. The next thing a hound ran into the road causing me to brake sharply. The huntsman made no attempt to restrain the hound or get it off the road… Further up the road, I came across a pack of hounds with two horsemen. I slowed down again and ran behind them until they went into a field. Again no thanks or anything…. SIMON MARTIN, Farndale Avenue, Romanby (letter in archive)

Hull Daily Mail 6.12.02 FOX HUNTING MUST END - Last Saturday in Scorborough, a cat was savaged to death by foxhounds belonging to the same people who let their hounds chase a badger near Kilnwick… Jeremy Wilcock, Main Street, Kilnwick (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 6.12.02 SOFT OPTION ON HUNTING …. On television, we heard claims that the Holderness Hunt was responsible for their hounds ripping a cat (in its own garden) to bits in front of the children whose pet it was… Since when has the public been allowed to see the "kill" or the blooding of young hunters to be?... Incidentally the hunting fraternity took over the Alliance as a means of support…. D Banks. (Address supplied) (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 3.12.02 'DOG PACK KILLED MY LITTLE CAT' A hunt today issued an apology after a distraught animal-owner claimed her cat was killed by its pack of hounds. Liz Johnson's black cat Sam was killed on Saturday afternoon when hounds from the Holderness Hunt came into her garden in Beeler Close, Scorborough, near Leconfield… Joint huntmaster Chris Richardson said: "We deeply regret what happened and we have expressed our deepest sympathies to the Johnsons…" Mrs Johnson said she had grown up with the hunt and never had any problems with it before Saturday's incident. I was never anti-hunt," she said. "I have worked with people who followed the hunt and served them refreshments. However not now - not any more."… (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 6.12.02 AMEND BILL ON HUNTING - The bill to ban hunting is welcome but it is disappointing that it proposes to allow the brutality of fox-hunting to continue under licence…. I am confident MPs will do their duty and amend this bill to ban hunting completely… David Burgess, Barretts Green, Hawkhurst (letter)

Wiltshire Times 6.12.02 Fox hunting should be banned - What a travesty! The government is reneging on its manifesto promise to ban all forms of hunting with dogs…. PAUL DIVALL, 51 Clarendon Avenue, Trowbridge. (letter in archive)

Gloucestershire Echo 6.12.02 GAME BIRDS PLAY A PART - Madam - I was interested to learn that the Cotswold escarpment is one of the most important conservation areas for birds in the country (Echo, December 2)… I believe some 80 per cent of small woodland (less than 10 acres) in England is managed for game, as well as the large estates, so game shooting is of great benefit to a lot of wild birds and animals Bill Dodwell, Cheltenham (letter)

Anglian TV 6.12.02 Animal rights activists jailed - Three animal rights extremists who terrorised the brother of an animal research company boss have been sentenced at Basildon Crown Court today. Sarah Gisborne, who planned the attack and admitted violent disorder was given a year's jail sentence. Her accomplices Gill Bradley and Jonathan Abelwhite were given 9 months each…. (story)

Cambridge News 6.12.02 Right to ban animal test From Gail Record, Werrington, Peterborough - I WOULD just like to congratulate Nick Clegg MEP for the South East. Mr Clegg is fully backing the Europe-wide ban on all new cosmetic products tested on animals within six years… (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 6.12.02 FACTORY FARMING OF PIGS IS CRUEL - As Christmas rapidly approaches it is time to reflect on the fate of the millions of God's creatures caught up in the vile factory farming system. In the UK 80 per cent of sows are imprisoned in metal farrowing crates for up to a month, unable to move freely, turn around or mother their babies…. C GUY, Woodville Road Torquay (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 6.12.02 ANIMAL SHELTER GIFT - Carla Lane's animal sanctuary has been given a horse shelter by a Forest Row company, to replace one destroyed in a storm. Levade Systems provided the shelter after hearing that the Animaline sanctuary, near Horsted Keynes, had suffered badly during the recent bad weather…. (letter)

Guardian 5.12.02 Hunt bill protest gathers pace - Anne Perkins, political correspondent - The revolt against the government's hunting bill gathered pace yesterday as more than 100 backbenchers signed a Commons motion calling for a total ban…. (story)
Independent 5.12.02 Labour backbenchers accuse minister of botching Bill to curb blood sports By Marie Woolf Political Correspondent - More than 100 MPs, including former ministers and their parliamentary aides, have publicly voiced opposition to government proposals to curb hunting… (story)
Independent 5.12.02 Jackie Ballard: We're witnessing the death throes of a cruel sport ….On behalf of the RSPCA's members, I would like to unreservedly thank ministers for moving to end these vile bloodsports. More than that, though, I also want to thank the Government for saying, loud and clear, that no one has the liberty to be cruel…. The author is director general of the RSPCA (story)
Telegraph 5.12.02 Anti-hunt MPs step up fight for complete ban By Andrew Sparrow, Political Corresponden …MPs will be given the chance to amend the Hunting Bill when it goes through the Commons and anti-hunting campaigners want to rewrite it to ban all forms of hunting… (story)
Telegraph 5.12.02 Cowardice and hypocrisy at the heart of Labour By Boris Johnson …I looked at all those Labour members, gibbering and hooting like a bunch of flea-ridden gibbons, taunting Nicholas Soames and other Tories brave enough to stick up for an ancient way of life. Would they dare to attack halal? Would any of them, in their largely urban seats, with their sizeable Muslim minorities, ever have the guts to denounce Islamic ritual slaughter? Like hell they would. The hunters, on the other hand, the toffs in pink - now there is a group that is much more appealing, as a target, to a party that feels it has been denied the red meat of socialism…. Boris Johnson is MP for Henley and editor of The Spectator (story)
Telegraph 5.12.02 How is our sport so cruel, ask deer hunts By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Deer hunts and hare coursers called yesterday for the publication of "incontrovertible" evidence of cruelty which the Government says requires their sports to be banned… Mr Michael, who met the national park authority on Exmoor yesterday, has conceded that a management plan for the deer herds of Exmoor and the Quantocks would have to be devised. Successive generations of huntsmen have claimed that without hunting the herds of wild red deer on Exmoor would be shot because there would no longer be any incentive to keep them. The former head of West Country operations for the League Against Cruel Sports, Graham Sirl, backed that view last year… Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "Alun Michael said he would not make a prejudicial decision about foxhunting, but he has about deer hunting… (story)
Telegraph 5.12.02 Villagers prepare for a determined fight to the end - Ban would devastate the local economy on Exmoor, reports Richard Savill …Yesterday, villagers in Exford still believed they could block any ban with a determined fight. However, there was deep-rooted anger about the potential economic consequences if the ban on stag hunting goes ahead…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 5.12.02 MPs against fox-hunting to fight for outright ban - Tony Blair's bid to throw fox-hunting a lifeline looked doomed last night after Labour backbench MPs signalled their determination to force through a complete ban of the bloodsport. Over a dozen MPs across the region – including Parliamentary Government aide Ian Cawsey – yesterday joined a huge Labour backbench revolt to warn that "only a total ban on hunting will be acceptable" to both the Commons and the British public... (story)
Argus 5.12.02 Battle against hunt ban - Hunts in Sussex will fight government plans to restrict hunting with dogs, a Sussex MP has warned. Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames said it had never been proven the pursuit was "cruel"… (story in archive)
Western Morning News 5.12.02 LABOUR MP VOWS TO PRESS ON FOR BAN - NATHAN PYNN …Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne and an animal rights campaigner, said she and her fellow backbenchers who signed a Commons motion warning that "only a total ban on hunting will be acceptable to this House and the public at large" were preparing for the debate on the Bill scheduled for a week on Monday…. Have your say on the Hunting Bill by filling in the Western Morning News coupon. All votes cast by WMN readers will be presented to Downing Street as MPs prepare to debate the controversial issue (story)
Western Morning News 5.12.02 HAVE YOUR SAY ON DEBATE - The wmn is seeking the views of its readers on yesterday's highly controversial Government legislation on hunting… All coupons, which will be printed in the WMN in the run-up to the debate, need to be sent to our offices by Tuesday, December 10 (story)
Western Daily Press 5.12.02 REVOLT AS 100 MPS CALL FOR TOTAL BAN ON HUNTING - Ministers were last night coming under pressure to back the Government's compromise on hunting as a backbench revolt grew… West Labour MPs Valerie Davey (Bristol West), Roger Berry (Kingswood), Parmjit Dhanda (Gloucester) and David Drew (Stroud) have already backed the Commons motion…. (story)
Cambridge News 5.12.02 Anger grows over bill to ban legal hare coursing - SUPPORTERS of legal hare coursing in the Newmarket area have condemned proposals in the Government's new hunting bill to ban the pursuit. Racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott, who helped to organise major coursing events in the area, said: "The proposals please nobody -- neither those who believe hunting is wrong nor those who believe it is right…. Charles Banning, Newmarket-based secretary of the National Coursing Club, said: "We're bitterly disappointed by the Government's response to six months of consultation…" The League Against Cruel Sports welcomed the move to ban hare coursing. Andrew Wasley, a spokesman for the League, said a ban would clarify current confusion between illegal and legal events… (story)
Newcastle Journal 5.12.02 Hunting Bill to be ripped to pieces By Paul Linford, The Journal - Ministers were facing defeat for their attempted compromise over hunting yesterday as MPs and anti-bloodsports campaigners vowed to press for an outright ban… Meanwhile the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance were equally critical of the Bill, which would ban hare-coursing and stag hunting. Spokesman Simon Hart said: "There is no justification for that and no evidence of support for the theory these activities should be singled out for treatment."… (story)
Shropshire Star 5.12.02 MP behind warning over fox hunting - Telford MP David Wright is backing a Parliamentary move to warn the Government that Labour backbenchers will accept only a total ban on fox hunting… (story)
Northampton Evening Telegraph 5.12.02 Hunt ban compromise criticised by all sides - A COUNTY MP has hit out at the Government over its new proposals on fox hunting… aul Stinchcombe, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, still favours an outright ban and has joined 200 other MPS in calling for such a move… Michael Bletsoe-Brown, spokesman for the Pytchley Hunt, said: “We have not got a problem with the principle of licensing hunts, but we will need to see the small print…" Clive Richardson, hunt saboteur and spokesman for East Northamptonshire Anti-Blood Sports, said he thought hunts which get licences would more likely be in places where shooting is less practical…" (story)
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 5.12.02 FOX HUNTING: The hunt goes on for a solution to what to do about hunting - Features editor Rachael Gordon reports - THE Government's new Hunting Bill has almost managed to achieve the unachievable. For the first time both anti and pro hunting campaigners seem to be united in their opposition to the Government's most recent proposals… George Bowyer, Master of The Fitzwilliam Hunt, in Peterborough, said: "We are happy enough with the idea of licensing as long as it is not a backdoor ban on hunting. However, we think the proposed ban on hare coursing and stag hunting is entirely unjustified…" Helen Clark, MP for Peterborough, said she would be voting for a total ban on hunting, and described the Bill as a "disastrous"… However, Mrs Clark said she did object to the vilification of the certain pro-hunting organisations. She said: "I have tabled a motion which states that although we do not like the Countryside Alliance's stance on fox hunting, I do support it on lots of other rural affairs." John Johnson, regional representative for the League Against Cruel Sports and q former city councillor, described the bill as duplicitous, cowardly, treacherous, dishonourable and a total fudge…" (story in archive)
Birmingham Post 5.12.02 Mids MPs in lead hunt ban calls - A dozen Midland Labour backbenchers have vowed to otherthrow a Government compromise on fox hunting and secure a total ban…. (story)
West Briton 5.12.02 HUNTING PROPOSALS DESCRIBED AS A 'FUDGE' - RICHARD YOULE - Some fox hunting can continue but stag and hare coursing will be banned, under new legislation proposed by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael… Paul Hancock, joint master and huntsman of the Four Barrow Hunt in Mid Cornwall, said: "These proposals are a right muddle. Is hunting not cruel in one area but cruel in another? I think the Government are just passing the buck to the judiciary with these local tribunals."… Peter Anderson, League Against Cruel Sports spokesman, said: "Leading experts have maintained that hounds are much more likely to kill junior foxes in their first year rather than sick or elderly animals."… (story)
Cornishman 5.12.02 NEW HUNTING BILL WILL BE POSTCODE LOTTERY FOR FOXES - STEVE FLETCHER - The Government this week found itself under fire from all sides in the hunting debate after producing a Bill that was mockingly described as creating "a postcode lottery for foxes."… Ben Sparrow, Master of the Western Hunt, said that he thought it very unlikely that the Bill in its present form would be made law… (story)
Northumberland Gazette 5.12.02 HUNTING BAN WILL PUSH UP HOUSE PRICES - LICENSING fox hunting will chase up house prices in upland areas of north Northumberland according to one Alnwick estate agent. Hugh Fell from George F White has predicted the rise would be a direct result of the Government's new Hunting Bill which would allow hunting with dogs to continue only under strict licence. Mr Fell said: "Based upon this announcement it is likely that hunting will be restricted to hunts such as the College Valley, the Tynedale and the West Percy. "I anticipate this will result in these areas attracting people who wish to pursue what will become a rare sport and hence lead to rises in property prices."… Martin Letts, who has been master of the College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt for 38 years, disagrees that licensed hunting would affect house prices…. (story in archive)
South Wales Evening Post 5.12.02 HUNTS HAPPY WITH LICENCES - Fox hunters in South West Wales said today they had nothing to hide from anyone. They were reacting to this week's announcement by the Government of plans to licence hunting with dogs…. Two of the main hunts in this area are the Banwen Hunt and the Carmarthenshire Hunt. Countryside Alliance director Adrian Simpson, of Carmarthenshire, said: "We reject entirely the Bill's proposed ban on stag hunting and coursing, especially given that the government has provided no rational grounds for singling out these activities…" But anti-hunting group the Wales Allegiance Against Cruel Sports has vowed to fight on. Ralph Cook accused the government of fudging the issue for political reasons rather than animal welfare ones…. (story)

