December 2003

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Evesham Journal 31.12.03 Hundreds turn out to see Boxing Day hunts depart - HUNDREDS of people gathered in the centre of Pershore to watch the Boxing Day meet of the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt. Meanwhile, in Broadway, the seasonal meet of the North Cotswold Hunt also drew a large crowd to a trouble-free event.... (story in archive)

Cornishman 31.12.03 BIGGEST DAY'S HUNTING - On Boxing Day, hunts across the South West, including the Western Hunt in Penwith, welcomed thousands of supporters to their Christmas meets, making it the biggest day's hunting in the region's history.... (story)

Cornwall Packet 31.12.03 THE LAST HUNT? Could this have been the last Boxing Day hunt for the Four Burrow hounds? Judging by the number of hunt supporters who arrived at the top of Carn Brea to see riders set off on their traditional hunt the answer would be a firm no.... (story in archive)

Kentish Gazette 31.12.03 Hunt gets its fox while protesters make point - NOT for the first time protesters at the traditional Boxing Day hunt in Elham claimed this year's meet would be the last. About 40 greeted huntsmen and women in the village square with the now customary howls of abuse... Gerrard Bane, 39, added his voice to the verbal barrage... But joint master of East Kent Hunt David Potter rejected this claim and dismissed the Boxing Day protest as "of no consequence at all".... (story)

Buxton Advertiser 31.12.03 HUNTING 'BOTTOM OF VOTERS' HIT LIST' - A new NOP poll commissioned by the Countryside Alliance has found that 98per cent of the public think that there are more important issues for the Government to tackle than hunting.... (story)

East Anglian Daily Times 31.12.03 Both sides of the hunting debate - THIS is an important part of the year for everyone involved in hunting, with meetings taking place over the Christmas and New Year period. DAVID LENNARD and JENNI DIXON spoke to hunt supporters and opponent.... John Ibbott, 50, from Chediston, near Halesworth, has been hunting since he was 10 years old and has been one of the joint masters of the Waveney Harriers for six years.... A VETERAN anti-hunting campaigner is convinced the Government will soon act to ban what she felt was a cruel and indefensible sport. Jen Berry has protested against hunting all her life and, now a grandmother, her conviction is as strong as ever.... (story)

Torquay Herald Express 31.12.03 HUNTERS OUT IN STRENGTH - South Devon Hunt met at the Moorland Hotel at Haytor for its traditional Boxing Day meet. A handful of protesters were outnumbered by hunt supporters and riders for the occasion. Other meets included Britannia Beagles at the Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth, Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers at The Quay, Kingsbridge, and the Dartmoor meet at South Brent.... (story)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 31.12.03 On with the hunt by Andy Tate - Foxhunters from Wiltshire have been out in force over the festive period. On Boxing Day about 230 horses and riders turned out for a meet of the Vale of the White Horse hunt at Cirencester Park, accompanied by thousands of supporters on foot... Mark Hill, the joint master of the VWH hunt, said that he had been asked every year for the past nine years whether hunting would survive another 12 months.... Hunt protester Steve Dixon of Swindon said: "As long as they carry on hunting we will continue to use non-violent direct action to stop them pursuing foxes..." (story in archive)

Bucks Free Press 31.12.03 Hunt protesters deliver sarcastic present to Blair - ANTI-HUNT protesters delivered a Christmas present to Prime Minister Tony Blair in a bid to ban the cruel sport... Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) made a trip to Chequers on Boxing Day to give him a top hat, hunting crop and a badge bearing the words 'Master of the Chequers Poodlehounds'. Penny Little, the group's spokesman said: "We hope he gets the message loud and clear..." Alan Hill, senior master of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks said: "I think that when Tony Blair came in as Prime Minister he made a statement saying that he was thinking of putting a ban on country sports, not realising at the time the amount of support for country sports and what it means to the countryside. He has come up against the greatest opposition and we feel very passionately to carry on doing so."... (story)

Western Daily Press 31.12.03 FOX DOES NOT NEED HUNTING - I will be only too pleased to explain the basics on how to control natural predation in plain simple terms, a question asked through your letters page on December 12 by D C Adler... The fox does not need hunting or controlling as it will control its own numbers according to territory, food supply, environmental conditions, and population at that particular time, as was clearly proved in the foot-and-mouth epidemic with no visible increase in numbers.... M J Haines, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (letter)

Cornishman 31.12.03 HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ANY BADGERS LEFT - Denny Long, Lower Tregerthen, Zennor ONE evening last summer a Tibetan friend and I saw a badger... Surely there is a way to protect these creatures from TB if it is proven they do carry it, to avoid futher barbaric culling?... (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 31.12.03 SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED SWAN STRANGLER I read with horror and disgust the story about the poor strangled swan, Echo, December 16. I was horrified and disgusted that such wicked and evil deeds can be committed... Mrs D Bandy, Southbrook Road, Exeter (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 31.12.03 Thanks from swan sanctuary - COULD we please take this opportunity to send our thanks, and wish everyone that has supported us throughout the year, a very happy Christmas, and a healthy New Year for 2004... SUE HULBERT, The Swan Sanctuary South West, Shrivenham Road (letter in archive)


Westmorland Gazette 30.12.03 Bad weather forces hunts cancelled By Andy Bloxham - POURING rain coming down in icy sheets across the county on Boxing Day created impossible" conditions for hunting and forced organisers to call off events. Coniston Foxhounds had to cancel when mist and rain made for poor visibility and swollen rivers around Ambleside that were judged to be too dangerous for man and beast alike.... In Kirkby Lonsdale, people filled the Market Square to watch the Vale of Lune Hunt gather but the same poor conditions as at Ambleside meant it was cancelled.... (story)

Western Mail 30.12.03 Greens in hunt-cost row - Colin Hughes, The Western Mail - ANTI-FOXHUNTING campaigners plan to make an official protest over the cost to council taxpayers of a Boxing Day clean-up operation. More than 40 horses from the Banwen Miners Hunt took part in a traditional meet outside the Castle Hotel in Neath... Miranda La Vey, who chairs Neath Greens, said yesterday,"We are very concerned that taxpayers' money was used to clean up the road and will ask the local authority for an explanation...." The Greens are also concerned that many of the riders reached the Castle Hotel by riding the wrong way along a one-way street, often confronting oncoming traffic... (story)
South Wales Evening Post 29.12.03 GREENS' PLEDGE ON HUNTING Angry anti-hunt protestors in Neath have pledged to see the sport banned following a massive protest in the town. The Neath Green Party turned out to protest against fox hunting and animal cruelty on the traditional Boxing Day hunt. They were joined by representatives from the League Against Cruel Sports.... Neath Greens chairwoman Miranda La Vey said: "The Green Party believes hunting is barbaric and should be outlawed immediately..." (story)
Western Mail 27.12.03 For and against line up on hunt day - Colin Hughes, The Western Mail - HUNT supporters remained defiant yesterday as protesters took to the countryside for what could be the last Boxing Day hunts... Riders gathering at meets across Wales - including those organised by Flint and Denbigh Hunt, Eyri Hunt in Snowdonia and the Vale of Glamorgan Hunt - were confident hunting would continue. Hunt supporters and opponents braved rain at Neath to watch the start of the Banwen Miners' Hunt, now in its 40th year.... Miranda La Vey, who chairs Neath Greens, said, "I sincerely hope this will be the last Boxing Day meet.... (story)

Reading Evening Post 30.12.03 Festive hunters foxed - HORSEMEN and women were in the pink for the traditional Boxing Day hunt – but they didn’t catch a fox. They set off from the Turner’s Arms in Mortimer West End pursued by hunt followers and a group of saboteurs. More than 35 mounted hunters from the Vale of Aylesbury with the Garth and South Berkshire Hunt were joined by several hundred hunt followers on foot.... (story)

Western Morning News 30.12.03 KEEP THESE COUNTRYSIDE TRADITIONS - One of the main reasons why fox hunting is acceptable is because it provides jobs which results in economic growth for poor regions such as Cornwall - jobs such as blacksmiths, groomers, dog breeders, tailors and the people who organise hunting all benefit from hunting.... David Heamen, Indian Queens Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 30.12.03 Fighting talk is futile - NOEL Edmonds' outburst (WMN, November 22) in favour of breaking the forthcoming ban on hunting only serves to show further the lack of reason and proportion of the pro-hunt side.... If MrEdmonds and others want to risk fines and prison to try to prolong cruel "sports", let them; but it will be expensive and futile and will only increase public contempt for them and their pastimes. Pat Quayle, Hayle (letter)

Western Morning News 30.12.03 HOW OFTEN DOES A HUNT SEE A FOX? - Up until now, I have never got involved with any animal rights, or any other rights, but feel I must make a stand. You cannot change other people because of your own opinions... How often does a hunt see a fox, let alone chase? They can be out all day, good exercise for both dogs and horses, and never see a fox, only chasing the scent of a fox who had passed 24 hours previously.... F J Farleigh Kingsbridge South Devon (letter)

Leicester Mercury 30.12.03 AN ABHORRENT 'SPORT' - I write to congratulate Malcolm Norcrott on his excellent reply to the voice of pro-hunting, "but I do not do it myself", Mr Ian Kilgour. It was very impressive and took apart the arguments of Mr Kilgour.... would it be possible for the Leicester Mercury to reprint a photograph printed in the 6,000th edition of the Hinckley Times showing a dead fox being thrown to the hounds after being caught... If you could print it, we can eagerly await Mr Kilgour's excuses for this behaviour by civilised human beings in 2003. Richard Jones , Barwell (letter)
Leicester Mercury 22.12.03 HUNTING MUST END Ian Kilgour (Postbag, December 18) asks how Andy Reed, MP, knows his constituents' opinions. Last year, my wife and I received a survey from Mr Reed asking our opinion on many topics, one of which was fox-hunting. I replied that I would wish for it to be banned. He replied later with a summary of the results, including that the poll was against fox-hunting and that he would vote against it in future. Good for him... Malcolm Norcott, Barrow. (letter)
Leicester Evening News 22.12.03 HUNTING MUST END - Ian Kilgour (Postbag, December 18) asks how Andy Reed, MP, knows his constituents' opinions. Last year, my wife and I received a survey from Mr Reed asking our opinion on many topics, one of which was fox-hunting… Malcolm Norcott, Barrow. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 18.12.03 BAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED - In a recent article, Andy Reed, the Loughborough MP, said that he had promised to vote for a ban on hunting (Mercury, December 8). He also said that he had asked 60,000 of his constituents and the majority were in favour of a ban on hunting (rather different from recent national opinion polls). I would be very interested to know when he made this promise and to whom. I would also be very interested to know how and when he asked 60,000 of his constituents for their views on hunting… Ian Kilgour, Thurcaston (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 30.12.03 Win the chance to blast peacesymbol - AT this time of the year when we celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace, often we use the symbol of a dove. Anyone who takes out a £25 membership in the Countryside Alliance will be entered into a draw to win the ultimate shooting holiday in Argentina. The target? Doves.... REV B JONES, Wroughton (letter in archive)

Cambridge Evening News 30.12.03 From Christopher Michaelson - THE claim that the longed-for non-animal drug testing methods are not sufficient is one reason why Girton is supported. Yet this claim goes against the recent research involving 29 independent laboratories worldwide, which assessed cell culture techniques.... Stop Primate Experiments At Cambridge, Northampton (letter)

Cambridge Evening News 30.12.03 Very undignified From Pat Griffin X-CAPE (Cambridge Against Primate Experiments) - I SUPPOSE Prof Colin Blakemore is quite justified in feeling rejected by the honours list selectors. After all, the Chief Executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences Brian Cass got one, didn't he?... It is evident that Prof Colin Blakemore, like Brian Cass, is becoming a professional martyr and I suspect it is his attention seeking tantrums that wreck his chances of reputable recognition. Very undignified behaviour. Bakers Lane Linton (letter)
Guardian 30.12.03 I'm confused. Why does Richard Naftalin think that withholding a state honour from Colin Blakemore slights science? Brian Cass, the chief executive of Huntingdon Life Sciences got one, didn't he?... Pat Griffin, Cambridge Against Primate Experiments, Cambridge (letter)

Western Morning News 30.12.03 Animal welfare issues - THE letter from Dr Caroline Jackson (WMN, December 23) detailing the improvements she expects the EU to accept and apply in the transportation of live animals is one of the most cynical attempts I have encountered of "talking up" potential beneficial effects of the EU. Does Dr Jackson seriously think that the efforts of a handful of Tory MEPs is going to change the culture of the other 14 (soon 24) EU member countries, whose approach to animal welfare is situated somewhere between plain indifference and sheer barbarity?... Tony Stone, Oxted, Surrey (letter)
Western Morning News 23.12.03 TORY WATCHDOG FOR NEW EU ANIMAL LAW Many of your readers will be interested to know that the European Parliament this week starts its consideration of the proposals for new rules governing the transport of live animals throughout the European Union. We MEPs are already receiving letters from people who believe they should be made more stringent... We will be looking to amend the proposals to make observance more easily verifiable, and hope our continental colleagues follow our lead. Caroline Jackson MEP Swindon (letter)


Ryedale Gazette 29.12.03 We'll meet again - HUNTSMEN and supporters turned out in force in Malton's Market Place confident that they were not attending the last traditional Boxing Day meet. A small group of local anti-hunt protesters was also present and hoping not to be back on December 26, 2004.... "I've been hunting for 14 years and we will be hunting for many years to come," said huntmaster Frank Houghton-Brown. "Rural people have always supported hunting and always will." His hunt, the Middleton Hunt held two meets on the day - at Driffield as well as Malton - and was back in the field again the next day for the regular Saturday meeting it holds during the hunting season. At the top of Market Place, former hunter turned hunt protester Annabel Holt, from Stearsby, near Malton, with Linda Smith, of Norton, and a few other like-minded people held two large protest banners.... Elsewhere in North Yorkshire, the York and Ainsty hunt had two meets, in Boroughbridge and Easingwold, the Zetland met in Aldbrough St John, the Sinnington at Kirkbymoorside, the Bilsdale at Cowesby Hall, the Goathland held a joint meet with the Staintondale in Cloughton Newlands, Scarborough, the Bedale met in Bedale, the Hurworth in Northallerton, the West of Yore in Masham, and the Derwent at Brompton-by-Sawdon... (story in archive)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 29.12.03 IN FOCUS: 'The tide of opinion is turning'– defiant words as hunt rides once more - THEY rode out again on Boxing Day, just like they have done for the last 30 years. Despite the threat that the bloodsport could be banned, members of the Fitzwilliam Hunt were in defiant mood as they met in Stilton. Chris Sealey reports.... (story)

Plymouth Evening Herald 29.12.03 MAKING HUNTING DEBATE SO REAL Sixth form pupils interested in the hunting debate got to hear both sides of the story when guest speakers visited a Plymouth secondary school. Students at Lipson Community College listened to speeches by representatives of the South Dartmoor Hunt and the League Against Cruel Sports... Elly Stygall, director of the sixth form, revealed that the response from all involved had been positive.... "It was also an excellent opportunity for students to listen to opinions that were not necessarily their own, and to respond respectfully and intelligently. I think that some stereotypes were definitely challenged through this event." (story)

Western Mail 29.12.03 CLA head predicts tough times - Steve Dube, The Western Mail - A STORMY start to a year that ushers in a new era in farming is predicted by Country Land and Business Association president Mark Hudson. In his New Year message, Mr Hudson said the countryside will face a turbulent ride in 2004... And then there is hunting, with the Government apparently uncommitted while the two sides are as polarised as ever.... "We shall continue to keep a close watch on field sports and, while no Hunting Bill was mentioned in the Queen's Speech, there are other routes by which such a bill could be re-introduced," said Mr Hudson. "As importantly, we must continue to promote the Code of Good Shooting Practice to protect this other important field sport." (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 29.12.03 BILL ONLY PROPOSES TO OUTLAW SOME HUNTING The Countryside Alliance has again attacked Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw for voting to ban hunting, Echo, December 19. However, it is not generally understood that the Hunting Bill, now before Parliament, does not ban all hunting. The Bill bans only hunting wild mammals with dogs for sport.... John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

Irish Examiner 29.12.03 The right course - THE Irish Council Against Blood Sports is delighted at the news that hare coursing will be banned in Northern Ireland for at least 12 months from January 19, 2004... John Fitzgerald, Lr Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny. (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.12.03 CONSTITUTIONAL MOVE SUBMITS OUR SOVEREIGNTY TO BRUSSELLS - With the relatively unimportant issue only affecting the human rights of a minority, namely to ban fox hunting, still unresolved, it's time the public concentrated on the most vital issue to everyone in the UK. This is the threat coming from Tony Blair to sign up to an EU constitution to submit our sovereignty to Brussels without holding a referendum.... Mr R Tanner, Tetbury, Gloucestershire (letter)

Northern Times 31.12.03 Decline of poaching partly to blame for deer encroachment - On 12th December I found myself reading an article in The Northern Times entitled "Deer, deer, deer - a menace on the road and a nuisance in the garden… I would like to ask why the owner responsible for the stag in the Rev John Mann's garden had not taken some kind of action - i. e. cull the deer in question… Deer are easily educated in the fact that, if someone is shooting at them, then just maybe this is not such a good place to be eating… In years gone past, that deer would never have made it into Kinlochbervie, as someone would have had it for the pot or sold…. Donald Bain (semi-retired deerstalker), 7 Gilmour Crescent, Bonar Bridge. (letter)

Dundee Courier 29.12.03 Ban on game feeding might be the solution - On the face of it, the idea that wild game must be tested before consumption seems ludicrous... In view of the widespread rearing of game birds and distributing these in unnaturally large numbers, artificial feeding is commonplace in an attempt to keep the game in chosen locations. Rat infestation around such feeding areas can be an unfortunate consequence.... A total ban, or strict control, on game feeding might be an obvious solution. Tom Gray. West Park, Braco. (letter)

Cambridge Evening News 29.12.03 Monkeying around - My ex-laboratory beagle recently visited the beach, where he found a rotten cuttlefish, which had turned black. He ate it... We were told for years that beagles were good models for what is poisonous for humans. I laugh at this, knowing the range of rotten rubbish my dog eats when he can - and never feels unwell afterwards.... Christopher Michaelson Stop Primate Experiments at Cambridge PO Box 6712 Northampton (letter)

Western Daily Press 29.12.03 DO WE ALL CARRY THIS FLESH BUG? With reference to the MRSA "flesh eating bug", now said to have spread to companion animals, my guess is that the bug is naturally inherent in all mammals, human and animal.... To meat eaters I say, what goes round comes round. The decomposing flesh you eat may yet get its revenge. Name and address supplied (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 29.12.03 HEARTBREAKING TO HEAR STORIES OF ANIMAL ABUSE Although heartily sickened by the plight of that poor swan on Exeter Quay which was killed so barbarically, Echo, December 16, if readers went into any animal shelter they would hear the histories of many animals which have been abused or neglected by humans.... Mrs Jennie Cook, Tale Common Head, Honiton (letter)


Sunday Times 28.12.03 Hunt? I can't bloody ride - A fleeting party chat sent James Delingpole, dedicated townie, on the most terrifying, thrilling and illusion-shattering day of his life... (page 1) (page 2)
Times 11.11.03 All dressed up for a stag party BY JAMES DELINGPOLE - A hunt on Exmoor begins with a recce off Bond Street - MY LOVE of dressing up is in a large way to blame for two of the maddest stunts I have done this year: going hunting on Exmoor with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, and re-enacting the Battle of Naseby with the Sealed Knot. Actually, I haven’t yet done my hunting, and may still chicken out because galloping across Exmoor when you can’t ride that well is a hairy prospect. But I kind of hope I don’t, because then I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren that I had a go before it got banned.... (story)

Independent on Sunday 28.12.03 Professor Colin Blakemore: The science of defiance - He is the animal rights movement's No 1 hate figure, and now the Government has fought shy of granting him the knighthood that usually goes with his top job. But within the medical research community, he is less a pariah than a pioneer, zealous in his defence of controversial methods By Tim Luckhurst (story)

Observer 28.12.03 No to vivisection - Professor Colin Blakemore is critical of the Government for leaving him off the New Year honours list, threatening to quit unless the Government backs animal experimenters. Throughout history scientists and medical professionals critical of vivisection have been sidelined, their careers and reputations at risk... S. Edwards, Dubai (letter)


Hull Daily Mail 27.12.03 HUNTING GETS LOW PRIORITY - Only two per cent of people believe fox-hunting should be a Government priority, according to a new survey... (story)

Dorset Daily Echo 27.12.03 Hunt rides on despite protests - IT WAS a spectacle of horses, dogs and riders that they thought they would never see again on a Boxing Day. Last year members of the Portman Hunt feared that new anti-hunting legislation would deprive them of their annual Christmas outing. But with the legislation falling through earlier this year members of the Dorset hunt were able to come out in style on Friday, starting off as usual from the Crown Hotel in Blandford.... (story in archive)

Huddersfield Daily Examiner 27.12.03 Hunters defiant on their big day - HUNT supporters were out in the Huddersfield area yesterday for the traditional Boxing Day meets. The Rockwood Hunt rode out in Upper Denby, watched by dozens of supporters. And Colne Valley Beagles took to the fields and lanes across Scammonden - in what could be a defining moment for country sports.... (story)

The Sentinel 27.12.03 YOU'RE OUT-FOXED SAY ANTI-HUNT PROTESTERS - Anti-hunt protesters yesterday staged a demonstration at what could be one of the region's last Boxing Day hunts. Around 30 demonstrators turned out to stage their protest at the Cheshire Forest Hunt at Lach Dennis, near Northwich... At Lach Dennis, up to 40 hunters were on horseback, followed by an estimated 150 on foot... In Staffordshire, more than 2,000 people showed their support for hunting by attending events at Woore, near Newcastle, Blithfield Hall, Abbots Bromley, and in the Staffordshire Moorlands at Dale Farm, Cauldon, near Leek.... About 20 riders, followed by 200 people on foot, took part in the Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt..... Around 450 people turned out in force to see 30 huntsmen on horseback at the Meynell and South Staffordshire hunt at Blithfield Hall near Abbots Bromley.... (story)

Gloucester Citizen 27.12.03 'BOXING DAY HUNTING WILL GO ON FOR YEARS' Thousands of defiant hunt supporters took to the countryside across the South West for what could be the last annual Boxing Day hunts.... On a proposed ban, Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire, said: "We will still be hunting on Boxing Day for years to come...." At the Avon Vale Hunt in Lacock, Wiltshire, demonstrators were out in force, waving banners proclaiming "out foxed, out dated and out voted"... One of the biggest meets of the day was at Cirencester Park where about 6,000 supporters turned up for the Vale of White Horse Hunt (story)

Guardian 27.12.03 This year, the day belonged to the hounds - Martin Wainwright - It was a rash thing to do with 27 foxhounds lolloping past, not to mention a knot of police officers nearby, but the man, one of a crew-cut group of followers of the Badsworth hunt, had been riled by a pavement full of "antis" and wanted to provoke them.... "Typical of that sort of follower," said Eric Beechey, the former head, a member of the League Against Cruel Sports... "We're in good heart," said one of the Badsworth's seven masters, Peter Turland... Denise Geddes-McClure said: "There's no need for the hunt. Foxes limit their own population... (story)

Guardian 27.12.03 New row on legality of forcing hunt ban - Sarah Hall, political correspondent - A row broke out yesterday over whether the government will be able to use the Parliament Act to push through a ban on hunting. As the biggest day in the foxhunting calendar - the Boxing Day hunt - began, two former cabinet secretaries and one Labour-appointed peer came out to argue that, politically, the act should not be used on a free vote. It has been used only three times since being introduced in 1949 .Their views were roundly attacked by Labour backbenchers who said the act was designed precisely for instances like these when the will of the elected House of Commons should prevail over that of the appointed House of Lords.... (story)

Telegraph 27.12.03 Hunts claim a record turnout by supporters - Hunt supporters claimed a moral victory yesterday with an unprecedented turnout for the Boxing Day meets and little or no disruption from protesters.... Richard de Prez, the master-in-charge of the Cheshire Forest Hunt, said: "Protesters have been saying that this will be our last hunt for the past six or seven years and we are still here.".... More than 100 protesters were at Wentbridge, West Yorks, but they were outnumbered by more than 1,000 supporters of the Badsworth Fox Hounds.... Supporters at the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt were more philosophical about the future... (story)

Times 27.12.03 Hunts and protesters move in for the kill BY STEVE BIRD - As the Boxing Day meet passes, both sides of the debate are squaring up for a legal battle... The Countryside Alliance claimed that 275,000 supporters had turned up at about 350 meets, an increase of 10 per cent compared with last year... Hunt supporters have raised a £2 million fighting fund in the hope that the courts will be able to block any chance of such a new law.... Ian Harris, 66, who rides with the Tiverton Foxhounds and Culmstock Minkhounds in Devon, was overwhelmed with cash after placing an advertisement in Horse and Hound magazine in the summer.... (story)

Times 27.12.03 Field sports vicar tells packs not to count their blessings BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - AS HUNTSMEN gathered yesterday for their traditional Boxing Day meets, the co-ordinator of a growing group of pro-hunting clergymen warned hunt supporters they should not claim “God was on their side”. The Rev Pip Martin, 45, vicar at St James’s Church in Alderholt, Dorset, spoke out because he is uncomfortable that some hunts ask local clergymen to bless their meets. Mr Martin, who is a whipper-in with the Wiltshire and Infantry Beagles and co-ordinator of Clergymen for Field Sports, a 60-strong non-denominational group, said he was concerned that hunt blessings could be misconstrued.... (story)

Independent 27.12.03 Pro-hunting groups turn out in force for what could be the last Boxing Day meetings By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter - Countryside groups claimed more than 275,000 people turned out yesterday to support the biggest day in the hunting calendar, amid fears it could be one of the last before the rural tradition is banned... Among the biggest crowds were 6,000 at Cirencester Park at the meet of the Vale of the White Horse, 5,000 with the Beaufort Hunt at Badminton and 3,000 at Pershore, near Evesham to support the Croome and west Warwickshire hunt. By contrast, about 400 demonstrators were present at the sampled meetings.... (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.03 HUNT DEFIANCE - Defiant Westcountry hunt supporters turned out in force yesterday to back traditional Boxing Day meets as a new poll revealed dwindling public enthusiasm for a ban on the sport.... The tiny Somerset village of Exford was taken over by hunt supporters thronging the roads and grass verges. And there was a mood of optimism as the Devon and Somerset Staghounds gathered in the courtyard of the White Horse Hotel yesterday morning.... Four Burrow joint master Paul Hancock said they had never had so much support.... Ivor Annetts, coordinator of the Mid Devon League Against Cruel Sports support group, said people were anxious to have the issue settled once and for all. He was among a group of banner-waving demonstrators showing their opposition to hunting at the Spooners and West Dartmoor meet in Tavistock... (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.03 BLAIR AMBIVALENCE LEAVES HUNT BAN IN DOUBT The traditional Boxing Day hunting scenes were played out across the Westcountry again yesterday as if nothing had changed. But as London Editor Jason Groves reports, next year could be the last for the controversial country pursuit Debate: Anti-hunt protester Gary Butlin confronts huntsmen at the Tavistock Hunt... If the dogged opponents of hunting finally get their way then the Hunting Bill will be brought back at some point next year and forced onto the statute books using the Parliament Act in November.... (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.03 HUNTING STALWARTS DETERMINED TO PRESERVE FUTURE OF SPORT - As the Devon and Somerset Staghounds prepared to ride out across Exmoor yesterday, two elderly gentleman voiced their utter determination to fight any Government ban of the sport. For John Heywood, the tradition of hunting is in his blood - having been exposed to it all his life.... Meanwhile, dressed smartly with his official Devon and Somerset Staghounds tie, 86-year-old retired farmer Arthur Webber from Cutcombe near Minehead, said he proudly supported hunting... (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.03 PUT UP - OR SHUT UP, MR BLAIR - Like cold turkey, leftover Christmas pudding and wilting mistletoe, the debate over the future of hunting with hounds has become a Boxing Day tradition... One thing is clear; this uncertainty cannot go on... It's time New Labour either finished what they started or admitted they were wrong and abandoned this legislation altogether. In 2004, so far as hunting is concerned, Tony Blair had better put up - or shut up. Western Daily Press 27.12.03 SHOW OF STRENGTH - Thousands of defiant hunt supporters were out in force yesterday - coming face-to-face with their anti-bloodsports adversaries for what could be the last stand in the hunting debate.... Feelings were running high at the Avon Vale Hunt in Lacock, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, where placards and banners were angrily waved on both sides.... (story)

Western Daily Press 27.12.03 THE BOXING DAY MEET (AS TRADITIONAL AS COLD TURKEY, THE PROS AND ANTIS MAKE THEIR POINT) - Defiant hunt supporters took to the West countryside in their thousands yesterday to make a determined stand against threats to their sport... At the Avon Vale Hunt in Lacock, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, demonstrators were out in force, waving banners proclaiming "out foxed, out dated and out voted". They jeered as the riders, who included North Wiltshire MP and Tory Rural Affairs spokesman James Gray, set off. But they were greatly outnumbered by supporters, who met the animal rights activists head on and displayed their own pro-hunt placards.... On a proposed ban, Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire, told the Western Daily Press yesterday: "We will still be hunting on Boxing Day for years to come.... One of the biggest meets of the day was at nearby Cirencester Park where about 6,000 supporters turned up for the Vale of White Horse Hunt.... As well as the Avon Vale Hunt, in Lacock, Wiltshire, the League Against Cruel Sports targeted the Minehead Harriers in Somerset, the West Dartmoor Foxhounds in Devon and the Portman Hunt in Blandford, Dorset.... (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 27.12.03 COUNTRYSIDE BY ROB SIMS - Hunt leaders and supporters sent a defiant message to the Government yesterday and pledged to continue the sport - whether or not politicians decide to ban it. Hundreds of well-wishers gathered to meet the East Devon Hunt for its traditional Boxing Day meet at Woodbury Common.... (story)

Yorkshire Post 27.12.03 Crowds out to support hunts - It is the biggest day in the hunting calendar but few Boxing Day hunts have come at such a crucial time, or attracted such crowds. Dave Mark reports.... They braved the bitter temperatures to show their support for the Holderness Hunt at a critical time that could yet see hunting with dogs banned.... Elsewhere in North Yorkshire large crowds turned out to see the Hurworth meet at Northallerton, the Cleveland at Great Ayton, York and Ainsty (North) at Boroughbridge, the York and Ainsty (South) at Easingwold, the Bedale in Bedale Market Place and Wensleydale Foxhounds at Hawes. Also out were Catterick Beagles, based at Catt- erick Garrison, who hunt over the military training area.... (story)

Shropshire Star 27.12.03 Crowds out to wave off hunt riders - Record crowds took part in Shropshire's traditional Boxing Day meets in a huge show of support and solidarity for hunting.... In Ludlow, more than 100 riders turned out for the South Shropshire Hunt's annual event and hundreds of people gathered in the town's historic castle to wave them off. And hundreds packed into Newport High Street to see the Albrighton Hunt set off followed by the traditional carriage parade. More than 70 riders turned out for the Wheatland Hunt's traditional Boxing Day event... (story)

Leicester Mercury 27.12.03 CROWDS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR HUNTS BY TIM HEALY AND LYNDSAY EMMETT - Thousands of people turned out for Boxing Day hunts in a show of defiance to those who hope to ban the sport. Quorn, Atherstone and Fernie hunts reported bigger crowds than last year at the traditional Christmas meets... (story)

Leicester Mercury 27.12.03 'RECORD NUMBERS TURN OUT' Hunt supporters claimed a record 275,000 people turned out across Britain for the biggest day in the fox-hunting calendar.... (story)

Newcastle Journal 27.12.03 Children caught in hunt row - Hunt leaders yesterday laughed off claims that they were damaging children by allowing youngsters to take part in the traditional Boxing Day fox hunts... Many of the handfuls of protesters, who turned up at several of the 12 hunting meets held in Northumberland and County Durham yesterday had hoped last year's Boxing Day hunts would be the last to be held.... Banners waved at the 80-plus members of the Braes of Derwent hunt as they left the car park of the Queen's Head pub in Lanchester, near Consett, claimed that exposing youngsters to the "barbarity" of fox-hunting made them immune to the suffering caused to animals. Mary Wood, who has protested at various fox-hunts across the region for the past seven years, said: "Instead of waiting until youngsters are old enough to make up their own mind, they take children out riding with the hunts from an early age to make them immune to the killing..." (story)

