December 2004 - hunting 1-15.12.04

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Shrewsbury Chronicle 15.12.04 Hunt apologises - by ALYS CUMMINGS - A hunt has been forced to write a letter of apology to a village community after the thrill of the chase caused hounds to charge through residents’ gardens. The South Shropshire Hunt came a little bit close for comfort for some Condover residents last Monday when a fox headed for houses instead of the fields, with the dogs following close behind. Councillor Peter Jones said: “The community has received an apology from the hunt, which will be communicated to all those households who were affected by the appearance of the hounds in their gardens…. (story)

Western Morning News 15.12.04 MP TO SUPPORT HUNT ON DAY OF LEGAL BAN - A Westcountry MP last night pledged to join the protests against the "unjust and unworkable" Hunting Act by supporting a local hunt on the day the ban comes into force. Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, told the WMN that he hoped to join the mass show of defiance on 19 February next year - possibly on horseback - when 250 hunts across the country, including every hunt in the Westcountry, are expected to hold meets…. Mr Swire has ridden with the Mid Devon Hunt in the past but said he would probably look to support one of his three local hunts on the day - the Axe Vale, the Cotley or the East Devon…. (story)

Sheffield Star 15.12.04 'We're only trying to save animals' lives' - ANIMAL rights activists accused of "intimidating" members of a hunt in a weekend protest have hit back, claiming they were only trying to protect the lives of innocent animals. Paul Timpson, spokesman for the North West Hunt Saboteurs' Association, said he was annoyed by allegations made by some hunt members after they tried to disrupt a meet organised by the High Peak Harriers at Buxton on Saturday…Dawn Preston, a member of the Manchester Hunt Saboteurs' Association, added: "Hunt saboteurs are there to save the lives of animals, not to endanger them. It would make no sense to risk injury to horses by interfering with jumps…" (story)

Carmarthen Journal 15.12.04 HUNTS WILL WORK 'WITHIN THE LAW' - Hunts across west Wales will meet on the day after the hunting ban begins. Packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs will meet as normal on Saturday, February 19…. Lyn Williams, master of the Gwendraeth Valley Hunt, said they will look to continue to hunt after the ban…. (story)
Western Morning News 13.12.04 HUNTING CLASH FEARS GROWING - Fears of ugly scenes in the countryside were sparked yesterday as hunt saboteurs threatened to disrupt meets by foxhound and staghound packs on February 19. Westcountry hunts will be among 250 nationwide which have pledged to meet in an act of rebellion on the day after the ban on their traditional sport comes into force. But the Hunt Saboteurs Association said its members would be out in force to gather evidence against any illegal activity by hunts – and one MP said he feared angry clashes between hunters and saboteurs…. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 13.12.04 Mass hunt protests as Act becomes law By Mark Preskett - MASS protests by Cumbria’s fox hunting community will take place the day after the controversial Hunting Act comes into force. Pro-hunt campaigners the Countryside Alliance say all of Cumbria’s hunts will meet as normal on February 19 as an act of defiance against the new law…. a court ruled last Friday that Trevor Adams, 46, from Melrose, who leads the Buccleuch hunt, was not “hunting”, but “searching” for a fox…. (story)
Wales on Sunday 12.12.04 Mass protest planned - Greg Lewis, Wales on Sunday - THE ban on foxhunting will be met by hundreds of Welsh hunters taking to their horses as usual in a day of protest. The Countryside Alliance Wales said the hunts will gather as normal on the first day of the ban - but they will not break the law…. Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, who like Mr Simpson is a member of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt, said the first mass protest would show that enforcing and policing the ban will be an "absolute nightmare"….(story)
Guardian 11.12.04 Hunts will meet day after ban, says Countryside Alliance - Laura Smith - More than 250 hunts will meet as normal the day after the government's hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales, the Countryside Alliance warned yesterday. The organisation said the hunting ban would not deter packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other clubs from meeting on Saturday February 19 until the end of the hunting season.… (story)
Telegraph 11.12.04 250 hunts to mount mass protest on first day of new ban By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent - The ban on foxhunting will be met on its opening day by a mass protest involving more than 250 hunts across the country, it emerged last night. The Countryside Alliance said that on the very first hunting day after the ban becomes law, Saturday, Feb 19, the hunts will gather as normal. But in a major change of tactics, they will not seek to break the law in a mass exercise of civil disobedience….(story)
Times 11.12.04 Business as usual in England on February 19, says alliance - MORE than 250 packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs will meet as normal on Saturday, February 19 — the day after the Government hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales… (story)
Western Morning News 11.12.04 EVERY HUNT TO REVOLT ON BAN More than 250 hunts - including all those from the Westcountry - will rebel by meeting as normal on Saturday, February 19 - the day after the Government hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales…. (story)
Western Morning News 11.12.04 COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE VOWS TO TEST LOOPHOLES IN BILL - Hunt supporters will seek to make enforcement of the Hunting Act an "absolute nightmare" by testing every possible loophole in the new legislation, the Countryside Alliance said yesterday. Simon Hart, chief executive of the pro-hunting organisation, said that more than 250 hunts, including every pack in the Westcountry, would hold meets on February 19 next year, the first day of the ban…. Meanwhile Westcountry hunt supporters welcomed the collapse of the first test case of the hunting ban in Scotland. Julian Smeeth, chairman of the Tetcott Hunt, which operates on the border of North Cornwall and Devon, said: "This is the best possible news we could wish for. It just shows how unworkable this legislation will prove to be."… (story)
BBC News Online 10.12.04 Mass hunt protests to mark ban - More than 250 hunts will meet legally the day after the ban on hunting with dogs comes into force, campaigners say. The Countryside Alliance said the 19 February meets would show the new law was "impossibly difficult to determine" and open to different interpretations…. (story)

Cambridge Evening News 15.12.04 Ban unfair From Mr S P Wilson, High Street, Little Wilbraham - I HAVE to say the ban on hunting with dogs is unfair. I feel so sad because the people of this country have not been educated concerning the true life of country people concerning wild animals. The truth is that mice, rats, rabbits, hares and foxes are all vermin. No-one seems to care for the feelings of mice and rats which are poisoned and die an awful death…. (letter)

Taunton Times 15.12.04 FOXES ARE NOT KILLED INSTANTLY, THEY ARE TORN TO PIECES - How out of touch of reality is DT's remark (Have Your Say, December 9) that foxes will be shot when hunting is banned. He claims that the fox is killed instantly, a typical remark of a pro-hunt supporter trying to justify their barbaric sport. The fox is not killed instantly. It is chased to exhaustion then torn to pieces by a savage pack of hounds… Name and address supplied (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 16.12.04 Other choices - AS SOMEONE brought up in the country my grandfather trained horses for the hunt, I really had to reply to young Rachael Chapman's passionate plea to allow her to continue her "sport"…. I hope by the time she reaches my age (70) she will have learned some compassion for the other creatures who share our planet. M McColm, Ash Grove, Beverley Road, Hull.
Spare the sob story - MY HEART bleeds for 13-year-old Rachael Chapman. How sad it is for her and her bloodthirsty friends that they are to be denied the sight of a pack of dogs tearing a fox to pieces… M Dawes, Bessacarr Avenue, Willerby. (letters)

Lincolnshire Echo 15.12.04 MANY FOXES NOW FACE A SLOW DEATH FROM SHOOTING - The Rspca and the league against country sports would obviously not be happy to have foxes gassed, shot, snared or poisoned. But in the real world of the countryside this will happen more because the fox is a pest and is acknowledged so by definition…. In 30 years of following hunts by car I have only seen one occasion when the patience of hunting folk has turned to retaliation against saboteurs. I have however witnessed on many occasions saboteurs with baseball clubs and terrorist-type balaclavas with eye slits, menacing hunt followers. G. D. CHAMBERS Hillcroft, Washingborough. (letter)

Yorkshire Post 15.12.04 Imprecise language From: PC, Uppermill, Saddleworth. The vitriolic letter submitted by Eric Vevers, (November 29: "Misguided support for hunting with dogs") suggests that the vast majority of people in this country outlawed hunting. I do not follow the hounds, shoot or fish but whatever my views are, I object to being classed either as the majority or minority, unless it is proven…. (letter)