Berwickshire News 5.12.02 BACK IN THE SADDLE, AGED 87 - THE weekend s meet of the Berwickshire and Borders Bloodhounds was a very special occasion for its 87-year-old hostess, writes DIANA WELSH. Lady Hilary Deedes, of Kelloe Lodge, Duns, who suffers from crippling back pain, took the opportunity to return to the saddle after 20 years of being virtually unable to ride…. Lady Deedes s daughter, Lucy Whaley, who is a master of the Berwickshire Foxhounds and also of the Berwickshire and Borders Bloodhounds and whose husband Jeremy is master and huntsman, said her mother looked very comfortable…. (story in archive) (photo)

Crawley News 5.12.02 Pro-hunt M25 protesters are fined - A PRO-HUNT protest convoy of four-wheel-drives brought the M25 to a near standstill. At Redhill Magistrates' Court on Thursday, four men each admitted driving a vehicle without reasonable consideration for other road users. The accused were Graeme Worsley of Effingham Lane, Copthorne, Mark Bycroft, 31, of London Road, Felbridge, Christopher Whittaker of London Road, Felbridge, and Robert Mann, 57, of Ashill, Ilminster, Somerset…. Whittaker, speaking in court, said the protest had been organised by the Union of Countryside Sports Workers… Each was fined £100 and ordered to pay £35 costs. Each had three penalty points put on their licences. (story)

Western Daily Press 5.12.02 TIME TO TACKLE REAL ISSUES OF RURAL LIFE - Sir - It is time this Government did something to tackle the real issues of country life - jobs, housing and transport - or rather, the lack of them. Forget the question of hunting for a while and look at the slow decay that is creeping into villages across the country… Village people are not simply looking for hand-outs, all they ask for is a level playing field on which they can compete. Name and address supplied (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 5.12.02 DON'T LET ANIMALS SUFFER - In the coming weeks, many of your readers will receive appeals from charities asking, in the spirit of Christmas, for donations to their cause. Yet, despite a message of peace on Earth, some of the money raised will be used to inflict terrible suffering on laboratory animals…. JAN CREAMER Director, National Anti-Vivisection Society 261 Goldhawk Road London W12 9PE (letter)

Hereford Times 5.12.02 Ensuring the end is pain-free - MADAM, I see farmers are finding a lucrative market for their cull sheep in Ramadan… How can UK farmers condone their carefully reared stock being used in this ritualistic way? I fully support a non-racist multicultural society but cruelty is cruelty whoever inflicts it and for whatever religious reasons. BETTY COTTON, Roddhurst, Presteigne (letter in archive)

Burton Mail 5.12.02 RSPCA uncover evidence of cock fighting by SUZANNE HARROP - ORGANISED cock fights are taking place in secret venues around the Burton area, investigators believe. Police and RSPCA inspectors investigating secret dog fights in the town have uncovered new evidence of the "barbaric and mediaeval" blood sport… (story in archive)