Northern Echo 27.12.03 Peaceful protest as hunts ride again by Gavin Engelbrecht & Hannah Chapman - THOUSANDS of enthusiasts throughout the North-East and North Yorkshire turned out in a show of strength yesterday to mark what could be the last annual Boxing Day hunts... Deep divisions between supporters and opponents were reflected at the Braes of Derwent Hunt, in Lanchester, County Durham, where a small group of anti-hunt demonstrators staged a peaceful protest.... In Northallerton, North Yorkshire, hundreds of people lined the streets to watch the annual meeting of the Hurworth Hunt, outside the Golden Lion, in High Street.... (story in archive)

Grimsby Telegraph 27.12.03 HUNT ENJOYED BY MANY DESPITE UNCERTAIN FUTURE - HANNAH KENNARD AND TIM JAYS The traditional Boxing Day hunts were enjoyed by many in Lincolnshire, in what was described as a positive year for the countryside sport - despite the uncertainty over its future... At Brocklesby, large crowds lined the point-to-point course to watch the horses and hounds parade.... Master of the Hunt at South Wold, Daniel Crane, even urged members of the gathered crowds in Louth to become more involved.... (story)

Cumberland News & Star 27.12.03 HUNT GOES ON By Kat Ferguson - HUNTERS carried out their annual Boxing Day meetings with a renewed air of optimism yesterday as hundreds vowed to fight any ban on foxhunting to the bitter end... Master of the Cumberland Farmers Foxhounds hunt at Welton, Peter Wybergh, posed with his horse Penny before sounding the horn to start the hunt.... (story)

Cumberland News & Star 27.12.03 BAN HUNT OR LEAVE IT ALONE - Email Jullian Whittle - HUNT supporters were out in force yesterday for the annual Boxing Day meets. December 26 is the red letter day of the hunting calendar... We are not going to take sides in the argument over hunting.... The Government says it wants a ban but it has chosen not to reintroduce its Hunting Bill in the current session of Parliament. What sort of mixed message does that send out – not least to those who depend on hunting for their livelihood? Our legislators should stop dithering. Either ban hunting or leave the hunting fraternity to get on with it. (story)

Hull Daily Mail 27.12.03 'THEY'LL NEVER KILL OFF HUNTS' - Fox-hunting stalwart Robert Howarth has pledged to keep his favourite pastime "alive for many years to come" in a renewed cry of defiance. The huntsman used the Boxing Day meet of Holderness Hunt on Beverley's Westwood to issue a rallying call to preserve the much-loved festive tradition... A crowd of around 400 gathered on the pasture land to watch 40 horses and 25 hounds gather for the chase. A similar-sized crowd gathered at the Middleton Hunt in Driffield.... (story)

Scotsman 27.12.03 Boxing Day hunt on its last legs? ALISON HARDIE POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - TRADITIONAL Boxing Day fox hunts took place across England yesterday for possibly the last time before they are outlawed by the government.... (story)

Bristol Evening Post 27.12.03 SUPPORT FOR BOXING DAY HUNT - Thousands of supporters turned out for the traditional Boxing Day meets of the Beaufort and Berkeley Hunts. Protesters were noticeable by their absence at the Duke of Beaufort's Worcester Lodge estate in Didmarton yesterday, where the Countryside Alliance put the number of supporters at 5,000. And in Thornbury High Street where the Berkeley Hunt met, two protesters waving a banner were lost in a sea of supporters.... (story)

Oxford Mail 27.12.03 Hundreds join the hunts by Suzanne Huband - Rain failed to dampen the spirits of hundreds of hunt supporters who turned out to watch the county's traditional Boxing Day meets. People in the centre of Chipping Norton gathered to watch the meet of the Heythrop Hunt... There were about 150 mounted followers and several hundred people on foot.... In the south of the county, 93 riders joined the Old Berkshire Hunt. The huntsmen and women, supported by 192 cars containing followers, gathered at the Hunt Kennels near Faringdon at 11am, and rode through Little Coxwell, Longcot and Shellingford, led by their field master, Viscount William Astor.... Meanwhile anti-hunt campaigner Penny Little dropped into Prime Minister Tony Blair's country home with a surprise `gift'.... They handed a top hat and riding crop, together with a badge naming Mr Blair as the master of the Chequers poodle hounds as well as a video of the Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hunt, to policemen on the gate at Chequers.... (story in archive)

Irish Independent 27.12.03 Parents criticised for taking children to see chase - AN organiser of the country's largest anti-hunting protest yesterday hit out at parents who bring young children to the hunt. Bernie Wright of the Association of Hunt Saboteurs (AHS) said that teaching children cruelty to animals at an early age could lead some of them to abuse people later in life... Ms Wright - who joined between 40 and 50 protesters at the 100-year-old Waterford Foxhounds hunt - predicted that if the fox hunting ban was implemented in Britain, then Ireland would follow suit... Meanwhile, 1,000 people gathered in Kells to support the 140-strong Meath Hunt. Master of Hounds John Henry said conditions were perfect - there were no injuries and no fox was caught or killed. There were no protesters at the event. (story)

Evening News 27.12.03 Jeers and scuffles at hare hunt - NICK PARKER - A DEFIANT band of protesters ignored a jeering crowd to voice their disgust at the traditional Boxing Day hunts across Norfolk. A handful of anti-hunt campaigners gathered at Wymondham market place as the Dunston Harriers rode out on their annual Boxing Day hare hunt.... Anne Jones, 53, a teacher from Norwich, is a member of lobby group Saving Animals from Exploitation. She said: "It's barbaric and ruthless...." Deborah Stephens, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "It's not a sport, it's killing for the sake of killing. It's just gutless."... A crowd of about 200 people who had gathered to watch the start of the hunt tried to drown out the noise of the protest.... (story)

Eastern Daily Press 27.12.03 Timeless hunts met by timeless protests - RICHARD BATSON - Snorting horses and howling hounds set off against the backdrop of a country house in a chocolate box Boxing Day scene.... At Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, a large crowd watched a gathering of the North Norfolk Harriers, where more than 40 riders saddled up.... At Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, a large crowd watched a gathering of the North Norfolk Harriers, where more than 40 riders saddled up... It was a case of "they're off" at Fakenham Racecourse, which was the venue for the West Norfolk Foxhounds, and where a handful of protesters were outnumbered by hundreds of supporters.... A small but vociferous band of protesters chanted anti-hunt slogans amid a 200 crowd of cheering supporters at the Dunston Harriers's meet in Wymondham Market Place.... Protester Linda Majzlik, of Norwich-based Saving Animals from Exploitation, said they deplored any form of cruelty to animals and wanted hunting banned as quickly as possible... (story)

Ipswich Evening Star 27.12.03 Boxing Day hunting comes to town - AFTER slow run-up to Christmas, retailers were today hoping that the early signs of sales fever should give them a much-needed boost.... Elsewhere in the county hunting of a more traditional kind was taking place. Horses and hounds gathered at Holbecks Park in Hadleigh, and at Hawkstead Place Farm near Bury St Edmunds.... (story)

Southern Daily Echo 27.12.03 Canine flu ends hunt by Tom Husband - A CANINE flu epidemic forced a Hampshire hunt to call off its prestigious annual New Forest Boxing Day meeting. The New Forest Hounds abandoned this year's Brockenhurst hunt after several of the foxhounds caught kennel cough.... (story in archive)

East Anglian Daily Times 27.12.03 Pro-hunt lobby sends message of defiance BY JONATHAN BARNES - HUNT supporters in East Anglia have spelt out their determination to keep the country pursuit alive amid the continuing threat of a Government ban... Liz Mort, eastern region director of the Countryside Alliance, who joined the start of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds hunt at Hadleigh, pledged to fight any Government moves to outlaw the field sport.... Nationwide, the Countryside Alliance claimed it had attracted more than 275,000 hunt supporters, who outnumbered protesters by 800-1... Hundreds of people braved the bitter Boxing Day weather to take part in the Suffolk Hunt at Hawstead, near Bury St Edmunds.... A crowd of several hundred people gathered in the centre of Bungay for the traditional Boxing Day meet of the Waveney Harriers.... The meet of the Essex Farmers and Union was held outside the Maldon district for the first time in more than 60 years.... (story)

Birmingham Post 27.12.03 Thousands turn out to support hunts By Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post - Defiant and jubilant after a year of political pressure, hunts in the West Midlands were optimistic yesterday their sport would continue in the face of mounting fears that a Government ban on hunting with hounds will reach the statute books within a year. Meets across the region saw record turnouts yesterday, with 1,700 people gathering at the Warwickshire Hunt and 1,500 at Droitwich, according to lobby group the Countryside Alliance.... Peter Swann, master of the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt, who was not riding yesterday after breaking his arm in a hunting accident, said there was hope hunting will continue for another year after the Hunting Bill was left out of the Queen’s Speech.... (story)

Worcester Evening News 27.12.03 Cheers and jeers at hunting meet clash SCORES of anti-hunt supporters hurled abuse as police kept control at a tense Boxing Day hunt in Droitwich.... As riders from the Worcestershire Hunt entered the grounds of the Raven Hotel, off St Andrew's Street, at around 10.30am yesterday, they received a barrage of abuse from the between 40 and 50 anti-hunt protesters who had congregated opposite the entrance.... One protester screamed: "I hope you fall off your horse and break your neck," while supporters responded by thanking the protesters for coming and inviting them to return next year... Animal rights campaigner Janet Higgins travelled from Rugby, Warwickshire, to protest... (story in archive)

Newcastle Journal 27.12.03 Help to build partridge families By Jennifer Mackenzie, The Journal - A survey has shown the grey partridges of Wark Farm near Cornhill-on-Tweed, Northumberland, are on the increase as a result of a range of conservation techniques. Farmer Jennifer Lovett has joined the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and The Game Conservancy Trust to help the grey partridges - a priority species due to their steep population decline - and other wild birds, using a combination of careful land and game management techniques.... (story)

Western Daily Press 27.12.03 ANIMAL TRAGIC - It was so good to read that a charity has stepped in to save the lions in Japan. I can only hope that bears in Japan will soon be rescued and that this sick and barbaric way of keeping animals will be stopped. J Swan Westbury Wiltshire (letter)


Scotsman 26.12.03 Hunt Attracts 275,000 Supporters, Says Countryside Alliance Fox-hunting supporters and opponents were out in force today on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before a Government clamp down... Hunt supporters remained defiant, with the Master-In-Charge of the Cheshire Forest Hunt, Richard de Prez, saying: “Protesters have been saying that this will be our last hunt for the last six or seven years and we are still here.”... Animal rights activists conceded that they were outnumbered but said they would not stop until hunting had been banned. It was a warning which appeared to have been taken seriously by supporters at the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt.... Meanwhile the anti-hunt group Protect Our Wild Animals took their protest to the Prime Minister himself, at his country house Chequers.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Put NHS before hunting, poll says - Only one out of every 50 Britons think banning or curtailing hunting with dogs should be the government's priority, a poll of 1,000 people suggests. The Countryside Alliance survey found that most people saw the NHS as the top issue facing ministers..... (story)
Telegraph 26.12.03 Public give Bill low priority By Graham Tibbetts - Only two per cent of people believe foxhunting should be a Government priority, according to a poll released today. Of those questioned, just one in 50 said that Labour should concentrate on introducing the hunting Bill.... (story)
Scotsman 26.12.03 Foxhunting Not A Public Priority - Poll - Only 2% of people believe that foxhunting should be a government priority, according to a poll released today. An NOP poll commissioned by pro-hunting group the Countryside Alliance found that the NHS was considered the most important issue for the Government to tackle (46%)... (story)
icScotland 26.12.03 Hunting not a public priority - poll - Only 2% of people believe that foxhunting should be a government priority, according to a poll. An NOP poll commissioned by pro-hunting group the Countryside Alliance found that the NHS was considered the most important issue for the Government to tackle (46%)... (story)
Reading Chronicle 26.12.03 Hunting not a public priority - poll - Only 2% of people believe that foxhunting should be a government priority, according to a poll.... (story)
Ananova 26.12.03 Foxhunting not a public priority - Only 2% of people believe that foxhunting should be a government priority, according to a new poll.... (story)

Times 26.12.03 Ex-Cabinet Secretaries warn against hunt ban BY VALERIE ELLIOTT - TWO former Cabinet Secretaries warn the Government today that it should not use the Parliament Act to force through a ban on hunting. Lord Armstrong of Ilminster and Lord Wilson of Dinton make public their views as hunts across the country gather for the traditional Boxing Day meet... One of Tony Blair’s appointed peers, Lord Grabiner, QC, has also intervened in the debate and accused anti-hunt Labour MPs of “class-bashing”. The warning comes as a poll of 1,000 people, commissioned by the pro-hunting group the Countryside Alliance, claims that only 2 per cent of people believe that a ban should be a government priority.... (story)

Independent 26.12.03 Hunts open up as Bill bids to widen ban on animal cruelty By Marie Woolf and Andrew Grice - Supporters of licensed hunts are to revive the Parliamentary battle over fox hunting by bringing in a Bill to outlaw all cruelty to animals. The move was announced as a record number of hunt enthusiasts were expected to turn out for today's Boxing Day meetings, in a show of strength against a possible ban.... An NOP survey, commissioned by the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, found that only 2 per cent of people believed hunting the most important issue for the Government.... Julie Nelson, a riding school instructor from Hull who hunts with the Hunsley Beacon Beagles in Yorkshire, said "the doors would be thrown wide open" to the public today.... (story)

Telegraph 26.12.03 Cruelty ban plan to test anti-hunt MPs - Opponents of a hunting ban will today publish proposals to ban all cruelty to wild mammals in an attempt to "flush out" Labour MPs who want to abolish the sport but are not prepared to outlaw other ways of controlling foxes. Lord Donoughue, the former Labour minister, and Lembit Opik, the Liberal Democrat MP, will introduce a private Bill to test the motives of anti-hunt MPs when Parliament returns in January... (story)

Telegraph 26.12.03 The hunt will meet for years to come By Nick Herbert - In the 35 years that I have been watching television, every Boxing Day news broadcast I can remember has featured a shivering reporter picking his or her way through the mud and proclaiming the days of hunting to be numbered. We are all used to a Christmas schedule that relies heavily on repeats, but it's time to challenge this annual canard.... The Chief Constable of Suffolk has issued a warning, on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, about the practicality of enforcing a ban. "Good laws," he observed "are largely self-policing", but this would be impossible in the case of hunting because "those who regard themselves as the greatest supporters of law and order will overnight be turned into criminals".... (story)

Telegraph 26.12.03 Fox Dundee - If Brett Mann had time to think before being eaten by a crocodile earlier this week, he might have reflected on the dangers of banning hunting of any kind. Crocodiles have been a protected species in Australia's Northern Territories for more than 30 years and the population has consequently risen tenfold... As Nick Herbert says opposite, the Government is foolishly still contemplating a ban of foxhunting here.... With a bit of luck, nobody would be eaten, though. (story)

Times 26.12.03 Foxhunters and protesters out in force - Fox-hunting supporters and opponents were out in force today on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before a Government clamp down. Estimates of turnout varied wildly on both sides, with the Countryside Alliance claiming it had attracted more than 275,000 hunt supporters, who outnumbered protesters by 800-1 on the biggest day in the hunting calendar. Animal rights activists, including the League Against Cruel Sports, said thousands of protesters congregated around some 300 locations to hold largely peaceful demonstrations.... (story)

Sky News 26.12.03 BOXING DAY HUNTS BATTLE - Hunt supporters and opponents are expected to be out in force on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before the Government moves to clamp down on foxhunting... (story)

East Anglian Daily Times 26.12.03 Two sides hopes for hunting's big day THE biggest day of hunting in East Anglia's history is being planned for todaywith thousands of people expected to turn out at the meetings.... David Nunn, who is joint master of the Easton Harriers, which is holding a hunt at Saxtead Green, near Framlingham, said: "We, as countryside people, are going to show them we are not going to give up.... James Buckle, master of the Essex and Suffolk foxhounds, said that the hunt had to be moved to Holbecks Park in Hadleigh this year as so many people wanted to participate.... Thurlow Foxhounds are holding a meet at Great Thurlow Hall today and master of the hunt, Edmund Vestey, said he expected there to be more than 80 people on horseback and several hundred on foot. James Aldous, master of the Suffolk hunt, which is holing its meet at Hawkstead Place Farm, near Bury St Edmunds, said he expected there would be about 350 people at the event with 75 on horses... Essex Foxhounds will also hold a meet at Matching Green Village and De Burgh and North Essex Hare Hounds will be setting off from the Cock Inn at Henham. The meeting of Waveney Harriers will start from Bungay Market Place and the nearby King's Head pub today... (story)

Western Mail 26.12.03 Act of barbarity, or valuable service? Paul Carey, The Western Mail - The master of Carmarthenshire Hunt, 40-year-old Dai Jones, is this morning at the Meidrin Hunt, located between Carmarthen and St Clears.... Ralph Cook, 44, from St Mellons, Cardiff, is chairman of the Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports. He will be campaigning against hunting today.... (story)

Essex Evening Gazette 26.12.03 Essex: Hunt will be part of largest event ... The Essex Farmers and Union meet is one of a number of hunts across the region which will meet today. And all the hunts are planning to make it the biggest day's hunting in East Anglia's history, according to the Countryside Alliance, with members of the public being encouraged to take part.... (story in archive)

Worcester Evening News 26.12.03 HUNT RIVALS FACE TO FACE ANGRY scenes were expected today at what could be the last-ever Boxing Day hunt in Worcestershire. Between 100 and 200 protesters were heading for Worcestershire Hunt's meet at Droitwich's Raven Hotel, according to Worcester and Birmingham Hunt Saboteurs spokesman Dan Sidley.... But Countryside Alliance spokeswoman Clare Rowson expected at least 20,000 hunt supporters to be out at 33 meets in the West Midlands region, making it a "bigger and better" day than ever.... (story in archive)

Shropshire Star 26.12.03 Boxing Day hunt could be the last - Huntsmen and hounds today gathered across the Shropshire and Mid Wales countryside on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before the Government moves to clamp down on foxhunting.... Peter Swan, hunt master of the Albrighton Woodland Hunt, said members were looking forward to a successful day.... Riders and hunt supporters were also out in force in north Shropshire today with the North Staffordshire Hunt meeting at Woore, near Market Drayton, and the North Shropshire Hunt meeting at the Albright Hussey, near Shrewsbury.... (story)

Reading Chronicle 26.12.03 Huge turnout for hunts expected - Hunt supporters and opponents were expected to be out in force today on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt... They expect the largest protests in Sussex, Essex and around the Beaufort Hunt in Badminton, South Gloucestershire..... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Crowds turn out for hunts - Hunt supporters and opponents turned out in force across Wales on Friday for what many thought could be the last Boxing Day hunt.... The Carmarthenshire Hunt, which has been active for more than 70 years, was expecting to attract supporters and protesters when it rode out. Protests were also expected at other meets, including the Banwen Miners' Hunt in Neath and th Tredegar Farmers' Hunt in Bassaleg, near Newport.... In Wales more than 3,000 people have so far signed a declaration pledging they will continue hunting illegally if there is a ban. The Flint and Denbigh Hunt followers say they are prepared for the consequences.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Boxing Day hunters defy protests - Hunting supporters say a record number of people have taken part in what could be the last ever Boxing Day meetings.... But anti-hunt protesters renewed calls for a ban at 21 demonstrations on the biggest day in the hunting calendar.... Some 30 demonstrators met riders of the Cheshire Forest Hunt as they gathered at Lach Dennis near Northwich. Dr Jane Evans, 35, a scientist from Cheshire, and a spokeswoman for the League against Cruel Sports, said she was protesting on moral and environmental grounds... But the hunt's master-in-charge, Richard de Prez, said: "Protesters have been saying that this will be our last hunt for the last six or seven years and we are still here."... The largest demonstrations were expected in Sussex, Essex and around the Beaufort Hunt in Badminton, South Gloucestershire. In the village of Penshurst near Tunbridge Wells, half a dozen protesters waved banners at a meeting of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt.... Protester Marian Eastwood, who runs an animal sanctuary near Tunbridge Wells, said: "I do not think many of these people here today will carry on if there is a ban... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Boxing day hunts organised - Traditional boxing day hunts took place in the two counties on Boxing Day. There were a number of hunts planned with an open invitation for anyone to come along and watch.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Hunt protesters visit Tony Blair - Prime Minister Tony Blair was due to be given a late Christmas present on Boxing Day, by anti-hunt campaigners in Oxfordshire. Members of the Protect Our Wild Animals group were taking a video of the Bicester Hunt to the prime minister's country retreat of Chequers.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Hunt groups' Boxing Day meet - Pro- and anti-hunt groups from across the South West have been gathering on the highest profile day of the year for the sport.... Ivor Annetts, of the League Against Cruel Sports in the South West, said: "All of the Labour backbench MPs that we speak to have had private assurances from the government that this bill is going to be brought back and forced through into law by the Parliament Act...." However, Guy Morlock, master of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt, which is based in Tavistock, said: "I think it's absolutely safe. The government hasn't got the taste for the fight they will have if they try and ban it, and I think they've realised that...." (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Hunt supporters predict big turnout - Pro-hunting campaigners in Kent have predicted large numbers will attend this year's Boxing Day meets. At least four hunts are taking place in the county, at Wingham, Elham, Tenterden and Penshurst, near Tonbridge.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Confidence grows over hunting's future More than a dozen fox hunts have gathered across North Yorkshire for the traditional Boxing Day meets.... Master of the York Ainsty South hunt, Nick Procter, told BBC Radio York that a ban would have a devastating affect on North Yorkshire's countryside in terms of both jobs and wildlife management.... (story)

BBC News Online 26.12.03 Hunt's folk gather for traditional meet - Huntsmen and women from across the West region will be gathering for meets on Friday with no fewer than 10 hunts taking place in Somerset.... (story)

Channel 4 News 26.12.03 Boxing day hunts bring boxing day protests - Huntsmen and their supporters and hunt protesters have taken to the countryside for what might be the last ever Boxing Day hunts... Master-In-Charge of the Cheshire Forest Hunt, Richard de Prez, was defiant about the possibility of a ban... Supporters at the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt were philosophical about the future.... Meanwhile anti-hunt group, Protect Our Wild Animals, is planning a Christmas gift to the Prime Minister at Chequers. Supporters, dressed as foxes, will hand over a top hat, hunting crop and badge bearing the words, "Master of the Chequers Poodlehounds". (story)

Hexham Courant 26.12.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS URGED TO MAKE BOXING DAY ONE TO REMEMBER - THE Countryside Alliance is urging Tynedale hunting supporters to take part in Boxing Day meets in a bid to make it the biggest day's hunting in history... (story)

Worcester Evening News 26.12.03 Hunting ban would be an easy law to enforce - I BECOME extremely annoyed when I read the excuse if a law was introduced it would be difficult to enforce.... According to Countryside Alliance figures, 41 per cent oppose hunting. Surely then, if they did meet, someone would report them? JOHN NORWOOD, Kidderminster. (letter in archive)


Staffordshire Newsletter 25.12.03 Animal welfare expert dies on holiday ... Rob Smith, 52, who ran the Gentleshaw Bird of Prey and Wildlife Sanctuary at Fletcher’s Country Garden Centre, died after suffering a heart attack on Saturday in a hotel in Yorkshire. Earlier this year he was awarded the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Lifetime Dedication Award.... (story)


Hull Daily Mail 24.12.03 HUNT SUPPORTERS TO MAKE A STAND AT BOXING DAY MEETS ACROSS THE REGION - Fox hunters will use the biggest day of their calendar to issue a rallying call to save their pastime. David Taylor reports... up to 3,000 festive revellers are expected to join the Holderness Hunt's showcase event on the famous pastures.... Members of the centuries-old Holderness Hunt have already pledged to continue hunting, even if it is banned. By promising not to comply with any hunting ban, they are effectively agreeing to break the law to continue the country pursuit. Hunt kennelman David Berry said: "That is how passionately people feel about their hunting and we were delighted when the Lords kicked the Bill out...." The Middleton Hunt will also be meeting in Driffield Market Place on Boxing Day.... (story)

Argus 24.12.03 Hunts in line for clash of factions - Hunters and protesters are preparing for what some believe could be their final confrontation at this year's traditional Boxing Day hunts.... The Southdown and Eridge Hunt will meet in High Street, Lewes; the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt in Battle; the Chiddingfold, Leconsfield and Cowdray Hunt at Petworth and the Crawley and Horsham Hunt in Shipley. All meet at 11am... (story)

Cumberland News 24.12.03 HUNTERS HOPE FOR A BOXING DAY BOOST By Julian Whittle - CUMBRIA’S defiant hunting fraternity is expecting a big turnout on Boxing Day, the red-letter day of the hunting calendar.... Simon Hart, chief executive of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, predicted that hunt supporters would be out in force.... The Blencathra Foxhounds meets outside the Moot Hall, Keswick, at 10am. The Ullswater meets at Patterdale at 9.30; the Bewcastle at Roweltown at 10; the Cumberland at Uldale at 10; the Cumberland Farmers at Welton at 10.45; the Melbreak at Lorton at 10; and Eskdale and Ennerdale at Eskdale Green at 9.30 (story)

Westmorland Gazette 24.12.03 Fox hunts plan big show of support - BOXING Day fox hunts this year promise to attract more people than ever before as citizens register their support for the outdoor pursuit, according to the Countryside Alliance.... Coniston Foxhounds will be meeting at Market Cross, Ambleside, at 9.30am on Boxing Day.... Other Boxing Day hunts in this area are: North Lonsdale Foxhounds meeting at Crown Inn at High Newton at 9.30am; Lunesdale Foxhounds meeting at the Dalesman Inn, Sedbergh, at 10am; Ulverston Foxhounds meeting at The White Lion, Patterdale, at 9.30am; Blencathra meeting at Market Square, Keswick, at 10am, and Wensleydale Foxhounds meeting at Hawes at 10am.... (story)

Craven Herald 24.12.03 500 expected at Boxing Day hunt - CROWDS of more than 500 are forecast to watch the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt's Boxing Day meet at Gargrave.... (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 24.12.03 NEW CRUELTY BILL WILL FIRE UP THE ANTI-HUNT BRIGADE A Shock new Bill to ban all cruelty to wild animals is set to be unveiled on Boxing Day and will cause a storm in the well-worn hunting debate, the Western Daily Press can reveal today. The Bill will provide a new twist to the hunting argument - and could provide an escape route for Tony Blair on the thorny hunting issue in next year's Parliament. Even though it has come from the compromise Middle Way Group, the Bill could be used by anti-blood sport groups to force a ban on hunting with dogs - if they can prove in the courts it is more cruel than other pest control methods.... this Bill will leave the specific definition of "excessive cruelty" open to judges' interpretations - and aims to satisfy both sides in the increasingly tense debate.... Lembit Opik MP will introduce it as a Private Members' Bill in the New Year.... But yesterday the League Against Cruel Sports was dismissive of the Bill. Spokesman Anne Holmes said: "We don't need this Bill..." (story)

Batley News 24.12.03 MP vows to pursue ban on hunting with dogs - BATLEY and Spen MP Mike Wood has reiterated his determination to see a ban on hunting with dogs become a reality.... (story)

Telegraph 24.12.03 Pint to pint: Fox and Hounds Inn - Our guide to the best of British pubs. This week, Adam Edwards visits Warwickshire - It can only be time before the League Against Cruel Sports becomes so bovine it will claim passive hunting is dangerous to our health... One of its first victims will be the Fox and Hounds Inn at Great Wolford. Not only will the league consider the pub's title inflammatory (it will be accused of encouraging impressionable drinkers to chase defenceless creatures) but the painting on its sign will also be seen as particularly offensive to New Labour anthropomorphic sensibilities.... (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 24.12.03 TRADITIONAL BOXING DAY HUNTS WILL GO AHEAD - TIM JAYS - Hunts will again take to the fields of Lincolnshire on Boxing Day - despite MPs voting this summer to ban the sport. No protesters are expected to disrupt the meetings of the Brocklesby Hunt or the South Wolds Hunt... (story)
Grimsby Telegraph 24.12.03 GROUP IS WORKING FOR BAN - Founded in 1924, the League Against Cruel Sports maintains a unique approach to the protection of wildlife - combining campaigning with conservation.... (story)

Newcastle Journal 24.12.03 Hunts defiant as dogs ban looms By Robert Brooks, The Journal - Hunt supporters plan a show of defiance for this season's Boxing Day and New Year's Day ride-outs... "We have lived with this threat for some time now, so we're planning to carry on as usual," said Martin Claxton, huntsman with the Duke of Northumberland's Percy Hunt at Alnwick... Among the hunts being staged in Northumberland are the Border Hunt from Otterburn, the College Valley/North Northumberland Hunt at Wooler, Haydon Hunt at Fourstones near Hexham, Morpeth at Meldon Corner, the West Percy at Glanton, Tynedale at Corbridge and the North Tyne at Wark. The South Durham Hunt takes place at Bishopton near Sedgefield, while the Braes of Derwent leaves from Lanchester and the Cleveland Hunt is run from Great Ayton. (story)