Western Daily Press 15.12.04 OPIK CHALLENGED TO EXPLAIN STANCE - The Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik offered to explain the hunting ban compromise to me in his letter to your paper. The Montgomeryshire MP also said that I had criticised him in a previous letter for supporting the compromise. In fact, my criticism was directed at the Wells Lib Dem spokeswoman Tessa Munt, an ex-fox hunter who is also against a full ban. I can only guess it is too controversial an issue for her to reply herself…. (letter)

Western Daily Press 15.12.04 REAL GUARDIANS OF DEMOCRACY - I take issue with the corres-pondent who loftily states: "Civil disobedience and breaking the law are unacceptable." But what if the law is enacted unlawfully, as may be the case in the hunting ban? There is a respectable legal argument that the 1911 Parliament Act could not be used lawfully to amend itself in the form of the 1949 Act which itself was not passed by the Lords, and as secondary legislation cannot be used to enforce primary acts on to the statute book… John Gouriet Bicknoller Nr Taunton Somerset (letter)

Bromsgrove & Droitwich Spa 15.12.04 Foxy idea - I THINK I may have come up with an ideal solution to frustrated fox hunters who are desperate to hunt the innocent fox. Why not line up members of pro-hunting and their offspring, and allow a pack or two of hounds to chase them round the countryside…. Mr E Anderson, The Flats, Bromsgrove (letter in archive)

Bromsgrove & Droitwich Spa Advertiser 15.12.04 ALL opinions on fox-hunting are valid - EDITOR - I have been appalled by the recent letters that have been written on the subject of hunting. The pro hunting fraternity in particular has written letters assuming to be a voice of authority and as being the only people in receipt of the facts… Those against hunting are not stupid or blinkered. This is not about ‘toffs’, this is an issue of animal welfare and a tool to reflect the fact we are a cililised society… Name and address supplied
Fox-hunting: Fight this biased ban! EDITOR - I have never been to a meet or been a hunt supporter. Never the less this ghastly anti-hunt bill, concerned with both class and anti-country prejudice needs fighting…. S B Wroe, Brookenby (letters)

Milton Keynes Citizen 15.12.04 RIP RSPCA SIR - Re your article concerning the closure of Safewings Conservation Group. I am not suprised the RSPCA has said: 'The Bill should not be anything to worry about for any reputable wildlife organisation'… What would one expect from a chairty who has the Queen - recently photographed battering a pheasant over the head, and with a son who loves to hunt foxes - for a patron?... K Musker e-mail address supplied (letter)

Oxford Mail 15.12.04 Days of the gentry are over - It appears that Peter Matthews (Oxford Mail, December 4), among others, is unhappy with the decision of the House of Commons to enact the Parliament Act to ensure the ban on foxhunting was introduced, as promised by the Labour Party… The days of this country being ruled over by the landed gentry, the monarchy and unelected members of the House of Lords are long gone and will not be coming back…. MICK McANDREWS (Councillor), Oxfordshire County, Council (letter in archive)

Nottingham Evening Post 15.12.04 'FRIENDLY' FOX IS A KILLER - Why is it that when photographs portraying fox hunting are shown in the Evening Post, the male rider always wears a red coat. This is not a true picture of this historical pursuit - many people just wear black… Shall we once and for all stop regarding the fox as a cuddly, friendly creature… Incidentally, I haven't heard a single voice raised with regard to the cruel experiments by researchers on helpless animals imprisoned in cages; at least the fox has a sporting chance of running away. J ROBERTS (Mrs) Mill Lane, Cotgrave (letter)


Southern Daily Echo 14.12.04 Record turnout due at Boxing Day hunt by Sarah Jones - FOX-hunting enthusiasts in the New Forest have switched the venue for what could be their last ever Boxing Day meeting because they are expecting a record crowd. Organisers believe that there will be so many spectators that they need to switch from the traditional meeting point at the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst…. New Forest Hounds secretary Graham Ferris said: "We expect that a record number of people on horses and in their cars will want to support the traditional Boxing Day meet and show the government how wrong they've been to allow the unjust legislation to ban hunting on to the statute book and threaten part of the UK's rural tradition. Certainly we're getting record numbers of people at our normal Tuesday and Saturday hunts…." (story in archive)

Market Rasen Mail 14.12.04 Hunt supporters barrack MP - FOX hunters from across the area attempted to hound out Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe when she stepped in to their hunting territory. More than 70 members of the Burton, Brocklesby, South Wold and Grove and Rufford hunts picketed the entrance to the White Heather at Caenby Corner last Friday where she was addressing local Tories at their constituency dinner… (story)

Independent 14.12.04 Hunt protesters defiant after charges By Neville Dean and Caroline Gammell - Eight pro-hunting demonstrators who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban the sport said yesterday they would contest charges of disorderly conduct…. Mr Ferry, from Shrewsbury, who has led the South Shropshire Hunt since May; Mr Tomlinson, a polo player, of Westonbirt, Gloucestershire and Mr Redvers, a horsebreeder, of Hartpury, Gloucestershire; were among those charged last night….(story)
Telegraph 14.12.04 Pro-hunt eight charged over Commons protest By Oliver Poole - The pro-hunting protesters who evaded security to burst into the House of Commons chamber during a debate on the hunting Bill in September were charged with disorderly conduct yesterday…. David Redvers, 34, a horse trainer who rides with the Ledbury hunt, said: "None of us had intended to cause distress or cause threatening behaviour…. (story)
Scotsman 14.12.04 Commons hunting bill protesters are charged - JOHN INNES - EIGHT pro-hunting demonstrators who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a bill to ban the sport have said that they will contest charges of disorderly conduct and insisted they had done nothing wrong…. (story)
Western Daily Press 14.12.04 COMMONS PROTESTERS ARE CHARGED - Eight men, including four from the West, who protested in the House of Commons during a debate on the Hunting Bill were charged yesterday with public order offences… (story)
Shropshire Star 14.12.04 Protester charged for role in demonstration - Shropshire hunt protester Otis Ferry has been charged with disorderly conduct for his role in the storming of Parliament. But the 22-year-old joint master of the South Shropshire Hunt has vowed to contest the charge, insisting he has done nothing wrong…. (story)
Bath Chronicle 14.12.04 CAMPAIGNER IS ARRESTED - Lacock:a pro-hunt campaigner from the village is one of eight who have been charged following an incident at the House of Commons…. Among them is Nicholas Wood, 41, a chef, of Bowden Park, Lacock. (story)
BBC News Online 13.12.04 Commons hunt protesters charged - Eight protesters who stormed the House of Commons chamber during a debate on the Hunting Bill have been charged with public order offences… They will appear at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on 21 December charged with disorderly conduct under the act, a police spokesman said… Otis Ferry, 21, son of rock star Bryan Ferry, was among those charged on Monday. The former Eton pupil is leader of the South Shropshire Hunt…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 14.12.04 ON THE DAY PROTESTERS WERE CHARGED OVER A COMMONS INVASION, A MINISTER DEFENDS COMMENTS MADE BY AIDE HUNTS BAN 'WAS NOT STIRRED BY CLASS WAR' - THE Government last night insisted its hunting ban was "not motivated by class war" as the furore surrounding the impending ban continued to grow. On the day eight pro-hunt protesters were charged following their storming of the House of Commons, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael defended comments made by his parliamentary private secretary, MP Peter Bradley, following a row over remarks he made about hunting and class war…. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was also forced to defend the practicality of the legislation after pro-hunting MPs warned of "confusion" about the planned criminalising of the centuries-old country sport when the law comes into force on February 18 next year…. The eight due in court next week are Otis Ferry, 22, of Keeper's Cottage, Eton Mascot, Shrewsbury, who has led the South Shropshire Hunt since May; Luke Tomlinson, 27, a polo player, of Down Farm, Westonbirt, Gloucestershire; David Redvers, 34, a horsebreeder, of Corsend Farm, Hearybury, Gloucestershire; Richard Wakeham, 36, a surveyor, of Alma Terrace, York; Nicholas Wood, 41, a chef, of Bowden Park, Lacock, Wiltshire; John Holiday, 37, a huntsman, of Ledbury Kennels, Bromesberrow, Ledbury, Herefordshire; Robert Thame, 35, a polo player, of Piper's Cottage, Paley Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire; and Andrew Elliot, 42, an auctioneer, of Laurel Cottage, Allbright Lane, Bromesberrow, Ledbury. (story)