Guardian 4.12.02 Ministers could join revolt against rules to allow hunt - Nicholas Watt, political correspondent - The Guardian Tony Blair is facing a major parliamentary rebellion, which could reach into ministerial ranks, after the government published a bill which will allow hunting to continue under strict new rules. In a sign of the looming battle, the normally loyal MP Gerald Kaufman led a backbench assault on the bill which he denounced as a "botched" measure which was "unacceptable" to most Labour MPs… Simon Hart, spokesman for the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, attacked the ban on hare coursing and stag hunting, while Douglas Batchelor, chairman of the Campaign for the Protection of the Hunted Animal, rejected the compromise on hunting with dogs…. (story)
Guardian 4.12.02 Pink coats left dangling on a golden thread - Simon Hoggart - Mr Alun Michael, the countryside minister, rose yesterday to introduce his new bill on hunting. This is a classic new Labour third way scheme: it is meant to ban hunting with hounds without actually stopping anyone doing it. You would have thought that such a masterful compromise would have brought praise and acclamation to Mr Michael. You'd be wrong…. By the end he looked like a fox running till its heart burst to escape the Quorn who then suddenly sees the Belvoir, horns blowing, pink coats blazing in the sun, heading for him from the other direction. In short, everybody on all sides hated it…. (story)
Guardian 4.12.02 Government hunts for a compromise - Angling and falconry get all clear but bill will spare stags - Michael White, political editor - The government yesterday tried to reconcile the highly polarised public debate over hunting with dogs, by offering MPs and peers a compromise that recognises both cruelty to animals and the utility of life in the countryside. If passed by both Houses of Parliament, which are as divided as the wider public, the hunting bill would ban hare coursing and stag-hunting while protecting angling and shooting as well as falconry. Ratting with terrier packs and rabbiting will be allowed under the bill, not least because alternatives such as poisoning and trapping are deemed more cruel…. (story)
Guardian 4.12.02 Time trail - Labour promised legislation on hunting in its 1997 election manifesto, but the fight to get a bill on to the statute book has been long. July 3 1998 A backbench bill on hunting is blocked in parliament…. (story)
Guardian 4.12.02 Year of the fox - MPs should back the middle way - MPs should back the middle way - Leader - Visiting Martians would not be alone in wondering why parliament has spent so much of the last five years debating hunting. Plenty of earthlings are mystified too. But the bill unveiled by the rural affairs minister, Alun Michael, ensures that the head scratching is not over yet…. It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry when MPs are sidetracked by such an essentially marginal issue in this way. It is the kind of priority which helps make a mockery of our democratic system at home and which makes this nation an anachronistic laughing-stock abroad. If we could see ourselves as others see us, then we would realise that it is time to pass the bill and move on to more important business. (story)
Independent 4.12.02 Labour MPs threaten revolt over fox-hunting Bill By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent - Tony Blair faces a revolt over fox hunting after Labour MPs condemned the Government's compromise as "botched" and warned they would amend the Bill to impose an outright ban… (story)
Independent 4.12.02 Jumping over hurdles in the debate on hunting - Perhaps the best that can be said for the Hunting Bill published yesterday is that it should mark the beginning of the end of this increasingly tedious debate. Tony Blair is said to want to close the issue down and, in that at least, he is right (although, it should be recalled, it was he who foolishly re-opened this debate). For such a peripheral matter, fox hunting has consumed an absurd amount of parliamentary and ministerial time. A resolution should be sought as quickly as possible. The resolution that is likely to emerge, however, is deeply suspect…. There are far more pressing demands for the criminal justice system to deal with than chasing those people in red coats who like to chase foxes… (story)
Independent 4.12.02 The Sketch: He may be a dullard but Mr Michael's compromise is as cunning as a fox By Simon Carr - "Here is the rest of your fox!" the model says in the anti-hunting advertisement, holding up a skinned creature that is supposed to make us weep tears of terror and pity. Honestly, don't these people go to butchers' shops? Where do they think mince comes from? The mince-meat fields?... (story)
Mirror 4.12.02 HUNTING TO CONTINUE UNDER LICENCE - Hare coursing and deer hunting are to be banned under new proposals outlined by the Government today… (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Blair faces revolt over registered foxhunting By George Jones and Charles Clover - Tony Blair was facing open revolt in the Labour Party last night over a compromise proposal to allow foxhunting under certain conditions… Critics claimed that it would lead to "hunting by postcode" - with it legal in one part of the country but illegal in another…. (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Jumping into a thicket - Alun Michael, the minister who announced the Government's plans for hunting with hounds yesterday, declared that his Bill had traced a "golden thread" through the subject. Certainly Mr Michael has been ingenious, but by close of business yesterday it was clear that his thread had turned into a political cat's cradle…. Opponents of a ban on hunting have some cause for cheer today. Their readiness to engage with the arguments and provide evidence for their case have brought about a shift in public opinion and forced the Government to move away from the simplistic rhetoric of a ban. They should continue to engage in the details of this debate as the Bill goes forward. On the other hand, they must be aware that the Labour Party remains as hostile and unreasonable as ever, and has the opportunity in this session of Parliament to try to get its way…. (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Minister offers hunts a stay of execution By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - After five years of debate under Labour, this much is known and this much alone: that hare coursing and deer hunting will be banned. Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, said in his Commons statement that there was "incontrovertible evidence" that these two sports failed the tests of preventing cruelty and recognising "utility" set out by Lord Burns in his hunting inquiry…. Hunts will now have to write to a Government-appointed registrar stating why they comply with two standard tests: The utility test "involves asking what is necessary to prevent serious damage to livestock, crops and other property or biological diversity". The cruelty test "involves asking which effective methods of achieving that purpose involve least suffering"…. (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Bitter fighting lies ahead as Labour MPs go in for the kill By George Jones, Political Editor - A bitter battle lies ahead before a final decision on hunting with dogs is reached. When Labour came to power in 1997, opponents of hunting were confident that it would be banned by 2000. But it remains unfinished business in England and Wales - though the devolved Scottish Parliament has banned foxhunting north of the border. Much will depend on the resolve of Mr Blair and his Cabinet. So far, he has lacked the determination to use his Government's majority to steamroller a ban on to the statute book. But the Hunting Bill published yesterday represents the most serious attempt yet to resolve the issue… (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Ban would destroy way of life on Exmoor By Richard Savill - Tom Yandle got up yesterday, changed into his hunting clothes, saddled up his horse and rode on to Exmoor - as he has done twice a week for 50 years. However, this could be the last year he follows this routine if the Government is successful in its attempts to ban stag hunting…. The West Country is home to the country's three stag hunts, the Devon and Somerset, the Tiverton, and the Quantock. Mr Yandle is chairman of the Master of Deerhounds Association, which embraces all three packs. Yesterday he joined 70 other riders for a midweek meet of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds on the moors above Dulverton…. (story)
Telegraph 4.12.02 Yesterday in Parliament Reports by Michael Kallenbach, Parliamentary Correspondent - Countryside will fight hunt ban, say Tories - Conservative MPs yesterday reacted with anger to the new proposals designed to ban hunting and warned the Government that the rural community would fight back…. (story)
Times 4.12.02 Labour MPs reject hunt fudge FROM PHILIP WEBSTER, POLITICAL EDITOR AND VALERIE ELLIOTT - TONY BLAIR’S attempt to appease the countryside by allowing foxhunting to continue in parts of the country looked doomed last night as Labour MPs lined up to demand a complete ban. The Prime Minister was facing a mass revolt after announcing his backing for compromise proposals that would allow the pursuit to continue under licence in some places. The early signs last night were that Mr Blair’s support for the plan painstakingly drawn up by Alun Michael, his Rural Affairs Minister, would not result in a change in the previously decisive Commons view that hunting should be outlawed…. (story)
Times 4.12.02 Ministers on collision course over hunting Bill BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - FINES of up to £5,000 are to be imposed on any huntsman who hunts without a licence and any landowner who allows illegal hunting on his land, under new powers to regulate the sport. Anyone flouting the law on just one occasion can also face a lifetime hunting ban. Police will have powers to seize and confiscate any vehicles, dogs, guns or other equipment involved in any offence. The penalties were set out yesterday by Alun Michael, Rural Affairs Minister, in a new Hunting Bill that bans deerhunting and hare-coursing in England and Wales but allows some hunting of foxes and mink if they can pass strict tests of utility and cruelty… (story)
Times 4.12.02 MPs hound a dumb creature for cruel pleasure - PARLIAMENTARY SKETCH BY BEN MACINTYRE - “CRUELTY and utility,” said Alun Michael, “provide the golden thread which runs from start to finish.” The Rural Affairs Minister was referring to the “principles” behind his compromise Bill on foxhunting and not, I’m sorry to say, to parliamentary discussions of this issue — strange, arcane British rituals, completely incomprehensible to outsiders, that have now become both utterly useless and distinctly cruel. We have pursued the matter of foxhunting so many times that, like a pack of dowager duchesses riding the Quorn and Pytchley, MPs know every inch of the terrain and can canter around it with eyes closed… (story)
Times 4.12.02 Labour backbenchers vow to fight for a ban BY GREG HURST, PARLIAMENTARY CORRESPONDENT - MANY Labour MPs reacted with fury to the Government’s proposal for registered hunting where it is judged necessary and not cruel, branding it a fudge and a sell-out and vowing to press for a ban…. (story)
Times 4.12.02 Exmoor's endangered species include deer, dogs and drinkers BY SIMON DE BRUXELLES - IT SHOULD have been a good day for the red deer of Exmoor yesterday. First the Devon and Somerset Staghounds failed to catch their quarry despite galloping miles across the Somerset hills. Then, as darkness began to fall and the hunters headed back to their horseboxes, Alun Michael stood up in the House of Commons and announced plans to outlaw their sport… Peter Hendrie, whose hotel is decorated with the stuffed and mounted trophies of long-forgotten hunts, said: “Within 25 miles of here there are nine hunts, including three lots of staghounds, so hunting is a big business for Exmoor. Over the course of the year at least a third of our custom is connected with staghunting and during the winter that can rise to 90 per cent. I employ 25 to 30 people from the local area and if we lose that business I will have to lay many of them off during the quiet months.”… Tom Yandell, chairman of the staghounds, said: “If they think we are just going to lie down and shut up they couldn’t be more wrong. There is still a long way to go. The first Bill to ban staghunting was introduced in 1932 and we are still here.” (story)
Scotsman 4.12.02 Foxhunts to survive in England - FRASER NELSON WESTMINSTER EDITOR - FOXHUNTING is set to survive under license in England under a compromise hailed by its supporters as a humane alternative to the system adopted by the Scottish Parliament…. Alex Fergusson, the Conservative MSP and convener of the Rural Development Committee which sought to quash the Scottish hunting ban, said the Commons had produced a more workable alternative….(story)
Yorkshire Post 4.12.02 Licensing plan for foxhunting causes outcry - The row over foxhunting exploded at Westminster last night as the Government unveiled new proposals that stop short of an outright ban… (story)
Yorkshire Post 4.12.02 The hunt is on, again - WITH the Government battling to resolve the firefighters' strike, trying to contain further public-sector militancy, struggling to produce tangible improvements in health and education and to maintain public confidence in law-and-order, not to mention preparing for an imminent war against Iraq, it is somewhat surprising that valuable parliamentary time is once again to be taken up by a Bill on hunting with dogs…. Were this anything other than an exercise in cynicism, were the Prime Minister truly concerned with animal welfare, he would ignore the opinions of Labour voters and mount a campaign against angling, he would antagonise the food industry by taking a stand against battery farming and he would brave the wrath of the multiculturalist lobby by pointing out that the suffering caused by halal and kosher slaughter practices is greater than that inflicted on the fox by the huntsman…. while this Bill might be an amusing and useful distraction for Mr Blair, it is far more than that to country folk. For rural Britain, it demonstrates yet again Labour's instinctive hostility towards a community still reeling from the collapse of its economy and suffering the fraying of the very fabric of country life. (story)
Western Morning News 4.12.02 'HYPOCRISY' OF NEW HUNT BILL - New law will be a 'bureaucratic nightmare' - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael yesterday provoked an angry response from both sides of the hunting debate in Devon after proposing a "fudged" Bill that would outlaw deer hunting on Exmoor, but allow some foxhunting to continue… A new offence of "unregistered hunting" would be created, with offenders facing fines of up to £5,000 and the confiscation of hunting equipment… Adrian Flook, Conservative MP for Taunton, said the proposals would "poleaxe huge elements of the Exmoor community, both economically and socially". Michael Moore, one of the masters of the East Devon hunt, said Mr Michael's announcement was a "typical political fudge"…. Ivor Annetts, South West spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, welcomed the proposed ban on deer hunting, but said that foxhunting also failed Mr Michael's tests of "cruelty and utility" and should be banned. (story)
Western Morning News 4.12.02 ANTI-HUNT MPS TO FORCE A TOTAL BAN - JASON GROVES - Anti-hunt MPs last night pledged to force through a total ban on hunting with dogs, regardless of the carefully-worded legislation brought forward on the controversial issue by the Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael…. Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said that backbenchers were seeking assurances that the Government would keep its promises on allowing all MPs - including Ministers - a free vote on the issue… Falconry and the hunting of rats and rabbits will be exempt from the legislation… Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, accused Mr Michael of producing a "biased and prejudicial" piece of legislation… (story)
Western Morning News 4.12.02 BUSINESSES WILL FACE BLEAK FUTURE - MARK CLOUGH - The prospect of a total ban on stag hunting cast a pall over the Exmoor village of Exford yesterday. Exford's links with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds go back well over a century and businesses in the village already know what to expect if hunting is outlawed completely after their grim experiences during the foot and mouth crisis…. Pat Bawden, of the Endangered Exmoor pressure group, said Exmoor suffered a drastic loss of income during the foot and mouth crisis when hunting was banned… (story)
Western Morning News 4.12.02 'THIS DECISION IS FOLLY ON AN HISTORIC SCALE' - By fudging its decision on the future of hunting with hounds the Government has abandoned all principle, argues MARK DANIEL - So we are back where we started, save in that a number of livelihoods will be lost, a number of animals more or less ineptly and randomly plugged, perfectly legally, rather than selectively hunted, a number of local, and already struggling economies dealt a death-blow and a number of decent, principled - albeit, some may say, misguided - people rendered criminals… (story)
Western Morning News 4.12.02 BILL MOCKED AS POSTCODE LOTTERY FOR THE FOX - London editor JASON GROVES asks if Labour can win backbench support for its compromise on hunting… (story)