Western Morning News 24.12.03 HUNT SUPPORTER SAYS OPPONENETS THREATENED TO 'TORCH' HOME - A hunt follower preparing to take legal action against those who have accused him of cruelty claimed yesterday that he had been warned his house and dogs could be "torched".... Mr Harris, who rides with the Tiverton Foxhounds and Culmstock Minkhounds, plans to take action against four nationally known anti-hunting figures (story)
Western Morning News 23.12.03 ANTI-HUNT GROUPS 'WILL BE SUED IN NEW YEAR' - A Westcountry huntsman has collected a fighting fund of more than £2 million, which he plans to use to take anti-hunt campaigners to court in the New Year. Iain Harris, of Mid Devon, intends to sue for defamation opponents of hunting who describe hunt supporters as "cruel".... Mr Harris, who rides with the Tiverton Foxhounds and the Culmstock Minkhounds, believes that if he is successful, he could undermine the premise on which the Government is seeking to ban or regulate hunting.... (story)
BBC News Online 23.12.03 Huntsman to fight cruel claim - A Devon huntsman has amassed £2m in pledges to bring a legal action against claims that hunting is cruel. Huntsman Iain Harris launched an appeal for funds in the Horse and Hound magazine in the summer... (story
Exeter Express & Echo 8.9.03 IS IT DEFAMATORY TO CALL ANTI-HUNT FRIENDS BIGOTS? I am unable to understand why so much publicity is being given to the threat by Iain Harris, of the Tiverton Foxhounds, to take legal action against anybody who calls him cruel… if I send him £10 perhaps he could ask his lawyer whether it is defamatory for hunters to call me and my anti-hunt friends ignorant, prejudiced bigots? John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 28.8.03 HUNTING FOLLOWER IAIN WON'T BE INTIMIDATED BY JO BARR - A devon hunt follower has vowed not to drop his legal action against people who accuse him of cruelty - despite his allegation that he has received phone calls threatening to burn him and his dogs alive. Iain Harris, who lives near Tiverton, says he has received a number of threatening calls to his home… Mr Harris, a member of the Tiverton Foxhounds and Culmstock Minkhounds, claims the phone calls show the anti-hunt lobby is worried about his legal case which is likely to begin in October… (story)
Sunday Mercury 24.8.03 A fox-hunting campaigner preparing to take legal action against those who accuse him of cruelty has called in the police after receiving telephone threats to his life and property. Iain Harris, 66, who has thousands of pro-hunt supporters backing his initiative after placing an advert in Hare & Hound magazine, said the threatening calls would not deter him… (story)
Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazette 19.8.03 HUNT FOLLOWER SAYS HE WILL SUE ON 'CRUELTY' - The man who is to sue anybody who describes hunting as cruel says he has virtually unlimited funds to wage his legal crusade. Iain Harris, 66, who lives in a village a few miles from Tiverton, says more than 7,000 people have already pledged their support for the campaign… Mr Harris, who is a regular follower of Tiverton Foxhounds and Culmstock Minkhounds, says he is taking the action so that his grandchildren do not see him as a cruel man…. (story)
Western Morning News 19.8.03 WILL WE DISCOVER IT'S KIND TO BE CRUEL? - I have been following the correspondence generated by Iain Harris, a supporter of the Tiverton Foxhounds, who objects to being called cruel… If I send ten quid to your correspondent perhaps he could ask his lawyer whether it is defamatory for hunters to describe me and my anti-hunt friends as ignorant prejudiced bigots. John Phelps, Exeter (letter)
Western Daily Press 15.8.03 ANOTHER THREAT BY THE BULLY BRIGADE - So, the hunting tribe plans to sue certain persons if it is said that hunting with dogs is cruel. This is yet another threat from the bullies brigade aimed at silencing justifiable criticism... Ann Richardson Warminster Wiltshire (letter)
Telegraph 14.8.03 Pro-hunter plans to sue antis over accusations of cruelty By Richard Savill - A retired farmer has threatened legal action against organisations and individuals that accuse hunt supporters of being cruel. Iain Harris, 66, who lives near Tiverton, Devon, and has followed packs of foxhounds since he was a child, said he was "sick and tired of being labelled a villain"…. (story)
BBC News Online 12.8.03 Hunt supporter's legal threat - A Devon man is threatening legal action against organisations and individuals who accuse hunt supporters of being cruel… Mr Harris said the target of the legal action would be public figures and organisations who called him and other pro-hunters cruel…. (story)
Western Morning News 12.8.03 - LEGAL FIGHT LOOMS OVER 'CRUEL' HUNTING CLAIMS - NATHAN PYNN - A war of words has erupted between a pro-hunter who wants to sue anti-hunt groups who label him cruel for pursuing the sport. Around 7,000 pro-hunt supporters from across Britain are preparing to take legal action against anyone who accuses them of being cruel. Behind the initiative is 66-year-old Iain Harris, who follows Tiverton Foxhounds and the Culmstock Minkhounds… (story)
Western Daily Press 12.8.03 WE'LL SUE, SAY HUNT FANS - The row over hunting took a bizarre twist last night as thousands of hunt supporters revealed they plan legal action against campaigners who label them 'cruel'. Led by West huntsman Ian Harris, the mass action will see leading anti-hunt campaigners such as MP Tony Banks and the League Against Cruel Sports sued for libel… (story)
(possibly Western Morning News) 11.8.03 ANTI-HUNT GROUPS REACT TO LIBEL THREAT - to court for describing his pastime as "cruel". Iain Harris, 66, from Mid Devon, says he will sue for slander or libel anti-hunt campaigners and MPs who brand hunt supporters "barbaric" or "heartless". He is now urging hunters around the country to copy his campaign. In response Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, reiterated his belief that hunting with dogs is "cruel, barbaric and has no place in modern society"… (story)
(possibly Exeter Express & Echo) 29.7.03 LAW EXPERT GIVES HUNTERS' SLANDER ACTION LITTLE HOPE BY JOHN FLETCHER - An Exeter expert on law says hunt supporters will be wasting their money if they embark on legal actions for slander against people who call their sport cruel. Andrew Tettenborn, Professor of Law at Exeter University, said he did not hold out much hope of success for Iain Harris, who says he is considering suing people who brand hunting as cruel… Mr Harris, 66, who rides with the Tiverton Foxhounds and Culmstock Minkhounds, said 50 people in the region had agreed to join him in taking legal action… Michael Moore, joint master of the East Devon Hunt, supports the action: "I agree with Mr Harris…" Kathy Moyle, of East Budleigh and a member of the Mid Devon League Against Cruel Sports, said: "We would invite Mr Harris to sue. This is a lot of bluster from a dying breed." (story)
Western Morning News 28.7.03 ANTI-HUNTING GROUPS AND MPS TO BE SUED - SAM MARSDEN - Opponents of hunting could be taken to court if they continue to describe the country pursuit as "cruel". A Westcountry man has pledged to sue for slander or libel anti-hunting campaigners and MPs who brand hunt supporters "barbaric" or "heartless". Iain Harris, from Mid Devon, says 50 people in the region have already agreed to join him in taking legal action and he is now urging hunters across the UK to copy his campaign…. Mr Harris, who rides with the Tiverton Foxhounds and the Culmstock Minkhounds, wants to help people around the country organise a series of collective legal actions… Lis Key, spokeswoman for anti-hunting group the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said she was not "unduly worried" about Mr Harris' move… "I used to go foxhunting because I am keen on horse riding - now I look back and regret that I did it. I do not believe that I am a cruel person, but I believe the activity I supported was cruel." (story)

Skegness Standard 24.12.03 Help bring cruel sport to an end - KEVIN HILL AND PETER WHITE Hunt monitors, International Fund for Animal Welfare, c/o 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD (letter)
Wells Journal 23.12.03 WRITE ABOUT HUNT BAN - Kevin Hill and Peter White, Hunt monitors, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London (letter)
York Evening Press 23.12.03 When will foxhunting be banned? - Kevin Hill and Peter White, Hunt monitors, International Fund For Animal Welfare, c/o 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD. (letter in archive)
Bristol Evening Post 20.12.03 HUNTING WITH DOGS Kevin Hill and Peter White, hunt monitors, International Fund for Animal Welfare, London. (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 20.12.03 SPIRIT OF GOODWILL IS NOT EXTENDED TO OUR WILDLIFE - Kevin Hill and Peter White International Fund for Animal Welfare, London (letter)
South London Press 19.12.03 We must not just stand by - Kevin Hill and Peter White Hunt monitors International Fund for Animal Welfare London SE1 (letter)
Chester Chronicle 19.12.03 EVEN in the midst of the season of 'goodwill to all men'… KEVIN HILL & PETER WHITE Hunt monitors International Fund for Animal Welfare c/o 89 Albert Embankment London (letter)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 19.12.03 Lobby for an end to hunting - KEVIN HILL and PETER WHITE, Hunt Monitors, International Fund for Animal Welfare, c/o 89 Albert Embankment, London. (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 18.12.03 SEASON OF GOODWILL DOES NOT COVER FOXES KILLED BY HOUNDS - Kevin Hill and Peter White International Fund For Animal Welfare (letter)
Milton Keynes News 17.12.03 Hunting spirit - Even in the midst of the season of 'goodwill to all men', that Christmas spirit doesn't extend to the animal kingdom, and on Boxing Day a determined minority will be out hunting foxes and killing them with packs of dogs…. We urge all the many people in favour of a ban to take time over Christmas or the New Year to write to Tony Blair, asking him for a clear indication of when the Hunting Bill will be reintroduced… Kevin Hill and Peter White, Hunt monitors, International Fund for Animal Welfare, c/o 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD (letter)

Wiltshire Gazette & Herald 24.12.03 Invite to all - Following last week's letter inviting the public to see the reality of fox hunting, we would like to extend the same invitation. Come along with us any Saturday... PEWSEY VALE HUNT SABOTEURS ASSOCIATION (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 24.12.03 WELL, WHAT A THING TO SAY - So, once again, Prince Charles has put his foot in it with the comments he made in support of foxhunting... I read on the same page of the Western Daily Press that the Quantock stag hounds had invaded the deer sanctuary owned and set up by Sir Paul McCartney in memory of his late wife. This only goes to prove that these hunts have no control over the dogs or are so arrogant that they could not care less... S R Grimes Sharpness Gloucestershire (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 24.12.03 BRUTALITY IS DISTURBING, WHEREVER IT TAKES PLACE Like most readers, I was deeply saddened by the front-page story and photograph of the dead swan... in the same issue, in Points of view, Michael Moore, of the East Devon Hunt, requested we join him and his cronies killing foxes for fun on Boxing Day.... Every week, foxes, deer and hares are tormented and killed - but that's okay, it's in the name of sport! Mrs Maxine Floyd Salway Close Cullompton (letter)

Irish Examiner 24.12.03 Some of God’s creatures are out of the choir - FOR me, Christmas calls to mind the legends concerning two of God’s creatures — the fox and the robin.... the robin is one of many songbirds targeted by gunmen who flock to Ireland at the behest of tour operators.... And foxhunters uphold the downside of the other legend... recalling evil King Herod's passion for hounding his enemies to exhaustion or death.... John Fitzgerald, Lower Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny (letter)

Guardian 24.12.03 Animal rights clash - Professor Colin Blakemore, in his protests at being overlooked by the honours system, seems to be trying to take the debate on animal experimentation back 50 years... Mary Midgley, Newcastle upon Tyne
Colin Blakemore deliberately conflates the whole of medical research (indeed, the whole of science) with animal experimentation... Dr Ray Greek, Medical director, Europeans for Medical Advancement (letters)
Guardian 23.12.03 Suffering to primates is caused not only by experiments, but also as a result of the way they are housed, cared for and transported… Replacing primates with humane alternatives should not be beyond the bounds of scientific endeavour in the 21st century. Dr Mark Prescott RSPCA (letter)
Guardian 19.12.03 Animal Tests - Professor Hansen (Letters, December 18) repeats the misunderstanding so common with those opposed to research using animals. New treatments do not rely on animal experiments alone - they are only part of the effort…. Philip Connolly, Director, Coalition for Medical Progress (letter)
Guardian 18.12.03 Bad model - Professor Colin Blakemore claims primate research helped to conquer polio and will help with Aids and brain disorders (Letters, December 15). In fact, "misleading experimental models of the disease in monkeys" delayed the polio vaccine for 30 years… Prof Lawrence Hansen, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California (letter)
Guardan 15.12.03 This is no monkey business - Ray Greek's article questioning the use of primates in medical research (We should give a monkey's, December 5) is wholly misleading… I understand why many people find research on animals, and especially primates, distressing. We all look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary. But if we are to conquer devastating illnesses affecting millions of people worldwide, studies involving monkeys have a vital role to play. Prof Colin Blakemore Chief executive, Medical Research Council (story)
Guardian 5.12.03 We should give a monkey's - The government is backing research on non-human primates for economic reasons, to the detriment of public health - Ray Greek - Experimenting on monkeys in the hope of unlocking the secrets of the human brain is an exercise in futility… (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 24.12.03 SWAN KILLER DESERVES THE TOUGHEST OF PENALTIES - I was very shocked and sickened to hear of the deliberate slaughter of the poor swan on Exeter's Quay... Photos of this swan killer should be posted around the Quay so we will all know who to look out for. As for any do-gooders who feel that would be unfair on the killer, then all I can say to them is: tough.... Linda Thomson, Ullswater Court, Exeter (letter)

Bucks Free Press 24.12.03 RSPCA chief says turkeys are too fat - AN RSPCA chief has slammed appalling conditions designed to fatten turkeys in the run up to Christmas. John Atter, Eastern regional RSPCA manager, condemned modern breeding techniques which mean millions of turkeys are now grotesquely overweight.... (story)
Sunday Mail 21.12.03 FESTIVE TURKEYS TOO BIG TO HAVE SEX LIFE - A CAMPAIGN to improve the sex life of Christmas turkeys has been launched by the RSPCA. Their scientists claim the birds are now grown to such huge sizes that they are completely stuffed when it comes to doing what comes naturally... (story)
South Wales Evening Post 17.12.03 PLEA OVER TURKEYS Christmas shoppers are being urged to think twice by the RSPCA before buying a huge turkey. The charity is warning people that turkeys are being bred to such grotesque sizes that it could lead to their deaths before they even reach the slaughterhouse… (story)

Telegraph 24.12.03 Animals' plight - The spectacular arrest of Saddam Hussein will not necessarily guarantee a return to normality for the ordinary citzens of Iraq, where life is becoming ever more devastating.... The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (Spana) wants to help both the animals and people of Iraq.... Lord Newall, Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, Jeremy Hulme, Dr Derek Knottenbelt, Spana, London WC1 (letter)

Wakefield Express 24.12.03 BE KIND TO TURKEYS PLEA - A GIANT 7ft-tall turkey entertained Christmas shoppers in Wakefield on Saturday to raise awareness of factory-farmed birds... Chris Bonner, of Gordon Street, Agbrigg, handed out leaflets, played the guitar and sang songs with four other members of his band outside Wakefield Cathedral on Saturday lunchtime.... Chris and wife Victoria, also 28, are campaigning against the "cruelty" and "terrible suffering" of factory farm turkeys, and their slogan is 'take the cruelty out of Christmas and increase the peace and goodwill'.... (story)

Southport Visiter 24.12.03 Gospel truth about food - I AGREE with Mary Braithwaite ('Southport Visiter', December 12) that God sent his son Jesus at Christmas and He is 'The Reason for the Season'. But I also believe God created the birds of the air, the fish of the deep and certain animals for the benefit of mankind as a source of food (St Matthew, Ch 14 & 17 and St Luke Ch 24). There are a lot of poor countries where people would starve, especially in Africa, where the only food is what fish they can catch.... K. HAWKSEY, Birch Street, Birkdale (letter)
Southport Visiter 12.12.03 Kindness and love GOD sent Jesus on a trip to start Christmas. Jesus taught us that it is kindness and love that matter. This should include God's creatures - the animals, birds and fish. Be kind this Christmas and go vegetarian… MARY BRAITHWAITE, Hawkshead Street (letter)

Argus 24.12.03 Why can't we learn to live with wildlife? Brighton and Hove is well known for being a city of animal lovers and is rich in wildlife diversity.... But we don't appreciate the value of this wildlife enough and the 40 grey squirrels culled for nesting in the Portslade cemetery chapel roof are an example of this... As more wildlife and habitat is lost each year to development, we have to seriously look at protecting the vulnerable wildlife we have left -Gloria Wheatcroft, Hove (letter)


Sussex Express 23.12.03 Celebration day for hunts - HUNTS in East Sussex plan to celebrate the effective shelving of the Hunting Bill with big gatherings for their meets on Boxing Day. The Southdown and Eridge Hunt will meet outside the White Hart in Lewes at 11am, while the East Sussex and Romney Marsh meets at Battle Abbey... (story)

Driffield Times 23.12.03 CROWDS TO GREET BOXING DAY HUNT - THE traditional Boxing Day meeting of the Middleton Hunt will take place as usual, despite the threat hanging over the future of hunting. Huntsmen and women will meet as usual on Cross Hill, Driffield, at 11am on Friday where large crowds traditionally gather to watch... (story)

Shropshire Star 23.12.03 All set for a hunt to remember - More people will take part in Shropshire's traditional Boxing Day hunt meetings than ever before in defiance of Government attempts to ban the sport, campaigners have claimed.... Mark Allman, jointmaster of north Shropshire hunt, said he doubted it would be their last hunt despite speculation about a ban. The Albrighton Hunt will be out in Newport; the David Davies Hunt will be out at Llanidloes; the Ludlow Hunt meets at Ludlow Castle; the North Shropshire Hunt meets at The Albright Hussey, Broad Oak, near Shrewsbury; the South Shropshire Hunt meets at the New Inn, Hook-a-Gate, near Shrewsbury. Shropshire Beagles meet at the Corbett Arms, Upton Magna, near Shrewsbury; the Teme Valley Hunt meets at the Knighton Hotel, Knighton, Powys; The United Hunt meets at the Castle Hotel, Bishops Castle; and the Wheatland Hotel meets at Morville, near Bridgnorth. (story)

Birmingham Post 23.12.03 Influx of people to country pursuits By Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post - Fears of a Government clampdown on fox hunting and shooting has provoked thousands of people to take up the countryside pursuits, with some organisations seeing recruitment at its highest level for more than a decade…. The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has welcomed 14,200 new members this year - the highest level of new membership for more than ten years…. The Countryside Alliance, which has lobbied against a ban on hunting, is also welcoming new recruits into the fold, with 3,000 people attending its recent hunting day for newcomers… One newcomer is Liz Hill, a company secretary from Kidderminster, who follows the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt on foot with her dog Duffle…. Carl Cox, regional director of BASC in the West Midlands, said the debate over banning hunting with dogs and fears that shooting could be next on the Govern-ment's hit list had provoked many people to join up…. (story)

Portsmouth News 23.12.03 Huntsmen and protesters line up for big day - COULD this Friday be the last time people gather at Christmas to watch the annual spectacle of a hunt meeting before heading into the countryside in pursuit of a fox?... Hunt saboteur Simon Wild from Felpham, who runs the West Sussex Wildlife Protection Group, said he believed a ban would eventually happen.... But Rosamond Masterman from the Meon Valley was among more than 40,000 hunt supporters who last month signed a declaration saying they would break any law introduced to ban hunting and accept the legal consequences – even if it meant jail.... the League Against Cruel Sports is planning Boxing Day protests at the Hampshire hunt meet at Balmer Lawn, Brockenhurst in the New Forest and at the Isle of Wight hunt meet at Carisbrooke Castle. Curtis Thompson leads the Hursley Hambledon Hunt through Meonstoke village on a previous Boxing Day morning (photo) (story)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 23.12.03 MP backing new bid to outlaw fox hunting by Gemma Handy - THE “CRUEL and bloody” sport of hunting with dogs could soon be a thing of the past if a leading city MP’s campaign is successful. Wolverhampton South West MP Rob Marris has pledged to see a ban become reality by continuing to press for the Hunting Bill to be reintroduced into Parliament.... (story)

Belfast Telegraph 23.12.03 Coursing ban not based on facts or real concern - IT is hardly surprising to see Douglas Batchelor, the Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports (Writeback, December 16) supporting Environment Minister Angela Smith putting a block on hare coursing in Northern Ireland for the next 12 months. But at least he should have got some of his facts right.... I would argue that coursing clubs have done more for the welfare of the Irish hare than any other organisation and it would seem that bodies as represented by Mr Batchelor would be better employed using their influence to persuade Government and farming, to refrain from destroying the hare's natural habitat, outlawing shooting of the hare and coming down hard on those who indulge in illegal coursing with lurchers.... ROBERT FENTON, Secretary, Ballymena Coursing Club. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 23.12.03 Sincerity of those who course hares not in doubt - .... The two scientists are carrying out research to determine how to conserve the Irish hare.... On the other hand, Mr Batchelor, as Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, has a personal detestation against coursing, fox hunting and whatever else that he decides is cruel... An element of this organisation have donned the ballyclavas and physically attacked law-abiding citizens partaking in the legal sport of their choice.... The sincerity for the protection of the Irish hare by those who course hares must be taken as credible... Due to the attitude of Mr Batchelor, his fellow members and others of similar mind is to impose "their" thinking on others, wars have been created. HARRY STEPHENSON, Kircubbin, Co Down. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 23.12.03 Minister's move does nothing to help species - AS suggested in the letter from Professor W. I. Montgomery and Dr P.Prodohl in Writeback and by the winning of an award for conservation by the Dungannon Coursing Club for their work with the Irish Hare the issuing of a protection order only pushes to the sidelines those people who have the greatest interest in its survival.... By issuing the protection order, the Minister, Angela Smith, only demonstrates to those with whom she was formerly associated her continuing belief in their cause but she does nothing for protection of the hare... PETER STRAIN, Belfast 14. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 23.12.03 Recommendation lacking in objectivity - OF COURSE, scientists like everyone else are free to change their opinions and views as increasing evidence arises... I merely highlighted the inconsistency of advice provided by Queen's researchers over recent years on the issue of hare protection. F. NOBLE, Belfast. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 16.12.03 Don't fault scientists for putting forward facts - SCIENTISTS modify their opinions as new evidence accumulates…. We are sorry that F. Noble (Writeback, December 11) finds this complicated but the issues of licensed coursing, hunting and conservation are difficult. We cannot be held accountable for how others use information we have generated…. W. I. MONTGOMERY, P. PRODÖHL (Dr), School of Biology and Biochemistry, The Queen's University, Belfast. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 16.12.03 Give the Irish hare protection under law - IT was sad to see a letter from Professor Montgomery and Dr Prodohl of The Queen's University, Belfast (Writeback, December 2) weave so carefully around one of the key issues in hare conservation…. Professor Montgomery says, quite rightly, that steps should be taken to address the illegal poaching of hares. One clear way in which this could be done is to make coursing a criminal offence, by protecting the Irish hare under the Wildlife Order…. The sooner hares are given statutory protection the better. And the fact remains that the League Against Cruel Sports campaign to achieve this has the support of 74% of people living in Northern Ireland. DOUGLAS BATCHELOR, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 11.12.03 Confused over academic's stance on Irish hares - I HAVE a keen interest in wildlife and countryside issues, and have been avidly following the recent events regarding the Irish hare in Northern Ireland. I am somewhat confused by the article that appeared in Writeback on December 2 from Professor Ian Montgomery… Since 1997, Prof Montgomery and colleagues at Queen's University have consistently called for the removal of Irish hares from the quarry list and hence the end to all forms of hunting involving Irish hares in Northern Ireland. This view appears to have completely changed during December 2003… F. Noble, Belfast, Co. Antrim. (lette)
Belfast Telegraph 9.12.03 Offer of help in quest to save the irish hare - ON behalf of Ballymena Coursing Club, I welcome the letter from Professor Ian Montgomery (Writeback, December 2) who is in the right position to give the true picture of the effects of coursing on hare population. It also exposes the limited knowledge of the anti-coursing brigade… The Ballymena club have offered him and his colleagues the opportunity to have a look at the 52 acres held by the club for this very purpose - hardly the actions of those uninterested in the survival of this endemic species. R. FENTON, Secretary, Ballymena Coursing Club (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 2.12.03 Coursing clubs benefiting the Irish hare population - A NUMBER of Writeback correspondents have referred to research conducted under our supervision in support of their contrary views regarding country sports involving the Irish hare. As the scientists responsible for the work we would like to clarify what has been established…. coursing as practised under licence does not affect hare numbers…. To summarise, there is no evidence that legal coursing in Northern Ireland constitutes additional risk or prohibits recovery of the population. Indeed, it is our view that appropriate land management by coursing clubs and responsible hunting groups would aid conservation and should be strongly encouraged. W. I. MONTGOMERY (Prof.), P. PRODÖHL (Dr.), School of Biology and Biochemistry, The Queen's University, Belfast. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 26.11.03 Endangered Irish hare exposed to greater risk - I AM incensed by the recent decision to refuse a licence to Dungannon Coursing Club to net hares for their annual hare coursing meeting. Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith, formerly associated with The League Against Cruel Sports, made her decision based on inaccurate information…. SAM THOMPSON, Joint Master of Iveagh Hounds, Dromore, Co Down (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 13.11.03 Hare today . . . gone tomorrow - Your three correspondents who disagree with my opposition to hare coursing (Nov 10) all claim that where hare coursing takes place the hare population increases.... Dungannon Coursing Club only captured ten hares last year, when a licence to take 70 hares was granted. It appears that the evidence is not in favour of coursing. David Ford, Alliance Candidate, South Antrim (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 10.11.03 Let people decide - WITH reference to David Ford's letter (Writeback, November 3) regarding hare coursing, I suggest that the point of devolved government is that local people are able to make local decisions and not have decisions forced upon them by others, particularly those such as Angela Smith, whose history of employment with an organisation such as the League Against Cruel Sports provides her with a clear personal agenda.... J. C. BALCOMBE (Mrs), Fermanagh (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 10.11.03 Proven point - I WAS most dismayed to read David Ford's letter (Writeback, November 3). It is a fact that where hare coursing takes place there are more hares as a result of sympathetic land management. Independent research by Queen's University has shown this.... A. GRAHAM, Dunadry, Co Antrim (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 10.11.03 Abuse of power - I must protest against David Ford's over simplification of the facts (Writeback, November 3) regarding Angela Smith's refusal to grant a licence to net hares to Dungannon Coursing Club.... Independent research has consistently shown that where coursing takes place, the hare population has increased, due to land management policies which have been advantageous to the hare. Thus, the decision of Angela Smith is a flagrant abuse of power and an outrageous display of personal prejudice. RODERICK W. OLIVER, Lisburn, Co Antrim (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 28.10.03 Personal prejudice on Minister's part? Angela Smith, Environment Minister, has refused Dungannon Coursing Club a licence to net hares for their annual hare coursing meeting, despite evidence of a scientific and conservation nature that support their application. Would Ms Smith's previous position as press officer of the League Against Cruel Sports have anything to do with this decision which may suggest that she has abused her ministerial power in pursuing her own agenda resulting in a clear case of conflict of interest?... WILSON DENNISON, Muckamore, Co Antrim. (letter)

Post & Times 23.12.03 ANY HUNTING BAN MUST BE OBEYED ... the fox-chasers have shown how far down the ladder of life they have dragged themselves by holding demonstrations across the country during which they proudly sign up to defy and break the law if and when hunting with dogs is finally banned. Would it be fair to suggest that they class themselves with drunken drivers, drug pushers, old lady muggers and others who think themselves above the law?... Neil Seaton Clowneholme Marston Bank Rocester (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 WE'RE NO NATION OF ANIMAL LOVERS In response to recent letters - some have asked: Can we call ourselves a civilised nation? Others: Are we really a nation of animal lovers? We are neither! Not while vivisection and hunting for sport continues.... We are neither civilised NOR animal lovers and we reap the consequences. Louise Piddington Plymouth (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 Animal crackers REACHING a common agreement about the issue of hunting isn't going to be easy... Mrs Joy Griffiths, Chard, Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 ONE HOUND ALONE KILLS FOX INSTANTLY - It is evident from your letters columns that those people who would impose a ban on hunting are impervious to the explanations of many hunting authorities and will insist that the hunted fox is torn to pieces by the pack while still alive. Some 20-odd years ago, the Daily Mirror ran a campaign against fox hunting and sent its reporting crew complete with camera to a meet of the Berkeley Foxhounds.... Armed with the brilliant photographs he had acquired, the photographer went triumphantly back to his office and the next day the pictures appeared on the tabloid front page.... They demonstrated unequivocally that it is the lad hound alone who catches and kills the fox immediately by breaking its neck, contrary to what the anti-hunt campaigners would have the public believe... W T Sweet, Helston Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 PHEASANTS NOW RURAL POLLUTANTS - The trespass by the Quantock Hunt on to land owned by Sir Paul McCartney where hunting is not wanted got wide media coverage in the South West... Every day, there is another field sport that wilfully "trespasses" on land where it is not wanted. Ever-expanding pheasant shoots are springing up all over the region.... A shoot set up next to conservation woodland that I manage and though there was clear environmental damage due to the density of pheasants entering it, there was absolutely nothing in law I could do.... In parts of the Westcountry, pheasants are now rural pollutants.... Theo Hopkins, Oakford Devon (letter)

Telegraph 23.12.03 Ultimatum to Blair on animal experiments By Roger Highfield, Science Editor - The nation's most senior medical scientist threatened to quit yesterday unless the Prime Minister restated the Government's support for the need to conduct experiments on animals. Prof Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council (MRC), spoke out after reports that he was not put forward for an honour by a Whitehall committee because of his "controversial" defence of vivisection, a stand that once put him on the "murder list" of animal rights extremists.... (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 23.12.03 Honours system shake-up promise - THE Government has announced a review of the honours system after a top scientist threatened to quit in a row over the awards. Government scientist Colin Blakemore is considering standing down after reports that he was not being put forward for an honour because of his support for animal experiments.... (story)
Scotsman 23.12.03 Scientist threatens to quit over lack of backing for vivisection - RHIANNON EDWARD - A SENIOR government scientist threatened to quit yesterday if ministers failed to back experiments on animals. Colin Blakemore, the head of the Medical Research Council, (MRC) spoke out after reports that he was not put forward for an honour because of his support for the work... (story)
BBC News Online 22.12.03 Scientist issues honours threat - A senior government scientist has said he may resign after reports he was not put forward for an honour because of his support for animal experiments. Colin Blakemore, head of the Medical Research Council (MRC), has called for the government to issue a statement backing experiments on animals… (story)
Guardian 15.12.03 Government accused of sexing up the honours list - Mark Oliver - The government was accused of abusing the honours system yesterday after a leaked document suggested the tennis player Tim Henman was recommended for an OBE to "add interest" to the list…. The secret document also suggested that Professor Colin Blakemore, an eminent Oxford University scientist, was being excluded because of his "controversial" work on vivisection. There were anxieties of a backlash from the animal rights lobby, the newspaper claims… (story)
Sunday Times 14.12.03 Whistleblower reveals secrets of honours list - DAVID LEPPARD AND ROBERT WINNETT - A WHITEHALL whistle-blower has leaked a secret document showing that Tim Henman is being recommended for a new year’s honour only to “add interest” to the list and that an eminent scientist is being excluded for fear of upsetting the animal rights lobby… Professor Colin Blakemore, the distinguished Oxford University scientist, has been rejected for an honour because of his “controversial” work on vivisection…. the committee’s deliberations showed his pre-eminent status was outweighed by fears of a backlash from the animal rights lobby… (story)

Scotsman 23.12.03 Stop killing the hedgehogs - With regard to the killing of hedgehogs on the Uists and Benbecula, your report (17 December) refers to a survey showing "75 per cent of people questioned agreeing with the need to kill the non-native hedgehogs to protect important species of birds in the islands". However, what was not pointed out was that this survey was based on the opinions of only 32 individuals, seemingly armed only with information provided by Scottish Natural Heritage... It is not necessary to kill any more perfectly healthy hedgehogs. ROSS MINETT Campaigns director Advocates for Animals Queensferry Street Edinburgh (letter)
Guardian 17.12.03 Hedgehog cull extended on Western Isles - Gerard Seenan - A controversial programme to cull hedgehogs on the Western Isles is to be extended, Scottish Natural Heritage decided yesterday…. (story)
Scotsman 17.12.03 Hedgehog cull to continue - with 186,000 budget - JOHN ROSS - THE controversial cull of hedgehogs in the Western Isles is to be extended next year after Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) agreed it was necessary to protect important populations of native birds… However, SNH has agreed to hand over 60 animals it captures next year to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to see whether they can successfully be relocated to the mainland… Yesterday, Les Ward, from Advocates for Animals, said he was "extremely disappointed and disgusted"…(story)
The Herald 17.12.03 Campaigners angry as SNH extends island hedgehog cull - DAVID ROSS, Highland Correspondent - SCOTTISH Natural Heritage is to extend the cull of hedgehogs it began in North Uist this year, taking it to the islands of Benbecula and South Uist over the next three years…. Ross Minett, campaigns di-rector of Advocates for Animals, said: "The decision is absolutely disgusting. SNH . . . has once again ignored expert scientific advice and is flying in the face of public opinion by killing innocent animals…" (story)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 Relentless crusade - I APPLAUD the relentless crusade the WMN has initiated over the inhumane export trade in live horses... Archie Smith Gorran Haven (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.03 CHARITIES MUST HONE EFFICIENCY AND COSTS - The RSPCA's finances are far from being in turmoil ("Money problems weigh heavily" WMN, December 3). But, like many other charities and organisations affected by the world's falling stock markets, the RSPCA has found itself examining its current activities for areas where savings can be made... Support for the RSPCA's work is increasing and we have more than half a million supporters... Jackie Ballard's quoted view ("it's cruel to stick a hook in a fish's jaw and then fling it back") was taken from an interview given within a week of her appointment as director general, and as such was, along with other comments made in those early interviews, given as her personal opinion and didn't necessarily reflect RSPCA policy. Helen Briggs RSPCA Horsham (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 23.12.03 BATTERY EGG CONTENT PUTS FIRMS UNDER FIRE - Leading supermarkets have come under fire from Gloucestershire animal rights campaigners after they were found using eggs from battery hens in vegetarian products. The survey, by the RSPCA, found that supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's and vegetarian brand Quorn have been using the factory farmed eggs... Martin Whiteside, Stroud's Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party - which campaigns for an end to battery farming - said: "These supermarkets are completely misleading vegetarians...." (story)

Weymouth Echo 23.12.03 THOUGHTLESS STALLHOLDERS OFFER GOLDFISH AS PRIZES - WHILE running West Dorset RSPCA charity stalls at both Weymouth Victorian Shownight and Dorchester Christmas Cracker we were very upset to discover that some of the stall holders at these events were offering live goldfish as prizes.... Please, do not perpetuate this outdated fairground tradition - do not play a game at any stall where you might win a fish and force these thoughtless stall holders to think again about what they are doing. MRS SUSAN STOW RSPCA West Dorset Branch PO Box 5460 Weymouth (letter in archive)