Western Mail 14.12.04 Police urged to hit hunts - Steve Dube, Western Mail - POLICE have been urged to take tough action against hunts as soon as the hunting ban comes into force despite growing confusion. Anti-hunt Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said police should clamp down from the start to show hunts that they could not get away with breaking the law…. (story)

Western Mail 14.12.04 League Against Cruel Sports calls off Boxing Day protests - Steve Dube, Western Mail - The old tradition of the Boxing Day Hunt will sound its last legal hurrah in peace. The League Against Cruel Sports has ordered all its members to abandon plans for demonstrations… Judi Hewitt, league representative for North Wales, was halfway through planning the first-ever demo against her local Flint and Denbigh Hunt this year when word through to cancel any action…. (story)
Western Mail 10.12.04 Anti-hunt campaigners cancel Boxing Day demos - Steve Dube, Western Mail - ONE of the oldest traditions of Boxing Day will sound its last legal hurrah in peace. The League Against Cruel Sports has ordered all plans for demonstrations against hunting to be abandoned. "We traditionally organise demonstrations, including a number in Wales," said LACS spokesman Mike Hobday. "But recent violent and abusive behaviour by hunters, the stalking of ministers, the assaults and the violence combine to give us grave concern for the safety of our supporters…." Judi Hewitt, LACS representative for North Wales, was busy planning the first-ever demo against the Flint and Denbigh Hunt when word came through to cancel….(story)
Birmingham Post/Evening Mail 7.12.04 Anti-hunt protests called off - Anti-hunt campaigners have called off their protests against the traditional Boxing Day meets this year over fears of violence. The League Against Cruel Sports said it was contacting police to inform officers that demonstrations due to be held in Shropshire and Worcestershire will be cancelled.... Clare Rowson, regional director of the Countryside Alliance in the West Midlands, said: "The fact that the league is not organising demonstrations has nothing to do with threats. It always struggles to muster support on Boxing Day, its turnout is minuscule in comparison to the support for hunting shown by towns and villages on this special day...." (story)
Manchester Evening News 6.12.04 Christmas anti-hunt protests called off - Neal Snowdon - PROTESTS against Boxing Day fox hunts have been called off by campaigners. The League Against Cruel Sports has told police forces around the country that there will be no league-organised demonstrations this year… Demonstrations had been planned against the Holcombe Hunt, which is expected to start its Boxing Day hunt at Rivington. Two hunts in Cheshire, including one starting at Northwich, were also due to be targeted by protesters… (story)
Western Daily Press 3.12.04 CAMPAIGNERS CANCEL PROTEST - Anti-hunt campaigners last night called off their traditional Boxing Day protests in the West - claiming they feared for their safety as anger rises in the countryside. The League Against Cruel Sports claims that traditionally 20,000 anti-hunt protesters turn out to lobby hunt meets on the biggest day in the hunting calendar…. (story)

Western Daily Press 14.12.04 CHARLES DEFIES THE QUEEN TO JOIN HUNT - Prince Charles escaped widespread condemnation by animal rights groups yesterday after he defied the Queen and rode with a hunt at the weekend. The heir to the throne sparked loud cheers from the pro-hunt crowd gathered to watch the low profile Meynell and South Staffordshire hunt on Saturday…. Jo Aldridge of the Beaufort Hunt said: "It is still legal and he's entitled to a private life…" (story)

Western Daily Press 14.12.04 COUNTRYSIDE BECOMING AN 'ALL-GO AREA' - Before you set off for your new right to roam experience in the countryside, several checks are vital. You can't go on land if the owner has declared it one of his statutory 28 no-roam days… On a more serious note, we must now look at the Government's hidden rural agenda and sort out its policies. Hunting with dogs is illegal, yet the countryside is becoming an all-go area… Many country folk with an opinion neither care about banning hunting nor allowing free access to the countryside. Years of rural rule-bending have made them believe that townspeople really hate open spaces, where the only creature comforts are those provided by Mother Nature for the creatures that live in the open - and gypsies and New Age travellers! (story)

Mid Devon Gazette 14.12.04 NO HELP FOR FIRMS AFFECTED BY HUNT BAN - Businesses affected by the hunting ban will be able to apply for financial help in West Somerset, but not in Mid Devon. West Somerset District Council is offering loans to such businesses, but Mid Devon District Council does not have the funds to do so. But both councils have joined others to lobby the Government for more support to businesses which will suffer when hunting is banned in February next year…. (story)

Mid Devon Gazette 14.12.04 CAN USE COLLIES TO CHASE AWAY DEER - A south Molton farmer has been told he can use his dogs to chase deer and foxes from his land without breaking he Hunting Act. Giles Bradshaw contacted Defra to find out whether he could use his four collies to frighten off the animals…. In a written reply, Defra told Mr Bradshaw that his actions amounted to 'chasing away unwanted animals from your land'. "You are not in fact, hunting as described in the Hunting Act 2004. Therefore you are not committing an offence," he was told…. He has also asked Defra if he can grant his local hunt permission to come and chase animals from his land. "If I can chase animals, I can get the local hunt to come and do it for me as far as I can see," said Mr Bradshaw…. (story)
BBC News Online 10.12.04 'No-one can define new hunt ban' - The new law banning hunting with dogs is "so poorly drafted" no-one can define the offence, pro-hunt MPs say. The accusation came after it emerged a Devon man had been told he could use his four dogs to "chase away unwanted animals" from his farm…. (story)
Shropshire Star 10.12.04 Pro-hunt MPs say law has loophole BY SUNITA PATEL - A loophole in the Government's hunting ban means hunts which "chase away" foxes or deer will not be breaking the law, it emerged today…. (story)
Times 10.12.04 Loophole in hunting ban BY VALERIE ELLIOTT - THE Government is backing a new form of legal hunting that allows people and dogs to chase foxes, deer or any other wild mammal away from crops or any other animals. This discovery last night prompted pro-hunt MPs to declare a serious anomaly in the new hunt ban laws… (story)
Telegraph 10.12.04 You can't hunt. . . but you can chase By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - A farmer has been told by the Government that he will not be breaking the new law that bans hunting if he uses his dogs to "chase away" wild mammals from his land. MPs accused the Government yesterday of inventing a new activity of "chasing away" that is not mentioned anywhere in the Hunting Act and which drives "a coach, horses and a pack of hounds" through the new legislation…. Lembit Öpik, the Lib Dem MP, said: ''Hunting with dogs' and 'flushing' are not defined in the Hunting Act. Now Defra has also invented a completely new category of hunting - 'chasing away' - which isn't even covered by the Act. However, all these activities involve the use of dogs to chase wild mammals. How is the village bobby who sees a group of people with dogs supposed to distinguish between illegal hunting, exempt hunting, drag hunting, unintentional hunting, a hunt exercising hounds, or simply chasing away?"… (story)
Western Daily Press 10.12.04 FRIGHTEN THEM WITH DOGS, BUT DON'T KILL - Pro-hunting MPs warned yesterday of "confusion" over the Government ban on hunting with dogs after the discovery of a major anomaly in the new law, due to come into force next February. The all-party Parliamentary Middle Way Group accused lawyers at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) of inventing a new form of legal hunting. The discovery came after North Devon landowner Giles Bradshaw was put in contact with the Middle Way Group by his local Liberal Democrat MP Nick Harvey…. (story)

Sheffield Star 14.12.04 Hunt saboteurs endanger horses - A HUNT member has spoken of her fear after dozens of animal rights activists armed with sprays and whips descended on a legal hunt meeting in the north Derbyshire countryside…. Jackie Carr, aged 45, is a long-standing member of the High Peak Harriers… She said: "Whatever they do to us, we always try not to respond and try to speak politely to them. "But on Saturday they were interfering with children's ponies and sabotaging the jumps with barbed wire. "It is getting worse and it can be very intimidating, but if won't stop us hunting. If anything it makes us stronger…. (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 14.12.04 MAN HELD AT HUNT MEETING - Trouble broke out between hunters and saboteurs at a meet of the High Peak Harriers on Saturday. A Derbyshire police spokeswoman said that a 63-year-old man was arrested and cautioned for a public order offence after he allegedly verbally abused a hunt saboteur in the presence of a police officer… (story)