East Anglian Daily Times 4.12.02 Bill leaves fox-hunting future unclear BY DANIELLE NUTTALL - THE future of foxhunting in East Anglia remained unclear last night after the Government unveiled its long-awaited hunting Bill…. Liz Mort, eastern region director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "First of all we entirely reject the proposed ban of stag hunting and coursing, especially because the Government has given no rational grounds for singling them out…" Simon Marriage, master of the Essex Foxhounds, said it was too early to say how the new proposals would affect the blood sport in East Anglia…. The League Against Cruel Sports said it was too early to celebrate yet, because the bill did not call for a blanket ban on all hunting with dogs, which it had asked. Lawrie Payne, eastern spokesman for the organisation, said: "We will obviously campaign now when the bill goes through Parliament for a full ban from backbenchers…. James Aldous, joint master of the Suffolk Foxhounds, said last night: "As far as this licensing is concerned, it seems terribly complicated and one cannot give an answer to it until one has been through all the small print. We need to read and consider it." (story)
Glasgow Herald 4.12.02 'Golden fudge' on fox-hunting - Westminster plan for licence system attacked as 'shabby', writes DEBORAH SUMMERS - CONTROVERSIAL proposals to ban fox-hunting south of the border were branded a "golden fudge" last night as opponents claimed the new legislation pleased no-one… The new legislation bears little resemblance to the Scottish ban. Jim Barrington, a consultant to the Middle Way Group and former director of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "The Scottish bill was muddled thinking from the start and it remained muddled thinking. To call it animal welfare is preposterous because it still allows hunting with dogs to go ahead but now with guns as well. Mr Barrington argued that the Westminster bill was an improvement on Scotland's ban because the tests of utility and least suffering would be based on evidence and not opinion. "There is a very good chance that the best options will arise out of this bill," he said. … (story in archive)
Northern Echo 4.12.02 Hunt licences 'farce' attacked by Julia Breen - THE Government was accused of another fudge on foxhunting last night when it unveiled new proposals which stop short of an outright ban… The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance immediately criticised the Bill. North-East regional director, Richard Dodd, said: "This is just what we expected - that the Government would come out with some loosely-worded stuff and the anti-hunting Labour MPs will amend it until there is an outright ban on foxhunting…" David Robinson, hunt master of the Zetland Hunt, which has 70 hounds, said: "Clearly the worst possible case, which hasn't happened, would have been an outright ban. But this will impact on different hunts in different ways. And there is all sorts of scope for amendments to the Bill so we could still face an outright ban…." (story in archive)
Northern Echo 4.12.02 Comment: Government goes to ground - SUCH is the strength of feeling on both sides of the hunting debate that a decision either way would be hugely controversial. So to avoid the inevitable backlash the Government has run away from making that decision… Each application to stage a hunt will be judged on its own merits. Where an independent panel rules that there is a need for foxes to be hunted, hunted they shall be. It would solve nothing. The arguments would continue to rage, the members of independent panels would become figures of hate, and a bureaucratic nightmare would ensue…. (story in archive)
Western Mail 4.12.02 MPs may halt hunting compromise - Nick Speed Political Editor Nick.Speed@Freeuk.Com, The Western Mail - MPs were last night moving to scupper the Government's attempts to reach a compromise on fox-hunting. No sooner had Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael announced plans for hunting with hounds to be allowed to continue under licence than Labour MPs were signalling their intention to press for an out-right ban… Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Lembit Opik was among a minority that saw the bill as offering a step forward… Plaid Cymru, meanwhile, was fuming at Mr Michael's response to its inquiries into whether there would be a separate registrar and tribunal for Wales when the minister answered it would be "a national body covering England and Wales."… (story)
Western Mail 4.12.02 `Back-door ban' feared by union - Sheila Coleman, The Western Mail - THE Farmers' Union of Wales last night condemned the Bill as "a bit of fudge" which was trying to introduce a "back-door ban"…. THE Farmers' Union of Wales last night condemned the Bill as "a bit of fudge" which was trying to introduce a "back-door ban"…. (story)
Western Mail 4.12.02 'If fox hunting is banned community will become casualty' - A MUD-splattered and weary Dai Jones returned to his yard yesterday afternoon after completing a successful hunt that claimed one fox. The Carmarthenshire master who heads a hunt that has been working the farmlands of the county for 112 years said that he was bitterly disappointed at the new measures proposed…. His views were echoed by Jane Tromans, secretary of the Vale of Clettwr Hunt based near Newcastle Emlyn, which faces an uncertain future…. Ifan Davies a sheep farmer near Llandysul and joint master of the Clettwr Hunt said it came down to a civil rights issue… (story)
Eastern Daily Press 4.12.02 Hunt goes on for solution - Hunts across East Anglia last night pledged to fight to the bitter end against any ban on the sport. Campaigners hit out at the Government's new Hunting Bill announced yesterday, which outlaws hare coursing and stag hunting but allows foxhunting if an independent registrar decides it is needed…. After the announcement, National Coursing Club secretary Charles Blanning, of Newmarket, said: "We are bitterly disappointed with Mr Michael's decision not to include hare coursing within the hunting with dogs case system…." The Countryside Alliance also rejected the proposed ban on hare coursing and stag hunting. The Eastern region's Countryside Alliance spokeswoman Liz Mort told the EDP: "There are no good grounds for sending them out…" Independent regulatory bodies have already been set up and are already used to good effect in Norfolk, said joint-master of West Norfolk Fox Hounds Roger Lyles… Mr Michael told a news conference the Government wanted to ban cruelty … He confirmed the Government has no plans to pay compensation to people who lose their livelihoods as a result of a hunting ban…. (story)
Birmingham Post & Mail 4.12.02 Hunting to continue under licence - Hare coursing and deer hunting will be banned, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has announced. But other forms of hunting with dogs, where there is no "less cruel method" available, are to be allowed under licence… (story)
Newcastle Journal 4.12.02 Rebel MPs aim to hunt down 'fudged' Bill By Paul Linford, The Journal - Labour MPs from the North-East last night vowed to continue the fight for an outright ban on hunting after a Government "fudge" on the issue…. (story)
Shropshire Star 4.12.02 MP behind warning over fox hunting - Telford MP David Wright is backing a Parliamentary move to warn the Government that Labour backbenchers will accept only a total ban on fox hunting… More than 100 MPs backed a Commons motion stressing that only a total ban on the hunting of wild mammals with dogs would enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on the issue… (story)
Leicester Mercury 4.12.02 HUNTS CONFIDENT OF SURVIVAL BY CHARLIE STANDLEY AND DAN PARKINSON - Hunts in Leicestershire say they are confident they will be able to continue under new strict licensing laws… Joe Cowen, joint master of the Fernie Hunt, said: "Three successive government inquiries have found hunting is not cruel, so we would pass there…" Belvoir Hunt committee chairman Tor Owen said: "We're prepared to stand up and be counted about cruelty…" (story)
The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 4.12.02 HUNT LEADER HITS OUT AT 'UNFAIR' GOVERNMENT BILL - A senior member of a Staffordshire hunting group believes the Government's new proposals for hunting are unfair… Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt joint master Thea Goring welcomed foxhunting being allowed to continue but said the Bill was "very unfair" on hare and stag hunters… (story)
The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 4.12.02 GOVERNMENT HUNTING BILL BRANDED 'UNFAIR' - JON BAMBER … Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt joint master Thea Goring welcomed foxhunting being allowed to continue… Simon Hart, spokesman for the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said: "We completely reject any singling out of hare coursing or stag hunting."… (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 4.12.02 MPs chasing full hunt ban … More than 100 Labour backbenchers signed a Commons motion warning that "only a total ban on hunting will be acceptable to this House and the public at large"…. (story)
Gloucestershire Echo 4.12.02 NEW HUNT LAWS ARE CRITICISED - Gloucestershire's pro-hunting lobby has dismissed government plans for a new hunting bill as a waste of time and money… Julian Barnfield, huntsman with the Andoversford-based Cotswold Hunt, said: "We support regulation and are currently well regulated by an independent body…" (story)
Gloucester Citizen 4.12.02 'WE'LL PROVE FOX HUNTING IS HUMANE' - Gloucestershire huntsmen and women are adamant that fox hunting is the "least cruel" way of controlling the county's fox population… Cotswold huntsman Julian Barnfield said: "I don't like what I'm seeing in respect to the new bill…" Henry Berkeley, Jointmaster of the Berkeley Hunt, said: "Obviously we are very wary of the powers of the back benchers and we know the majority of back benchers are pushing for an outright ban…." The Chairman of the Countryside Alliance, John Jackson, said the organisation rejected the bill's proposed ban on stag hunting and coursing but gave a cautious thumbs up to fox hunting licensing system… There are no plans to place curbs on angling and shooting nor was there any need to control falconry. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 4.12.02 HUNT FIGHT GOES ON - Anti-hunt campaigners in Gloucestershire have vowed to continue fighting for an outright ban on hunting after the Government stopped short of banning the sport…. Pat Hemming, from the Cotswold Support Group for the abolition of Hunting said: "Let's get this straight. There's no way hunting can ever be considered not to be cruel…" (story)
Cumberland News & Star 4.12.02 HUNTING LIKELY TO BEAT BAN - The Government has announced plans that will allow hunting to continue in Cumbria under licence… This would mean "fell packing" - the traditional pursuit in the Lake District - would almost certainly escape a ban… John Jackson, joint master of the Lorton-based Melbreak Foxhounds, condemned the proposals as a "dog's breakfast" of bureaucracy… Elaine Milbourn, co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Cruel Sports in Cumbria, blasted the Government not listening and pledged to continue fighting for a complete ban… (story)
Cumberland News & Star 4.12.02 HUNTING: TIME TO MOVE ON - SOME are calling the Government's plans to allow hunting with dogs under licence a fudge. One Cumbrian huntsman describes it as a "dog's breakfast" of bureaucracy… let us get this debate over with and move on to more important matters. Too much Parliamentary time has already been wasted on this issue (story)
North West Evening Mail 4.12.02 FOXHUNT PROPOSAL WILL BE ACCEPTED - HUNT supporters in Cumbria are ready to accept the government's compromise proposals to allow foxhunting under certain conditions…. Countryside Alliance regional director Tom Fell, from Allithwaite, near Grange, says huntsman in Cumbria would go along with new legislation to allow registered foxhunting… "It's an extra layer of bureaucracy which people say they don't want but if is fairly administered then I think we can live with that." (story)
Daily Post 4.12.02 MPs will demand total hunting ban By Tariq Tahir And Andrew Forgrave - LABOUR MPs were today preparing to defy the Government's bid to allow hunting with dogs t o continue under licence… Applications to hunt would almost certainly attract objections from animal welfare groups, said Rhian Nowell-Philips, senior policy advisor for the Farmers Union of Wales. The resulting tribunal hearings could be lengthy and costly and many smaller packs would simply disband or amalgamate…. (story)
Southern Daily Echo 4.12.02 Is this the end for hunting in Forest? by Chris Yandell ANTI-bloodsport campaigners in the New Forest are claiming victory after the government pledged to ban hunting with dogs in many areas…. If the Bill goes through, New Forest Hounds and every other hunt in England and Wales will have to appear before independent panels, who will judge each application on its merits…. New Forest Hounds spokesman Nick Smith claimed the proposals were unlikely to become law. He said: "I can't believe the government wants to destroy the liberty and livelihood of so many individuals and turn people like me into criminals…. (story in archive)
North East Evening Gazette 4.12.02 MPs' hunt fury - Anti-hunting MPs from Teesside have blasted moves to permit fox hunting to continue under strict new controls…. Cleveland Hunt holds two meets a week. Joint Master of the Hounds Howard Thompson does not know how the proposal could work…. (story)
Coventry Evening Telegraph 4.12.02 Hunting moves anger followers - Hunt officials in Warwickshire have criticised the Government's latest proposals for the future of hunting… Richard Tyacke, Joint Master of the Atherstone Hunt, said: "It won't be acceptable to have hunting in some parts and not others… Sam Butler, joint master of the Warwickshire Hunt, said: "We have for some time been prepared to accept a licensing system but one that's fair and the same for all forms of hunting - one that's based on the principle of animal welfare…" (story)
Oldham Chronicle 4.12.02 Whip on course for hunt clash - MP Phil Woolas has pledged to fight on for a total ban on fox-hunting after the Government announced a fudge to allow it to continue under stricter rules… (story in archive)
South Wales Argus 4.12.02 MPs set to defy PM over ban on foxhunting by David Rose - WELSH MPs are set to defy Tony Blair to force him to take on the House of Lords and ban foxhunting…. Elfyn Llwyd, parliamentary leader for Plaid Cymru, said the Assembly should decide since it was better able to judge the situation on the ground…. Diana Bown, chairman of the Curre and Llangibby hunt, said: "I have stayed optimistic that the government would listen to what a huge number of people have said."… (story in archive)
Ipswich Evening Star 4.12.02 Not exactly tally ho on new hunting plan - BOTH sides on the fox hunting debate in Suffolk weighed in today as the government announced new proposals to curb the controversial practice. James Buckle, master of the Suffolk and Essex fox hounds, has today called the long-awaited hunting bill "a total fudge"…. Lawrie Payne, eastern spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said it was too early to celebrate yet…. (story)
Western Daily Press or Bristol Evening Post 4.12.02 FOX HUNTERS PUT 'MUDDLED' BILL ON BAN UNDER SCRUTINY Hunt supporters in South Gloucestershire were today examining the planned new registration system for fox hunting which has been branded a "muddle" by all sides in the field sport debate… Jo Aldridge, spokeswoman for the Beaufort Hunt, said: "… we don't see how you can differentiate between managing foxes in one area and the other. The fox needs controlling but not wiping out and hunting is the best method."… North Wiltshire Conservative MP James Gray, who hunts with the Beaufort hounds said the proposals were a "complete muddle". (story)
Hull Daily Mail 4.12.02 HUNTERS READY FOR BITTER FIGHT Fox hunters from the East Riding today vowed to fight "to the bitter end" to save their traditional pastime. Their pledge came after the Government revealed fresh plans yesterday to outlaw hunting in large parts of Britain… Anti-hunt campaigner Kevin McNamara has branded the Government's fox hunting proposals a "lily-livered compromise" to appease the "loud mouthed and well-heeled"… Brandesburton farmer Chris Richardson, joint master of the Holderness Hunt, said the proposals were not satisfactory to anybody…. (story)
Hull Daily Mail 4.12.02 'PASTIME VITAL FOR ECONOMY' Hunting farmer John Duggleby believes that fox hunting must continue to help keep a balance in rural areas. The chairman of the Holderness Hunt says hunting provides jobs and also helps with conservation in the countryside…. (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 4.12.02 HUNTING BILL MAY LEAD TO REBELLION Notts MPs today warned the Government to brace itself for a major backbench rebellion over its compromise proposals on fox-hunting… Nottingham North MP Graham Allen said: "The Government is now facing one of the biggest rebellions…" An Early Day Motion, tabled by Tony Banks this week, warns "only a total ban on hunting will be acceptable to this House and the public". It has attracted more than 100 signatures including Alan Simpson, Amber Valley MP Judy Mallaber, Mr Allen and Dr Palmer (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 4.12.02 BILL 'ATTACKS TRADITION' Plans for a Bill allowing fox-hunting under licence have been given a mixed reactions in Notts… Clive Amos, chairman of the Newark and District Wildfowlers Club, said: "I am not very impressed…" (story)