Lancashire Evening Telegraph 22.12.03 Anti-hunt group calls for boycott - FESTIVE pub-goers are being urged to boycott a 'dirty dozen' hostelries which saboteurs claim are used by a controversial East Lancashire hunting group. The North-West Hunt Saboteurs Association has published the names of pubs where it says the Holcombe Hunt holds regular meetings…. (story in archive)
Bolton Evening News 22.12.03 Protesters vow to be at hunt meet - ANTI-bloodsport protesters are once again set to clash with huntsmen at the annual Holcombe Hunt in Rivington. Around 100 members of the League Against Cruel Sports are likely to turn out for the Boxing Day meeting…. Greg Metcalfe, of the protest group's North-west branch, said he hoped it would be the last time the organisation would have to attend the hunt…. (story in archive)
Bolton Evening News 15.12.03 A barbaric pastime on their land - Jeanne Young North West League Against Cruel Sports PO Box 359 Chorley PR6 8WA (letter in archive)
Ormskirk Advertiser 4.12.03 United affront - LIKE most of its customers and employees, we believe United Utilities has a responsibility to protect wildlife on its land. As the landowner, United Utilities has the legal right to have tenancy agreements that do not allow hunting…. JEANNE YOUNG,North West League Against Cruel Sports,PO Box 359 (letter)
Leigh Journal 2.12.03 UU has a responsibility to protect wildlife on its land … Even on Boxing Day, at a supposed time of peace and goodwill, United Utilities permit the Holcombe Hunt to meet on the company's land at Rivington Hall Barn thus allowing them to terrorise and kill hares on Rivington Moor for fun…. Jeanne Young North West League Against Cruel Sports PO Box 359 Chorley PR6 8WA (letter in archive)
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 28.11.03 Landowners should act to protect wildlife - LIKE most of its customers and employees, we believe United Utilities has a responsibility to protect wildlife on its land… Even on Boxing Day United Utilities permit the Holcombe Hunt to meet on the company's land at Rivington Hall Barn thus allowing them to terrorise and kill hares on Rivington Moor…. JEANNE YOUNG, North West League Against Cruel Sports, PO Box 359, Chorley. (letter in archive)
Manchester Evening News 27.11.03 Cruel pastime - UNITED Utilities continue to permit, and in some cases defend, hare hunting. On Boxing Day, at a supposed time of peace and goodwill, United Utilities permit the Holcombe Hunt to meet on the company’s land at Rivington Hall Barn…. Jeanne Young, North West League Against Cruel Sports, PO Box 359, Chorley, PR6 8WA (letter)
(Lancashire Evening Telegraph) 4.11.03 Groups demand end to hare hunt - ANTI-bloodsports campaigners demonstrated this week in a bid to stop hare hunting in the Chorley countryside. Members of the League Against Cruel Sports in the North West, together with other anti-hunt groups, are demanding that United Utilities ban the Bury-based Holcombe Harriers from Rivington on Boxing Day... League Against Cruel Sports support group, said: "How many more hares must die for this so called sport before United Utilities act?... Paul Timpson, a spokesperson for the North West Hunt Saboteurs' Association, said: "It's about time United Utilities stopped sitting on the fence and took a positive stance by banning all types of hunting on their land."... (story)
BBC News Online 28.10.03 Hunt protestors target water company - Anti-hunt protestors have held a demonstration at a utility company which is one of the biggest land owners in the North West…. About 25 demonstrators protested outside the firm's headquarters in Warrington, Cheshire, on Tuesday morning…. Greg Metcalfe, of the (LACS), said: "They allow hare hunting and are one of the biggest land providers in the North West. They actually provide the Holcombe Hunt a Boxing Day hunt at Rivington…" (story)
Manchester Evening News 27.10.03 Anti-hunt protesters target firm's HQ - ANTI-bloodsports campaigners are targeting United Utilities' Warrington headquarters to demand an end to hunting on the company's land… They are demanding a ban on the hunting of hares on the company's land - and especially the planned Boxing Day hunt from Rivington by the Bury-based Holcombe Harriers…. Jeanne Young, spokeswoman for the North West League Against Cruel Sports support group, said: "This so-called sport is a cruel and barbaric practice, carried out without respect for wildlife."… Paul Timpson, of the North West Hunt Saboteurs' Association, said: "Many foxes and hares suffer torment and death in the name of sport…" (story)
Daily Post 27.10.03 Hunt saboteurs demand firm bans blood sports By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff - HUNT saboteurs will be descending on United Utilities' headquarters tomorrow demanding the company bans blood sports from its land. The League Against Cruel Sports wants the company to stop farmers that lease its property from holding meets…. (story)
Bolton Evening News 24.10.03 Ban Boxing Day hare hunt say protesters - ANTI-bloodsport campaigners are to demonstrate outside United Utilities headquarters in protest over the Boxing Day hunt at Rivington. Members of the League Against Cruel Sports in the North-west and other anti-hunt groups are demanding the company bans the Bury-based Holcombe Harriers from hare hunting on the countryside they own. However, United Utilities said it does not allow hunting on land it directly owns and manages. It said the hunt takes place on land belonging to its tenants who are legally entitled to allow their fields to be used…. Jeanne Young of the North West League Against Cruel Sports support group, said: "It is a cruel and barbaric practise carried out without respect for our wildlife." Paul Timpson, a spokesperson for the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: "It's about time United Utilities stopped sitting on the fence…" (story in archive)

Derby Evening Telegraph 22.12.03 ALLIANCE PLANNING TO COME OUT FIGHTING ON BOXING DAY - The Countryside Alliance is planning to make this year's traditional Boxing Day hunt the biggest in its history.... Local hunts include the Meynell Hunt, Barlow and High Peak hunt... (story)

Westmorland Gazette 22.12.03 Boxing Day hunt meetings to be biggest ever - BOXING Day fox hunts this year promise to attract more people than ever before as citizens register their support for the "sport", according to the Countryside Alliance.... Boxing Day hunts in this area are: Coniston Foxhounds meeting at Market Cross, Ambleside, at 9.30am; North Lonsdale Foxhounds meeting at Crown Inn at high Newton at 9.30am; Lunesdale Foxhounds meeting at the Dalesman Inn, Sedbergh at 10am; Ulverston Foxhounds meeting at The White Lion, Patterdale, at 9.30am; Blencathra meeting at Market Square, Keswick at 10am and Wensleydale Foxhounds meeting at Hawes at 10am.... (story)

Yorkshire Post 22.12.03 Hunt groups call for record Boxing Day turnout - BRITAIN'S pro-hunt lobby last night urged record numbers of supporters to turn out to Boxing Day meetings this year to make Ministers think again about making their pastime illegal…. The pro-hunt Countryside Alliance, however, believes that the Government's treatment of hunting has attracted more supporters to the pastime than ever before... The joint master of Badsworth and Bramham Moor hunt, Nigel Dickson, said at least 1,000 would attend the two meetings at Aberford, near Wetherby and Wentbridge, in South Yorkshire…. (story)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald/Evening Press 22.12.03 Hunt supporters get ready for Boxing Day meets - DEFIANT hunting supporters have pledged they will be out in force this Boxing Day - and for many years to come. The Countryside Alliance has called for record numbers of hunt supporters to join meetings across the country, to make the Government think again about banning the sport…. "We have been told that every Boxing Day for the last ten or so years will be the last, so this year is no different," said York and Ainsty hunt master Nick Proctor…. Frank Houghton Brown, the joint master of the Middleton Hunt, based at Birdsall near Malton, agreed, saying: "It will be business as usual in Malton…. (story in archive)

Coventry Evening Telegraph 22.12.03 Hunt set for biggest day in its history - Fox hunters in Warwickshire are planning the biggest day of hunting in their history on Boxing Day…. But the League Against Cruel Sports, which wants to see an end to hunting with dogs, has organised 21 official protests across the UK to campaign against the sport…. Warwickshire hunt is taking place from 10.45am at Upton House in Banbury; Atherstone hunt will meet at Market Bosworth at 11am; and Warwickshire Beagles will meet at the Rose and Crown in Feckenham, Worcestershire at noon…. (story)

Western Daily Press 22.12.03 HUNTING: BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN - Hunt supporters and protestors are gearing up for their biggest confrontation for years at Boxing Day meets, the Western Daily Press can reveal today. With the political row over hunting still undecided, anti-hunt campaigners are expected to be out in force to protest on the biggest day of the hunting calendar…. Public protests at Boxing Day hunt meets have fallen away as bids to ban hunting in Parliament became more and more serious. But one West anti-hunt protestor, who declined to be named, said the omission of the hunting bill from the Queen's Speech this year had changed everything… A spokesman for one West hunt, which didn't want to be named, said: "We hear every year that there will be a mass demo and it never happens…" (story)

Western Daily Press 22.12.03 HYPOCRISY OF HUNT PRAYERS Sir - At 11am on Christmas morning, many thousands of self-acclaimed Christian hunt supporters will attend a church service and pray: "Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven." Yet, 24 hours later, on Boxing Day, they will gather together to inflict pain, distress and outright cruelty on God's creatures…. Name and address supplied >(letter)

Worcester Evening News 22.12.03 MP man of compassion - I AM sending this e-mail to let you know that all of my family and myself fully support MP Michael Foster (right) in his efforts to ban foxhunting…. JODIE LEWIS, Worcester. (letter in archive)

The Sentinel 22.12.03 FOX HUNTING ALSO GOES ON IN CITY - Whilst out walking our dogs at Burslem Grange my brother and I came across a man who was fox hunting by sending his terrier-type dogs down fox holes. We remonstrated with this moron who asked if we were the land owners. We then rang the police, who in turn called the RSPCA, before calling back to say it was not an offence to commit such acts of barbarism and cruelty…. Ban fox hunting now. No more empty promises. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Western Daily Press 22.12.03 GUNNING FOR OUR WILD BOAR - Animal rights protesters hit out last night at the "blood lust" of trophy hunters shooting wild boar in the West… Andrew Tyler, director of the campaigning group Animal Aid said: "This is about a lust for blood…" Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "We think it is morally wrong to chase and kill wild animals for sport. Many people would see wild boar as an exciting part of the variety of British wildlife."… (story)
Western Morning News 22.12.03 WILD BOAR HUNTING IS BACK - The ancient sport of wild boar hunting, last seen in Britain more than three centuries ago, is making a comeback in the Westcountry… Paul Johnson, a stalker from Chard in Somerset, has shot several wild boar on the 2,000-acre Mapperton estate in Dorset… Jeffrey Olstead, spokesman for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said that because of the restrictions on obtaining a firearm certificate and the difficulty in shooting the animal, he did not feel there would be a sudden upsurge in trophy-hunters…. Mike Hobday, spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said he deplored the hunting of wild boars… (story)

Scotsman 22.12.03 Protected birds - The Duke of Buccleuch has appealed for a sense of "perspective" over the 70 suspected cases of illegal poisoning incidents of legally protected birds of prey in Scotland during 2002… Let us not be sidetracked by the numbers game. Even one poisoning incident of our legally protected birds of prey is one too many. It is abhorrent that 19th century attitudes and practices are still entrenched among a proportion of Scotland’s 21st century land managers…. LOGAN D STEELE Bridgewater Avenue Auchterarder, Perthshire (letter)
Scotsman 19.12.03 Duke swoops to gamekeepers' defence - WILLIAM CHISHOLM - SCOTLAND’s largest private landowner has taken issue with conservationists over the alleged scale of illegal killing of birds of prey. The Duke of Buccleuch, whose 430 square miles of family estates in the south of Scotland and Northamptonshire include prime grouse moors, claims the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) exaggerates the extent of raptor persecution by gamekeepers to protect game birds… He outlined two "positive" examples of how his own estate workers recently intervened when birds of prey were threatened by unforeseen events…. the head keeper arranged for four unhatched red kite eggs to be placed in an incubator alongside a batch of pheasant eggs after the mother bird was found dead by Forestry Commission staff. "After the eggs hatched, they were reared to adulthood with the aid of local RSPB experts," said the duke. "This was a success story of co-operation. However the moment RSPB discovered that a ducal gamekeeper saved the birds, the story was killed."…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 22.12.03 BID FOR HAWKS BAN - A Devon dog owner is calling for falconers to be banned from parts of Dartmoor after her pet dogs were attacked by a trained bird of prey. Anne and Tony Short, of Dunchideock, were walking their two Border collies along Meldon Reservoir, near Okehampton, last Sunday, when a hawk swooped on the dogs…. (story)
Western Morning News 22.12.03 HAWK IN SWOOP ON TWO PET COLLIES - Calls for restrictions on falconers flying birds on Dartmoor following attack A Westcountry dog owner yesterdayFri Dec 19 called for falconers to be banned from parts of Dartmoor after her pets were attacked by a trained bird of prey. Anne and Tony Short, of Dunchideock, near Exeter, were walking their two border collies along Meldon Reservoir, near Okehampton, last SundayDec 14 when a hawk swooped on one of the dogs…. (story)

Lakeland Echo 22.12.03 Some animal experiments certainly can be justified - UNLIKE Wendy Higgins of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Lakeland Echo, December 2) we are delighted that the Government has given planning permission for the primate research lab in Cambridge as it will help in the fight against distressing neurological brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.... Thomas Bromley, Executive Secretary, SIMR, PO Box 504, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 5WS (letter)
Yorkshire Post 15.12.03 Primate research will ease human suffering From: Thomas Bromley, executive secretary, Seriously Ill for Medical - Unlike Wendy Higgins, of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, (Yorkshire Post, November 27), we are delighted that the Government has given planning permission for the primate research lab in Cambridge as it will help in the fight against distressing neurological brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease… (letter)
Lakeland Echo 2.12.03 Ape research does not work - Wendy Higgins, Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (letter)
Western Daily Press 29.11.03 SHAME OF THE MONKEY LABS - It came as no surprise to animal campaigners when Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott recently announced planning approval for Cambridge University's proposed new monkey brain research centre…. Is it any wonder that an increasing number of citizens feel their only option is to abandon the political process and turn to protest instead? Wendy Higgins Campaigns Director British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (letter)

Glasgow Evening Times 22.12.03 Pet stores in the dog house - PET shops in Glasgow are the worst in Scotland according to the findings of an investigation by an animal welfare group. Campaigners from Advocates for Animals visited visited eight pet shops in the city, all of which were found to have "issues of serious concern", and half of which were unlicensed…. (story)

Western Daily Press 22.12.03 SUFFERING OF BROILER BIRDS - Recently, Compassion In World Farming challenged the Government in the High Court over the suffering caused to intensively reared broiler chickens… Pat Parkinson Welsh Newton Common Monmouth (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 22.12.03 MP'S BID TO BAN FUR TRADE - Action is needed to ban trade in dog and cat fur, says Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross…(story)

Clevedon Mercury 22.12.03 MOONBEAR CASH - Animals Of Asia Foundation North Somerset, would like to thank everyone for their support at fairs in Mary Elton School, Clevedon's Hill Road, Nailsea, Milton and Portishead... (story)


Bedfordshire on Sunday and Luton on Sunday 21.12.03 Turkeys the victims of foul play - AN undercover investigation claims to have revealed 'horrific and illegal slaughter' of Christmas turkeys on a Bedfordshire farm. A Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) staffer got temporary work as a turkey plucker at the on-site slaugherhouses of two farms in Bedfordshire and Staffordshire, which the organisation has so far refused to identify. Video footage obtained over the last two weeks claims to reveal: Complete failure to use pre-stunning equipment prior to throat slitting as required by law… Kerry Burgess, CIWF's campaigns director said: "The fact that such inhumane practices are allowed to go on in this day and age is absolutely unacceptable…" (story) (story)


Exeter Express & Echo 20.12.03 HOLY SCRIPTURES HAVE NO ARGUMENT WITH HUNTING - In reply to John Phelps, Points of view, December 6, who asks why I should presume that anti-hunt protesters believe in God the Creator. I do not presume any such thing. Some do. Some do not. What does seem to be evident by their letters is that the most vociferous are indeed non-believers and Mr Phelps's is a prime example… Then there is Dr John Pamment who dismisses religion as mere "dogma" in his criticisms of the Old Testament, although I thought parts of his letter were hilarious. At least he shares with me a sense of humour…. It is apparent there is a large section of the populace today who, if they do not personally like their fellow humans' activities, think there should be a law to stop them. I do not follow people who make up the rules as they go along and neither should politicians. W Lewis Rackenford (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 8.12.03 NEVER MIND THE SWINE, TUCK IN TO A TASTY IBEX - Mr W Lewis has written claiming to have endeavoured to search into the minds of anti-hunt protesters, Points of view, November 29. Firstly, I'm not sure that the word 'protesters' applies to the antis any more. Given the overwhelming vote in the Commons to ban all forms of hunting with dogs, and given the pro-hunt statements that laws will be broken in the event of a hunt ban, then surely it is the pro-hunt faction who are now the 'protesters' - those opposing hunting have already won the argument where it matters, in Parliament… Dr John Pamment, Clyst Heath, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.12.03 DON'T PRESUME ALL HUNT OPPONENTS ARE RELIGIOUS - Why should W Lewis, Points of view, November 29, presume that anti-hunt protesters believe in God the creator? Christians, especially the Catholic Church, have a disgraceful record of animal abuse throughout the ages…. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.12.03 IT'S UPLIFTING TO SEE DEER ROAMING ON OUR MOORS Mr w Lewis, Points of view, November 29, is sympathetic to the hunts…. It is uplifting to walk the moors of Scotland and see in the distance a herd of possibly 200 deer, at the head a stag. When he turns and looks you in the eye, you know then that nature is worth protecting…. May the light of God give guidance to you, Mr Lewis. Tony Parsons Haymans Close Cullompton (letter)

Eastern Daily Press 20.12.03 Turkey tycoon defends factories - EMILY DENNIS - Turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews angrily defended his working practices as animal rights raiders broke in to sheds where millions of his birds are being raised for Christmas. In a rare public response Mr Matthews threatened legal action against direct action group Viva… Viva campaigners claim to have secretly filmed inside all of Mr Matthews' Norfolk sites at Langham, Breckles, Hockering, Swannington and Felthorpe, and today presented footage showing dead and injured birds to the EDP. But Mr Matthews said: "They are to blame for killing the birds. These trespassers broke in with their film equipment and bright lights and caused the panicked birds to have a heart attack."…. (story)


Belfast Telegraph 19.12.03 Furore over hare coursing ban rages on By Michael Drake - DIRECT rule minister Angela Smith and Mid Ulster Unionist MLA Billy Armstrong were today locked in a row over hare coursing. Mr Armstrong has accused Ms Smith of making a "blinkered" decision over her 12-month ban on coursing in the province… A Ballymena coursing club spokesman said: "We are in agreement with the minister that numbers of hares are low and there is a need to conserve and enhance the growth of the species. "However, coursing has always been proactive in this objective and has made beneficial contributions down the years to the health of the species…" Mr Armstrong said: "Ms Smith was a former employee with the League against Cruel Sports and many people are concerned the decision to ban hare coursing has been taken by a blinkered Minister…" Assemblymen Jim Wilson and Ian Paisley Jnr also criticised the Minister's decision. But it was welcomed by Alliance leader David Ford (story)
Belfast Telegraph 17.12.03 Minister puts ban on hare coursing By David Gordon - ENVIRONMENT Minister Angela Smith today announced a controversial 12-month ban on hare coursing in Northern Ireland. The measure was immediately denounced by the pro-coursing Countryside Alliance, who hinted at the possibility of a legal challenge. Mrs Smith today denied that her past involvement with the League Against Cruel Sports was an issue…. It has already initiated legal proceedings against an earlier decision by Mrs Smith to refuse a Dungannon club a licence to trap hares for a coursing event… (story)
Newsletter/Belfast News/Derry Journal 17.12.03 Minister on Wrong Course - Hunters By Kate Cooney - THE Government locked horns yesterday with the Countryside Alliance by announcing a ban on hare coursing. Environment Minister Angela Smith slapped a 12-month temporary ban on the killing, taking, sale or purchase of Irish hares to take effect from January 19…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 19.12.03 BOXING DAY HUNTS - The following hunts will be holding their traditional Boxing Day meet on December 26th : Duke of Beaufort's… Heythrop… Avon Vale … Berkeley… Cotswold… V.W.H…. (story)

Telegraph 19.12.03 Backbenchers turn down chance to ban hunting - Nearly five years after Tony Blair vowed to ban hunting, animal "rights" activists now fear it will never happen…. But Spy learns that the prospects of such a Bill have all but disappeared. The PMB ballot has now taken place, and none of the successful MPs is willing to go for hunting…. Meanwhile, the League Against Cruel Sports is (slightly confusingly) telling supporters not to put up a PMB, in case it dies a death and the Government is let off…. (story)

Ledbury Reporter 19.12.03 More than ever expected at hunt - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters are expected to fill Ledbury town centre for the annual Boxing Day Meet. Ledbury hunt supporters are expecting more people than ever to flock to what is one of the town's main events of the year…. (story in archive)

Sevenoaks Chronicle 19.12.03 FOX HUNTERS EXTEND BOXING DAY INVITE Much ink has been expended on these pages about hunting. There is of course nothing like coming to see for yourself. The biggest meet around here on Boxing Day is at Penshurst… You can talk to supporters and arrange to come out another day. There is no closed shop about hunting. James Shepherd Tunbridge Wells (letter)

Gloucestershire Gazette 19.12.03 Come to a boxing day hunt - The hunts in this area will be holding their traditional Boxing Day meet on December 26 at the following locations and times. Duke of Beaufort - Worcester Lodge, Didmarton (10.45am) Berkeley - High Street, Thornbury (11am) Cotswold - Frogmill Inn, Andoversford at 10.45 a.m. V W H - Cirencester Park (11am) They all extend a warm welcome to your readers and the rest of the local communities and invite you join them… Jo Aldridge, Sherston (letter in archive)

Wells Journal 19.12.03 WHEN A DEAD BADGER WAS WORTH TWO SHILLINGS - Philip Binding's letter (December 11) gives excellent examples of how Darwinian rivalry operates among individuals and groups in Western society… The early history of fox hunting (Bill Hampton's letter, December 11) also involves competition for a scarce resource… I do detect some Darwinian antagonis m between Mr Hampton and an alien cultural group of portly people dressed in smart tweed and wax jackets. As Kipling said "All the people like us are We, and everyone else is They." Dr W I Stanton Little Field Lane Westbury-sub-Mendip (letter)
Wells Journal 12.12.03 COMPELLED TO JOIN FOX DEBATE On December 4, my girlfriend and I were driving to Street from Shepton Mallet via West Pennard. Just before Steanbow we spotted a barn owl sitting on a fence post… As we got further we spotted a fox running across a field and the same comment was made. However as we approached the field we noticed a rather portly woman dressed in tweed shouting and pointing at the fox… As we rounded the next corner we spotted the whole entourage of what we now realised was a fox hunt… this sight made me feel quite sick, and while I have never really taken an active side in the fox hunting debate, this sight made me feel compelled to do so and I thought long and hard about what I had seen… Bill Hampton Chamberlain Street Wells (LETTER)

Wharfedale Observer 19.12.03 Animal report - his 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…. If the Government refuses to introduce changes now, it will be demonstrating its contempt for democracy, public concern and animal welfare. If any readers would like to read the official statistics or the Lords' Report for themselves, check out . Wendy Higgins Campaigns Director, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, 16a Crane Grove, London. (letter in archive)

Edinburgh Evening News 19.12.03 Novelty that is a gift to cruel trade - IT might look like a harmless, cute Christmas present, but please don’t be fooled. These novelty sleeping cat ornaments, which can be bought in many gift shops up and down the country, belie a horrifying and inhumane trade which is taking place on our doorstep… what many consumers are not aware of is that the fur used for these little keepsakes can be real cat or dog fur…. Struan Stevenson is a Conservative MEP for Scotland. Over the last four years he has been campaigning to bring an end to the trade in cat and dog fur across Europe (story)
Western Morning News 19.12.03 'EVIL' TRADE COULD BE BANNED SAY MEPS - The horrific trade of cat fur and dog hair being imported into the EU is one step closer to being made illegal after the majority of the European Parliament agreed to support a ban…. Scottish conservative MEP Struan Stevenson, who has been campaigning to bring an end to this trade, has now secured the support of 318 MEPs who have signed up to a declaration supporting the ban… (story)
Irish Independent 18.12.03 Badgers not the problem - I write in response to James Knightly's letter on badgers and bovine TB. If Ireland's badgers exude the daily dose of hundreds of millions of tubercular bacilli that he refers to, it's a wonder that there's anything left standing in the fields… Maybe the real reason for TB might have something to do with bad testing, insane movement of cattle and the need for a compulsory pre-movement test. We won't even mention the litany of scams that have been highlighted during the life of this scheme. Bernadette Barrett, Tyrone Avenue, Waterford. (letter)

Edinburgh Evening News 18.12.03 Scots MEP wins majority backing for dog furs ban - A SCOTTISH MEP has won majority support in the European Parliament for a ban on the trade of cat and dog skins. More than 300 MEPs have signed up to a landmark declaration supporting a trade ban promoted by Tory MEP Struan Stevenson, who lives in Edinburgh…. (story)
Scotsman 18.12.03 Pet fur ban - THE European Commission is to be asked to draw up proposals to ban the trade in cat and dog fur, following a declaration signed by a majority of Euro MPs…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 19.12.03 Please have a veggie merry Christmas By Barry Ellams, Chester Chronicle - A RETIRED vicar has been staging a one man protest in Chester against the festive consumption of turkeys. The Rev James Thompson, Holywell, who calls himself 'the animal padre', picketed The Cross to make his feelings known about Cestrians tucking into turkeys and chickens for Christmas lunch…."I cannot with a clear conscience gorge myself on my saviour's birthday with the fruit of sweat shop breeding units, Belsen like breeding farms…" (story)

Chester Chronicle 19.12.03 MOTORISTS travelling along the A525 near Ruthin at 4.30pm on December 11 will have passed a Candlelight Vigil to commemorate International Animal Rights Day.... A group of campaigners, with Pastor James Thompson of Holywell and representing animal groups from North Wales, Chester, the Wirral and Manchester, the Wirral Green Party and Quaker Concern for Animals, gathered to express their support for an end to the cruel exploitation of animals and the re-cognition of their fundamental rights... Perhaps this will give your readers some idea of why we feel so passionately that vulnerable animals, deserve our humane concern. Marian Hussenbux Animal Rights on Wirral Sherry Lane, Arrowe Park (letter)
Denbighshire Free Press 18.12.03 EXPORT PROTESTORS GATHER IN RUTHIN - L E Jones, the Ruthin-based live-export hauliers, have again been targeted by 20 animal-rights protestors… Wirral Animal Rights members were supported by Denbighshire Animal Rights (DAR) members… The Rev James Thompson gave his support, by conducting a service and adding a special prayer for the animals… DAR member Becky Chapman, of Denbigh, said: “The cruelty has to stop – L E Jones makes a paltry profit from the misery of animals.”…. DAR founder Judi Hewitt said: “Whilst the evils of factory farming and live exports continue, we cannot consider ourselves civilised.” (story)

Chester Chronicle 19.12.03 I HOPE that those of the Chronicle readers who are planning to serve turkey for their traditional hot Christmas dinner will be sure to buy a free range bird. A young friend who took a temporary job on a large turkey farm was horrified at the conditions... THELMA ACKROYD Upton-by-Chester (letter)

Basingstoke Gazette 19.12.03 Harmful alternatives? I sympathise with Marcia Guess (Gazette, December 5), as I also feel abattoirs and factory farming are gruesome… Yet not eating animals does not necessarily imply you are not harming them, even ignoring foxhunting, lab rats and roadkill…. None of these points mean that Marcia's concerns are all invalid or that a local "fast lard" emporium represents progress. They do highlight that alternatives to something stomach-churning are not automatically less harmful or more pleasant. -Ian Climie, Whitchurch. (letter in archive)
Basingstoke Gazette 8.12.03 Call to give up eating meat -Is it not enough that The Gazette prints a front page picture with an inside article about music being played to turkeys in order to get them in "tip top condition" for Christmas consumption by the human race, without wading in with your very own top 10 for turkeys? I, along with other vegetarians and vegans, find the consumption of non-human animals by human animals offensive… -Marcia Guess, Fairthorne Rise, Old Basing. (letter in archive)

Craven Herald 19.12.03 I have received a letter today from Compassion in World Farming telling me that the live exports of animals has restarted… During the foot and mouth epidemic last year we supported British farmers both morally and financially but I feel that by supporting this they lose a lot of support… Jean Cookson, Yealand Avenue, Giggleswick.
Editor's note: We have received two further very similar letters on the same subject. (letter in archive)


Kentish Express 18.12.03 Annual hunt for brave riders - THE East Kent Hunt met at Bilsington Priory last Saturday. Seventeen riders and more than 40 people on foot spent more than four hours with the hounds hunting through Park, Priory and Handen woods, during the annual meet…. (story)

Independent 18.12.03 Scottish hunting prosecution dropped after case overruns time limit By Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent - More than a year after Scotland outlawed fox hunting with dogs, the first criminal prosecution for a breach of the legislation has been thrown out because of errors by police and prosecutors…. In March, animal activists complained to Fife police about an incident involving the Fife Foxhounds in which they claimed to have seen, and filmed, hounds chasing a fox, in contravention of the law. As a result of their allegations the huntsman and one of the joint masters were interviewed by police and the matter was reported to the procurator fiscal at Cupar. But a delay in preparing evidence has resulted in the case becoming time-barred… (story)
Dundee Courier 17.12.03 First hunt case abandoned By Steve Bargeton, political editor - THE FIRST prosecution for hunting with a pack of dogs has been abandoned after a blunder by police and the procurator fiscal service, The Courier can exclusively reveal… At the beginning of March a complaint was made to Fife Police following a hunt by the Fife Foxhounds which was recorded on video…. However, the matter has become time barred and has now been dropped…. The procurator fiscal at Cupar, Edward Russell, has confirmed that no proceedings will now be taken. In a letter to Mr Les Ward, of anti-hunting group Advocates for Animals, he pointed out that offences contravening section 1 of the Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 can only be prosecuted summarily—before a sheriff without a jury—and must come to court within six months of the alleged offence…. Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Tricia Marwick, a co-sponsor of the act, said that both the police and the fiscal were to blame for allowing the matter to drop and called on Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to launch a full investigation…. (story)

Cornishman 18.12.03 CONSERVATIVE WHO VOTED TO BAN HUNTING WITH DOGS FACES PROTEST When high-profile cat-lover and former Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe visited Penzance on Sunday she was greeted by placard-waving hunt supporters outside the Queen's Hotel…. Her arrival in Penzance where she was guest speaker at the St Ives Conservative Association's annual Christmas lunch, resulted in a 50-strong protest from local members and supporters of the Countryside Alliance, including fishermen and housewives… (story)

North East Evening Gazette 18.12.03 Baird keeps up hunt bill fight … Redcar MP Vera Baird has pledged to continue her calls for the Hunting Bill to be reintroduced to Parliament.... Ms Baird is backing the anti-hunt group Campaigning to Protect Hunted Animals, comprising the League Against Cruel Sports, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (story)

Western Morning News 18.12.03 BAN WILL INCREASE SHOOTING It seems to have escaped the notice of Sandy Moorhouse that at present, while hunting still takes place, a very large number of foxes are shot by gamekeepers and farmers. If foxhunting should be banned that number will surely increase considerably for the obvious reason that fox numbers will still need to be controlled… Of the foxes that are shot some die rapidly from a clean shot, but many are merely wounded and limp around the landscape getting weaker and weaker… The net result of a ban on hunting with hounds will be an increase in the shooting which appears to bother Ms Moorhouse. Experience in Scotland illustrates this. J Ward-Hayne Modbury, South Devon (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 18.12.03 SEVERAL 'BODS' BROUGHT US FILM - I Wonder how far we would have got regarding protection of animals if there hadn't been "anti-hunt bods". If you have ever watched video footage of a stag hunt, you would see a terrified, exhausted animal not knowing where to run…. To get the video footage it took several "anti-hunt bods"…. PAMELA DEAN, Whiteshill, Stroud (letter)