Market Rasen Mail 14.12.04 Anti-hunt lobby must be proud Daniel Crane, Sotby (letter)
Horncastle News 8.12.04 We will fight a war through temporary fox hunting ban - EDITOR - So the anti-hunt lobby have won their battle at last. Their concern for foxes and animal welfare is so overwhelming that their own independently commissioned report was ignored… And what of the fox? The vermin tolerated in measure by gamekeepers, shepherds, and chicken farmers; tolerated for one rural reason. That reason is gone. Along with the fox. He will meet an untimely end from Cornwall to Scotland…. So to you anti-hunt lobby, you may think you have won a bloody battle. What a victory. Now we shall fight a war through this temporary hunting ban. A war for animal, human and rural welfare! DANIEL CRANE, Sporting Artist, Sotby (letter)

Market Rasen Mail 14.12.04 Sympathy for hunters has evaporated - EDITOR - Whether hunting with hounds is cruel or not is something that can be argued a lot about. Mother nature herself is very cruel, but does that entitle man to add cruelty to cruelty; that is a matter of conscience that one must ask oneself…. my sympathy for the hunting “mafia” has evaporated completely now…. The fact that they have completely hijacked the Countryside Alliance show their complete disregard for otro cosas…. Six thousand jobs will go. What did those 6,000 facing redundancy do when the police fought the miners? They definitely didn’t show any sympathy with the miners nor do they show any solidarity today with the fishermen who are slowly losing their livelihood, not at all… Niels Winkel, Ludford
Hunters miss the real countryside issues EDITOR - So, having finally lost the argument the pro-hunt movement is now going to indulge in civil disobedience. That rather smacks of hypocrisy given the way they used to bleat about the activities of the anti-hunt supporters, whose actions might also be described as civil disobedience but never included rioting in Parliament Square or invading the House of Commons…. Name and addressed supplied
‘Accidental’ hunting is not a danger EDITOR - To answer Peter Smith’s concern about the danger of ‘accidental’ hunting (Letters, December 1). There is no chance of anyone being prosecuted if their pet dog should just happen to chase a wild mammal. … Alan Kirby, Cornwall (letters)

Western Daily Press 14.12.04 HIS THINKING IS MUDDLED - - M J Haines firstly proclaimed that hunt staff were digging out fox cubs from earths and killing them, only two sentences later to say hunts were breeding them in earths - a contradiction indeed. That muddled thinking and lack of knowledge continued in his latest effort… Ray Bird Acton Turville Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 14.12.04 THREAT POSED TO HORSES - If Barbara Mustoe really cared about horses and hounds she, and other pro-hunters, would not breed and subject them to the dangers of hunting. Thousands of hounds are bred each year and killed, while still young, when unsuitable for hunting… Nick Williams Hucknall Nottingham (letter)

Western Daily Press 14.12.04 NO DILEMMA OVER HUNTING - - I would like to reassure hunt supporter Barbara Mustav that antis like me care very much about the welfare of horses and hounds. We also care very much about the welfare of the fox, deer, hare and mink, whose suffering in the name of "sport" has driven us to campaign so hard for this long-awaited ban…. Gill Purser Cheltenham Gloucestershire (letter)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 14.12.04 Fox issue is insignificant - So the anti-hunting brigade have at last got their way…. Parliament spent more than 700 hours debating whether or not hunting should be allowed and all over a vicious, four-legged sly and cunning killer that roams at will through the countryside desecrating both wildlife and domestic creatures…. I am reminded in Gulliver’s Travels how once the population was divided by triviality – how to split the people into two sections – and big Indians and little Indians determined which way people tackled their boiled eggs… Anthony B L Martyn Elton Road, Wansford, near Peterborough. (letter)

Northern Echo 14.12.04 HUNTING - ARE we really going to see precious police resources, which would be far better spent on catching the real criminals, wasted trying to stop fox hunting? This legislation was, with respect, only ever introduced as a sop to those who saw it as a class issue…. - Coun Ken Walker, Middlesbrough. (letter in archive)

Grimsby Telegraph 14.12.04 TOO MANY BANS - In answer to Duncan Anderson's letter, Hunting Ban Is Democracy, of December 4. He states that majorities should dictate to the minorities… (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 14.12.04 FOXES SHOULD BE PROTECTED - What a refreshing letter from "ex-farmer", who wrote of the valuable service foxes give to the countryside… (letter)

Worcester Evening News 14.12.04 A callous Act all in the name of welfare - SO, after many years of debate, the Hunting with Dogs Bill has gone through with the helping hand of the Parliament Act. What most people don't understand is that the Act carries a 90-day penalty. That is precious little time to sort out thousands of dogs… If we are not careful, we could see the mass destruction of thousands of healthy and happy hounds. And for what? So that the fox can be shot, gassed, poisoned or snared. Our hearts, souls and support go out to the hunt at this very difficult time. We've never hunted, but are animal and passionate dog lovers… REBECCA PHILLIPS, ANGIE HICKS, Tudor Mount Dog Grooming, Rushwick, Worcester. (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 PEERS PROVE TO BE FINEST LEVEL OF PROTECTION - Your correspondent John Phelps states that the House of Lords had no right to reject the controversial Hunting Bill that was recently put before that House for consideration (WMN, November 30). The House of Lords consists of peers of the realm, some hereditary and some elected by the House of Commons as a reward for their services to this great country. It exists within our constitution to protect the people of this country from the excesses of irresponsible Government and irresponsible monarchs… No Mr Phelps, the House of Lords has every right to reject and question legislation that is clearly detrimental to the well-being and livelihood of some members of our society, however small their number… David Williams, Callington Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 FISH SUPPER LOOKS LIKE NEXT TARGET - It is a matter of record that the people who promoted the anti-hunting legislation now forced through Parliament had earlier stated that hunting was to be but the first domino to fall and others would follow. The European director of an American animal welfare body - the same one that gave a hefty bundle of dollar bills to the Labour Party in the run-up to the last General Election - has now stated that he and PETA wish to see the end of all fishing…. Tom Jones, Plymouth
Be kind to each other - THE golden rule of "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" serves to advance man above the animal. But when some humans elect to be brothers of a fox and ignore the golden rule by throwing others out of house, home and livelihood, they show a preference not to advance…. Dr Edward C Hamlyn, Ivybridge (letters)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 PLEASANT LAND WILL BECOME A JUNGLE - What next is this Government going to do? I feel this is the final nail in the coffin for rural Britain. Soon our green and pleasant land will be a jungle. Take Exmoor for example - huntsmen will lose their employment and housing; stables will be much reduced, hotels, B &Bs, pubs, shops and farmers will go out of business as incomes fall. Unemployment, sickness, debility and suicides will overtake this and other beautiful areas before five years is up…. Jean Bray, Redruth
Anti-hunt Specials - THE hunting issue could well have a detrimental effect on the police precept, part of our council tax…. Those willing to break the law should be made to pay the whole cost of police involvement. The courts must ensure that the criminals are penalised accordingly. The council tax payer should not have to bear the cost. M H Wadmore, Okehampton
Cruel to be kind - DOES the Government care more about foxes than thousands of civilians and children being killed in Iraq? When foxhunting is banned foxes will be killed in a far more cruel way… Sean Dallyn (age 10), Barnstaple (letters)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 THE LAW WILL ULTIMATELY TRIUMPH AGAINST HUNTS - Totnes mp Anthony Steen's assertion that rural police forces will find that enforcing a hunt ban impossible is not only insulting to our police force but also wrong. Hunting is a very loud and conspicuous hobby, the police who already have to patrol the hunts will easily be able to see where they are and where they're headed…. Robert Cornish, Barnstaple (letter)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 DISCUSSION INVOLVES MORE THAN SHOUTING - I watched a BBC Countryfile recently and observed a "discussion" on the country sport of shooting between a gamekeeper, a hunt kennelman and representatives from the League Against Cruel Sports and an organisation called Animal Aid. I was interested to see that the two "animal activists" used the usual "shout, and keep on shouting and eventually they'll shut up and then we can claim everyone agrees with us" method of "discussion"…. Tess Nash, Mawgan, Helston
Why do they call it sport? I AM fed up hearing and reading about hunting. It makes not a scrap of difference to me if there is a hunt in my locality, as they, nor foxes come into my life at all…. Margaret Rowling, Redruth (letters)