Glasgow Herald 4.12.02 Pro-hunt protesters to challenge for MSPs' seats - HELEN PUTTICK - PRO-hunt campaigners are preparing to field candidates in the Scottish Parliament elections to fight on issues affecting the countryside… It is hoped, under the proportional representation voting system, the "Countryside Party" may win a seat. John Charteris, a member of the Rural Rebels protest group, said meetings had taken place to discuss creating the party which would "target those seats of people who voted in favour of the ban"…. (story in archive)
Glasgow Herald 4.12.02 Why Scottish countryside now echoes to the sound of gunfire - HELEN PUTTICK - BOXING Day will be different in Scotland this year. While the cry of horns may be heard across the countryside, it will be because farmers are using hounds to flush foxes towards marksmen, not launching the annual festive hunt. The ban on hunting with dogs introduced north of the border this August has ended that annual tradition, which in some parts stretched back more than 100 years…. However, the Dumfriesshire Hunt, one of the most historic, has already been culled. Landowner Sir Rupert Buchanan-Jardine told organisers he feared prosecution and ordered the hounds off the fields… (story in archive)

Cumberland News & Star 4.12.02 ANNE Wybergh claims foxes have to be controlled but fails to explain why (News & Star, November 23). In 1996, Jeffrey Olstead, of the British Field Sports Society, said: "There are artificial earths in almost every hunting country in England."… ELAINE MILBOURN, Torpenhow (letter)
Cumberland News & Star 23.11.02 FIRST SALVO IN NEW BATTLE TO BAN HUNTS - ANTI-blood sports MPs have fired the first shots at the start of another battle to ban fox-hunting in Cumbria. More than 160 politicians have signed a Commons motion calling for a total ban on the sport…. Ministers have not revealed details of the Bill, but it is expected to pave the way for hunts to be banned unless they obtain special licences…. But anti-hunt MPs plan to table amendments to the Bill which would ban hunting in all circumstances. Anne Wybergh, whose husband Peter is master of the Cumberland Farmers' Foxhounds, said: "I think we will just have to wait and see…" (story)