Waltham Forest Guardian 18.12.03 Stop going to the dogs - REGARDING your report in last week's Guardian on the candle-lit vigil outside Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, I was one of those present, remembering racing dogs that have died over the years in the name of man's love of gambling... So called sports such as greyhound racing along with horse racing and fox-hunting, have to go. TERESA DEACON, Maynard Road, Walthamstow (letter)

Cambridge Evening News 18.12.03 Hate mail for police chief over coursing - HATE mail has been sent to Ely's police chief, criticising how his officers have dealt with the problem of hare coursing in a Cambridgeshire village. Inspector Richard Douce, sector commander, received an anonymous hand-written letter earlier this week, which criticised the police and quoted personal information about him… An investigation into the incident in Seventh Drove in Little Downham on December 7 is continuing… (story)
Ely Standard 11.12.03 Battle to beat farm raiders - LESLEY INNES - LANDOWNERS are taking the law into their own hands in a bid to drive illegal hare coursers from their land. Trouble flared at Pymoor on Sunday when a gang of up to 25 farmers confronted up to a dozen coursers and their dogs as they trampled through farmland crops. Four police vans and an ambulance were called after fighting broke out between the two groups, leaving several people injured… (story)
Cambridge Evening News 9.12.03 Living in fear of hare coursers - FARMERS and their families in a quiet Cambridgeshire village say they are living in fear of illegal hare coursers who trespass on their land most weekends…. "The police can't do anything. Their hands are tied; they have not got the powers to help us."… (story)

Cornishman 18.12.03 'MANY IN COMMUNITY SABOTAGING BADGER CULL' A broad cross-section of the local community has been doing its best to sabotage the current badger cull, a grandmother from Zennor has claimed. Pip Macfarlane has endeavoured to save West Cornwall's badgers since the first phase of the culling, and was arrested but not charged two years ago when she threw a badger trap into some overgrowth… (story)
Cornishman 18.12.03 HOPES THAT CULL IS OVER Defra has refused to confirm or deny reports that its marksmen are pulling out of West Cornwall - prompting hopes that the cull is over. Various activists have told The Cornishman they believe Defra marksmen have been down scaling their operations over the last few days and have been collecting their traps… (story)
Cornishman 18.12.03 TRAPS NEAR SCHOOL CLAIM Badger traps have been laid just yards from St Ives Secondary School's playground, the West Cornwall Badger Group has claimed…. WCBG press officer Paul Semmens told The Cornishman: "It is worrying, especially as the badger kill involves the use of firearms."… (story)
Cornishman 18.12.03 DEFRA REFUTES DOGS WITH MARKSMEN CLAIM Defra has refuted claims that its marksmen are taking dogs out with them while they try to wipe out Penwith's badger population. The Cornishman spoke to two people who claimed to either have seen Defra operatives with terrier style dogs, or to have overheard them talking about sending dogs in to flush badgers out of areas they do not have the landowners' permission to set traps in…. (story)

Barry & District News 18.12.03 Cows run - I am writing from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world's largest animal rights organisation. Cowbridge recently announced that it is considering holding a cow run, modelled on the "Running of the Bulls" spectacle held in Pamplona… We are sending a letter to the chairman of the committee that organises the Cowbridge anniversary event telling her why we think the cow run idea stinks… Poorva Joshipura Director, Asian Campaigns, PETA (letter in archive)

Evening News 18.12.03 Turkey on the guest list, not the plate - OLIVIA RICHWALD - AN ANIMAL rights charity in Norfolk broke with tradition when they had a turkey for Christmas — the bird was guest not the main course. Hillside Animal Sanctuary, in Frettenham, ate a tofu-based Christmas dinner alongside Pacco, a one-year-old turkey…. The Norfolk animal sanctuary and Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, jointly held the lunch to raise awareness of the suffering of the Christmas birds… (story)
BBC News Online 17.12.03 Pacco the turkey is diners' guest - A rescued turkey named Pacco is to be the guest of honour at an animal rights campaign group's Christmas dinner. Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say they are holding the vegetarian meal in Frettenham to celebrate peace on earth… (story)


Nottingham Evening Post 17.12.03 MP RESOLVES TO BAN HUNTING WITH DOGS - City Mp Graham Allen says his top New Year's resolution will be to push for a ban on hunting with dogs… (story)

Western Daily Press 17.12.03 BAN BLOOD SPORTS AND THEN CRITICISE - I was rather surprised by your article about lions which are bred to be shot (Western Daily Press, December 6). This sort of thing has been going on in this area for many years now, with the breeding of foxes, pheasants and partridge… S R Grimes Sharpness Berkeley Gloucestershire (letter)

North East Evening Gazette 17.12.03 Too mule-headed With regard to a letter from Simon Hart(less) of the Countryside Alliance, I too will endorse the view that the law is an ass: all too often administered by stubborn "mules"….While I do not agree with their pursuits I will concede, that (in the immortal words of John Moresfield): "It is better to be trampled out by the asses' hooves, than be the thing of which asses' minds approve". Hence I look forward to the day when they, unlike the so-called animal rights (and/or anti-vivisectionists) get their just desserts because as an old Spanish proverb says: "Laws are like a spider's web. They catch only the flies whilst the hawks go free". A P KIRK, Middlesbrough (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 8.12.03 HUNTING BAN WAS A CYNICAL HIJACK OF A PROPOSAL Christopher Fox's recent letter misunderstands my point about civil disobedience. The principle reason that 52,000 people are considering civil disobedience in the event of a hunting ban is that the Government's own exhaustive research led it to the conclusion that a ban was not fair but regulation was… Everybody knows that it is wrong to break the law and that is why those people who have said that if pushed they would do so in relation to hunting have also said that they would submit themselves to trial and punishment. That is their social duty. Simon Hart, Chief executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London. (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 3.12.03 Hunting ban - REFERENCE the letter from Simon Hart, chief executor, Countryside Alliance, entitled "Hunting ban hard to enforce". There is I believe a simple remedy being considered by the Government to sequester the funds, held by any hunt who breaks the law, thereby immediately immobilising them… (Rev) BERT JONES Wroughton (letter in archive)
North East Evening Gazette 26.11.03 Law is an ass - SIMON HART Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Manchester Evening News 25.11.03 WELL said, Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance - He claims that refusal to accept a hunting ban is “unprecedented in history”. He is almost correct. In 1789, the new revolutionary government of France banned hunting because then, as now, it was regarded as a “class” issue. But it backfired…. Out of adversity grows strength and, with hunting fully restored, France now boasts almost 40 distinct breeds of scent-hound, both short and long-legged. From being the first country to ban hunting with hounds, it is now the world’s greatest hunting nation…. Vanda Bauer, Prestwich (letter)
Manchester Evening News 25.11.03 Not a bad law DOES Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance (Not Anarchists, Postbag, Nov 13) truly believe his supporters will insist they are punished for disobeying the law, should hunting with dogs be banned?... The issue is one of cruelty to animals. Let us hope the next on the list will be the vivisectionists. Les, Wythenshawe (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 25.11.03 Will of the people denied - When Simon Hart and his fellow conspirators from the so-called Countryside Alliance find themselves incarcerated for deliberately breaking the law banning hunting with dogs, they could do worse than spend their time in the prison library studying books on democracy…. A Day Highworth Swindon (letter in archive)
Torquay Herald Express 24.11.03 HUNT BAN WON'T BE RESPECTED - SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 24.11.03 DEMOCRACY SETTLES DEBATES - Simon Hart (Letters, November 10) says that one's views should not "be forced by law on those who do not necessarily share them". This argument, however, could be used against any law… If some people do not like existing laws, they should campaign to have them changed. If everyone broke laws simply because they disagreed with them, we might as well not have any. Christopher W Fox, Watersedge, Driffield. (letter)
Western Daily Press 24.11.03 BLINKERED VIEW OF HUNT PEOPLE rejudice, distortion and abusive name-calling can all regularly be found in anti-hunt letters. Rosemary Davies, I feel, though, sunk to even greater depths of petty narrow-mindedness with her claim that she would not want any child of hers being taught by teachers who support hunting. Is that because the chip on her shoulder about pro-hunters is that big? Or could it be that she's frightened that, to quote her own words, "someone so educated as a teacher" might open her children's eyes to the full story behind hunting… John Watts Cheltenham (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 19.11.03 A hunting ban will be hard to enforce - S Hart Chief Executive Countryside Alliance Kennington Road London (letter)
Worcester Evening News 19.11.03 Pebble in ocean …why should one per cent of population -the hunting brigade - be above the law? Simon Hart says 37,000 have signed a declaration. A pebble thrown in the Atlantic sea - who cares? K HEMMING, Tolladine, Worcester (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 15.11.03 ALLIANCE HAS GOT IT WRONG - Simon Hart of the Countryside Alliance seems, judging by his most recent letter to your paper, a worried and desperate man... As for his claim that teachers were, and are, part of his motley crew - I would like to know who they are because I wouldn't like any child of mine being taught by someone so educated yet so unnecessarily cruel... Rosemary Davies, Address supplied (letter)
Manchester Evening News 13.11.03 Not anarchists - Simon Hart, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Cornish Guardian 13.11.03 WE WON'T ACCEPT HUNT BAN Simon Hart Chief Executive Countryside Alliance (letter)
Yorkshire Post 13.11.03 Pledge by hunt supporters to break the law From: Simon Hart, chief executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London. (letter)
Scotsman 13.11.03 Law must be obeyed - Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance, tells us law-abiding citi-zens are prepared to break the law if a ban on fox hunting is introduced in England... It is fine to campaign against proposed legislation but quite another thing to threaten to break the law and to encourage others to do so.... OWEN CONNELLY, Howdenbank , Hawick (letter)
South Cheshire Chronicle 12.11.03 ON Saturday, November 1, 37,000 law-abiding people - many from this area - committed to refuse to accept a hunting ban, should the Government cave into its back-benchers… SIMON HART Chief executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Lakeland Echo 11.11.03 Bill is bad law - Simon Hart, Chief executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Western Daily Press 11.11.03 A BAD LAW WILL NEVER EARN RESPECT Simon Hart, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Worcester Evening News 10.11.03 Why bad laws will never be respected - SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance London. (letter in archive)
Gloucester Citizen 7.11.03 SIGNATORIES ARE NOT ANARCHISTS - SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance, 367 Kennington Road, London (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 7.11.03 HUNTING BAN WOULD BE HARD TO ENFORCE - Simon Hart, Chief executive, Countryside Alliance. (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 7.11.03 LABOUR PEERS REFUSED TO SUPPORT THE HUNTING BILL - Simon Hart, Chief executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Scotsman 6.11.03 Defiance on hunting - Last Saturday, 37,000 law-abiding people - many from Scotland - committed themselves to refusing to accept a hunting ban should the government cave into its back-benchers. Those who signed the "Hunting Declaration" included JPs and churchwardens, pensioners, teachers and civil servants. These are not anarchists... Bad law will never be respected. If the government breaks its promise to deal with the hunting issue on the basis of evidence, then that is what will happen.... We are about to discover if the government is driven by the desire to honour its commitment to the nation or its fear of offending Tony Banks, a back-bench MP from East London. SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance (letter)

Scotsman 17.12.03 Aiding rural economy - To give Scotland’s rural economy a chance to develop, an inclusive approach to all land-based communities and interests is critical. Recognising this, the Borders Foundation for Rural Sustainability, of which I am chairman, commissioned an audit into what other contribution, apart from farming and forestry, the land and its communities make to the rural economy… The Saffrey Champness re-search on country sports (your report, 10 December) is part of a growing body of research that draws the same conclusions. Politicians must heed this evidence…. JIM HUME, Foulden, Berwickshire (letter)

Belfast Telegraph 17.12.03 Anglers get voice on board By Michael Drake - UNDER-SECRETARY of State Angela Smith has appointed Professor Christopher Thomas Paris and Michael Crilly to the Fisheries Conservancy Board…. "Independent anglers have been without a voice on the board for some months and these new appointments will redress that situation," the Minister said. (story)

Telegraph 17.12.03 Misinformed - Kathy Archibald (Letters, Dec 6) accuses me of inaccuracy in my statement that thalidomide was not tested on pregnant animals before being used on humans. Unfortunately, the 52-year-old German paper she quotes to support her claim says nothing about pregnant animals… If this is the best the anti-vivisection lobby can do, perhaps we scientists have rather less to worry about than we sometimes imagine. From: Steve Jones, University College London (letter)
Telegraph 6.12.03 Judging on Irish facts - Steve Jones accuses me of ignoring scientific facts… Prof Jones also parrots the line that thalidomide was not tested on pregnant animals before marketing. But thalidomide was tested on pregnant animals in Germany before its release… Kathy Archibald, Europeans For Medical Advancement, London W13 (letter)
Telegraph 26.11.03 View from the lab: Animal research - disproof and disapproval are not at all the same thing By Prof Steve Jones … Kathy Archibald of Europeans for Medical Advancement writes that "small genetic variations between species create profound biological differences that preclude extrapolation from one species to another", while Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid feels that "hundreds of millions of animals have been killed in laboratories in Britain alone. Not only have their deaths been utterly in vain, but they have also caused the deaths of millions of human beings". Sorry, Europeans for advancement and aiders of animals, that is not true, much though you might wish it to be…. (story)
Telegraph 17.11.03 Intolerable cruelty - Pat Griffin, Cambridge - It comes as no surprise that a scientist was found not guilty of cruelty to a laboratory dog 100 years ago (Connected, Nov 12). Even now, it is virtually impossible to bring a case of cruelty against a vivisector.... (letter)
Telegraph 15.11.03 Sentient beings - Steve Jones makes a well-argued case for continuing animal experiments to advance scientific knowledge of physiology, but fails to point out that the animals used are sentient beings... Chris Laurence, Dogs' Trust, London, EC1 (letter)
Telegraph 15.11.03 Medical misinformation - Steve Jones does himself no favours by defending the harrowing live dissection of the brown dog in 1903. Since then, hundreds of millions of animals have been killed in laboratories in Britain alone.... Andrew Tyler, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent (letter)
Telegraph 15.11.03 A waste of money - I cannot agree with Steve Jones's suggestion (Connected, Nov 12) that animal experiments are any sort of solution to the obesity epidemic, or any other health concern, for that matter.... Dr Neal Barnard, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, USA (letter)
Telegraph 14.11.03 Cutting edge of science - Many scientists oppose animal experiments because they are misleading, dangerous to human health and siphon off funding from cash-starved clinical research. Steve Jones has made a grave error in labelling such scientists "the anti-science league".... Kathy Archibald, Director, Europeans For Medical Advancement, London, W13 (letter)
Telegraph 12.11.03 View from the lab: Why a brown dog and its descendants did not die in vain By Prof Steve Jones - One hundred years ago this week, a distinguished scientist unjustly accused of being cruel to a brown dog handed over a large cheque to his employers, University College London.... One of the fixed untruths of the anti-science movement is that such research is old-fashioned and can safely be abandoned.... One of the fixed untruths of the anti-science movement is that such research is old-fashioned and can safely be abandoned... (letter)

Western Daily Press 17.12.03 ANIMAL TESTING RISK FOR HUMANS - I was intrigued and concerned to read the letter from Thomas Bromley, Emotional Propaganda Of Animal Extremists… Mr Bromley will know of the secret experiment on part of the unsuspecting African population, which tested a vaccine made up of processed primate parts and blood particles…. This disease is now commonly known as Aids. It is fairly common knowledge that Aids in the human population originated on the African continent, but not too well known is that it probably infected the human population through this secret experiment… M Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Daily Press 12.12.03 WRONG CURE FOR HUMAN ILLS Contrary to Thomas Bromley's views, it is not animal rights activists pushing an emotional argument, but he and fellow members of his research group. Because animals are ill, they feel it is OK to experiment on them in an attempt to find a cure for human ills…. Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 8.12.03 EMOTIONAL PROPAGANDA OF ANIMAL EXTREMISTS - D Kirwin makes the bold statement that we don't need to use animals in medical research - and then gets a bad case of amnesia and forgets to name any…. We are delighted the Government has seen past the emotional propaganda of animal extremists and granted permission to build the primate research centre in Cambridge…. Thomas Bromley SIMR executive secretary Dunstable Bedfordshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 3.12.03 STOP TESTING ON ANIMALS - Your readers will doubtless have heard of the proposed massive new monkey research centre to be built for Cambridge University. If this goes ahead it will mean pain, suffering and death for thousands of primates and suffering for humans as well… D Kerwin Cheltenham Gloucestershire (letter)

Tivyside Advertiser 17.12.03 Outrage at puppy farm cash - A NEW project that gives farmers grants for setting up puppy farms is a "disgraceful, disgusting scandal", according to animal welfare workers across Ceredigion…. Animal welfare campaigner Sandra Williams, Newcastle Emlyn, who works for the Assembly as an adviser on health issues, told the Tivy-Side this week: "This idea is disgraceful…." (story in archive)

Argus 17.12.03 Cold turkey - It's hardly surprising the unfortunate turkeys in your article responded significantly to a recording of the dawn chorus of wild birds (The Argus, December 9). This is something they will never see or sense, imprisoned for life in a shed under harsh artificial light…. Nicholas Newell, Cranbrook, Kent (letter)


Business Times Singapore 16.12.03 What's behind the UK call to ban hunting By DAVID MASON - FOR the second year in a row, the Bill to abolish hunting in England and Wales has run out of parliamentary time and has not been included in the Queen's Speech for the next Parliament... While Britain's social class system is becoming increasingly like those elsewhere, with economics being paramount, there remains a vocal body of opinion amongst the socially disadvantaged that ascribes it to some sort of feudal heritage.... We have a local hunt and it often meets in our village.... Metaphorically wearing my Business Times hat, I thought I had better interview a few attendees and see how many toffs had turned up. None of those on foot were toffs; not a title amongst us. And nobody was particularly well-dressed... The serious point of all this was that it was very obvious that those who derived enjoyment from the hunt were absolutely not the sort of people that prejudiced politicians in London said they were.... Rural life is quite simple and does not need urban aggression. It certainly does not need ignorant politicians - there I go, displaying my own social prejudices. But I am quite happy I signed the pledge. Criminal record, here I come. The writer was a partner with Price Waterhouse in Singapore for 14 years. He is now a business consultant in the UK. (story)

Leicester Mercury 16.12.03 BACK OUR FESTIVE MEETS, SAY HUNTS - Hunts in Leicestershire are trying to invite as many people as possible to their traditional Boxing Day events. The campaign is being backed by the Countryside Alliance, which is planning to make it the biggest day's hunting in history…. (story)

Western Mail 16.12.03 Friction ahead for Boxing Day meets - Martin Shipton, The Western Mail - FOXHUNTERS and saboteurs are expected to clash next week as thousands across Britain take part in the traditional Boxing Day meets. In Wales, 25 hunts have given notice that they intend to go out…. (story)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 BAD LAWS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WORTH FIGHTING I have not, do not and never will hunt foxes and I have no friends or relations who have ever done so. However, if those who do are prepared to break the law for their beliefs, I support their freedom to choose this course of action… We are a nation which hates bad laws - this is why Robin Hood is one of our national heroes…. A Edwards, Totnes South Devon (letter)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 Hunting prejudices - ARMINEL Scott's article "Cruelty to animals is never acceptable" (WMN, November 28) makes a number of assumptions about hunting which even basic research would show are fundamentally wrong…. It seems to me that she falls into the (unfortunately) typical pattern of anti-hunting sentiment, and says more about her own prejudices than about hunting… Freedom should never be curtailed on grounds of prejudice and bigotry. Tony Dunn Lynton, North Devon (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 16.12.03 SCENT OF VICTORY Jonathan Marshall's response to why hunts will not take up drag hunting, if hunting is banned, has some valid points. Of course drag hunting is an alternative to fox hunting as rugby (another 'blood' sport!) is to football (soccer)!... some members of the disbanded New Forest Hunt formed a drag hunt. While in November 2000, the Cornwall Draghounds was set up "to promote" drag hunting throughout Cornwall (WMN November 3, 2000). So there are now over 30 drag hunts in Britain and surveys have shown that thousands of farmers across the country would permit them on their land, possible for a small fee… LEN SHORT, for "Animal Voices", Torquay (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 11.12.03 AT last somebody out there has written to say: Why not drag hunting?... Jonathan Marshall has clearly set out the reasons why we cannot have drag hunting here - it all seems too much trouble and would not be suitable for the followers on foot. Are you telling me that there are people who follow the hounds on foot, and do they enjoy the end product as well?... All I can say is thank you for the explanation, but no thank you to the hunters and followers on foot, I still think they are a sad lot of individuals. The sooner hunting wild animals with dogs (and people) is banned the better. JUNE RICHARDS Southfield Avenue, Paignton (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 5.12.03 DRAGHUNTING IS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE - June Richards (November 29) seriously underestimates the resolve of those of us who support hunting… Those people who signed the Hunting Declaration are quite prepared to "end up with a criminal record", if that is what it takes to counter unjust law based on ignorance and prejudice…. Draghunting is not, and was never intended to be, a substitute for hunting… Another fatal flaw in the draghunting argument is the fact that over one third of all British hunts (foxhounds in upland areas, beagles and minkhounds) are followed exclusively on foot. Can Mrs Richards explain how draghunting can replace these? No one is going to go to the trouble and expense of maintaining a pack of hounds merely for the pleasure of taking them for a walk once or twice a week!... JONATHAN MARSHALL, Lydeard St Lawrence, Nr Taunton, Somerset (letter)
Torquay Herald Express 29.11.03 HUNT FANS SCRAPE THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL So there are thousands of people, including judges, policemen, politicians, lords, ladies and other professional people and farmers, all willing to sign a declaration saying they will break the law if hunting with dogs is banned. I have never heard such rubbish in my life… JUNE RICHARDS Southfield Avenue Preston, Paignton (letter)

Worcester Evening News 16.12.03 Sick and tired of this issue TO give a little credit to MP Mike Foster (above), there is no doubt that he dislikes hunting intensely and is following a personal belief. But I believe that his constituents, like the vast majority of people in this country, are sick and tired of hearing about this issue and would rather that our politicians concentrate upon issues that affect the well-being of the people of this country…. TIM PINNEY, Peopleton, Pershore (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 HUNT LEGISLATION IS IN BREACH OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAW - The "childish tantrums" referred to by Joy King (WMN, November 25) are much more likely to come from the zealots on the backbenches who amended the Hunting Bill to remove compensation for hunt servants put out of work by their efforts… I had always understood that the Labour Party was concerned with the rights of working people, but hunt servants clearly do not count, so are to be denied compensation for the loss of their jobs… Since the Human Rights Act was promoted and passed by the Labour Government it will have nobody to blame but itself for this impasse…. J Ward-Hayne Modbury South Devon (letter)
Western Morning News 25.11.03 Childish tantrums - WELL, I suppose it was to be expected that the "last ditch" panic of the hunting fraternity would bring on an acute attack of childish tantrums - one can imagine little booted feet stamping petulantly in frustration at the thought of interference in their "right" to rampage over the countryside with packs of hounds… Please to fade into posterity with a modicum of dignity and decorum, otherwise pets, you are in mortal danger of having your bottoms well and truly spanked and being sent off to bed early without supper. Joy King, Chagford Devon (letter)

Western Daily Press 16.12.03 HUNT STAND UNDERMINES ECOLOGICAL CREDENTIALS Your front page on Friday, December 12, Foxhunting! caught my eye and as a result stirred up my emotions yet again… Prince Charles is a contradiction in many ways, as on one side he espouses conservation and ecological programmes, generally a radical kind of prince. I support many of his attitudes in those areas, but with regard to hunting, his views show how entrenched he is in his conservative background and upbringing…. Perhaps other so-called sports like grouse shooting could be banned too - if Prince Charles does not mind. Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 13.12.03 FRIENDS RUSH TO DEFEND CHARLES OVER COMMENTS ON HUNT DEBATE Friends of Prince Charles rallied round the heir to the throne yesterday after his comments about hunting were made public…. Stroud Labour MP David Drew, a Gloucestershire neighbour of Prince Charles, said: "He would be better if he kept his remarks on this issue to himself, as it is so controversial…." Kingswood Labour MP Roger Berry added: "There is a convention in the UK that members of the Royal Family, particularly someone very likely to be head of state, do not comment on politically controversial issues…" But Conservative Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, another Gloucestershire neighbour of Prince Charles, pointed out hunting with dogs is always a free vote issue in Parliament… A Beaufort Hunt spokesman added: "If he did indeed say those comments, the Prince is only echoing what the vast majority of country people feel and England as a whole." (story)
Scotsman 13.12.03 Ban on fox hunting won't last, says Prince of Wales - JOHN INNES - A BAN on fox hunting in Britain will never last, claims the Prince of Wales…. (story)
Evening Standard 12.12.03 Charles: Fox hunting will never end - A ban on fox hunting in Britain would never last, the Prince of Wales said… (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 12.12.03 Hunt ban won't last: Charles - A BAN on fox hunting in Britain would never last, Prince Charles said… (story)
Scotsman 12.12.03 Fox Hunting Will Never End - Prince By Sherna Noah, PA News - A ban on fox hunting in Britain would never last, the Prince of Wales said tonight…. (story)
Telegraph 12.12.03 Hunting ban will fail, says Prince By Chris Boffey - The Prince of Wales re-ignited the controversy surrounding hunting last night, saying that any government ban on the sport would not last. Prince Charles said that foxhunting would never go away as he talked to a guest about the importance of tradition at the opening of the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery.... (story)
Express 12.12.03 Charles: Fox hunting will never end - A ban on fox hunting in Britain would never last, the Prince of Wales said. He told a guest at the opening of the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery that the tradition of fox hunting would never go away…. (story)
Sky News 12.12.03 'BAN WOULD NEVER LAST' - The Prince of Wales has said a ban on fox hunting in Britain would never last. He told a guest at the opening of the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery that the tradition of fox hunting would never go away…. (story)
Ananova 11.12.03 Fox hunting will never end says Prince Charles - A ban on fox hunting in Britain would never last, according to the Prince of Wales.He told a guest at the opening of the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery that the tradition of fox hunting would never go away. Donna Rosen, an American Friend of the British Museum, said: "I chatted to him about fox hunting. I asked what was going to happen to the British tradition of fox hunting if it goes away. "He said to me that it hadn't gone away yet and if it does he said that it would come back. He didn't say why but we were talking about the importance of tradition. He was trying to say that fox hunting is such an important tradition and I think he's right."… (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 16.12.03 OPPONENTS OF HUNTING HAVEN'T ACCEPTED LAW Dr John Pamment's letter, Points of view, December 2, left a very bad taste in my mouth… opponents of hunting have been guilty of refusing to acknowledge the law for years. Will Dr Pamment condemn the opponents of hunting for their refusal to accept the law which has allowed it? Mr G Paddon Pathfinder Village Tedburn St Mary, Exeter (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 2.12.03 TAKE A CAMERA ALONG TO RECORD HUNT'S ACTIVITIES - Once again they return to the letters pages of the Echo. I refer, of course, to the unlikely trio of pro-hunt lobbyists Messrs Challice, Lewis and Paddon, Points of view November 15, 20 and 21 respectively. All three have shot themselves in the foot so many times over the hunting debate that they must have difficulty in supplying an uninjured limb between them…. Joining our indomitable trio in the same week was Michael Moore, Points of view, November 18, who invited 'anyone who wants to learn and understand about hunting to visit any hunt and see for themselves.'… Dr John Pamment. Clyst Heath Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 DRAMATIC DROP IN PARTRIDGE POPULATION - The humble British partridge, immortalised in the hymn The Twelve Days of Christmas, has declined by almost 90 per cent in the last 30 years and is on the verge of extinction, experts have revealed… However, an emergency strategy led by the Game Conservancy Trust has stabilised the decline and now the fight is on to turn the tide and increase the numbers of breeding pairs. Paradoxically, an increase in partridge shoots would help re-establish the birds because gamekeepers would need to be employed to ward off predators and protect the habitats… (story)

Independent 16.12.03 Fears of stag trophy trade after 10 deer are found decapitated - By Danielle Demetriou …recent events in Killarney National Park, 25,000 acres of lush landscape in County Kerry, suggest that the demand for the trophies has enjoyed a resurgence, much to the concern of conservationists who fear for the survival of Ireland's red deer. A police investigation has been launched following the discovery of the decapitated bodies of 10 red deer in the past three weeks in the park… (story)
Irish Independent 12.12.03 Red stags shot at night in 'sinister' trophy hunt - WILD stags are being shot and decapitated so their heads and antlers can be sold as trophies, wildlife experts believe… A number of headless but intact carcasses have been found in the vicinity of Co Kerry's Killarney National Park - two within the park itself - in the past fortnight…. Anne Lucey (story)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 ASTONISHING U-TURN ON BOVINE TB Having been on the old badger TB panel, I was as astonished as everyone else at the suspension of badger culls in reactive areas recently…. There won't be any halt to the explosion of TB in cattle until the backlog is cleared and testing gets "ahead". This is what worked in the 1960s and 1970s before badger culls were even dreamt of. M Hancox, Stroud (letter)

Western Morning News 16.12.03 OUTDOOR CONDITIONS LEAD TO TB IN CATTLE To say I agree with Peter Cresswell of Braunton (WMN, November 25) is an understatement…. How does TB start? Bad living conditions. And that is just how the vast majority of cattle are forced to live by the owners, the farmers. Pamela Wells, Truro (letter)
Western Morning News 25.11.03 BADGER IS JUST A SCAPEGOAT - It is not surprising that local NFU regional director Anthony Gibson's first reaction to the suspension of reactive culling of badgers was "pretty negative" (WMN, Nov 12) - given the 27 per cent rise in bovine TB cases in these areas against a control group. The outcome was just the opposite of what would be expected on the presumption that badgers are the culprits…. The sentence for many badgers is death by shooting and for orphaned cubs death by starvation. Unfortunate and inconvenient isn't it that the verdict, on the published results, is definitely not guilty. Peter Cresswell, Braunton, (letter)


The Sentinel 15.12.03 HUNT COULDN'T CONTROL HOUNDS At about 1.30pm on Saturday, December 9, I was a passenger in a car, travelling on the A51 from Woore to Bridgemere Garden Centre… There were groups of horsemen in among the traffic and about six hounds running in between cars…. this type of thoughtless action on a very busy A51, does not help public relations. The hunt propaganda is that they control foxes. They cannot even control their own hounds. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 15.12.03 CLEAR CONSCIENCE OVER ANIMAL CRUELTY - In response to R Barton (Mail, December 4), as an anti-hunt protester, do I/we have a clear conscience?... not only am I a vegetarian… I am a member of the League Against Cruel Sports, the RSPCA, The Dogs Trust and a supporter of British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection… So, yes, I do have a clear conscience. Steve Gaden, Brook Terrace, North Cave. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 4.12.03 DO ANTI-HUNT PROTESTERS HAVE A CLEAR CONSCIENCE? - I Take it that all the anti-hunt protesters don't eat meat. Or is the suffering of animals reared for their consumption acceptable?... We accept or ignore the killing and suffering of some animals because we enjoy their taste but clear our conscience by attacking people who at least make no secret of what they do…. R Barton, Hull Road, Dunswell (letter)

Western Mail 17.12.03 Shoots a rural moneyspinner - Carl Yapp, The Western Mail - MID WALES is on the verge of becoming Britain's premier destination for the sport of pheasant shooting, which pumps more than £600m into the country's economy each year, experts have revealed. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (Basc) said the industry had grown rapidly in the region and from humble beginnings was now attracting hundreds of people each year from across the UK and from some glamorous places such as Monaco and Dubai…. (story)
Western Mail 15.12.03 The spin-offs - Carl Yapp, The Western Mail - AMONG the benefits Basc lists for the rural economy from pheasant shooting are : Rents paid to farmers and landowners for shooting; Direct employment of gamekeepers, beaters, pickers-up… The Basc, with 120,000 members, is the largest countryside membership organisation in the UK… (story)
Western Mail 15.12.03 Groups opposed to shooting - Carl Yapp, The Western Mail - DESPITE all the rural benefits some groups are against shooting. Among these is Animal Aid… (story)