Western Morning News 14.12.04 POLITICS HAVE MOVED INTO THE WRONG ARENA - I felt I must write to you about the hunting ban, being a regular reader of the Western Morning News for a considerable number of years. Having had a small holding we had a lot of trouble with foxes killing lambs (newborn) also eating (after birth) cows calving out in the fields. I would like Peter Anderson of the LACS and all his friends to find out the true facts about the predator fox before condemning fox hunting…. L Bolt, Lostwithiel (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 14.12.04 I'VE REHOMED A HUNTING HOUND - The emotive letter from A. S. Halls on the future of foxhounds (December 1) raises a very important question - is it ethical for the hunts to destroy their hounds en masse, when evidence suggests there is a future for them? As someone who has successfully rehomed a foxhound, I can vouch that, with patience and in experienced hands, foxhounds make loyal, rewarding pets… DOMINIC RUDD, RSPCA Director Animal Welfare Services, Horsham, West Sussex (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 14.12.04 ATTACK ON CLASS SYSTEM AN ADMIRABLE OBJECTIVE - David Fanson, Points of view, December 4, made some interesting comments about supporters of blood sports who claim the Hunting Act is more to do with class than animal welfare… If, therefore, the ban on hunting is an attack on the English class system, why do the Countryside Alliance and UK Independence Party not regard it as an admirable objective? John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

North East Evening Gazette 14.12.04 Draw line at sick pastime - So now people who hate fox hunting are really just having a go at the toffs and their way of life (Will Criminals Be Outfoxed, 3.12.04) according to two letter writers. I have known and got along with people from all backgrounds and classes and I cannot abide anything to do with fox hunting or any other sick pastimes…. STEVE DAY, Stockton (letter)


Telegraph 13.12.04 Rough ride ahead as one man and his friends intend to dog Olympic bid By Kate Hoey - The International Olympic Committee will be in London to evaluate the 2012 bid just as the ban on fox hunting comes into force on Feb 18 next year. The IOC's visit could be fraught with potential embarrassments, as countryside campaigners intend to sabotage the 2012 bid…. A new organisation, independent of the Countryside Alliance, are about to be launched, called The Countryside Against The London Olympics – CALO. Led by Robin Page, chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust and former presenter of the BBC's One Man And His Dog, it will be made up of a coalition of organisations already fighting what they term 'abuses' against the countryside…. To add to the concerns of the London bid team, another bit of lobbying has begun which could influence IOC members when they vote next July. This will highlight the way in which the Government have treated the Olympic sport of pistol shooting… Shooting is a major sport worldwide and the French have already made the treatment of shooting sports by our Government as an issue to lobby behind the scenes against London…. (story)

BBC News Online 13.12.04 Call to lift hare coursing ban A petition signed by 8,000 people calling for an end to the ban on hare coursing and hunting has been handed to the government. Protesters delivered their message to the Department of Environment at River House in Belfast, on Monday…. Members of the Countryside Alliance and the Hunting Association were among the protesters…. (story)

Newcastle Journal 13.12.04 Hunters' anger at police 'spy' tactics By Robert Brooks, The Journal - Covert attempts by police chiefs to infiltrate fox-hunting circles, allegedly offering cash for supporters to turn informant, were last night condemned by country sports leaders in the North-East…. Coquetdale and Border Coursing Club chairman Peter Lister told reporters at the weekend of his own encounter with Special Branch, who asked him to act as an agent for them within hunting circles…. Michael Jeans, joint master of the Morpeth Hunt, said the reports of cash offers for information showed how desperate the authorities were becoming…. (story)
Sunday Telegraph 12.12.04 Special Branch 'is paying for agents inside hunts' By Daniel Foggo and Melissa Kite - Special Branch is trying to recruit hunt members as paid informants before the sport becomes illegal next year. Officers have approached at least a dozen leading members of the Countryside Alliance and suggested that they warn police about potentially illegal protests and hunts. In return, the Special Branch "handlers" said expenses would be paid and told at least one prospective informant that they would be financially "well looked after"…. Peter Lister, the chairman of the Coquetdale and Border Coarsing Club, said that he was approached by Special Branch in September, shortly after the demonstration in Parliament Square…. "At that point I lost the plot. I told them that I am law-abiding but I will be the first person to get arrested and jailed if necessary for breaking the hunting ban come February."… (story)

Dundee Courier 13.12.04 SNH warned hedgehog hunt breaks law - SCOTTISH NATURAL Heritage may have to start shooting hedgehogs in North Uist—thanks to anti-hunting legislation. One of the most effective methods for locating hedgehogs in areas of the Outer Hebrides where the animals are at low density is by using dogs…. However, under the anti-hunting legislation, using dogs in this way to search for hedgehogs brings it within the definition of hunting, and a report to go before the SNH main board tomorrow notes that it is then illegal to give the hedgehogs lethal injections; they must be shot—or killed by birds of prey…. Hedgehogs caught by spotlamping and trapping can continue to be given lethal injections. It is only those that dogs locate which will have to be shot…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 13.12.04 Country is a workplace From: Mary Ashworth, Westland Road, Kirk Ella, Nr Hull. I WISH to express my dismay at John Prescott's recent remarks in an interview that the decision on fox-hunting does not affect the majority of people. I'm probably one of the people it doesn't affect at all, but it bothers me very much that anyone as mundane and transitory as a Labour government should interfere in country lore… (letter)

Western Morning News 13.12.04 Gone to the dogs - J Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 6.12.04 DOG-WALKERS SHOULD READ HUNTING ACT CAREFULLY - I understand that in the cities there are a number of entrepreneurial folk who offer their services as dog-walkers to those too busy, too idle or too infirm to exercise their pets. These people should take care to read the Hunting Act very closely, particularly if they take out more than two dogs at a time. Once off the lead to frolic in the park, the dogs may spy an unwary squirrel on the ground and take off in pursuit… If, of course, the quarry is a rabbit or rat there will be no problem, since the hunting of rabbits and rats is exempt under the Act - but if a mouse is hunted prosecution may follow if the offence is detected…. J Ward-Hayne, Broad Street, Modbury, Devon (letter)

Worcester Evening News 13.12.04 Children will continue tradition - IF I am an over-privileged, rich anarchist, then why do I work 60 hours a week in a factory and still find time to hunt twice a week on foot?... In reply to K Hemming, can I say that I have children of three and six years old, who love to spend their time walking the fields and following the hunt. I can promise them that we will carry on doing this for many years to come…. P MOUNTJOY, Claines, Worcester. (letter in archive)

Worcester Evening News 13.12.04 Tories forget most want a hunting ban - THE Countryside Alliance and its followers keep banging their drum about 700 hours of Parliament time being spent on the hunt ban. There is only one group of people to blame for this. That is the House of Lords…. JOHN NORWOOD, Kidderminster (letter in archive)

Argus 13.12.04 Letter: We made no kill - In response to Dr Harper (Letters, December 8), I was hunting that day in Poynings so do let me share my country idyll…. There certainly was not much noise from the hounds because we did not kill a fox all day. There were no "hellish, lung-bursting" chases…. I had one of the best "outdoor" days of my life in the company of friends, horses and hounds - by my description, not much different a day from Dr Harper. -Kim Hirschman, Ripe (letter in archive)
Argus 13.12.04 Letter: Hunt could be back - Catherine Harper is quite right to look forward to a ban on hunting from February 18 next year. However, the Conservative Party is promising to reinstate this cruel and barbaric bloodsport if elected… -Daniel Yates, Sompting, Lancing (letter in archive)
Argus 8.12.04 Letter: My country idyll ruined by the noise of the hunt - I walked on the Downs today with my dogs - I'm a country person who loves being literally in the country. Sadly, my entire walk echoed to the noise of a hunt going on below in Poynings…. If you haven't already been convinced that we can't be a civilised country and allow hunting, then take my word for it. It's a filthy, degraded thing and the noise of it says it all. Roll on the ban... -Dr Catherine Harper, Hove (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 13.12.04 RIDE ON IN DIGNITY - If hunts mean what they say and are prepared to use horse and hounds without hunting animals, this is very good news… Pamela Dean Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 13.12.04 LIFE'S A DRAG, BUT LET'S MOVE ON - Drag hunting is a wonderful alternative to hunting with hounds and it keeps all those who are involved in hunting active. It can also be quite a lucrative business…. Mary Alice Pollard Cornwall's Voice for Animals (letter)