Irish Independent 4.12.02 Trade fears put animal welfare bans under threat - FREE trade is wrecking progress on animal welfare and human health protection, an animal welfare group claimed yesterday. Compassion in World Farming said the European Union was being forced to row back on progressive measures in order to meet international requirements…. (story)
Newcastle Journal 3.12.02 Welfare of animals 'wrecked by WTO' - Moves to boost animal welfare in the EU are being wrecked because of free trade rules in the World Trade Organisation, according to a new report. Compassion in World Farming and the European Coalition for Farm Animals say genetically modified food and hormone-treated meat may also be forced on to the market by the WTO… (story)

Western Morning News 4.12.02 BID TO END CRUEL SHARK FINNING PRACTICES A campaign to raise awareness of the brutal practice of shark finning will be launched today by a Westcountry-based conservation group. The Shark Trust hope to gather enough signatures worldwide to ban the practice which involves cutting the fins off a shark and then dumping it back in the sea…. (story)

BBC News Online Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 16:59 GMT Hunting compromise outlined Hunting with dogs would be banned in some areas of England and Wales but allowed to continue under licence in others under long-awaited government plans. Unveiling the proposals, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael recommended a complete ban on stag hunting and hare coursing. Umbrella group Campaigning to Protect Hunted Animals (CPHA) said it would step up its efforts for an outright ban… John Jackson, chairman of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said his organisation would look "constructively" at the details of the licensing system…. (story)
BBC News Online Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 12:57 GMT - Head to Head: Hunting 'compromise' - The government looks set to offer a compromise to pro-hunters and their anti-hunt counterparts with a licensing system banning some hunts but allowing others. The expected proposal has already been greeted with some scepticism on both sides. Here Lib Dem MP Norman Baker and Tory MP Michael Fabricant put their opposing views. (story)
BBC News Online Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 06:08 GMT Hunting compromise expected - Long-awaited government proposals concerning hunting with dogs are expected to offer a compromise, banning some hunts but allowing others… But BBC political correspondent Jonathan Beale says Mr Michael's proposals are unlikely to satisfy either animal rights or countryside campaigners… (story)
Ananova 3.12.02 Hunting to continue under licence - Hare coursing and deer hunting will be banned, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has announced… (story)
Evening Standard 3.12.02 New Bill to allow licensed foxhunts - A new Hunting Bill outlawing hare coursing and stag hunting but allowing foxhunting in certain circumstances, has been announced by the Government… (story)
Independent 3.12.02 Hunting Bill to fall short of total ban By Jo Dillon Political Editor - New measures to outlaw blood sports will be brought forward this week – but are expected to be a fudge that will anger both anti- and pro-hunt campaigners. Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister charged by Tony Blair to find a solution to the long-running dispute over hunting, is expected to propose a total ban on hare coursing and stag hunting. But the midweek announcement will fall short of suggesting an all-out ban on fox hunting. It will commend local tribunals to judge individual hunts on their levels of cruelty and utility before deciding whether or not they should be licensed…. (story)
Western Daily Press 3.12.02 IS THIS THE END FOR FOX-HUNTING IN THE WEST? - Hunting will be banned in the West despite a Government pledge that its forthcoming Bill will be a compromise deal, it was claimed last night… According to senior West MP James Gray, who is due to meet Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael today, the Bill will effectively outlaw hunting in all but a few areas of the country…. Countryside Alliance spokesman Mal Traherne said yesterday: "We are putting our trust in the minister and the consultation Alun Michael held…" But militant hunt saboteurs say they will deliberately target the showcase meet of the Beaufort Hunt on the Gloucestershire-Wiltshire border on Boxing Day….(story)
Western Morning News 3.12.02 NEW BILL WILL OUTLAW MOST FORMS OF HUNTING - JASON GROVES AND CLARE MORGAN - Hunting with dogs will be outlawed in all but a handful of upland areas under new legislation drawn up by the Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael…. the criteria will be drawn so tightly that only a tiny number of hunts are expected to survive in upland areas where there is no safe or practicable alternative way of dealing with foxes… The proposals look certain to provoke an angry response among hunt supporters in the Westcountry, which is one of the most heavily hunted areas of the country… Last night, Mal Treharne, Westcountry spokesman for the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said that the proposals appeared to be based on "prejudice" as their was "no evidence" that hunting was cruel… Peter Anderson, South West spokesperson for the League Against Cruel Sports, said last night that the organisation would continue to fight for a total ban on all hunting, coursing and baiting… (story)
Worcester Evening News 3.12.02 Hunt Bill set to anger both sides - RURAL Affairs Minister Alun Michael was today unveiling proposals which will spark fury among pro and anti-hunt campaigners in Worcestershire…. Worcestershire Hunt spokesman Bob Brierley declined to comment until a definite proposal had been made to the House of Commons. But Anita Knittel, member of Protect Our Wild Animals, hit out. "None of the politicians want to be seen as an instrument for a total ban on hunting. It's a bit of a fudge." she said…. (story in archive)
Cambridge News 3.12.02 Bill expected to spark fury among pro and anti-hunt campaigners - RURAL Affairs Minister Alun Michael today unveiled proposals which will spark fury among pro and anti-hunt campaigners in Mid-Anglia…. Countrysiders in Cambridgeshire are supportive of the county's two hunts, the Cambridgeshire and Enfield Hunt and the Fitzwilliam Hunt. Cambridgeshire Countryside Alliance spokeswoman Liz Mort said: "It's not one thing or another. We don't know the wording of it yet but from what we've heard nobody is going o be happy with it….. (story)
Shropshire Star 3.12.02 Latest Bill to allow hunting with licence - The Government today risked angering both sides in the debate on the future of foxhunting by proposing a licensing system which would allow some hunting with dogs to continue… (story)
Western Mail 3.12.02 Hunt backers ready to resist - Sheila Coleman, The Western Mail - THE Government will face fierce resistance if Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael announces legislation to ban foxhunting, farmers said yesterday. Stories were circulating yesterday at the Winter Fair at the Royal Welsh Showground near Builth Wells that Mr Michael is to make an announcement this week on the future of hunting… Rhian Nowell Phillips, senior policy officer for the Farmers' Union of Wales, said the topography of Wales was such that the use of dogs as part of a range of pest controls should be maintained… (story)
Essex Evening Echo 3.12.02 Basildon, Thurrock: Angela's hope in hunt row - Basildon and East Thurrock MP Angela Smith today welcomed Government moves to end the five-year row over the future of foxhunting… Mrs Smith, junior minister at the Northern Ireland office, has been a fierce opponent of hunting for many years. She used to work for the League of Cruel Sports, of which she is still a member, and was also employed in Alun Michael's office where she campagned to get the controversial sport stopped…. (story in archive)
Independent on Sunday 1.12.02 Hunting Bill to fall short of total ban By Jo Dillon Political Editor New measures to outlaw blood sports will be brought forward this week – but are expected to be a fudge that will anger both anti- and pro-hunt campaigners…. he midweek announcement will fall short of suggesting an all-out ban on fox hunting. It will commend local tribunals to judge individual hunts on their levels of cruelty and utility before deciding whether or not they should be licensed… (story)