Newcastle Journal 15.12.03 Pheasant will make a Boxing Day treat … The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) believes that people are becoming more adventurous when it comes to serving up festive fare, and suggests that the Boxing Day lunch is the ideal opportunity to try something different, with pheasant an increasingly popular choice for many…. (story)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 15.12.03 Turkey cruelties - Dawn Carr, Director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (letter in archive)
Western Daily Press 1.11.03 REJECT CRUELTY AND GO VEGGIE - Turkey farmers in the UK are in a panic over blackhead disease, fearing an outbreak among their flocks after the drug they used to rely on, Emtryl, was banned... But a much bigger threat to the well-being of all turkeys looms: Christmas.... Caring readers who wish to avoid potentially hazardous drugs and reject the routine cruelties inflicted on turkeys can do so by simply going vegetarian.... Dawn Carr Director People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (letter)


Observer 14.12.03 Cannibalism and cruelty blight festive turkey trade - Hidden cameras expose brutality of illegal slaughterhouses - Mark Townsend and Andrew Wasley … An investigation into the scores of seasonal slaughterhouses that have sprung up across Britain to meet this year's record demand for turkey reveals the extent to which many birds suffer prolonged, agonising deaths…. 'What we witnessed and filmed was entirely unacceptable and provides a graphic insight into the brutality of Britain's numerous and seasonal slaughterhouses,' said a spokesman for Compassion in World Farming…. (story)

Sunday Post 14.12.03 Christmas toy kittens cancer fear - CHRISTMAS SHOPPERS could be risking their lives by buying toys made from dog and cat fur. Scientists have confirmed these novelties could contain a highly-toxic chemical that can cause liver and kidney damage — or even cancer…. (story in archive)


BBC News Online 13.12.03 Hunt enters Sir Paul's sanctuary - A hunting group has apologised after straying into an animal sanctuary owned by Sir Paul McCartney. Leaders of the Quantock Staghounds have said they are sorry for allowing their hounds to follow a deer onto the former Beatle's land… (story)
Western Daily Press 12.12.03 MACCA FURY AT HOUNDS AS CHARLES BACKS HUNT - Prince Charles last night vowed hunting would never die, just hours after Sir Paul McCartney accused a West hunt of allowing its hounds to trample his late wife's memory… the League Against Cruel Sports was furious that the Prince had expressed an opinion on such a raw political subject, even in private…. The Prince's remarks came on the very day that Sir Paul McCartney complained about the West's premier hunt, which allowed its hounds to trespass through a memorial wood for his late wife Linda… the Quantock Staghounds is facing legal action over the claim, after League Against Cruel Sports sanctuary manager Paul Tillsley said video footage filmed yesterday morning clearly showed staghounds running on both the League-owned land, and the wood belonging to Sir Paul…. The Quantock Staghounds were playing down the incident. Joint-master Max A Brook said: "We had three and a half couples - seven hounds - go into St John's Wood after the hind, and our whipper-in Eddie Chown realised they weren't supposed to be in there, went in after them and got them out. That's all there is to it."… (story)

Western Daily Press 13.12.03 NO MORE DELAYS FOR HUNTING BAN - I was pleased to read the MP Dennis Skinner mention the support in parliament to end hunting. He spoke of the large majority… Pamela Dean, Whiteshill, Gloucestershire (letter)

BBC News Online 13.12.03 Deer cull condemned - A herd of deer housed at a National Trust historic house is to be disbanded - and some may be culled - because they are too expensive to maintain… Kathy Macklin, with Ipswich Animal Rights, told BBC News Online the idea that the National Trust could not afford the deer was "absurd"…. (story)

Times 13.12.03 Gospel according to Peta’s saint - Rosie Millard meets leading animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk and finds a vegan conversion hard to resist - So, goodbye steak… We were in Norfolk at the headquarters of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), to interview the boss, the semi-legendary Ingrid Newkirk… Yet when you meet her, Newkirk doesn’t bother with the politics. She is happy to beat you around the head with any number of hideous facts… She has an almost childlike notion of kindness. “We would like people to be absolutely kind in everything they do. We would like a vegan world, no animal clothing, no animal food, no animal entertainment, no exploitation, no violence, no suffering, no cruelty.”… Last week my husband bumped into an animal activist. Naturally he told him about our changed domestic position. “Ah,”, said the animal campaigner, with a knowing smile, “your wife has been Newkirked.” (story)


Western Morning News 12.12.03 Expert deer care - VERY interesting to read the article on the Exmoor and Quantock deer herds, by South West Deer Protection (WMN, December 9). The author seems to have come up with the answer that should please all sides in the argument…. Richard Jones, South Brent (letter)

Western Daily Press 12.12.03 STRIKING PARALLEL BETWEEN HUNTING PARTIES Reading articles in the Western Daily Press by Tristan Cork on the shooting of Africa's "canned" wildlife, by the intellectually inferior hunting fraternity, I could not help but notice an unusually striking, and very familiar parallel, between the Great White Hunters and our own blood sports fanatics in the British Isles. I would go as far as to say they are one and the same… How many times have we heard the same waffle coming from groups such as the Countryside Alliance, British Field Sports Society and the British Association For Shooting And Conservation?... M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Gloucestershire Gazette 12.12.03 Act now on hunting ban - The Hunting with Dogs issue rumbles on - the government has been procrastinating long enough - they must honour their pledge to the voting public and allow its MPs to resolve this issue. I would like to challenge the pro-hunt lobby to publish in your paper their claim as pronounced all over the countryside and on many a street corner that 59 per cent of us say that hunting should continue. I suspect they will refrain from doing so as it could be challenged and proved to be false…. J Freeland, Leaze Close, Berkeley (letter in archive)

BBC News Online 12.12.03 Eurocrats 'may target game' - Some of the Scottish countryside's best known flavours could be about to fall foul of Brussels bureaucrats. Tory MEP Struan Stevenson blames it on new legislation due to come before the European Parliament… Stewart Scull, BASC's head of Gamekeeping and Wildlife management, said: "British game is nutritious and healthy meat…" (story)
Newcastle Journal 12.12.03 Game for a free taste of pheasant - Defra minister Ben Bradshaw was yesterday presented with a brace of pheasants as part of a campaign to encourage more people to eat game. On Saturday, shoots all over Britain will be offering free pheasants to local people for the BASC "Give away a brace" day…. (story)
Western Mail 9.12.03 Minister to view pheasant rearing - Steve Dube, The Western Mail - THE Defra minister charged with developing the Government's proposed Animal Welfare Bill has agreed to see pheasant rearing in action. Nature conservation minister Ben Bradshaw accepted the offer from senior British Association for Shooting and Conservation officials during a meeting in London to discuss progress on the Bill… (story)

Telegraph 12.12.03 Game hunters fear EU ruling By Tom Peterkin - Traditional dishes of freshly shot game are under threat from European rules that could restrict the hunting and shooting of wild animals, it was claimed yesterday. Landowners yesterday expressed alarm over the future of country sports after the proposals were highlighted by Struan Stevenson, the Conservative MEP. Mr Stevenson claimed that shooting animals such as pheasant, partridge, rabbit, deer, hare and duck would be affected by the rules designed to ensure the health of animals killed for human consumption.... (story)
Scotsman 12.12.03 EU has wild game in sights - JOHN ROSS - SCOTLAND’S wild game industry could be under threat from planned European food hygiene regulations. Legislation due to be debated in February could mean wild game would have to be certified as fit and healthy before being shot, and then be inspected by a vet to ensure that no "abnormalities" occurred during its hunting…. (story)
Scotsman 12.12.03 Bang goes roast duck for dinner - JOHN ROSS- FOR many it is the true taste of Scotland. Wild game such as pheasant, partridge, rabbit, hare, duck and venison are traditional fare in rural areas and can be found on the menus in many of our best restaurants. But perhaps no more if proposed European legislation is passed. According to Struan Stevenson, a Scottish Conservative MEP, some of the best known tastes of our countryside could be banned forever if Brussels bureaucrats get their way…. (story)

Darlington & Stockton Times 12.12.03 Not ethical - CHARLES JARDINE, Director, Campaign for Angling, Kennington Road, London (letter in archive)
Keighley News 31.10.03 - SIR - I am deeply concerned that Disney appears to have allowed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to exploit a poster for its latest animation, "Finding Nemo", to promote vegetarianism in youngsters…. Charles Jardine Director, Campaign for Angling 367 Kennington Road, London (letter in archive)
Exeter Express & Echo 22.10.03 DISNEY SHOULD PROMOTE ANGLING AND EATING FISH - Charles Jardine, Director, Campaign for Angling, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Irish Independent 21.10.03 PETA has lost the plot - I am deeply concerned that Disney has allowed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to exploit a poster for its latest animation, Finding Nemo, to promote vegetarianism in youngsters. PETA has run high-profile campaigns to get angling banned. This latest partnership is irresponsible and potentially damaging, both in terms of nutrition and of young people's perceptions of animals and conservation… I will be writing to Disney to ask if it really wants to be linked to this group. If Disney has the welfare of young people at heart, it should be promoting angling and eating fish, not denouncing them. Charles Jardine, Bailliesmills Road, Lisburn (letter)

Cambridge Evening News 12.12.03 'Hitler' jibe after monkey lab ruling - JOHN Prescott was likened to Hitler yesterday as councillors vowed to take the fight over the Girton monkey lab to the Government. South Cambridgeshire district councillors voted at a full council meeting to launch a legal challenge to the Deputy Prime Minister's decision to allow the research laboratory on Huntingdon Road… (letter)

Dudley News12.12.03 A life for the cause - I write in response to Eileen's letter and your story on the closing of the RSPCA in Cradley Heath. Eileen is correct when she says that the RSPCA did not pay for the building and that it was built with monies raised by RSPCA supporters… Good luck Eileen in your continuing fight, but somehow I don't think you will win this one. Best we can hope for is a reduced price service, if we can get the RSPCA to feel guilty enough to arrange it. J. Matthews Rowley Regis (letter in archive)
Halesowen News 21.11.03 Plug pulled on RSPCA centre - RSPCA chiefs are pulling the plug on a Cradley Heath animal hospital despite 30 years of arduous fundraising to launch the centre and keep it open. Heartbroken animal lovers are up in arms after discovering their independent RSPCA branch is being sold off after reading a sign on the wall of the Grainger's Lane centre… (story in archive)

Irish Examiner 12.12.03 Mass slaughter for our festive pleasure AMID the feelings of warmth and generosity and the frenzy that is so much a feature of Christmas, we should spare a thought for the animals and birds sacrificed in astronomical numbers for our festive pleasure. Spare a thought for the pig… Think of the hundreds of millions of factory-farmed turkeys worldwide…. Gerry Boland, Keadue, Co Roscommon. (letter)

Irish Examiner 12.12.03 Ban fur farming IN the run-up to Christmas something terrible is happening to thousands of farmed fox and mink on fur farms here in the Republic. With the animals’ valuable winter coats at their best, on-farm slaughter is now taking place…. Mary-Anne Bartlett, Compassion in World Farming - Ireland, Hanover Street, Cork (letter)


Whitehaven News 11.12.03 HUNT FOLLOWER, 44, DIES ON FELLS By Jon Colman - AN EGREMONT foxhunting enthusiast collapsed and died in the Lakeland fells while following the sport he loved. Peter Beatson, 44, was following the Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds when he suffered a heart attack on Saturday afternoon… Linda Porter, joint master of the Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds, said Peter was “an absolute gem”. She said: “He was in the foxhounds for years and he will be greatly missed. He was a quiet lad and a lovely person, and we can’t speak highly enough of him…." (story)

Cambridge Evening News 11.12.03 Rude? So be it! From Colin Moule Bourne Road , Chesterton, Cambridge - IF HE HAD taken the trouble to read my letter carefully, Nicholas P Brookes (Your Letters, December 3) would have clearly seen that I know full well that foxes don't turn round at the last to view the approaching pack of hounds.... If being rude is to show utter contempt for the pink-suited, arrogant oiks who get gratuitous pleasure from pursuing an innocent animal to its death, then so be it. (letter in archive)
Cambridge News 9.12.03 Dogs on death row - I DO NOT make a habit of writing to letters pages but feel that I must make comment on the letter from Nicholas P Brookes (Your Letters, December 3) on the subject of foxhunting. I note his comment about being sickened by destroying animals pointlessly. How does he then manage to associate himself with the destruction of pack dogs at the age of around seven… From Mr M Clark. Richmond Road, Cambridge (letter)
Cambridge News 3.12.03 A huntsman's tale - IN RESPONSE to letters of November 1 and 14, if people would check the real truth before becoming so rude and argumentative then one might see the other point of view. I have been a professional huntsman to six packs of hounds and the superintendent of an RSPCA animal refuge for five years. I know Prof Allan and I must say I found him a very clever man who has done very much more for animals than the vast majority… When I ran the animal refuge the RSPCA was offering £1,000 to anyone who could find a better way of controlling foxes. I never heard of anyone being awarded it… I would find it hard to be anti- RSPCA just because I know they have it wrong in taking an antihunting view… From Nicholas P Brookes Abbotsley Road, Croxton (letter)

Clevedon Mercury 12.12.03 ANIMAL RIGHTS - I can understand why the person did not want to leave a name and address because of animal rights, I think it is great that people stand up for animals who have feelings, just no voice. I have worked with foxes, many being brought to us as cubs because people have intervened. I have also worked closely with Prof Steve Harris…. These people hunt for fun, nothing more. Forget this false allegation of population control, it's just a pathetic excuse for trying to justify their enjoyment… A 34-year-old Pill resident, Name and address supplied (letter)
Clevedon Mercury 5.12.03 FOXES ARE VERMIN - This is my response to last week's contributor, Mike Mason, to whom my anonymity smells of cowardice. My reason for withholding my name and address is so I may exercise free speech, safe from the reputation of some "animal rights" enthusiasts, who are fanatics - and dangerous… There is an element of sentimentality in the recent obsession with the fox… It was interesting to see that the Prime Minister left the Hunting Bill out of the Queen's Speech last week. Name and address supplied (letter)
Clevedon Mercury 27.11.03 UNJUSTIFIED ATTACK - With reference to 'Hunting bigotry'… I was speaking with Piers this week, relating to the criticism of his journalism and we mutually agreed that hunting with hounds, coupled with live animal exports, are both cruel practices and cause suffering beyond comprehension… Mike Mason, Charterhouse Close, Nailsea (letter)
Clevedon Mercury 27.11.03 THREE CHEERS FOR PIERS Three cheers for Piers McBride! Even a self-confessed animal-hater can see how vile and despicable fox hunting is…. Name and address supplied (letter)
Clevedon Mercury 13.11.03 HUNTING BIGOTRY - I thought Piers McBride was more broadminded than he so obviously is. His rant about foxhunting shows just how bigoted you can be, when your guard slips.... If he really feels so strongly about cruelty to animals, why not rant about a more worthwhile topic, that is the conditions in which live animals are daily exported long distances throughout Europe, prior to slaughter. Name and address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 11.12.03 LET HUNTING MOB SUFFER THIS AGONY AND TERROR Perhaps D Peters could tell us where he has obtained the information that the League Against Cruel Sports is planning an anti-fishing campaign?... I would love to set a few hungry lions on this gentleman and his hunting chums and let them experience just a fraction of the agony and terror our animals have to endure at the hands of the hunting mob…. Jean Turner Plympton Plymouth (letter)
Western Morning News 2.12.03 ANGLERS SHOULD NOT ASSUME THEIR SPORT WILL ESCAPE A BAN - I think T Philpott is rather naive in assuming so readily that a ban on fishing will never happen. I also read the letter by A Brown, to which Mr Philpott was referring, and I thought it contained valid points which should not be so easily dismissed by fishermen, of which, incidentally, I am one….D Peters Chippenham Wiltshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 28.11.03 ANGLING CRUELTY IS A CLASS ISSUE - Graham Best's argument about angling is flawed. The reason that angling will escape has nothing to do with the "British sense of fair play", but because hypocrites such as Mike Foster and Tony Banks are keen anglers. It is a class issue. If it were an animal rights' one then a simultaneous law making shooting, fishing, animal experiments and vivisection, live transportation of livestock, etc, illegal would have been passed at the same time…. I don't hunt, but would defend others' rights to do so… Bull Pullen Address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 24.11.03 FISHING AIDS THE ECONOMY - Sir - I have to reply to the letter by A Brown regarding a possible ban on fishing. This individual should do his or her homework on how much tax revenue the fishing equipment industry contributes to this country's economy…. All the whingeing, moaning namby-pambies should go and live on the moon and allow the millions who enjoy freedom and sports that they work hard for to carry on without the fear of ridiculous suggestions... T Philpott Taunton Somerset (letter)
Western Daily Press 19.11.03 ANGLERS DON'T SINGLE OUT THE YOUNG - UNLIKE FOX HUNTERS - Comparing angling with hunting does hunting a disservice. The "angling will be next" ploy will not work because of public perception…. Good luck to the hunters but they should defend their sport on its own merits. Graham Best Almondsbury Bristol (letter)
Western Daily Press 14.11.03 TIDE WILL TURN ON FISHERMEN - John Edgar's letter - Forget hunting, let's ban fishing - was most thought-provoking. I disagree with him though that a fishing ban is unlikely to ever happen. Indeed if one looks closely at the facts, not only is a ban a strong possibility but it may not be that many years away... With fishing the harsh reality is that while several million people in Britain enjoy this pastime, there are many millions more who don't.... anyone who listens to snippets of talk from members of the League Against Cruel Sports will be only too aware that after hunting, shooting and fishing are indeed their next targets... A Brown, Address supplied (letter)
Western Daily Press 5.11.03 FORGET HUNTING, LET'S BAN FISHING INSTEAD! - I am getting bored with the hunting debate! Wouldn't it be more sensible for the Government, League Against Cruel Sports, RSPCA, etc, to concentrate their efforts on banning fishing?... Let's get the perspective right - the fox isn't dragged back and forth on a line in front of the hounds…. John Edgar Church Lane Old Sodbury South Gloucestershire (letters)

Scotsman 11.12.03 Skewed view of wildlife crime - The view of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, as expressed in Bert Burnett’s letter (10 December), that the number of people perpetrating wildlife crime is "very low" is spin of the worst order…. Mr Burnett recently admitted to the Scottish Parliament that 20 per cent of his members refuse to co-operate with police investigations of wildlife crime. The SGA has no right to lecture RSPB Scotland or anybody else on this subject. DUNCAN ORR-EWING RSPB Scotland Ravelston Terrace Edinburgh (letter)
Scotsman 10.12.03 RSPB guilty of hype - With reference to your report "Scottish shame as birds are poisoned" (6 December), like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association, of which I am a committee member, would like to see the number of poisoning incidents reduced to zero. We would, however, also like to see less emotive "hype" and manipulation of figures by the RSPB in relation to these incidents… BERT BURNETT Braemar Aberdeenshire (letter)

Scotsman 11.12.03 True conservation - Angus Macmillan is correct to highlight the fundamental difference between conservation and protectionism (Letters, 9 December), but he demonstrates that he, himself, confuses the two concepts when he states that it is unbelievable that birds can be shot on RSPB nature reserves… JOHN McNEIL Morningside Street Glasgow (letter)
Scotsman 9.12.03 This 'conservation' is a sham …charities have transformed conservation into a theme-park culture of countryside fairs, visitor centres, market stalls, viewing platforms, car parks, etc, indistinguishable from the tourist industry and an anathema to conservation… Unbelievably, birds are being shot on RSPB "re-serves" for fun and recreation…. ANGUS MACMILLAN, Meikle Boturich nr Balloch, Dunbartonshire (letter)

Hereford Times 11.12.03 Husbandry of the countryside - I am writing in response to the letter from Chris Martin in the Hereford Times on December 4. I would just like to point out to this correspondent that if it wasn't for the year round efforts of gamekeepers rearing pheasants for the seasonal shoot, they would hardly exist in the wild in Britain… Jennifer Goodman, Nicholas Farm, Winforton (letter in archive)
Hereford Times 4.12.03 Hunting with hounds - the debate goes on - I was utterly sickened to read one of your major articles in your publication Limited Edition (Winter 2003) under the heading "heritage". The "finest of all shooting sports" is under threat.. In the corner of the same page was a photograph of a man with dog, gun, and two dead birds in his hand. Oh, a job well done. Chris Martin, Marshall Close, Hereford (letter in archive)

Irish Independent 11.12.03 TB or not TB... in cows - It's not surprising that TB is rampant in cattle in the badger areas of southern England and Ireland as 10pc to 20pc of badgers examined in State labs have TB and tubercular badgers can exude hundreds of millions of TB bacilli in a day… A one-year gassing campaign of badgers in a diseased area in England reduced the expected number of reactor herds the next year by 44.4pc. Farmers are barred from culling TB badgers here while the State effort has been both feeble and futile. James Knightly, Dunmore, Co Galway (letter)

Glasgow Evening Times 11.12.03 This is no 'sport' - I was horrified to read (Evening Times, Dec 9) that badger baiting is on the increase in Scotland…. EVELYN WILSON, Coatbridge (letter)

Perthshire Advertiser 11.12.03 Best fund-raising total ever ANIMAL supporter Sheila Menzies, Coupar Angus, is celebrating her best fund-raising total as 2003 saw her raise an impressive £6306 for animal welfare… Funds have gone to organisations including PADS, Glencarse Cat Shelter, Help for Abandoned Animals (Dundee), Dogs Trust, the PDSA, horse and donkey sanctuaries, The Willows which supports several animals, and BUAV…. (letter)

Guardian 11.12.03 Army's use of bearskins raised in parliament - The army has imported 694 bearskin caps from Canada over the past five years from bears Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, said in a Commons written reply… Mr Ingram told Brian Jenkins, the Labour MP for Tamworth: "We understand from manufacturers that the pelts are supplied from bears hunted as part of the quotas established under the Canadian provinces' conservation plans."… (story)

Totally Jewish 11.12.03 Mayor Backs Shechita - by Alex Sholem - Ken Livingstone has criticised the campaign to ban shechita, describing those who oppose religious slaughter while ignoring animal rights abuses as “racist”… "This whole question about ritual slaughter is hypocritical. Animal rights is a major concern for millions in the country. There are millions of animals being subjected to the most terrible cruelty by intensive farming methods, factory farming, animal experiments. When those people turn their attention to these problems, instead of ritual slaughter, and how people prepare their food according to their religion, then I'll know they're genuine, until then it's just racist."… (story)

The Herald 11.12.03 Simmers refutes breach of animal welfare standards - DAN BUGLASS - ARTHUR Simmers, managing director of the Aberdeenshire-based Scotpigs, which last week was expelled from Quality Meat Scotland's farm assurance scheme on the grounds that the company had fallen down on animal welfare standards, spoke publicly for the first time yesterday. He said: "I totally refute that we have breached animal welfare legislation. I know as a businessman that unless pigs are not properly looked after they will not leave a profit. It is in our interests to maintain high standards."… Asked specifically about the television footage, filmed clandestinely by Advocates for Animals and screened by BBC Scotland, Simmers said: "That was not fair reporting. Given the number of sows we have there are always going to be deaths…" (story)
Scotsman 11.12.03 Scotpigs director rejects allegations - DAN BUGLASS- ARTHUR Simmers, managing director of Aberdeenshire-based Scotpigs yesterday denied claims that the company had not met animal welfare standards… (story)
Telegraph 6.12.03 Standards watchdog bars pig breeder - The second biggest pig farmer in Scotland was branded unfit to sell pork yesterday by the industry's quality assurance body. Quality Meat Scotland said Arthur Simmers of Scotpigs failed to meet animal welfare standards. He has been expelled from the QMS farm assurance scheme... Yvonne Taylor, of Advocates for Animals, said the organisation had secretly filmed farms at Mains of Bogfechel and Woodlands in Aberdeenshire, Muir of Pert in Tayside and Ormiston Farm in West Lothian. She claimed they had found "horrific conditions". The group's campaigns director, Ross Minett, said: "We have investigated Scotland's pig industry again and again we have found a disgusting situation..." (story)
Times 6.12.03 Pig farmer thrown out of quality scheme - ONE of Scotland’s biggest pig farmers was branded unfit to sell pork yesterday by the industry’s quality assurance body…. (story)
Scotsman 6.12.03 Pig farmer shuns questions - FORDYCE MAXWELL - ARTHUR Simmers was not answering calls yesterday about a damning film taken by an animal rights group of "appalling and squalid" conditions on his pig farms or expulsion from a quality assurance scheme that could wipe out his business…. (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 5.12.03 Shock video shows horror at pig farm - FIONA MACGREGOR - ANIMAL rights activists today released horror footage of conditions at a Lothian pig farm. The images of neglected piglets and rat-infested pens were taken this week at Scotpigs farm at Ormiston, in West Lothian, say animal rights campaigners. The shock video was released by Advocates for Animals as the farm’s owner, Arthur Simmers, was branded unfit to sell pork by the industry’s quality assurance body… (story)
Aberdeen Evening Express 5.12.03 PIG FARMER 'UNFIT TO SELL PORK' - A North-east pig producer was today banned from selling pork by the industry's quality assurance body. Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has withdrawn its farm assurance certificate from Whiterashes-based Scotpigs… The spokeswoman said it was coincidental that animal rights group Advocates for Animals recently shot footage at three Scotpigs farms . Yvonne Taylor of Advocates for Animals said the farms secretly investigated were Mains of Bogfechel and Woodlands, in Aberdeenshire, Muir of Pert in Tayside and Ormiston Farm in West Lothian… (story)
BBC News Online 5.12.03 Pig farmer cut from quality scheme - One of Scotland's biggest pig farmers has been thrown out of a quality assurance scheme to prevent it bringing the meat industry into disrepute. Quality Meat Scotland said its decision against Arthur Simmers of Scotpigs was based on animal welfare grounds…. The animal welfare group, Advocates for Animals, secretly filmed at three pig farms near Aberdeen, Dundee and Ormiston in Midlothian…. (story)

Bristol Evening Post 11.12.03 BUY FREE-RANGE OR ORGANIC TURKEYS There has recently been correspondence about the plight of millions of turkeys currently being raised in appalling conditions for Christmas dinner tables. I urge readers to buy either free-range or organic birds this Christmas… K M Borek, by e-mail (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 11.12.03 HELP THE SUFFERING TURKEYS - APPEAL Government action to improve conditions for turkeys is being demanded by the Gloucestershire Green Party… Martin Whiteside, the Green Party's Parliamentary candidate for Stroud, said: "Every year six million turkeys are slaughtered in the UK, simply to meet Christmas demand. Most are factory-farmed in terrible conditions…" (story)

Cumberland News & Star 11.12.03 SEVERAL weeks ago we wrote to you about the plight of the trapped pigeons in Carlisle railway station… Our thanks to Mr Martlew, the RSPCA and anyone else who has been involved. ADELE & GUS PROUD Skinburness Silloth (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 11.12.03 ANIMALS ARE FOR EATING May I reply to the vegetarians who have a "clear conscience" when passing fields of farm animals. Do they not realise that if there were no meat eaters then these animals wouldn't be there?... Simon Mason, Tranby Lane, Anlaby (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 11.12.03 APPEAL BY ANIMAL CHARITY An Animal charity is appealing for North Lincolnshire people to help 'stamp out' animal cruelty this winter - by collecting old stamps. The International fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is asking animal lovers to save their stamps from cards and parcels over the festive season to help save wildlife… (story)

Irish Examiner 11.12.03 Puppy trafficking is a cruel business - A REPORT on BBC Five Live news on December 6 stated that widespread puppy trafficking between the Republic of Ireland and British was reaching a very sad and disturbing level…. Stop this trafficking now. Jeremiah C O’Sullivan, 2, Caroline Tce., Montenotte, Cork. (letter)

Central Somerset Gazette 11.12.03 ANIMAL WELFARE TO THE FORE IN PUPILS' PLEDGE Pupils from St Dunstan's Community School in Glastonbury promised to show lifelong kindness to animals at a special assembly on Monday, attended by the RSPCA's director general. Jackie Ballard visited the school at the culmination of the Youthwatch animal welfare initiative… As part of their animal welfare project, the pupils signed a pledge promising that during their lifetime they will never hurt or neglect an animal…. (story)


Barry Gem 10.12.03 Public protest held outside Civic Offices - A PUBLIC demonstration was held outside the Civic Offices in Barry on Monday in a belated protest against the Glamorgan Hunt’s 50 per cent reduction in council tax… The protest, which condemned the Vale Council’s decision back in March, was undertaken by members of A Dog’s Life charity. Moreen Davie, one of the organisers, told The GEM: “I am very cross because a lot of people said that they would turn up and then they didn’t…." Coun Rob Curtis commented: “I highlighted the issue about six months ago and, although I wasn’t there, I support them on their demonstration.” (story)

Scotsman 10.12.03 Rural development needs field sports - FORDYCE MAXWELL AND VIC ROBERTSON - INCREASING opposition to field sports could undermine European Union and UK plans for rural development and a better environment, claims a report published this week. Based on a survey carried out by chartered accountants Saffery Champness, the report warns that without field sports, farmers and landowners would lose the incentive to maintain the countryside… It is felt this loss of gamekeeper jobs in particular would lead to a rise in rural crime, illegal activities such as badger baiting and increased habitat destruction and litter levels. Across a broad range of country sports enthusiasts, the consensus was that shooting could be banned within ten years, with fishing following three years later…. (story)

Argus 10.11.03 Among friends - Jenny Williams wonders why there is a police car parked in the car park of the Countryman's pub in Shipley on hunting days when the hunt is two miles away (Letters, December 2). The answer is they are probably welcomed by the pub - which is pro-hunting. The police at the Crawley and Horsham hunt also seem to be zealously pro-hunting and will not let a single protester down a public footpath within a mile of the hunt…. Simon Wild, West Sussex Wildlife Protection, Littlehampton (letter)

Cumberland News & Star 10.12.03 BRITAIN’S 10½ million pensioners will be pleased that a pledge to provide them with free public transport is likely to be included in the Labour Party’s next manifesto…. Have we forgotten other pledges such as: A total ban on hunting with dogs No university top-up fees… BILL MACCREADY Newlands Gardens Moorclose, Workington (letter)

Scotsman 10.12.03 Generating income from our woodlands - In his article "Seeding new ideas in forestry" (4 December), Fordyce Maxwell says "farmers are now being encouraged to diversify into woodlands - and it could earn them more cash"… The demand for recreation continues to increase with more leisure time. In particular, country sports and game conservation continue to grow in popularity to the extent that they are now sought by, and are available to, people of all walks of life, rather than just "country folk"…. This income is generated from a real demand for the product, as opposed to forestry and many agricultural incomes which are influenced by grant aid and subsidy…. IAN McCALL Director Scotland Game Conservancy Trust Couston, Newtyle Perthshire (letter)

Burton Mail 10.12.03 Activists celebrate as farm supplies stop by DAVID POWLES - ANIMAL rights activists were claiming a major victory today after a fuel supplier announced it had severed all ties with a controversial farm near Burton… Dove Fuels, which supplied fuel to Darley Oaks Farm in Newchurch, has announced it is to withdraw its service from the farm… Last week, Mr Harvey was struck by a brick thrown through a window at his home. He said today: "I have always said that I am not going to give into terrorists but there is a breaking point and this was costing me too much money… The farmer understood and thanked us for being so loyal for such a long time. It has been getting a lot more serious lately, but I do not want to say any more and incite them to come back. The decision was made very reluctantly." (story)

Barry Gem 10.12.03 ‘Animal deaths must be humane’ IN reply to Dr EK Jenkins’s letter concerning the slaughter of animals in accordance with Jewish and Muslim religious laws, this method of slaughter must be banned… Carol Cain, St Athan (letter)
Barry Gem 20.11.03 ‘End the suffering of these animals’ MANY readers are probably unaware of the fact that millions of animals every year have their throats cut in slaughterhouses while fully conscious - and it is legal…. Dr EK Jenkins, Aberthin (letter)


Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazettes 9.12.03 SECRET WARNING ON EXMOOR HUNTING - Government wildlife experts have secretly warned ministers that it will be 'very difficult' to prevent a widespread cull of deer on Exmoor if hunting with dogs is banned. In a confidential report to ministers, the National Wildlife Management Group warns that the level of trust between farmers, hunters, animal welfare groups and conservationists is now so low that it will be near impossible to get agreement on a management strategy to preserve the moor's red deer herd…. (story)
Western Morning News 5.12.03 TB WARNING OVER SANCTUARY DEER - The League Against Cruel Sports was last night under pressure to stop providing extra feed for deer at its controversial sanctuary on Exmoor after Government wildlife experts warned the practice could spread diseases like TB in herds. In a confidential report the National Wildlife Management Team warned ministers that the supplementary feeding of deer should be "discouraged" because it encourages deer to gather in a way that could increase the risk of disease…. Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, called on ministers to order an inquiry. He said: "Baronsdown is the only place where supplementary feeding takes place and we already know there is a TB problem, so this report is very worrying, if not surprising…. (story)
Western Morning News 2.12.03 Shared future - SO the Government's wildlife experts have at long last had the courage to say what many of us who know something about Exmoor have been saying for many years. Even the "antis" must be aware of what will happen on a remote Exmoor farm when the farmer sees 500lbs of good meat in the form of a stag eating the turnips for which he will no longer receive compensation from the hunt… Major John Montague, Alphington, Exeter (letter)
Western Morning News 29.11.03 GOVERNMENT ADVISERS IN HUNT BOMBSHELL - GOVERNMENT wildlife experts have secretly warned ministers that it will be "very difficult" to prevent a widespread cull of deer on Exmoor if hunting with dogs is banned. In a confidential report to ministers the National Wildlife Management Group warns that the level of trust between farmers, hunters, animal welfare groups and conservationists is now so low that it will be near impossible to get agreement on a management strategy to preserve the moor's red deer herd….
Western Morning News 29.11.03 DEFRA IN HUNT BAN BOMBSHELL - Government wildlife experts have secretly warned ministers that it will be "very difficult" to prevent a widespread cull of deer on Exmoor if hunting with dogs is banned… In a stark conclusion the Exeter-based group, which is part of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says: "The level of trust between the different parties in the Exmoor area took an additional blow when the National Trust banned hunting with hounds on their property in 1997. It is difficult to see how a system of co-operative management can be established in this area in the near future if and when hunting is banned."… (story)

Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazettes 9.12.03 BUT CRUEL SPORTS LEAGUE CLAIM IT WON'T HAVE MUCH IMPACT - A ban on hunting with dogs will not have as big an impact on Exmoor as was suggested by a recent report, claims the League Against Cruel Sports. The league has welcomed an independent study by former National Farmer's Union chief economist Sean Rickard. The report, Stag Hunting in the Exmoor and Quantocks Area, is a critique of a recent report by Promar International, which was commissioned by a number of organisations including local councils…. (story)
Western Daily Press 6.12.03 HUNT BAN ROW RUMBLING ON The row over reports into the effects of a ban on stag hunting on Exmoor intensified last night after anti-hunt campaigners said a second report rubbished the findings of a first. The League Against Cruel Sports said an independent investigation into the economic impact of a stag hunting ban showed it would have 'only a minor impact' - if hunters converted to drag hunting… (story)
Somerset County Gazette 5.12.03 `Negligible' job losses from hunt ban - A REPORT which claimed a staghunting ban on Greater Exmoor and the Quantocks would knock a £9.5m annual dent in the local economy and risk the loss of 584 full-time jobs was dismissed as a "gross exaggeration" this week. Former National Farmers Union chief economist Sean Rickard said the impact estimated by the report from Cheshire-based Promar International was based on flawed methodology… The Promar report, based on the activities of the Quantock, Devon and Somerset and Tiverton Staghounds, was commissioned by a partnership of local authorities, in conjunction with the Countryside Agency and the Government office for the South West…. His findings have been welcomed by League Against Cruel Sports chief executive Douglas Batchelor… (story in archive)
Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazette 11.11.03 HUNT BAN WILL HIT ECONOMY AND JOBS - A ban on stag hunting on Exmoor would cost the area millions of pounds every year, according to a new report... Cheshire-based Promar International Ltd was commissioned to carry out the research on the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, the Tiverton Staghounds and the Quantock Staghounds, all of which hunt on Exmoor... Paul Tilsley, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said the report was a waste of money.... (story)
Mid Devon Star/Sunday Independent 6.11.03 Staghunting ban 'would cost millions' - A ban on staghunting in Exmoor and the Quantocks would cost the area £9.5 million each year, according to a new study. The report also revealed the equivalent of 584 full time jobs would be affected if the Devon and Somerset, Tiverton and the Quantock Staghounds did not hunt.... (story in archive)
Western Daily Press 5.11.03 £9.5M - THE COST OF A STAG HUNT BAN ON THE ECONOMY OF EXMOOR - An Independent report yesterday claimed that a huge swathe of the rural West could be financially crippled by a ban on stag hunting. The study - warmly welcomed by the Countryside Alliance and labelled as "flawed and exaggerated" by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) - concludes that the Greater Exmoor and Quantock area would lose a staggering £9.5million a year if the country's last three remaining stag hunts were culled by the Government…. Commissioned at a cost of £27,000 by several local councils and organisations, including the Exmoor National Park Authority, it looked at the area covered by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, the Tiverton Staghounds and Quantock Staghounds…. (story)
Western Morning News 5.11.03 HUNT BAN WOULD COST MOOR ECONOMY £9.5M - NATHAN PYNN - A ban on staghunting on Exmoor and the Quantocks would cost the area £9.5 million every year, according to a new report. The independent study, which was published yesterday, found that staghunting directly contributed £5.65 million to the local economy and a further £3.85 million indirectly…. Cheshire-based Promar International Ltd was commissioned to carry out the research for the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, the Tiverton Staghounds, and the Quantock Staghounds, all of which hunt on Exmoor…. (story
Telegraph 5.11.03 A ban on stag-hunting in Exmoor and the Quantocks would cost the area more than £9.5 million each year and undermine its "strong sense of community", an independent report has concluded (story)
BBC News Online 4.11.03 Stag hunting ban would cost 'millions' - A ban on stag hunting in Exmoor and the Quantocks would cost the area £9.5m each year, an independent report has found. The study also reveals the equivalent of 584 full time jobs would be lost in the area if the Tiverton, Quantock, and Devon and Somerset staghounds did not hunt. Commissioned by agencies including local councils, the Countryside Agency and Government Office South West, it is the first to concentrate solely on the three packs of staghounds in the area, rather than hunting as a whole… (story)

Crediton, Culm Valley & Tiverton Gazettes 9.12.03 HUNT WHIST DRIVE - Winners Dulverton Farmers' Hunt final whist drive were… (story)

Cambridge News 9.12.03 So name and shame - WITH regard to Mr Rix's letter ("Where do cubs go?" Your Letters,December 3). I was born and raised in the heart of the countryside and know of no instances whatsoever of hundreds of foxes being transported from town to countryside…. From Mr M Michalak , Swaffham Road, Burwell (letter)
Cambridge News 3.12.03 Where do cubs go? REGARDING Mr Michalak's letter (News, November 22): If he was a true countryman he would know of plenty of instances of urban foxes being released into the countryside…. With 10,000 foxes in London alone, where do all the cuddly cubs born to the 5,000 vixens go to?... From L J Rix, Thetford Road, Mildenhall (letter)

Yorkshire Post 9.12.03 From: Sara Farmer, Crook Tree Farm, Hatfield, Doncaster. YOUR correspondent C Horsman (Letters, December 2) is certainly correct when he says that it is perceived animal cruelty which motivates people to want to ban hunting. Perceived cruelty rather than actual cruelty, much of it spun up by the RSPCA and other animal rights organizations… (letter)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 9.12.03 Hunting poll reflects British tolerance - Your correspondent Barbara Shipley asserts that "public opinion consistently supports a ban on hunting with dogs," yet fails to give any details. The Countryside Alliance assertion that 59 per cent of the population are against a hunt ban is derived from a nationwide poll conducted in December 2002… The Countryside Alliance is not claiming that 59 per cent of people actively support hunting. What we ARE saying is that 59 per cent are against a ban. That is a very different proposition, which reflects a tolerance of minorities that is part of what it means to be British… Clare Rowson, West Midlands Regional Director, Countryside Alliance. (letter)
Wolverhampton Express & Star 25.11.03 MP has hold of the facts - Unlike Chris Rogers I think that Debra Shipley MP is in touch with both the facts and public opinion, when she supports a ban on hunting with dogs…. Barbara Michell, Codsall Road, Wolverhampton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 9.12.03 HUNTER'S FOX DUMPING CLAIM IS UTTER NONSENSE - The claim by huntsman Michael Moore, Points of view, November 18, that foxes are being rounded up in towns, castrated and 'dumped' in the countryside by the RSPCA or any other animal welfare organisation is complete nonsense. Such claims are simply an urban, or should that be rural, myth… Becky Hawkes, RSPCA press officer, Horsham, West Sussex (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 22.11.03 HUNTSMAN'S ALLEGATIONS CAN'T BE SUBSTANTIATED - Fox-hunter Michael Moore, Points of view, November 18, made an allegation of urban foxes being trapped, castrated, then dumped in the countryside. Similar allegations have been made by the pro-hunt lobby in newspapers and on radio and TV for a number of years. Yet not once have they provided evidence of their claims… Mrs Y Blackmore, Abbotskerswell, Newton Abbot (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 18.11.03 TALES OF ANIMAL ABUSE BY HUNTERS ARE MISLEADING - Both Kathy Moyle and John Cooper, chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, Points of view, November 6, show in their recent letters a high degree of moral arrogance. In addition, Kathy again tries to feed Echo readers with horrific pictures of animal abuse by those involved in hunting that, if not so misleading, would be laughable…. The suggestion of foxes being trapped and held in milk churns in this day and age is completely false, and any such behaviour would be totally unacceptable to any true hunting person…. Michael Moore, Slade Close, Ottery St Mary (letter)

Western Morning News 9.12.03 Shooting myth - OH dear, the animal lovers' propaganda machine is in full cry, now aiming at shooters. The claims made by Claudia Tarry (WMN, November 18) that pheasants are "shot for pleasure and not for the pot - hundreds are shovelled into pits at the end of a day's killing" is a rural myth…. If you have an argument, make sure it is backed by fact, not a fairy tale. Name and address supplied (letter)
Western Morning News 18.11.03 Shooting excess - Claudia Tarry, Tonbridge (letter)
Sevenoaks Chronicle 14.11.03 PLEASURE SHOOT - Claudia Tarry, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid, Tonbridge (letter)
Shepton Mallet Journal 13.11.03 HOWMANY BIRDS ARE SHOT FOR THE POT? - It is ironic that Simon Clarke, press officer for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), referred to our letter about the pheasant rearing and shooting industry as inaccurate and misleading propaganda (letters, October 23). As Mr Clarke will surely be aware, much of the information we cited was taken from a Sunday Telegraph article about pheasant shooting (October 12) which reported the BASC as declaring that shooters are failing to give birds a sporting chance and that [pheasant shooting] is damaging woodland because commercial breeders are flooding the countryside with birds.... Andrew Tyler Director Animal Aid (letter)
Bath Chronicle 29.10.03 SHOOTING IS A FORCE FOR GOOD IN THE COUNTRYSIDE - I Am disappointed that you have seen fit to publish inaccurate and misleading propaganda from the animal rights group Animal Aid in the form of a letter from Claudia Terry of Bradford Street, Kent… Animal Aid would have us all turn vegetarian before it was satisfied. They are welcome to their opinions. I will not force them to shoot game. They should not try to force the rest of us to comply with their extreme views…. You have also allowed Animal Aid to advertise its money-making merchandise for free in your paper. This is a private company and I would suggest that it has done almost nothing for any form of meaningful conservation, unlike those of us who take part in shooting sports…. ADRIAN WELSH, Walcot Street, Bath (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 24.10.03 Animal Aid has long campaigned against game shooting… Claudia Tarry, Campaigns officer, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge (letter)
Shepton Mallett Journal 23.10.03 DISAPPOINTED BY PROPAGANDA Re: Claudia Tarry letter, October 16. I am disappointed that you have seen fit to publish inaccurate and misleading propaganda from the animal rights group Animal Aid… Shooting is a force for good in the countryside…. Simon Clarke British Association for Shooting and Conservation Marford Mill Rossett (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 22.10.03 SHOOTING NOTHING TO DO WITH COUNTRY TRADITIONS - Claudia Tarry, Campaigns officer, Animal Aid (letter)
Shepton Mallet Journal 16.10.03 SHOOTING CONCERNS Claudia Tarry, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent (letter)
Cheddar Valley Gazette 16.10.03 TOO MANY BIRDS RELEASED FOR SPORT - Animal Aid has long campaigned against game shooting and it is both encouraging, and disturbing, that the shooting industry itself is now echoing our concerns. The UK's largest fields sports organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, has sent out alarm signals (reported October 12, Sunday Telegraph) about the massive number of birds being killed and the damage to woodland caused by breeders flooding the countryside with birds…. Animal Aid has long campaigned against game shooting and it is both encouraging, and disturbing, that the shooting industry itself is now echoing our concerns. The UK's largest fields sports organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, has sent out alarm signals (reported October 12, Sunday Telegraph) about the massive number of birds being killed and the damage to woodland caused by breeders flooding the countryside with birds…. Claudia Tarry, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent (letter)

Croydon Advertiser 9.12.03 Alert as hunters target wildfowl - ANIMAL and bird lovers are being asked to stage a "wild-fowl watch" to save birds from hunters out to kill them for a free Christmas dinner. Ted Burden, director of London Wildcare in Beddington Park, fears the disappearance of Canada geese, ducks and swans from their usual haunts around the capital could increase as the festive season approaches…. (story)

Southern Daily Echo 9.12.03 Animal lab: a new fight by Siân Davies - THEY thought it was all over but residents battling to stop a controversial animal testing laboratory moving to their village are preparing for another fight… another chapter has been opened after a further application was submitted by owners of the testing laboratory…. Helen Nelson of Fareham and Gosport Animal Aid, said: "This is horrendous. We thought this was a dead duck but now it appears they are trying yet again to make the move…. (story in archive)
Portsmouth News 5.12.03 Lab firm wants to do research at farm - A CONTROVERSIAL animal-testing laboratory wants to turn another farm it owns into a research site. Bosses at Wickham Laboratories have applied to change the use of Torbay Farm in rural Upham… (story)

The Herald 9.12.03 Police issue alert on badger baiting - BILLY BRIGGS - badger-baiting incidents across Scotland. In recent months there has been growing evidence the barbaric practice has been taking place in Lanarkshire, Glasgow, and the Borders…. (story)
Glasgow Evening Times 9.12.03 Badger baiting on the increase across Scotland - Gerry Braiden - WILDLIFE police are investigating an alarming rise in the barbaric sport of badger baiting…. Constable Phil Briggs, the wildlife crime officer for Q Division, which covers South Lanarkshire, said there was widespread evidence of a disturbing rise in badger baiting across the force area… Ian Hutchison, the Scottish Badgers Development Officer, said: "It's disgusting that barbaric activities such as this continue to go on throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK…. " (story)

Huddersfield Daily Examiner 9.12.03 Badgers get new £20,000 home By Henryk Zientek, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner - HOME DEVELOPERS have started work on a scheme to convert a disused mill - after first re-housing a family of badgers… Slaithwaite-based developer Park View Builders Ltd called in experts from Kirklees Badger Protection Group to help the badgers "move house" to a new sett on land nearby…. (story)

Western Morning News 9.12.03 BLAMING BADGERS FOR BOVINE TB IS A RED HERRING - Bob Huddleston of Bude suggests that badgers are not to blame for the rise in the incidence of TB in cattle. I have been considering the wisdom of the law that protects badgers. It seems to me that since its advent, badger numbers have increased to an unnatural level which means more badgers in their setts, a situation which is probably unhealthy for the animals, making them much more susceptible to diseases like TB… Crowded living quarters, for any species, is known to be a vector in the spread of disease… Therefore, although rather late, I would suggest that another programme of strict "test and slaughter reactors" seems the only intelligent and reasonable answer. Tess Nash, Mawgan Cornwall (letter)
Western Morning News 29.11.03 BADGERS TO BLAME? IT DOESN'T ADD UP - The bovine TB issue hits the headlines again. Since 1971 when a MAFF vet by the name of Muirhead examined a badger killed in a road accident, and found that it had TB, the accusations levelled against these animals have retrogressed from "a possible link" to "if-we-don't-kill-all-badgers-we'll-never-be-rid-of-TB". However, the "badgers are the cause" agreement doesn't stack up… Bob Huddleston, Bude (letter)


Northampton Chronicle & Echo 8.12.03 Bloodlust across the classes - I WOULD like to welcome Andy Mead's entry into the animal cruelty debate (Letters, December 3)… However, Mr Mead seems to think that my opposition to fox hunting is based on class and ignorance. While I appreciate that fox numbers may need to be controlled, no-one will ever convince me that hunting with dogs is the most efficient and humane way of exercising that control…. Kev Frost, St Andrew's Road, Semilong, Northampton. (letter)

Shropshire Star 8.12.03 No desire to follow in ancestors' footsteps - Late on Saturday afternoon my neighbour's garden was filled with foxhounds…. I was born and raised in the English countryside, have experienced life in villages, towns and cities and have never tolerated antisocial behaviour anywhere, traditional or not…. My ancestors hunted in Cumberland with John Peel and the Master of the Blencathra Hunt is still a Todhunter. I am proud of my heritage, but I have no innate desire to follow in my ancestors' footsteps. I have moved on… Mrs Caroline Russell, Longden, Shrewsbury (letter)

Western Morning News 8.12.03 MEMORIES OF TRAIL HOUNDS - I much admire your publication of the photograph of the trail hounds jumping the barbed wired fence in the Lake District (WMN, November 17). It brought back boyhood memories, when my father and a local baker shared ownership of a trail hound…. Bill Nugent Falmouth (letter)

Cambridge Evening News 8.12.03 Police drafted in from London for animal rights protest - AROUND 400 animal rights activists protested on the streets of Huntingdon on Saturday to campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences…. Officers from London were drafted in for the event and organisers claimed police were trying to "swamp" the demonstration…. (story)
BBC News Online 6.12.03 Animal protesters march through town - Several hundred animal rights protesters marched peacefully through the centre of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire on Saturday… Greg Avery from SHAC said: "We will be here day after day, week after week, year after year…." (story)
Hunts Post 4.12.03 Protest march disrupts shoppers and Santa - A PROTEST march could cause havoc for shoppers wanting to visit Huntingdon or St Ives this weekend… The demonstrators from SHAC - Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty - have been liaising with police in a bid to plan a peaceful assembly and procession of supporters… (story)
Cambridge Evening News 3.12.03 Protest march route announced by police. THE route for a protest march by animal rights campaigners in Huntingdon at the weekend has been announced by police…. The march has been organised by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC)… (story)

Cambridge News 8.12.03 A barbaric practice - I AM VERY disappointed that Cambridge University has been granted permission to build a primate lab in Cambridge… From Mrs G J Derbyshire, Dartmoor Drive, Huntingdon (letter)

News Shopper 8.12.03 Animal activist wins campaigner of the year - AN ACTIVIST has been awarded the title of animal welfare campaigner of the year. Mark Johnson, 41, of Abbots Field, Gravesend, was presented with his certificate by a representative of Compassion in World Farming at a ceremony last Saturday. Mr Johnson, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is a regular on local radio, which he uses to raise awareness of the conditions in which livestock are exported. He organises demonstrations at Dover… (story)


Sunday Telegraph 7.12.03 'You can smell it, you can feel it: the stench of death over Labour' By Colin Brown - There is a "stench of death" about Tony Blair's Government, says Nicholas Soames, the shadow defence secretary, as he sits in his Commons office discussing the prospects for his party over the months ahead…. "I only gave up hunting when my poor horse gave up the effort of carting me around," Mr Soames said sadly. "He was magnificent but he just simply couldn't manage it." He now follows the hunt on foot and on Boxing Day will be out with his local Sussex pack. A ban on hunting would be "despicable", he says, but he will not break the law.... (story)

Sunday Telegraph 7.12.03 Call me old-fashioned By Jemima Lewis ... I am as much of a sucker for furry mammals as the next woman, but I would hate to see hunting banned. I can think of no lovelier sight than hordes of pink-coated squires tearing across the countryside, just as they did in Surtees's day... (story)

Observer 7.12.03 Fox and hounds - Her boyfriend is anti-hunting, her parents are pro. Will there be blood on the family table? - Mariella Frostrup - I've got a Christmas dilemma with extra spice, I think. Three months ago I met a really great guy and I've invited him to spend Christmas with my family, as his parents are away on a cruise. The problem is he's a vehement member of the anti-hunting lobby and my parents are country folk who have been involved with the hunt all their lives…. If your boyfriend has any intention of becoming a part of your immediate circle he'll have to realise that, like a good democracy, a happy family is based on compromise. People need to respect, not adopt, each other's point of view…. (story)

Scotland on Sunday 7.12.03 Pet shop laws 'inadequate' - NICHOLAS CHRISTIAN - ANIMAL welfare campaigners have called for tougher regulation of Scottish pet shops, claiming to have uncovered evidence the current law is inadequate and insufficiently enforced. Advocates for Animals said a study it commissioned into the industry showed that animals kept and sold in shops are being put at risk. The report by Jordi Casamitjana, an animal welfare consultant and specialist on behaviour in captivity, says almost one in 10 pet shops were operating illegally since they did not hold a valid pet licence…. (story)


Newsletter/Belfast News/Derry Journal 6.12.03 It's the Chase that Excites, Not the Kill By Kate Cooney - THE beauty of beagling is all in the thrill of the chase and the cry of the hounds, according to Dr Kenneth Livingstone who has been following the field since the age of three. And this week, Markethill GP Dr Livingstone was out braving the fog on a joint meeting with the Armagh and Richhill and the Sunnyland packs - which could be one of his last outings if the sport is banned in January…. (story)

Newsletter/Belfast News/Derry Journal 6.12.03 Farming Adding to Irish Hare Decline - MODERN farming practices could be playing a part in the decline of the Irish hare in Ulster, a wildlife expert fears… (story)

The Sentinel 6.12.03 HUNTING LETTER BEGGARS BELIEF - We are all used to hearing hunters' nonsense, but the letter from P Presland, on November 26, beggars belief… MARK RICHARDS Newcastle (letter)
The Sentinel 2.12.03 ANTI-HUNTING BRIGADE MAY HAVE NASTY MOTIVES - Mark Richards invokes the victims of Nazi oppression to support his diatribe against hunting (letters, November 18). He should remember that it was Adolf Hitler's Third Reich that outlawed fox hunting in Germany back in 1934… PETER PRESLAND West Midlands Regional Chairman Countryside Alliance (letter)
The Sentinel 2.12.03 FOXES RUN AWAY FROM MY CATS - Like Mr O Nugent (Sentinel, November 19). I have never heard of anyone witnessing a fox viciously attacking any other animal. I put food out in my garden every night for foxes… The pro-hunting brigade try to portray the fox as a merciless killer, only as an excuse to carry out their perverted pleasure for their own blood lust. K PEAKE Weston Coyney (letter)
The Sentinel 26.11.03 SO WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE-HATING? - Mark Richards invokes the victims of Nazi oppression to support his diatribe against hunting (Letters, November 18). He should remember that it was Adolf Hitler's Third Reich that outlawed fox hunting in Germany in 1934…. The public register of donations to the Labour party reveals that more than £1.25 million has been given by Animal Rights organisations since they took office. PETER PRESLAND Countryside Alliance, West Midlands regional chairman
The Sentinel 19.11.03 BLOODTHIRST OF DOG TOPS FOX … Dogs have excelled in killing humans, wild animals, farm stock and domestic pets. I challenge anyone to produce film of a fox with a bloodlust to top this. MR O NUGENT Tittensor (letter)
The Sentinel 18.11.03 HUNTING HAS TO BE OUTLAWED Re Philip Wood from Market Drayton's pro-hunt letter. Despite promising to ban hunting 'as soon as possible' (Blair on Question Time in 1999), MPs have voted many times to ban it since Labour came to power… Anyone capable of taking sick pleasure in torturing one species is also capable of doing the same towards another (ie human beings)…. MARK RICHARDS Newcastle (letter)
The Sentinel 13.11.03 THE FOX IS A NIGHTLY TERROR - BG Jones' letter on foxhunting is wrong on a number of counts. We are not anarchists, we are law-abiding citizens. On the other hand, the antis have broken the law many times through trespass, assault and threatening behaviour. We are also not a minority - most of the people in this country support our cause.... A C WOODCOCK Mow Cop (letter)
The Sentinel 13.11.03 HUNTSMEN LOVE THRILL OF THE KILL - Having read the letter from Philip Wood (November 11) I am dumbfounded by his views. He says foxes 'kill without hesitation or remorse, for the hell of it'... Is Mr Wood really suggesting that the only, or indeed most effective, method of protecting livestock is to don a red coat and hat and ride into the woods with a pack of dogs to hound each fox to its brutal death?... MELINA COTTON Sneyd Green (letter)
The Sentinel 13.11.03 FOXHUNTERS ARE THE REAL KILLERS With reference to the letter from Philip Wood, printed on November 10. I do not wish to comment on the issues of sedition and the political comments, but would like to reply to the remarks concerning foxhunting. Mr Wood states that 59 per cent of the population supports the continuation of hunting and is opposed to further reductions on our human rights. This is not a vast majority... I would like to know which organisation carried out the independent survey which revealed 59 per cent of the population was in favour of the continuation of foxhunting, as I for one did not get a vote in it. MRS C LAMBERT Blythe Bridge (letter)
The Sentinel 10.11.03 TIME TO STAND UP FOR HUNTING - Sedition? I don't think so. I refer to the letter from B G Jones, from Alsager, published on November 6. How can he state, totally wrongly and without any evidence, that those who support hunting are an 'extreme minority' and that, even more unbelievably, he or she represents 'the vast majority'?... I urge you to stand up and be counted - remember these words: "First they came for the coursers and staghunters and I did not speak out because I was not a courser or staghunter. Then they came for the fox hunter and beaglers and I did not speak out because I was not a fox hunter or a beagler. Then they came for the shooters and I did not speak out because I was not a shooter. Then they came for the fishermen and I did not speak out because I was not a fisherman. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." PHILIP WOOD Market Drayton (letter)
The Sentinel 6.11.03 SURELY THIS IS SEDITION? The pro-hunting anarchists are flexing their muscles again, threatening , nay, contracting to break a law which looks certain to be passed to prohibit hunting with dogs. This extreme minority, who pay lip service to democracy, should be given short shrift by our Government who were given a mandate by Britain's electorate to ban hunting... BG JONES Alsager (letter)

Western Morning News 6.12.03 Lobby the townies - ONE little paragraph in Noel Edmonds' article about hunting (WMN, November 22) said: "I don't hear country folk telling townies how to behave. I don't see them lobbying to have urban pursuits and traditions terminated". Perhaps we should and the first thing I would ban would be night clubs with their enticement to drug taking which in turn leads to a large amount of crime… C L Clark, St Austell (letter)
Western Morning News 22.11.03 I'LL DEFY HUNT BAN FOR SAKE OF FREEDOM - Businessman and celebrity Noel Edmonds has never hunted nor does he want to. But here he explains why he will sadlle up and break the law if the government persists in banning hunting with dogs. No, i don't hunt. I have never hunted. I have no intention of hunting. Indeed, I struggle to understand its appeal. However, I totally oppose a ban on hunting. I was one of the 400,000 who, on September 22 last year, marched through London for Liberty and Livelihood… Why? On one Saturday in February 2001, the lives of everyone in the rural communities of Devon, my adopted home for the past 15 years, were to change for ever. Foot and mouth was confirmed at Highampton, a few miles from my own farmland in Jacobstowe. In the weeks that followed, the disease spread. It was overtaken only by the panic of ignorant and incompetent Government officials and manipulative, self-serving politicians…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen 6.12.03 WHAT ABOUT REAL CRIMINALS? We have anti-hunt bods hell bent on condemning the hunting fraternity for threatening to break the law. What about thugs, thieves, cars driven without tax and insurance, fraudsters, muggers… Shouldn't these things be given more time and attention by the so-called do-gooders who have jumped on the bandwagon with their friends… DON TINSEY Cranham (letter)

Western Daily Press 6.12.03 A LION HAS BEEN BRED IN CAPTIVITY. TOMORROW HE'LL BE SHOT BY HUNTERS - The full horror of "canned" lions bred by big game hunters in South Africa can be revealed by the Western Daily Press today… Yesterday, the Western Daily Press revealed how a tour firm near Bristol agreed to organise shooting parties to pick off everything from elephants and buffalo to leopards and lions…. (story)
Western Daily Press 5.12.03 SHAME OF THE WEST BIG GAME HUNTERS It's a picture which will shock animal lovers everywhere. A proud big-game hunter shows off the elephant bagged in the name of sport. This isn't an image from Britain's colonial past. It's a shocking illustration of the packaged safari hunting of endangered species - and it's organised right here in the West… The League Against Cruel Sports, which last night launched a campaign to close the legal loopholes that allow firms in Britain the chance to take big game hunters over to Africa to kill one of the majestic animals, condemned the practice as "retail slaughter"…. As well as, the League also highlighted Mayfair gunsmiths Holland and Holland who offer clients the chance to kill leopards and cheetahs…. (story)
Reading Chronicle 3.12.03 Firms deny links to trophy hunting By Paul Bishop - ALLEGATIONS that Hungerford-based travel firm Roxton Bailey Robinson arranges holidays in which people can shoot endangered species have been vigorously denied by the company. The allegation was made by the League Against Cruel Sports on its website which was launched on Monday… But while Roxton Bailey Robinson admitted to organising shoots of game birds, it refuted any suggestion it encouraged endangered species being blasted with guns, known as trophy hunting… League of Cruel Sports chairman John Cooper said: "It is time to shine a light on this corporate endorsed killing… (story)
Mirror 1.12.03 SAFARI SLAUGHTER By Ryan Parry - WEALTHY British businessmen are paying up to £40,000 to slaughter endangered animals on hunting holidays to Africa, North America and Eastern Europe…. This shocking "entertainment" has been exposed by investigators from animal rights group League Against Cruel Sports… (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 6.12.03 FAKE TURKEY PROMOTES VEGGIE CALL BY SARAH POUNDS - A giant fake turkey, made by a Devon man to protest against the factory-farming of birds at Christmas, is to take centre stage at a vegetarian fair in Exeter today. Rodney Hale, from West Sandford, near Crediton, created the bird to encourage shoppers visiting the Christmas without Cruelty Fair to forgo the traditional festive meat in favour of meat-free alternatives. The fair, organised by Exeter Friends for Animals, will be in Bedford Square… Sharon Howe, from EFA, said: "We are calling on people to put compassion before profit and go veggie this Christmas…" (story)


Post & Times 5.12.03 ANIMAL CHARITIES TO GET BOOT SALE CASH A Regular car boot sale held in Leek is to donate more than £1,500 to animal charities… Groups which will benefit include The League Against Cruel Sports, PDSA and the RSPCA (story)

York Evening Press 5.12.03 Headline hunter - WHAT a pathetic way for Hugh Bayley to try to grab the headlines by saying he wants to introduce a Private Member's Bill to ban fox hunting… I am sure his constituents would sooner see him spending his time working on the subjects that concern most people such as education, law and order, the Asylum Bill, health, transport, the care of the elderly and pensions… TJ Ryder, Priory Gardens, North Lane, Dringhouses, York (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 3.12.03 Bayley in line for Bill on hunts - YORK MP Hugh Bayley today risked the wrath of countryside campaigners by revealing he wants to introduce a Private Member's Bill to ban fox hunting… (story in archive)