Sunday Times 12.12.04 Colin McDowell's fashion moment: Hunting dress - No matter where you stand on the hunting debate, it has to be admitted that man’s love affair with the horse has had a lasting influence on fashion. The impeccable cut of the English m’lord’s riding coat became the epitome of style across the world in the 19th century; in the 20th, it became the basis for masculine evening wear as part of the “top hat and tails” world of the upper classes. It was, like most things linked with the horse, perfect… (story)

Observer 12.12.04 Demo denial - Contrary to your report (News, last week), the Countryside Alliance is not planning, and has never planned, a demonstration in Parliament Square on 18 or 19 February when the Hunting Act is due to come into force…. Tim Bonner, Countryside Alliance, London SE11 (letter)

Sunday Telegraph 12.12.04 Memory Banks - Tony Banks does not exactly deny that he told two "smart ladies from the shires", a propos banning the ritual slaughter of animals, that no government would be stupid enough to take on the Muslim or Jewish communities… Perhaps Mr Banks will tell us what he did say and, since he thinks ritual slaughter is "cruel", why he does not publicly oppose it as he does fox-hunting. J James, London, W9 (story)


Daily Record 11.12.04 HUNTER'S SIT-DOWN PROTEST - A FOXHUNTING supporter bared her bum to send Tony Blair a cheeky message yesterday. Farmer's wife Yvonne Scales had 'Ban Blair' scrawled on her bottom… (story)
Northern Echo 10.12.04 The bottom line on hunt ban protests by Joe Willis - A HUNT supporter has sent a cheeky message to the Prime Minister. Mother-of-three Yvonne Scales has bared her behind to tell Tony Blair what she thinks of next year's ban on hunting with dogs. She had hoped to write "Buttocks to Blair" - but ran out of space…. Ms Scales, 40, of Northallerton, rides with the South Durham Hunt…. (story in archive)

North West Evening Mail 11.12.04 PRO-HUNT PROTESTERS TARGET MANDELSON - FIFTY pro-hunt campaigners greeted Peter Mandelson as he arrived at Barrow’s Forum 28 last night. They were carrying placards proclaiming “Fight Prejudice, Fight the Ban”… (story)

South Wales Evening Post 11.12.04 FARMER, 85, READY TO BATTLE BRUSSELS - A Veteran Gower farmer is ready to defy Brussels over controversial new regulations to ban the burial of dead animals on farm land. Edward Solomon has been farming at Fairwood all his life. And at 85 he is quite prepared for a scrap with bureaucracy. The issue concerns the introduction of the national fallen stock scheme, which means all dead farm livestock have to be taken to hunt kennels or be disposed of. That attracts a £28 annual registration fee and a collection charge per carcass… (story)

Burnham Times 11.12.04 HUNTING - The Labour Party spokesman claims hunting is not an issue of real importance in this area. I hope he has the courage to face the 584 people in Somerset who will lose their jobs as a result of the appallingly drafted Hunting Bill…. Tessa Munt Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Wells constituency (letter)

Burnham Times 11.12.04 COMPROMISE - Lembit ?-pik MP House of Commons London (letter)
Western Daily Press 4.12.04 IF IN DOUBT ASK THE PM - Dan Whittle criticises me for supporting what he called a compromise to the ban on hunting with dogs. This compromise was good enough for the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Alun Michael, the Labour Minister responsible for the legislation…. If he feels uncomfortable about discussing the compromise with me, he could of course telephone the Prime Minister, who voted for it too. Lembit Öpik MP Co Chair The All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 11.12.04 UNJUST ACT - Duncan Anderson's understanding of democracy is utterly warped (Viewpoint, December 4). Democracy is a political or social unit governed by all its members, and ought not to, under any circumstances, permit the oppression of the minority by the majority, as we have seen in the forcing through of this piece of unjust legislation (hunting with dogs)…. if he is unable to express himself without vitriol and prejudice, he should keep his pen off the paper. Kay Chapman, East Midlands Regional Director, Countryside Alliance. (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 11.12.04 GET TOUGH IF HUNT FOLLOWERS DEFY BAN - I hope the police will deal with these law-breakers in the same way they did with the miners and dockers. E Poyser, Wimbledon Close, Bellfield Avenue, Hull. (letter)

Western Morning News 11.12.04 Destructive policies - New Labour's destruction of the countryside continues with the enforced hunting ban. After the demise of fishing, continual attacks on agriculture, forcing through plans for new towns (e.g. South Hams and Exeter), industrialising the countryside with giant windfarms, now the hunting ban, what will be left? Angling, shooting game, point-to-point and National Hunt racing?... N Spencer, Malborough, Kingsbridge (letter)

11.12.04 IT'S THE HUNT FOR LOOPHOLES - Since the ban on hunting British wild mammals with dogs, there has been continual whingeing from the blood sports brigade. The public is now seeing the real side of these so-called law-abiding citizens for the first time…. MJ Haines, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (letter)

11.12.04 TIME NOW TO FIGHT FOR PETS - It would ring the bells of Heaven if all the ban-the-hunt people would now turn their attention to the appalling cruelty to our thousands of pets perpetrated by callous and sadistic owners… K Abbey, Little Stoke, Bristol (letter)

Worcester Evening News 11.12.04 The time has come to get rid of the nasty party - WHILE MEPs were addressing the important issue of who will form the European Commission, a baying mob of Labour MPs were busying themselves with something so important that it required the Parliament Act to force it through after 700 hours of parliamentary debating time. What was this vital piece of legislation? It was the Hunting Ban Bill, of course…. They preach anti-racism, anti-sexism and human rights while demonstrating equivalent intolerance and discrimination against anything they don't like such as hunting, private schools, anything inherited, and all things traditional. We need to be rid of Blair and all his cronies, as well as all the nasty Old Labour types lurking behind him. GILES CHICHESTER, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar. (letter in archive)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 11.12.04 'HUNTING BAN JUST A QUESTION OF CLASS' - I Would like to participate in the debate concerning hunting with dogs. Normally I am the sort of person who keeps my opinion to myself, but following the outrageous, barbaric attitudes of the pro-hunt lobby (or do we call them the Countryside Alliance?), I feel I must speak out. How people can justify this sort of pastime is beyond me…. Karen Freeman, Earlsgate, Winterton. (letter)

Gloucestershire Echo 11.12.04 FOX HUNTING PROTESTERS OBEYED LAW Madam - I write regarding the report on the fox hunting march from Hartpury College (Echo, December 2). Can I ask if your reporter was on the same march? Firstly there were only about a dozen police in cars as we were rushed at a fast pace from the start at the college to the car park. Ruth Boulton, Apperley. (letter)