Western Daily Press 3.12.02 IN PRAISE OF THE OTTER - Most of us would like to know why people have hunted our beautiful, harmless otters with dogs for sport. These wonderful creatures belong to the British people and not to a group of self-appointed huntsmen… Rev H W Jones Swindon Wiltshire (story)
Western Daily Press 2.12.02 BAN WILL RESTORE WILDLIFE HABITATS - With reference to the letter Otters On The Way Back, I absolutely agree with the Rev Jones and, to a minor degree, with A Jawes. The decline of otters was, without a doubt, due to over-hunting, and chemical pollution of river and watercourses by overzealous guardians of the land…. he blood sports' fanatics still hunt mink in our watercourses, and still disturb the countryside. Even deer and fox hound packs hunt near and over the new otter holts especially constructed to encourage the others to return…. M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 HUNTING POLL CLAIM WAS JUST RIDICULOUS - Mr phelps's letter (November 26) questions the authenticity of the most recent hunting poll. The poll referred to in Simon Hart's letter was carried out by NOP in October and asked 1,000 adults which of the possible outcomes for hunting legislation they would support - 28 per cent wanted hunting to be licensed, 26 per cent said hunting should remain as it is and 43 per cent said it should be made a criminal offence…. The very organisation that he once represented (or does he still?), The League Against Cruel Sports, has seen its membership decline to less than 8,000 while the Countryside Alliances membership continues to grow, now standing at more than 100,000…. Alison Hawes, South West Regional Director Countryside Alliance (letter)
Western Morning News 26.11.02 WHO CONDUCTED HUNT POLL? Simon hart, director of the Campaign for Hunting, tells us (Western Morning Views, November 15) that a recent opinion poll revealed that support for a ban on hunting is now the lowest it has been in recent years at 43 per cent. He does not say who conducted the poll or what was the question asked… John Phelps, Exeter (letter)
Wiltshire Times 22.11.02 The hunt is on for some support Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting, Countryside Alliance, 367, Kennington Road, London. (letter in archive)
Morpeth Herald 22.11.02 JOINING THE HUNT FOR THE FACTS SIMON HART Director Campaign for Hunting Countryside Alliance 367 Kennington Road London (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 20.11.02 A CHANCE TO HUNT FOR FACTS - Simon Hart, director, campaign for hunting, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Oxford Mail 19.11.02 Come and see the hunt SIMON HART Director Campaign for Hunting Kennington Road London (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Post 18.11.02 An open invitation to come and see the hunt - From: Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting. (letter)
Western Morning 15.11.02 LEARN THE FACTS ON HUNTING - The Countryside Alliance's advertising campaign has appeared in newspapers across Britain. The adverts, to coincide with the start of the hunting season, feature a diverse selection of real people who go hunting - a nurse, plumber, vet, student, grandmother, a family and a gay couple. In short, normal people engaged in a normal activity… Simon Hart Director, Campaign for Hunting Countryside Alliance, London (letter)
Newark Advertiser 15.11.02 Open hunters - Over the last few days Countryside Alliance advertisements have appeared in regional newspapers… The aim of the campaign is to encourage everyone with an interest in the hunting debate to come and meet ordinary people who hunt and to see for themselves what hunting is all about…. SIMON HART, director, Campaign for Hunting, Countryside Alliance, 36 Kennington Road, London. (letter may only be on site for a week)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 SURVEY WILL SHOW ANY IMPACT ON FOX NUMBERS - I am an HND student at Bicton College of Agriculture in Devon, currently undertaking a research project into whether fox numbers increased in this country during the foot and mouth epidemic when hunting was banned. I would ask that any interested farmers, smallholders or landowners please contact me to complete a short questionnaire…. I can be contacted via e-mail at or at the address below. Zo?? Adey, 1 King Alfred Way Newtonpoppleford, Devon EX10 0DG (letter)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 Horrors of hunt ban - I WRITE in total support of hunting as I feel those who would wish to stop it have not thought out the problems of a ban… G F Grimwood, Exford (letter)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 Ban will come - A TOTAL of 160 backbench MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for a total ban on all forms of hunting with dogs… The only thing that is despicable is the torture and suffering inflicted on wild animals by the hunting brigade, and that an all-out ban is clearly the only option available to the Government. F Cleaves Par (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 3.12.02 RESEARCH FACTS OF RURAL LIFE - If B. G. Bower wishes to have his letters published, he really should research his subject so that the content of his letters is correct (Opinion, November 22). He has clearly not taken the trouble to investigate the result of banning field sports…. Heather-clad moorland will disappear very quickly - either by degeneration to scrubland or by afforestation… the effect of banning shooting will be the death knell of our moorland areas. Similarly, in lowland areas, it will no longer be viable to have small woods and uncultivated land for the residence of the fox and pheasant… Mike Morton, Breedon Hill Road, Derby. (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 27.11.02 A GROUSE AGAINST PREJUDICE - B.g. bower seems misinformed about country pursuits and rural matters (Opinion, November 22). Of the game birds he referred to, only pheasants are bred and fed in captivity…. Partridge are more difficult to breed in captivity, so conservation and preserving habitat by concerned landowners and gamekeepers are vitally important… Grouse are completely wild birds and cannot be reared successfully in captivity. They are totally dependent on habitat management of moors… Your views seem motivated by prejudice which outweighs your knowledge of what happens over the garden fence. W.E.Yates, Rona Close, Sinfin Moor.
Derby Evening Telegraph 22.11.02 EVIDENCE OF COUNTRYSIDE DETERIORATION - Further to W.E. Yates' letter of November 12… The fabric of the countryside has already deteriorated. For evidence, look at the lack of birds and the more frequent visits of foxes to our cities… It does seem rather shameful that the social functions which the hunts provide are mainly generated through blood sports. The majority of us manage to attend and enjoy social functions which are not motivated by blood sports… B. G. Bower, Thorndike Avenue, Alvaston (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 12.11.02 BAN WOULD LEAD TO A DECLINE IN FOXES - So BG Bowers finds the fact that hunts provide a social function highly amusing… If blood sports are banned, the most likely effect will be that you will find the wild red fox, the pheasant, grouse and partridge will all be on the endangered species list within a short time… WE Yates, Rona Close, Sinfin Moor (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 29.10.02 CAGES TO TRAP THE FOXES - I read with amusement W. E. Yates' letter… Both fishing and hunting are a further source of income, as are the Bakewell Fair, the steam rally and the County Show. Other methods of fox control, such as baited cages - hitherto untried - would require visits from a veterinary surgeon, and therefore cost the farmer money. Although this could possibly be tax-deductible on proof of a veterinary receipt, this method is most unlikely, as the farmer would then lose income from the hunts. This is a clear case where money comes before cruelty. B. G. Bower, Thorndike Avenue, Alvaston. (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 1.10.02 RURAL COMMUNITIES GETTING A RAW DEAL - The first sentence of your feature on the Countryside Alliance London March (Evening Telegraph, September 23) summarises the extent of knowledge and or understanding of the countryside and the people who live and work there. There are no grouse at Radbourne… All landowners - large or small - rely on income from sporting interests, so-called blood sports - shooting and fishing…. three hunts cover the whole of Derbyshire and at least two of these are not confined solely to the county. They use the land by invitation and permission of many of the farmers and landowners…. the countryside requires informed reports and not the kind of left-wing biased comment in the Evening Telegraph editorial. W. E. Yates, Rona Close, Sinfin Moor (letter)

Leicester Mercury 3.12.02 GARDEN RUINED BY URBAN FOXES - An article concerned some person's impression of the urban foxes that are becoming more numerous in and around this city. I beg to differ that everyone loves them and having them around.. a lot of our garden around the back had been ripped up and again plants and flowers were ruined. Then after that, we have had our lovely lawn ruined by the many holes dug into it. Their droppings I have had to clean up every morning since, and the smell around is terrible. Not only have they ruined our patio, including the vegetables that we have had to destroy, they have also ruined our new neighbour's patio fountain too and also they have brought babies' disposable nappies on to our law and tore them all to bits… Help has been asked from the RSPCA and also the council, but nothing is forthcoming from them. All we want is for the animals to be taken out into the country where they belong. B W Cross, Leicester (story)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 EVIDENCE SUPPORTS CURRENT MS RESEARCH - Mike O'Donovan Chief Executive, Multiple Sclerosis Society, London (letter)
Western Daily Press 2.12.02 RESEARCH WAS NOT DELAYED - Sir - The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection writes to you in support of the views of three authors of a paper which questions the direction of research into multiple sclerosis… a number of experienced researchers have already pointed to the many other lines of evidence which support current research in MS. They would argue there is no basis for the BUAV's assertion that vital research has been delayed. Mike O'Donovan Chief Executive Multiple Sclerosis Society MS Edgware Road London (letter)
Worcester Evening News 28.11.02 Truth about experiments on animals CHRIS NAY, BUAV Scientific Officer. (letter in archive)
Western Morning News 26.11.02 NEW RESEARCH CASTS DOUBT ON ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS - Chris Nay, Scientific Officer British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection London (letter)
Western Daily Press 22.11.02 NAILING THE LIE OF THIS CRUEL RESEARCH - Chris Nay BUAV Scientific Officer London (letter)
Hillingdon Times 20.11.02 Experimenting on animals is just delaying research - THOSE who promote animal experiments, and particularly for medical research, often resort to the lack-lustre defence that we need to carry on testing on animals because it's the best hope that we've got. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has always argued that this is not the case, and now the recent revelations of three neurologists about Multiple Sclerosis research makes the pro-vivisection anthem ring even more hollow than it did before… Chris Nay, BUAV Scientific Officer. (letter)

Western Morning News 3.12.02 POLICE USE OF DOGS IS NO MORE THAN EXPLOITATION - Of course I realised that police officers can build up a "close bond" with their dogs (M Ashton, WMN Letters, November 5). The joint effort between them in catching thugs may be "indispensable" to the human - but that is another excuse to exploit animals…. Recently, Mr Ashton also claimed in one of his letters that cows won't yield milk if they don't "want to". In order to yield the vast quantities demanded by the industry, they are subjected to a constant cycle of pregnancies - and pregnancies produce milk! I thought Mr Ashton was a dairy farmer? Am I wrong? Louise Piddington Plymouth (letter)
Western Morning News 24.9.02 - USING DOGS FOR POLICE WORK IS QUESTIONABLE - Campaigners over noise and safety claims have succeeded in closing down a dog breeder and trainer for the police and prison service… I do not believe that we have a divine right to use animals, putting them in danger - nor train them to be aggressive, even if it's against law breakers. That is an abuse of animals… Louise Piddington, Plymouth (letter)

Bolton Evening News 3.12.02 Furry fashions on stall made us really snarl - WHILE shopping on Bolton Open Market on Thursday, November 21, I was shocked and disgusted to see that one of the stalls was selling fur hats. I touched one to check if it was real and commented to my mother that it was. The stallholder then said: "Why do people touch the hats and then snarl?" We replied that we touch them to see if they are real and snarl because it is disgusting that they are… N Powell, Lever Edge Lane (letter in archive)

Daily Record 3.12.02 Sick trade - FOR months, our members have been trying to persuade shops across Scotland to stop selling items made from dog and cat fur produced in the Far East… Robins, Campaigns Consultant, Animal Concern.
I WAS appalled at the horrific picture of the poor cats and dogs being cruelly killed for their skins. God knows what they have to suffer. This trade has to stop and stop now…. Mary McCulloch, Newmains (letters)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 3.12.02 Show compassion to animals at Christmas WITH Christmas fast approaching, why not consider celebrating this year in the true Christmas spirit by showing compassion to all living things?... Viva! Animal Aid and The Vegetarian Society have produced Christmas recipe ideas that are both tasty and cruelty free… D & M HARRISON, Beaulieu Close Toothill Swindon (letter in archive)

Liverpool Echo 3.12.02 I WAS very annoyed to read a letter from a misinformed 14-year-old, who seems to believe all greyhounds are either killed or abandoned on the streets when they their racing careers end…. People are always keen to point out the bad points of greyhound owners but there are a lot of good owners and trainers, too. So don't tar us all with the same brush. Lyn Birks, Bromborough (letter)
Liverpool Echo 19.11.02 HAVING a greyhound stadium in Liverpool would be terrible. Not only would it affect the residents, but the sport itself is cruel. A grey-hound's career lasts only for one to two years, and after that some of them are just dumped… Kim Graham, 14, Liverpool 12 (letter)

Belfast Telegraph 2.12.02 End of Ulster hare coursing in sight By David Gordon - HARE coursing in Northern Ireland is on its last legs, the League Against Cruel Sports has claimed… the most recent licence granted to an Ulster coursing club had expired at the weekend… Environment Minister Angela Smith, who is responsible for licence decisions, is a member and former employee of the league. In the Commons last week she said the issuing of permits to net hares for coursing "sits uneasily alongside policies that are aimed at conservation of the species"… (story)