Bucks Free Press 5.12.03 'For perverse entertainment' - PETER Janes in his letter on November 21 is wrong to say Lord Burns concluded that a complete ban was not the best to control foxes…. If democracy is to mean anything, the Government should get on and ban this appalling behaviour… Judy Gilbert (Bucks League Against Cruel Sports), Beacons Bottom (letter)
Bucks Free Press 5.12.03 There are polls – and polls - IN reply to the letter from pro-hunting Peter Janes may I point out that a new MORI poll signals strong support for a hunting ban, with 76 per cent saying it should not be legal…. As for the writer's reference to the members of the League Against Cruel Sports who resigned that took place nearly 20 years ago!... Name and address supplied (letter)
Bucks Free Press 21.11.03 Most oppose hunting ban - I REPLY to letters in your November 7 issue from John Cooper, of the League Against Cruel Sports, Mrs. Dark from Denham and "Name and address supplied." The League has had resignations by several senior executives who, amongst other reasons, considered that the League's policy of a complete hunting ban was not the best way of controlling fox populations…. The disembowelment and tearing apart to which she refers occurs when the fox is dead. It is not a long drawn out process…. Peter Janes Farnham Common (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 21.11.03 BANNING HUNTING WON'T MAKE US MORE CIVILISED Jenny Howard, Points of view, November 17, suggests that if the Government bans hunting, we can once again become a civilised country. That, believe me, is wishful thinking. Just take a look around at our supposed civilised society - shootings, stabbings, rape, robberies, abuse of pensioners, child abduction and murders… G Paddon, Pathfinder Village, Tedbury St Mary (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 17.11.03 WE CAN'T BE 'CIVILISED' WHEN WE ALLOW HUNTING - No one is wasting time trying to ban hunting. Would Richard Hall, Points of view, November 10, allow it to happen to any of his pets? I doubt it. So why allow it to happen to a wild animal?... Jenny Howard, Regents Park, Heavitree, Exeter (letter)
Cornish Guardian 13.11.03 NO JUSTIFICATION FOR PEOPLE TO KILL OUR CORNISH WILDLIFE John Cooper Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 10.11.03 PARLIAMENT WASTING TOO MUCH TIME ON HUNTING - I fear that John Cooper of the League Against Cruel Sports has spent too much time talking to anti-hunting activists, Points of view, November 6. He says that "many people, of all views, feel very strongly about hunting" - but the truth is that most people don't really care about the issue one way or the other.... I appeal to readers to write without delay to their MPs and make it clear that they do not want this issue dragged through parliament yet again, when there are so many other problems which urgently need the Government's attention.... Richard Hall, Campaign director, Working Hound Defence Campaign, Green Lanes, London (letter)
Bucks Free Press 7.11.03 Hunters' threat to break law - John Cooper Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports Union Street London (letter)
Yorkshire Evening Post 6.11.03 Right across the English and Welsh countryside, each November sees the start of the fox hunting season. This ritualised display of animal abuse horrifies those who love Britain's wild animals… John Cooper, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports. (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.11.03 THERE'S NO JUSTIFICATION FOR RITUALISED KILLING - Right across the English and Welsh countryside, each November sees the start of the fox hunting season. This ritualised display of animal abuse horrifies those who love Britain's wild animals…. Now, these hunters are threatening to arrogantly disregard the criminal law as well. Many people, of all views, feel very strongly about hunting. But the proper step, in a democratic society, is for local people to lobby their MP, as we have urged our local supporters to do over the years…. John Cooper, Chairman, League Against Cruel Sports, Union Street, London (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 5.12.03 DOG-WALKERS NEED NOT FEAR - Alan White states his fears that he will be prosecuted for walking his dogs if they chase wildlife (Courier, November 14). I can reassure him that the innocent dog-walker has nothing to fear from the Hunting Bill legislation… The RSPCA would not for a minute expect anyone to stop walking their dogs off the lead in woodland. Klare Kennett, RSPCA South East Horsham West Sussex
Rex Martin (Courier, 21 November 2003) suggested that the right, and most humane way to control foxes was to shoot them. Unless the government is prepared to pay for an army of trained marksmen in the countryside to control fox numbers, this view is a popular fallacy… The outcome of a foxhunt is that either the fox is killed outright within seconds of it being caught, or it escapes uninjured…. Michael McNally, High Street, Tunbridge Wells
Mike McNally happily scuppered drag-hunting… does he not realise that the majority of us see it as a palliative, formulated to control the people afflicted by the desire to pester the life out of wild animals?... Tim Cooper, Langton Road, Tunbridge Wells
Your readers are more in the country than me. However, we have on average about 20 or so foxes nearby who come out after 11-ish on a regular basis… For six months we have fought a losing battle against mice using bait as our dog is not fast enough to catch them. Yet while foxes are about at night, you will never find a mouse or rat in the same place…. Mrs Paula May, Dowdeswell Close, London (letters)
Kent/Sussex Courier 14.11.03 Some correspondents last week asked why those who go fox-hunting could not switch to drag-hunting … drag-hunting requires large areas of open countryside for the chase. In our small, urbanised island, there is no longer enough open space for the existing foxhound packs (of which there are nearly 200) to transfer to drag-hunting... Drag-hunting offers no form of pest control and it is unlikely that such hunts would be welcomed on to farming land in the way that fox hunts are. Michael McNally Regency House High Street Tunbridge Wells (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 14.11.03 IS IT A CRIME FOR MY DOG TO CHASE RABBITS? - Your editorial is critical of the hunting declaration (Courier, November 7), whose signatories undertake not to observe the Hunting Act if it is passed. I attended the rally at Tonbridge on November 1, and signed the declaration. My wife and I live on Ashdown Forest, with two horses and a dog. Twice a day the dog and I indulge in the ??cruel and barbaric?? practice of walking out. She usually chases a couple of squirrels and rabbits each day, and occasionally a fox.... I do not intend to stop walking my dog in the Ashdown Forest. I do not suppose Sussex Police will be able to afford to station an officer outside my gate to arrest me. However, 200 to 300 people come to the forest every day and walk their dogs. They will put themselves under suspicion of hunting, particularly if they have more than one dog.... Alan White, Duddleswell, Uckfield (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 14.11.03 FOX-HUNTING IS NOW ON WAY OUT - Last week??s demonstration of mutual support by the fox-hunting fraternity was definitely not an indication of the tide-turning on this issue... Caroline Wetton (Courier, November 7) was right: fox-hunting is now an anachronism. Tim Cooper, Langton Road, Langton Green
Your editorial suggesting that the mass signing of the hunting declaration might encourage self-styled ??saboteurs?? to break the law beggars belief... You have reported a variety of incidents ranging from intimidation of publicans through to cowardly attacks on elderly hunt supporters to firebombing of vehicles and premises. To suggest that hunt followers might in some way be to blame for ??encouraging?? such crimes is perverse... R Munton, Grange Hill, Plaxtol (letters)

Darlington & Stockton Times 5.12.03 Safety code - SHEILA HARDY Head of Safety, The British Horse Society, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. (letter in archive)
Bucks Free Press 7.11.03 Safer ways to go shooting - Sheila Hardy The British Horse Society (letter)
Western Daily Press 5.11.03 FIND OUT HOW TO SHOOT WELL - Sheila Hardy BHS Head of Safety (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 4.11.03 SAFETY FIRST CODE IS OUT FOR RIDERS AND SHOOTERS - Shooting and country sports organisations must be congratulated for the way they have reacted to our safety concerns after a rider and horse were severely injured in an incident last year. This year's edition of the Code of Good Shooting Practice contains substantial reference to shoots' relationship with riders and wise advice on safety… Sheila Hardy, The British Horse Society Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth (letter)

Argus 5.12.03 Labour has broken promise on animals - In a pre-1997 election pledge New Labour said it was committed to reducing the number of animals used in experiments. But in 2001 it invested its staff pension fund in a vivisection laboratory that was condemned by the Home Office for cruelty… Now Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has given permission to Cambridge University to build a research centre to conduct brain experiments on monkeys…. -Mrs Judy Way, Southwick (letter)

Argus 5.12.03 Pig cruelty - I recently became aware of a shocking example of the cruelty of factory farming, the pig farrowing crate… For information on factory farming and vegetarianism contact Viva! 8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol B52 8QH on 0117 944 1000 or visit -Meg Winterbotham, Brighton (letter)

Ananova 5.12.03 Bernard Manning not laughing at Peta poster - Bernard Manning is unhappy with an animal rights group who've used his image without permission. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have a photograph of the comic on their website and on a series of posters around Manchester… The posters are a spoof on the dairy industry's long running ad slogan: "The White Stuff - Are You Made of It?"… His manager Chris Graham added: "He's a bit cheesed off. They're using his image without permission, for a cause he doesn't in any way endorse. They're taking liberties." (story)

Western Daily Press 5.12.03 £6,500 HELP FOR BEARS CAMPAIGN I wish to say a big thank you to Sanders Garden World and all its staff for their help with a recent charity event. They hosted a slaves and promises auction, on behalf of China Bear Rescue North Somerset and Moon Bear Rescue, to help raise funds to free the Moon bears on bear farms in China. The event raised about £6,500… Mrs Lee Gibbins Moon Bear Rescue (letter)

Bristol Evening Post 5.12.03 SPEND MONEY ON ANIMALS IN THE WILD I Wholeheartedly agree with Jim Matthews' letter (November 28) about Bristol Zoo's plan to open a new zoo near junction 17 of the M5 - it will be a nightmare for anyone like me who has to cross this junction every day… As a so-called conservation organisation, wouldn't it be better if they spent the millions planned on the new zoo actually on saving animals in the wild?... Liz Price, Severn Beach (letter)

Blackpool Citizen 5.12.03 No progress with horses - LIKE G Walker (letters November 20) I too await answers to questions concerning landau horses. Especially as one of the horse owners, who hasn't got the guts to answer readers' questions, has written a sprawling, disgruntled letter to Blackpool councilors… Before signing off, please may I add another question to the ones already printed. Can this woman guarantee that none of the worn out landau horses are sent for auction? M Gavin, Ashfield Road, Bispham (letter in archive)

Sutton Guardian 5.12.03 Compassion for chickens - I have learned that the legal case brought by Compassion in World Farming to end the factory farming of millions of broiler chickens has failed in the High Court… If consumers could consider buying free range or organic chicken and perhaps sometimes look for vegetarian alternatives this would contribute towards ending the suffering of these creatures. Compassion in World Farming urges shoppers to boycott factory farmed chickens… K CLARKE St Martin's Avenue Epsom (letter)

Kingston Guardian 5.12.03 Tragic stag story headline left me feeling very angry …The article, regarding the deer ploughing through the roof of a car in Richmond Park, was fine in itself. The headline however, was tasteless to say the least. How a joke could be made out of such a tragic story left me feeling very angry. As a nation of animal lovers it is heart-wrenching enough to read such stories, but when a headline of that description is used, it doesn't fail to come across as making a joke out of the whole episode… MISS LOUISE K DUNNE Mount Pleasant Road New Malden (letter)

BBC News Online 5.12.03 Pet shop worker in 'acid' attack - A pet shop assistant suffered serious burns when an attacker threw what is believed to be acid in his face… The 37-year-old, who works in the Pets and Poultry store in West Leyes, is described as in a serious condition in hospital with burns to his face. Detectives hunting the attacker said a man entered the shop shortly after 1400 GMT on Thursday and threw the liquid into the face of the employee…. (story)


Media Week 4.12.03 MEDIA STRATEGY: RSPCA’s mobile anti-fox hunting campaign - I’m always curious to see how people respond to charitable causes when engaging with the mobile medium. The RSPCA’s campaign against fox hunting, which appeared in a couple of the nationals a fortnight ago, is not the first such initiative a charity has embarked on… (story)

North Devon Journal 4.12.03 BUS TRANSPORT CHANGE IS SUCH A STUPID IDEA - One significant absentee from the Queen's Speech last week was the Hunting with Dogs Bill. At last, I thought, the rural voice is being heard. The Government does care. Alas, I was wrong. No sooner has one stupid piece of proposed legislation bitten the dust than another one appears to replace it. I am referring to the proposal to charge parents for the provision of school buses…. BOB ASHTON, Homer Close, Bratton Fleming (letter)

Gloucestershire Echo 4.12.03 WE WELCOME COMPROMISE ON HUNTING Madam - The committee members of the Cheltenham and East Gloucestershire branch of the RSPCA have asked me, as chairman, to write regarding our position on the ban on hunting with dogs. The Echo published a letter in which the RSPCA was criticised for spending money on promoting a ban (Letters, November 1). We would like the opportunity to inform readers why the local branch committee supports the proposed ban and the costs incurred by doing so…. Lorraine Pennell, Chairman, RSPCA Gloucestershire East & Cheltenham Branch (letter)

Western Morning News 4.12.03 RSPCA 'FAILED' OVER FOOT AND MOUTH - I support Diane Lewis, to the hilt, in her courageous revelation of her experiences as a volunteer worker for the RSPCA, during and after the foot and mouth tragedy… I am utterly disgusted that the RSPCA totally failed to challenge the Government, at the time of foot and mouth, over lambing ewes and their baby lambs being left to die of hypothermia and drowning in fields of mud… I don't expect anything else from a government which clearly thinks foxes merit huge amounts of self-righteous outrage, but who would have us think that the animals of foot and mouth, did not… Tess Nash, Mawgan Cornwall (letter)

Hereford Times 4.12.03 Hunting with hounds - the debate goes on
Oh, dear! I see letters correspondent Jacqueline Greaves continues to be an unfortunate victim of the Government spin machine, which is seeking to divert the public's attention away from the education system, the state of the NHS and care of the elderly to fox hunting…. Gillian Herbert Linley Green
Iwas very pleased to host a Meet of the Radnor and West Herefordshire hounds recently…. I do not hunt, but I know that the hunt provides a service by disposing of my dead animals… Tony Norman The Leen, Pembridge
The pro-hunting lobby does not speak for everyone who lives in the country or the county… D. REES Dunoon Mead, Hereford
People accuse the hunters of encouraging civil disobedience by giving notice of intent to break a law not yet enacted. But many of those self -same people, often with the encouragement or support of passengers, consciously break speed limits, at the cost of maiming and killing thousands of wild creatures (with foxes high on the list)…. Charles Drury, Director,... for wildness' sake© Skyrrid Farm, Pontrilas
I would like to know how the figure of 59% was reached when polling the public reference a ban on hunting. Who was asked I would like to know? I am neither for nor against the so-called sport but it beggars belief that all of a sudden there seems to be a clear majority of the public not in favour of a ban…. D. LEATHERHEAD, Overbury Road, Hereford
Although I have not had the opportunity to follow the hunt for many years, I was always made most welcome and on the two occasions that I participated I fell off, but still enjoyed the experience…. PETER RAWLINGS, Hoarwithy Road, Hereford
It is claimed that hunting is an enjoyable and all-inclusive sport. Hardly!... Very few people can afford the luxury of keeping a Hunter - so hunting can hardly be described as 'inclusive'. MARK BLACKMAN Gellatly Road, London
Thank goodness that there are some people who still have the courage of their convictions to stick up eye-catching posters or follow hunts, if that is what they believe in… Andrew Meek Lower Stephlands Cottage Foy
I enjoy hunting because it gives me an opportunity to be in countryside not normally available to the public and the opportunity to watch the natural battle of wits and skill between hound and fox/hare/deer… Jonathan Jackson, Hephill, Lugwardine
May I ask those hunters who have so vociferously defended their blood sports in your paper recently, if they also support the activity of `cubbing' which takes place during August to October, not so much publicised…. BETTY COTTON, Roddhurst, Presteigne (letters in archive)

Western Gazette 4.12.03 SUFFERING IN FOX SHOOTING Kevin Sheehan is quite right to castigate me with regard to my quoting Dr Potts in connection with the Defra hunting hearings… I should have quoted Dr Tapper, who gave evidence on the efficacy of fox control in general (and also on hunting's effect on conservation)… The Burns Report… states that, whereas stalking may be considered to involve less suffering from the individual victim's viewpoint, the nature and extent of suffering where wounding does occur, and the hunt's role in finding and dealing with deer that have previously been wounded or injured, make the equation very much less clear… Robert Tucker, Master of Hounds, Gladstone Close, Littlemoor. (letter)
Western Gazette 6.11.03 HUNTING FOR THE TRUTH: HERE IS THE EVIDENCE - R.tucker's point of view (Western Gazette, 2 October) after taking copious notes from Sky's coverage of the Defra hearings on hunting, gives the impression that Dr Potts played an integral part in the first day's proceedings. I attended the three days of the hearings and at no time did a Dr Potts give evidence at the hearings…. I will gladly send a copy of Professor Harris' evidence of shooting foxes with a note of caution, that he should not believe everything he hears and sees on Sky TV. Kevan Sheehan, The Cottage, Osmington Mills (letter)

North Devon Journal 4.12.03 ANDY'S LESSONS IN THE MYSTERIOUS ART OF FALCONRY - It may once have been called the sport of Kings, but now falconry is an activity open to everyone. ANDREA CHARTERS met falconer Andy Grigg, who described the soaring heights of his profession, and introduced her to his many feathered friends…. (story)

Cambridge Evening News 4.12.03 Ban fur sales too - THIS Government has thankfully banned fur farming as morally unjustifiable. It is therefore somewhat disconcerting to see fur products imported from other countries on sale locally…. Let us hope that the people who support this vile trade reap their just retribution on the final day of reckoning. From G Delaney Herringswell Road, Kentford (letter)

Western Gazette 4.12.03 DIFFICULT TIME FOR BADGERS - J. H. Rowbrey, Bagborough, near Taunton, full address supplied. (letter)
Western Daily Press 19.11.03 I LIKE TO HELP OUR BADGERS - The badgers are having a general clean-out and replacing old bedding with new. I keep an eye on five badger setts…. It's nice to be able to help as much as possible. They are finding it very difficult to live in our modern world. J H Rowbrey Taunton Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 4.12.03 SHAME ON YOU JAPAN! - Muzzled, and with ears pinned back in distress, a young performing bear yesterday peddled to command as tourists in Japan craned to watch the perverse spectacle… The conditions in the bear-parks and circuses are today exposed in a report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in a bid to shame officials in Japan into improving animal welfare… (story)

Western Daily Press 4.12.03 PRESSURE TO BAN TRADE IN CAT FUR - Euro-mps demanding a ban on the trade of cat and dog fur across Europe stepped up the campaign yesterday. "Two million cats and dogs are being killed each year in China to fuel this vile trade, and much of this is being directed to EU countries," Tory MEP Struan Stevenson told a press conference in Brussels…. (story)


BBC News Online 3.12.03 Hunting issue 'will be resolved' - Tony Blair has pledged to "resolve" the issue of a hunting ban before the next general election… Responding to a question at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Blair said: "As I said before ... we will resolve it this parliament."… (story)

Hull Daily Mail 3.12.03 FOXES DON'T HAVE SPORTING CHANCE - I Refer to the letter entitled "Hunting is not R &R for the poor fox"… I agree the majority of people are against cruel sport. I am in my 50s and have never known anyone who feels this is a sport. The fox has no chance… Mrs S Baynes, Hotham Road South, Hull (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 24.11.03 HUNTING IS NOT R - A Recent two-page spread in the Mail's total R &R magazine extolled the "pleasures" of fox hunting and contained the ludicrous remark that the dogs enjoyed eating the fox…. Why should a minority of people be allowed to "enjoy" cruelty to animals when the vast majority object?... Dr H P Livas, Westbourne Avenue, Hull. (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 3.12.03 ARREST FOR DOG-FIGHTING - A Scunthorpe man has been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on alleged dog fighting rings…. (story)
Liverpool Echo 3.12.03 Fight dogs seized - AN UNDERGROUND dog fighting club was smashed when police raided a terrace house in Kirkby…. The raid coincided with operations in London, Oxford, Barnsley, Leicester and Birmingham… (story)
Huddersfield Daily Examiner 3.12.03 Deighton man quizzed in dog-fighting raids By Katie Campling, The Huddersfield Daily Examiner - THREE dogs have been seized in Huddersfield by the RSPCA following a probe into illegal dog fighting… (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 3.12.03 POLICE IN DOG-FIGHT ARRESTS - Police and RSPCA officers swooped on an address in Gainsborough as part of a three-year investigation into dog-fighting rings, it was revealed today…. (letter)
Leicester Mercury 3.12.03 RSPCA RAID CITY HOMES IN ILLEGAL DOG-FIGHT PROBE - A dog was seized in Leicester as part of an RSPCA investigation into illegal dog-fighting rings. Addresses in the city were raided by the charity's special operations unit, which has been investigating dog-fighting for three years…. (story)
Birmingham Postt 3.12.03 Dogs seized in raids on 'barbaric fight rings' - Police and RSPCA officers have seized 73 dogs after a three-year investigation into "barbaric" dog fighting rings… (story)
Yorkshire Post 3.12.03 Dogs seized in fights-ring investigation - Emma Dunlop - DOZENS of dogs have been seized and numerous arrests made after illegal dog fighting rings across the country were infiltrated… (story)
Independent 3.12.03 12 held as dog-fight 'Premiership' ring is targeted in raids By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent - Twelve men have been arrested and more than 70 pit bull dogs and pups have been seized by police and RSPCA officers who have been targeting a suspected national dog-fighting network for nearly three years…. (story)
Ananova 2.12.03 Twelve questioned over dog fighting - Police and RSPCA officers have seized 73 dogs after a three-year investigation into dog fighting rings. Twelve men were interviewed after RSPCA officials and officers from 10 police forces carried out raids at a number of addresses. They will be questioned again at a later date. The raids were the culmination of Operation Gazpacho - a three-year RSPCA investigation into alleged dog fighting rings… (story)
BBC News Online 2.12.03 Men quizzed about dog fighting - Police and RSPCA officers investigating alleged dog-fighting rings have seized 73 dogs in a series of raids across the country. Twelve men were questioned after the operation on Monday, which was the culmination of a three-year RSPCA investigation. Addresses and outbuildings were searched in Barnsley, Birmingham, Chesterfield, Gainsborough, Huddersfield, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Scunthorpe… (story)

Western Daily Press 3.12.03 SHOCKED OVER DEATHS AT ZOO - Like many people, I was shocked and disgusted, to say the least, that animals had been left to starve to death in the zoological gardens of Naples… But what of the various animal protection organisations in Italy and indeed throughout the world? Were they not asked for help?... Mr K Head Highworth Wiltshire (letter|)
Western Daily Press 27.11.03 WHERE ARE THE WELFARE PEOPLE? Sir - Having read the recent newspaper article regarding the sad plight of the animals in the Naples Zoo, we wonder, where is the International Fund For Animal Welfare? Are other supporters of the IFAW as concerned as we are that it has not offered its help to these poor animals?... Ms D A Head Mr R Williams Ross-on-Wye Herefordshire (letter)

York Evening Press 3.12.03 Pity poor turkeys - CHRISTMAS is coming, goodwill to all men... but not turkeys. Please stop and think how these birds suffer to feed you on Christmas day. Their short lives are filled with pain and misery… Mrs A E Summers, Aspen Close, Leeds Road, Selby. (letter in archive)

Bristol Evening Post 3.12.03 SOAPBOX: HAVE A COMPASSIONATE CHRISTMAS With Christmas fast approaching, I am writing to highlight the plight of the majority of factory farmed animals and to offer a more compassionate alternative. Around 23 million turkeys are bred and killed to meet the Christmas demand… Why not have a compassionate Christmas instead? There are many delicious vegetarian and vegan options. Both Compassion in World Farming and Viva produce some excellent ideas to get you started… Ms Hughes, Montpelier (letter)

South Cheshire Chronicles 3.12.03 THE RSPCA's Wildlife Hospital at Stapeley Grange does not 'face the axe', as your newspaper inaccurately reported on November 12…. Your inaccurate article has not only done nothing to help staff morale at this very difficult time, but has also misled the public. DOMINIC RUDD Director of Animal Welfare Services, RSPCA West Sussex
EDITOR'S NOTE: …For various reasons, including potential redundancies, full details of the RSPCA's review have not been made public but the Chronicle has been informed that the future of the hospital may well significantly change (story)
Nantwich Chronicle 12.11.03 Animal haven faces the axe By Alan Jervis, Nantwich Chronicle - NANTWICH'S famous Wildlife Animal Hospital at Stapeley Grange could be axed as part of the RSPCA'S nationwide cost-cutting drive. The charity has confirmed the centre is under review, along with its other animal hospitals in Norfolk and Somerset as part of its continuing restructuring programme.... (story)


Newsletter/Belfast News/Derry Journal 2.12.03 Fury at Plans to Ban Hare Hunting By Kate Cooney - MEMBERS of the Countryside Alliance, furious at plans to ban hare coursing from January, held a protest in Belfast yesterday. The Alliance claims Northern Ireland Environment Minister Angela Smith plans to ban all forms of hare hunting from January, and says the public has been given just over three weeks of consultation to respond, compared to the recommended 12 weeks… (story)
Belfast Telegraph 1.12.03 Countryside Alliance protests in city - ENVIRONMENT Minister Angela Smith was today accused of overriding local opinion with her proposed ban on hare hunting in Northern Ireland. The Countryside Alliance held a protest at DoE headquarters in Belfast today to demand a longer consultation period on the measure… (story)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 2.12.03 - How inspiring it was to read of young Daniel Murphy in Helen Mead's True Lives piece (T&A, November 25). Like many others, he was unfortunate enough to lose a limb in a shooting accident but is bravely continuing with his chosen career of caring for his beloved hunting hounds. Encouragingly, there's good news on the horizon if the promised ban on bloodsports goes through Parliament this session. It will then be perfectly legal to substitute hunting our wild animals with drag hunting, which means the hounds will simply chase a man-made scent followed by the former huntsmen… Sid Brown, Glenhurst Road, Shipley (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 BAN SUPPORTERS IGNORE FATE OF HERD In his interview with Martin Hesp, the Exmoor ranger Jim Webber stated "that hunting definitely helps to preserve the deer on Exmoor"…. I was reminded of the powerful letter by the late Ted Hughes which you published just over a year ago (WMN November 5). The Poet Laureate was adamant that without hunting the deer herd would lose the one group of people with a genuine interest in its health and prosperity… The League Against Cruel Sports' solution, the "sanctuary" at Baronsdown where at least 107 deer perished from disease or starvation in a 12-month period, shows the results of a policy of non-management all too clearly… Jonathan Ward Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)
Western Morning News 28.11.03 THE CHASE GOES ON AS POLITICIANS TALK - Getting on with it: The Devon and Somerset Staghounds leave Exford on Exmoor - Hunts across the Westcountry face uncertainty following the sport's confusing omission from the Queen's Speech. Martin Hesp joined a hunt on Exmoor to assess the mood of its supporters… "We have been left in a limbo - and that's all you can say," said Tom Rook, vice-chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, as he sat in the front of his Land Rover looking out over aptly-named Soakey Moor. "In fact, both sides are in a limbo - it's the same for the antis as it is for us…." The way the hunting folk of Exmoor see it is, if their sport is taken away from them, their entire culture will die. Limbo or no political limbo, you cannot expect them to rest on their laurels. (story)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 Hunters show cavalier disdain - DURING 25 years living in the country, I supported hunting activities and enjoyed point-to-points, hunt balls and other fundraising. But, bit by bit, such gruesome activities as feeding live foxes to young hounds, the "blooding" of riding school children and cavalier disdain towards other country-folk and their pets have raised doubts about the gentleness of the gentry of the hunting pink…. Murray Duff, Plymouth (letter)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 HOSTILITY TOWARDS COUNTRYSIDE IS CLEAR ….The ban on fox hunting, the closure of village shops and post offices, the willful near-destruction of our livestock farming, and the general collapse of British agriculture, (40 per cent of farms coming on to the housing market are now bought by incomers, most of whom are fleeing the crime and filth of Labour's failed cities) ... All this proves Tony Blair's innate hostility to the countryside… David Challice, Chairman UK Independence Party Exeter Branch (letter)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 HUNTS DO GREAT DEAL FOR LOCAL ECONOMY - Having seen your anti-hunt correspondents' letters (WMN, October 7) and front page story (WMN, October 15) on the EU withholding compensation funds after the foot and mouth crisis, I would like to give your readers in Devon and Cornwall some extra thoughts on these issues…. why were your correspondents not shouting from the rooftops and physically trying to stop the mass cull of healthy animals between February and September 2001?... I am surprised the hunts do not make more of an issue on the following points. They help get rid of fallen stock. Some farmers pay them a fee of £100 to get rid of them, obviously this money filters down the rural economy… Matthew Bell, Somerton Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 2.12.03 ALLIANCE MITIGATION SHED MORE HEAT THAN LIGHT - David Challice's plea in mitigation on behalf of the so-called Countryside Alliance, Points of view, November 26, sheds more heat than light…. David Fanson, Beacon Lane, Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 IF UK NO LONGER EXISTS WHAT IS EXPORT? While i wholeheartedly support WMN's campaign to stop live horse exports… there is one stonking great problem staring us all in the face. If Tony Blair signs us up to the proposed EU Constitution and the final stages of the regionalisation programme are completed, then the UK no longer exists in its own right… This means that animals crossing the Channel strictly speaking are not being exported as they are still within the same country, where the rules apply right across the board. Graham Palmer UKIP South East Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 Help ban evil trade - FURTHER to your article "MEP calls for EU to ban evil fur trade" I would remind everyone that time is running out for them to write to MEPs and ask them to sign the written declaration which calls on the EU to ban the import, export, sale and production of cat and dog furs and skins in Europe…. Mrs Cecily Colloby, Probus, Cornwall (letter)

BBC News Online 2.12.03 Thousands back animal fur ban - More than 18,000 people in Scotland have signed a petition calling on the UK Government to ban the import of products which contain dog and cat fur. The petition was sponsored by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and Edinburgh West MP John Barrett… (story)

Western Morning News 2.12.03 CUDDLY TOYS MAY BE MADE OF REAL CAT FUR - I wish to make people aware that furry cat toys in wicker baskets, at £3-£12, coats, rugs etc, are often made from the fur of real cats and dogs… Mrs Pearl H Duke, Mary Tavy Devon (letter)

York Evening Press 2.12.03 Goodwill to animals AS we approach the season of "goodwill to all men", let us remember the animals as well… We could try a vegetarian meal for a change. Many people do…. David Boultwood, Alma Court, York. (letter in archive)


Western Morning News 1.12.03 HUNT ISSUE MUST BE SETTLED - HAIN …Opponents of hunting in the Westcountry claimed yesterday that a ban on hunting was moving closer. Their optimism was based on comments yesterday by House of Commons leader Peter Hain - but pro-hunters seized on his non-committal words as evidence that the Government is "backing off" a hunting ban… (story)
Western Daily Press 1.12.03 HUNTS VOW TO FIGHT AS HAIN PLEDGES BAN West hunts will wage a fresh war on the Government after a minister declared yesterday to resolve the long-running saga. Hunt masters and countryside campaigners renewed their vow to fight ministers all the way if they press ahead with outlawing fox hunting…. (story)

Western Daily Press 1.12.03 RIGHTS AND THE WRONGS - I must reply to the abusive letter about anti-hunt people by John Watts. I regularly protest at hunts and receive threats of violence and much name- calling. I also suffer attacks on my home and vehicles, as does my family… Name and address supplied (letter)

Eastern Daily Press 1.12.03 Illegal hare coursing is rife in Norfolk - NICKI WALKER - Every weekend on fields across Norfolk and the Fens, men in expensive 4X4s tear through the countryside looking for the perfect place for an afternoon of 'sport'…. The trouble is that illegal hare coursing is now big business. Experts say it is no longer about the “chase” of the hare; gambling is the driving force behind it…. Some fear that, if legal coursing is banned, it could drive the sport underground…. (story)

Burton Mail 1.12.03 Farm staff: 'We will not quit' by DAVID POWLES - STAFF at a controversial farm near Burton have vowed to continue with their jobs on the day that a "campaign of serious and personal attacks" was due to start against them and their families…. Police have now stepped-up patrols at the homes of staff in response to the letter from a group claiming to be the Animal Rights Militia…. Inspector Dave Bird, who is in charge of policing environmental policing in Staffordshire, said that the threat was still being treated as "very serious"…. (story)

South Wales Evening Post 1.12.03 MY HORROR AT CRUEL TESTING - I Was horrified to learn that the number of animals used for experiments increased by five per cent last year to over 2.7 million…. M Charles, Hopkin Street, Swansea (story)