Telegraph 10.12.04 Spy - Charlie Methven - Hunting for votes - I recently reported that philosopher Roger Scruton will be fleeing our shores once the hunting ban comes into effect. But a fellow member of the literati, PD James, contents herself with a less demonstrative way of defending the sport. "I used my vote in the Lords to back hunting," she tells me…. (story)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 POLICE CALL ON HELP OF THE HUNT SABOTEURS - Hunt saboteurs and police in the West were last night joining forces to defend the region from defiant fox hunters intent on breaking the law. The unlikely partnership is blossoming across the West Country with officers preparing to meet with campaigners to draw up action plans on how to keep an eye on rogue hunters…. "There is nowhere to hide," said Paul Richardson, of Pewsey Vale Hunt Saboteurs, in Wiltshire. "Hunts needn't think that they are going to sneak out without anyone noticing - we are watching."… Peter Parks, of the Wiltshire Support Group for the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "I was absolutely delighted when fox hunting was banned but the trouble is the hounds will still go out and go after foxes, because that is what they are trained to do."… Heythrop Hunt master Tonya Wood said: "If they want to waste their energies doing that that's up to them. We are not disbanding. We will be doing what we can to keep a pack of hounds and to keep hunting until the law is repealed." (story)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 MINISTER DENIES AIDE'S COMMENTS WERE TRUE INTENT OF BILL - A newspaper comment by an aide to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael that the Hunting Act was not just about animal welfare and personal freedom, but was "class war", does not reflect Government policy, a Defra minister has insisted. Speaking in the Lords, the Tory Lord Willoughby de Broke referred to the statement by Mr Michael's Parliamentary Private Secretary, Peter Bradley, published in a Sunday newspaper, and asked whether it represented the Government's view. Junior Farms Minister Lord Whitty told him it "quite clearly, is not a statement of Government policy"…. (story)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 IS THIS THE ONLY MAN IN THE COUNTRY WHO THINKS THERE'S NO CONFUSION OVER THE NEW HUNTING LAW? - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael was accused of "deluding himself" yesterday after insisting that the controversial hunting ban would be easy to enforce - despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Mr Michael hit out angrily at claims that the Government's new Hunting Act would be a "nightmare" for rural police officers, describing it as "pro-hunt propaganda"…. Andrew Mimmack, clerk to the Central and North Devon Justices, told the WMN that no magistrates in his area had resigned so far. But with several magistrates allowing hunts on their land, which is an offence under the new law, he acknowledged that it was a possibility…. (story)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 BAN WILL NOT AFFECT NEW POINT-TO-POINT SEASON - Point-to-point organisers are being urged to go ahead as normal for the season, which is just a month away, despite the imminent ban on hunting with dogs. At a meeting of the point-to-point secretaries on Monday, a circulated review of what is likely to happen to hunt racing in light of a ban stated: "We feel it is too early to start planning for the 2006 season at this stage with so many unknowns and uncertainties."… (story)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 HUNTS A SOURCE OF CHARITABLE INCOME - Scan through any pages containing equestrian adverts, and invariably there will be one announcing a show, organised by a hunt, with a proportion of the profit being donated to charity. Mike Bickell, chairman of the Lamerton Hunt, has raised close to £30,000 for a wide range of charities. He believes charities could loose out if hunting goes…. Mr Bickell has raised money for the Chestnut Appeal, the Rowan Unit at Derriford Hospital, Riding for the Disabled, the Meningitis Trust, Cancer Research, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, the Air Ambulance, multiple sclerosis and the Samaritans. But pivotal to his success have been the hunting people who have housed him on his adventures…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 10.12.04 WE'LL STILL RIDE WITH HOUNDS, PLEDGE HUNTS BY NICK RENNIE - The Cottesmore and Belvoir hunts have pledged to continue their activities after hunting with dogs is banned in February. Both packs say they will still ride with their hounds, but they will not allow them to kill foxes. The Quorn Hunt has not yet made a decision on its future but expects to reveal its plans early next year…. (story)

(possibly Wells Journal) 10.12.04 'BURYING BAD NEWS' - Less than 10 per cent of rural businesses claim to be very satisfied with the delivery of key public services in rural areas. A Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) survey on the level of satisfaction among people in rural areas with key public services has just been published, at a time when ministers are unable to go out into the countryside for fear of protests. That, according to the Country Land and Business Association in the South West, is an attempt to bury bad news. "Releasing the results of a rural satisfaction survey at a time when the headlines are full of protests against ministers because of the bill to ban hunting is using spin tactics to obscure the reality of how rural people really feel," said John Mortimer, director of the association in the South West…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 10.12.04 DATES FOR HUNT MEETINGS TAKING PLACE IN COUNTY - Atherstone, Cottesmore, Fernie, Belvoir, Quorn (story)

Hexham Courant 10.12.04 HUNTS MEET - Tynedale, Haydon, Border, North Tyne, Newcastle & District Beagles (story)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 HOUNDS AND HORSES WORRY - I am glad to read there are people like M Taylor (December 1) and D Harvey (December 6) who care about what is going to happen to everybody connected with hunting when the ban takes place… Barbara Mustoe Northleach Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 THESE SPECIES MIGHT DIE OUT - In one day in your paper, we had Alistair Currie on a save-the-turkey campaign and Helen Weeks on saving wild animals, praising the fox-hunting ban. What do these people have between their ears?... J Cooper Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 HUNT INQUIRY WAS A SHAM - Following on from the letter by Doreen Cronin (Mysteries Of Hunt Inquiry), it might be of interest to explain why the Burns Inquiry was treated with such suspicion by the bulk of the anti-blood sport lobby when Jack Straw announced the composition of the team on December 9, 1999. Apart from Lord Burns, a former permanent Treasury secretary, all the others were either linked to institutions that supported hunting or were supporters themselves…. Ian Pedler Paulton Nr Bristol (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 OUR PROPERTY WAS INVADED - I want to thank Western Daily Press reporter Tristan Cork for correcting the error by a Beaufort Hunt spokesperson that they had permission to send their hounds across our property because they removed dead stock from us free of charge. No apology from the hunt has been forthcoming. We have seen or spoken to noone… John Mastrangelo Address supplied (letter)

Western Daily Press 10.12.04 VOTING NO USE TO ANIMAL WELFARE - Animal welfare activists who vote now have a dilemma. If they vote Labour, they may be supporting the hunt ban, but they will also be re-employing a Government whose record on animal rights is abysmal. If you vote Labour, you will be voting thousands of laboratory animals to their deaths, paid for by your tax. New Labour is not animal friendly…. Roy Franklin Bridgwater Somerset (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 10.12.04 FOX HUNTING COMMUNITY MUST OBEY THE LAW - We Hear how the fox hunting community wants to bring down the present Labour Government because it has passed legislation banning fox hunting. We all have to comply with the laws passed by the democratically elected Government, whether we like them or not, and cannot pick which laws we disobey and which we do not…. Name and address supplied (letter)

Post & Times 10.12.04 THIS THREAT PUZZLES ME - I always read Clive Lanford-Mycock's articles in your farming section as they reflect country views. However, a recent one puzzled me. Living in the countryside, we rely on power, phones and piped water, yet there is talk of pro-hunters obstructing repair men called in to restore any faulty supplies. Would Clive like to condone such actions before winter storms disrupt supplies?... (letter)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 10.12.04 Eat a happy turkey this year - AS Christmas approaches I am, as ever, hopeful more people are supporting our farmers’ markets, delicatessens, farm ready meals and small shops which sell local free range/organic/humanely reared food…. So make me happy, eat a happy turkey this Christmas…. It occurs to me there is a contrast here with fox hunting. The fox lives a decent life (the old or weak are killed instantly by the lead hound), whereas animals from factory farms can be taken away from their mothers, live dreadfully sad lives, often crippled with heart conditions from obesity and millions are killed young. But now, no doubt, the fox will be poisoned and over-shot because of the hunt ban. Come on Blair, ban the factory farm… SUE HILL-BROOKES The Old Vicarage, Laxton
MP is being naive over hunting ban - Rutland MP Alan Duncan is naive if he thinks fox hunting is a political issue and ‘a sick and miserable way for a vindictive Labour Government to treat decent people’. He is clearly speaking – and pandering to – the Rutland farmers who voted him into office, but he has lost sight of the real issues…. D ALEXANDER Morton (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 ANTI-HUNT MPS WON'T LISTEN - Since that dreadful announcement of the intended hunting ban I have been most impressed with your reports and coverage on hunting. Having hunted on Dartmoor all my life I cannot accept that hunting will be stopped. It seems outrageous that people who know nothing about farming and the countryside can make these disastrous decisions… Mrs J Wreford-Brown South Brent (letter)