Western Daily Press 2.12.02 RSPCA ASKED TO STEP IN OVER RED DEER ROW - The League Against Cruel Sports invited the RSPCA to inspect its red deer yesterday amid a row about overcrowding on its Exmoor sanctuary. The League has threatened legal action over a claim that dozens of deer are dying from disease and starvation on its sanctuary at Baronsdown… (story)
Sunday Telegraph 1.12.02 Deer society presses for inquiry into sanctuary By Daniel Foggo - The British Deer Society is calling for an independent inquiry into allegations that the League Against Cruel Sports, the anti-hunting animal welfare group, is neglecting deer on its sanctuary on Exmoor… Mark Nicolson, the chairman of the BDS said: "If any of the claims are true there is a clear need for an independent report on the welfare of the deer at Baronsdown."… A league spokesman said: "With its close links to field sports organisations, it comes as no surprise to the league that the BDS has chosen at the behest of its members to attack an organisation that does not support their principle of management by killing." (story)
Sunday Telegraph 1.12.02 Answers are needed In response to the allegations that dozens of deer are dying at the Baronsdown sanctuary, the British Deer Society has offered its services to produce an independent report, and advise on the best way forward… If it does have 350 red deer on its 225 acres, this is a density far higher than would ever occur naturally… Accusations of starvation and disease leading to almost a third of the population found dead or dying in a 12-month period need to be answered, as does the claim that a decision to shoot a stag with a broken leg took two weeks M M Nicolson, The British Deer Society, Fordingbridge, Hampshire (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 1.12.02 Getting worse - Well done, Daniel Foggo for writing about the cruelty inflicted on red deer in the League Against Cruel Sports sanctuary at Baronsdown in Somerset (News, November 24). This has been going on for many years, and is getting worse…. Sanctuary deer shot on adjoining land are always found to carry a massive burden of both lung and stomach worms… This worm burden is not present in the deer on Exmoor, away from the sanctuary. K R G Brammer, Shillingford, Devon (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 24.11.02 League Against Cruel Sports accused of starving deer on its own sanctuary By Daniel Foggo - Dozens of deer are dying of starvation and disease on a sanctuary owned by the League Against Cruel Sports because the anti-hunting group refuses to allow any form of culling… Gordon Pearce, who has been employed by the league for more than 30 years to put down injured or diseased red deer, claims that his employers have ignored his repeated warnings that some old or diseased animals must be culled to prevent others in the 350-strong herd from dying of starvation or disease… "On one occasion a league worker called me to say a big stag had a broken back leg but that I could not shoot it until the sanctuary manager, Paul Tilsley, said okay. But he was on his way to London. By the time he got back and agreed the stag had to be shot it was nearly two weeks later…" Diana Scott, joint master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds which are kennelled nearby, said: "… He does not support hunting and to come out and criticise the league he must have been desperate." Simon Hart, the director of the campaign for hunting with the Countryside Alliance, said that the state of the deer at Baronsdown provided an example of what could happen to the general fox population if hunting is banned… (story)

Worcester Evening News 2.12.02 Distressing cruelty - JON Burgess seems to have a peculiar idea of animal welfare. He seems to insist that the animal must be killed… earlier in this month, when a fox was torn into two pieces in a local woman's garden. The woman concerned was so incensed that she insisted the hunter took the pieces to the front of her house for everyone to see rather than into the field at the rear of the premises which he wanted to do… MARION J LARGE (Mrs), Worcester (letter in archive)

Bath Chronicle 2.12.02 FOX HUNTING I like hunting. It's strange therefore that when I was 17 I met, courted and married a girl whose maiden name is Vivienne Fox. VICTOR HOUSE Forest View, Chippenham (letter)

Newcastle Journal 2.12.02 Call to follow Dublin's lead on TB controls By Anna Lognonne, The Journal - Plans by the Department of Agriculture in Dublin to include the tactical culling of badgers in its new TB control programme must increase the pressure on Defra to review its failing cattle-only TB policies, the National Beef Association said yesterday…. (story)

Liverpool Daily Post 2.12.02 Protest at shop selling animal fur - HIGH street retail chain Allsports is being targeted by animal rights protesters over its sale of anoraks trimmed with raccoon fur. The Coalition to Abolish Fur Trade (CAFT) is staging a series of demonstrations over sales of the Helly Hansen brand coat by Allsports. Louise Hale of CAFT, speaking at a protest outside Allsports' Liverpool store yesterday, said: "We're not asking for the coats to be taken off the shelves we're just asking that the detachable fur trim be removed… (story)

Scotsman 2.12.02 HELEN MARTIN: It's parents who must learn more … It's all fur the future - I FIND myself in a bit of a dilemma about fur coats… With an apparent intelligence quotient like Gisele’s I suggest the best thing she could do to keep animals safe is go on ahunting safari. (story)

Western Daily Press 28.11.02 OTTERS ON THE WAY BACK Hunting responsible for the decline of the otter? According to the Rev Jones it has been…. Otter hunting ceased voluntarily before the otter was made a protected species, reflecting hunters' concern for the species' survival… A Hawes Countryside Alliance (letter)

Sunday Telegraph 1.12.02 Think again RSPCA - Vets, unlike the RSPCA (Letters, November 17), accept that, having eliminated the fox's predators from our island, we are now morally obliged to deal with the huge surplus of young foxes driven from their home territory by their parents at this time of year… According to Ann Grain of the RSPCA, it will continue to release tame young foxes into the wild. When they disperse they will be harried by wild foxes from territory to territory and they could also starve…. a fox starving and without the fear of human beings is a menace, particularly to children. To release an animal with such potential is absolutely irresponsible… J H S Scott, FRCS ED, Edinburgh (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 17.11.02 Wrong implication - Your article "McCartney's freed foxes overwhelm local farms" (News, November 10) implies that the RSPCA irresponsibly releases so-called "urban foxes" into the countryside with no regard for the foxes' welfare or landowners'. We would like to set the record straight…. Adult foxes that come into our care are released at the exact location in which they were found. Occasionally the RSPCA rears orphaned fox cubs in groups of about five and releases them from a special pen set up on land considered to be a suitable habitat for foxes. No foxes have been released in St John's Wood by the RSPCA in this way for at least two years… Ann Grain, Head of Press, RSPCA, Southwater, Horsham (letter)
Telegraph 12.11.02 Footnote By Alexander Chancellor - Urban foxes have run amok in Devon and Somerset, killing birds and animals and spreading disease. They are there after being released by the League Against Cruel Sports on to Sir Paul McCartney's Exmoor estate … (story)
Western Morning News 11.11.02 LEAGUE DENIES SETTING FOXES FREE - NATHAN PYNN - Confusion surrounds a report that dozens of captive-bred foxes are being released on to parts of Exmoor, causing chaos for farmers trying to protect their livestock. Farmers living close to St John's Wood deer sanctuary, near Skilgate on Exmoor, which was set up by Sir Paul McCartney and is run by the League Against Cruel Sports, claim that town foxes have been released there over a number of years…. But the League Against Cruel Sports denied ever releasing foxes onto the 100-acre sanctuary saying that to do so would be "inappropriate and inhumane". However, last night the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) admitted carrying out the practice two years ago. Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, remained adamant that no fox had ever been released on the site… (story)
Sunday Telegraph 10.11.02 McCartney's freed foxes overwhelm local farms By Daniel Foggo - Anti-hunting campaigners have been using an animal sanctuary owned by Sir Paul McCartney to release into the wild dozens of foxes which have been blamed for attacks on local livestock and pheasants. The animals were released by the League Against Cruel Sports after being found abandoned as cubs by the RSPCA. They were reared by hand before being taken to Sir Paul's land on Exmoor, Somerset, and set free. Farmers near Sir Paul's estate - which he bought as a deer sanctuary to be run by the League - say that the foxes have now overrun their farmyards, killing animals and spreading disease…. A former member of the League told The Telegraph: "I know of several occasions when we released foxes on to McCartney's land, with five or six being released each time. Once we set 15 or 16 free in one go…" (story)

Observer 1.12.02 These cruel tests tell us next to nothing - You report certain scientists as saying it is 'vital' that Cambridge University's proposed new primate research centre is built… we are better off using the many research methods whose results are directly applicable to human beings - Richard Mountford, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent
Your editorial of 24 November was depressingly ill-informed. The arguments against animal testing have moved on from the crude polarisations so beloved by the vivisectors… Diana Marshall, Woodbridge Suffolk
As a one-time holder of an animal experimentation licence, I wonder if I might be allowed to comment on the plans for research on primates in Cambridge… Comparison with neurosurgery in humans is vitiated by the absence of consent. And if, as is sometimes alleged, the animals do not feel fear, what becomes of the argument based on similarities? - Stephen Butterworth, MD FRCPath, Marden, Kent (letters)

Scotland on Sunday 1.12.02 Yvonne Taylor - Activist,31. Lives Edinburgh. Who she? Works as campaigns co- ordinator for the Edinburgh branch of Advocates for Animals. A veggie since age 12, and a vegan since 21, her life revolves around her work…. (letter)

Sunday Post 1.12.02 Horror story - I READ your cats in baskets story and contacted my Trading Standards Office to say I had seen two shops in Ryde selling them…. Miss J. Sanders, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
More power to your elbow in your anti-fur campaign! J.D., Dundee. (letters may be in archive)
Sunday Post 20.10.02 Dog fur- I MUST congratulate you on the cuddly toy exclusive last Sunday… I’ve been aware of it for some years and have been helping the Skinned Alive Campaign, PO Box 21339, London, WC1X ONJ…. Patricia Thomson, 4 Lade Green, Dalgety Bay, Fife, KY11 9SR.
SICKENED AND horrified… Norma Brown, South Shields.
… It made me feel ill. The thought of all those animals being tortured is horrendous - Mrs B. Coggill, Leeds. (letters probably only on site for a week)