Western Morning News 10.12.04 Democracy at work IN response to your correspondent Tess Nash (Vicious attack upon our freedom, November 30), is she convinced that the mass of MPs who voted to ban hunting with hounds were somehow hypnotised by unseen forces into their decision that this was what 90 per cent of the population wanted following the Labour Party election manifesto prior to taking office in 1997?.. R E Boswell, Looe (letter)

Wiltshire Times 10.12.04 Animal welfare? No way - RE your recent Star Letter from Mr D Peters of Chippenham, it seems Mr Peters is very selective in his argument. I must question his declaration that the ban on hunting is a victory for democracy…. How can Mr Peters state that we live in a democracy when those of us who live and work in the country make up only 17 per cent of the population?... J.J. RIDDLE, Forewoods Common, PS I have never been hunting have you? (letter in archive)

Wells Journal 10.12.04 'DISREGARD TO LANDOWNERS' - Living in rural Somerset one tends to get fed up with the way politicians in Westminster feel obliged to meddle in our affairs… So when I saw the Hunt On scribblings written on our highways, I was not without a degree of sympathy for the cause of the hunting community - not that I am a member myself.That was up to last week. When my lunch break, in the disused quarry at Emborough, was rudely shattered by the barking - or baying - of hounds I naturally assumed they must be some way off because the hunt has been ordered, in writing, several times, not to enter our property where we like to preserve wildlife of all sorts…. On driving several miles to confront the master, who claimed he was in charge, I was told that "the pack had gone off on its own". This was their excuse last time, and the time before that.On each occasion I have been told it will not happen again…. John Blatchford, Midsomer Norton (letter)

(possibly Wells Journal) 10.12.04 HUNTING BAN COMPROMISE - The celebrity Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik offered to explain the hunting ban "compromise" to me in his letter to your paper (December 2). The Montgomeryshire MP also said that I had criticised him in a previous letter for supporting the compromise. In fact my criticism was directed at the local Lib Dem spokesman Tessa Munt, an ex-fox hunter who is also against a full ban. I can only guess it is too controversial an issue for her to reply herself…. Andy Merryfield The Ford Blackford (letter)

Henley Standard 10.12.04 Humans kill for fun - Those people hunting foxes make every effort to block our view when incidents occur that would shock the general public: hounds bursting onto busy roads in pursuit of a fleeing fox or invading private property, causing damage and sometimes injury or death of pets. We are vigorously prevented from filming that ‘quick nip to the back of the neck’…. Bea Bradley, Cuxham Road, Watlington
Freedom of choice is vital - May I first congratulate the Henley Standard on tackling the issue of fox hunting. I am personally neither against nor for hunting, but I do understand the freedom to choose. What really worries me, is that if you read Reading West MP Martin Salter’s argument it has little to do with the fox and more about his view against the rich and powerful landowners. I’m not sure what the miners or the poll tax have to do with the argument…. Name and address supplied
More of your views of foxhunting - What a depressing diatribe the MP for Reading West wrote about foxhunting in the Standard; in marked contrast to the clearly expressed views of Mrs. Bowden. What emerges with crystal clarity is that Mr. Salter, in common with most of his back bench City dwelling colleagues, is not in the least concerned about the fox, but is intent on putting the toffs in pink coats in their place… Richard Came, Binfield Heath.
Having read in your paper the learned account of foxhunting, I turned to read the column presented by Martin Salter, MP expecting to find an equally articulate account for the anti-hunting corner expressing concerns and ‘facts’ of cruelty and welfare where hunting with dogs of wild animals is concerned. Unfortunately, the column lacked content of the issue at hand. It digressed to nothing more than a platform from which Mr. Salter could antagonise those who follow or depend upon hunting and express his uncouth opinion of certain members of the House of Lords…. Yours faithfully, Mrs. B. L. Smith, Dunsden Green.
Martin Salter’s crowing over the end of hunting does nothing for the sport of fishing, which he and I both love and which he has done so much to promote and defend. Mr. Salter groups the hunting ban with previous legislative measures to outlaw bull and bear baiting and cock fighting. He should know that these were public spectacles in which animals were subjected to suffering to provide entertainment; and this can hardly be the motivation of hunt followers, most of whom never witness the kill. wIth hunting… Tom Fort, Wood Lane, Sonning Common.
The phrase ‘they don’t understand country ways’ is always thrown around when somebody is losing the debate about fox hunting. It is understood only too well by people who live in towns, cities and the countryside and see hunting for what it is… T. and J. Custance, Western Avenue, Henley. (letters may be in archive)

Manchester Evening News 10.12.04 Thrill of the chase - I’M glad that the letter writer signing himself No Blood Spilt (Postbag, Dec 6) had a good time with the Cheshire drag hunt. However, what he didn’t actually do was hunt. What he was doing was more akin to steeplechasing. He travelled a pre-planned course with little element of risk, other than that inherent in riding and jumping. On a foxhunt, you go where the fox takes you - if you can. When you jump a fence, you often don’t know exactly what’s on the other side of it and this, not any kill there may be, is the real thrill of the chase…. It’s a bit like smoking really - if you don’t like it, don’t do it. But don’t force your views on me. Fox Free, Gorton (letter)

Manchester Evening News 10.12.04 AT long last - AT long last, after many years of peaceful campaigning, the Hunting Bill will end the outdated cruelty of hunting and tormenting wild mammals with dogs for entertainment…. Cheshire Reader (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 10.12.04 HUNTING BAN 'MORE TO DO WITH CLASS WARFARE' - One would think the ban on hunting with dogs was a triumph of democracy, but when I read Viewpoint I doubt this is the case. The countryside community was generalised as 'toffs' in one letter. Another correspondent wrote of getting one back for the miners. One strange diatribe complained the pro-hunt protesters were all white. This all demonstrates the hunting ban is not about animal welfare but more to do with class warfare. It is Labour's 'collectivisation' policy. Stalin would be pleased… PA Wright, Address supplied. (letter)

The Sentinel 10.12.04 FOXES ARE ONLY ACTING NATURALLY - I would like to respond to Julie Smith's letter on fox hunting. So what if foxes scavenge for food? That's what all wild animals do if they are hungry… VICKIE BOULD Norton (letter)

Bucks Free Press 10.12.04 'Nelson's eye' on foxes' welfare - OLD habits clearly die hard, and many amongst the vociferous hunt lobby are still bullying and threatening…. Some police c laim this new law will be dificult, even impossible, to enforce. They are wrong, as we in the anti-hunt movement intend to explain to them, and they are wrong to flatter hunters' sense of self-importance which is in fact an encouragement to law break…. Penny Little Protect Our Wild Animals (Address supplied) (letter)

Harrogate Advertiser 10.12.04 From: Don Robinson, Innisfree Close, Harrogate MUCH has been written recently on the Government’s ban on hunting with dogs… Phil Willis has always led us to believe that he supports the ban. Yet on the final vote in the House of Commons on November 18 I can find no trace of how he voted… Many people who thought they could rely on him to do what he claims to believe will surely be disappointed that he appears to have let them down at the final fence.
A spokesman at Ashdown House, the Local Liberal Democrat office in Harrogate, said Phil Willis was unable to vote because he was out of the country at the time (letter)


Essex Chronicle 9.12.04 WE'LL OBEY THE BAN - The Essex Hunt will obey the ban on fox hunting and break with 219 years of tradition, its chairman has confirmed. Michael Herbert said members had little choice but to adhere to Government legislation and cease hunting with hounds. Instead the group, which covers an area from Chelmsford to Haverhill, will convert to drag hunting… (story)

BBC News Online 9.12.04 'No-one can define new hunt ban' - The new law banning hunting with dogs is "so poorly drafted" no-one can define the offence, pro-hunt MPs say. The accusation came after it emerged a Devon man had been told he could use his four dogs to "chase away unwanted animals" from his farm. Because he did not intend to kill deer or foxes it was not hunting. Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik said ministers had invented a new category of hunting - chasing away - and asked how police were supposed to interpret the rules….(story)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 CELEBRITIES SQUARE UP FOR TV HUNT SHOWDOWN - The battle for the hearts and minds of the public over hunting went A-list last night as both sides released details of celebrities who have signed up for the fight. While anti-hunt campaigners have long used famous faces to back their cause, the pro-hunt lobby were finally catching up yesterday, with talk of a celebrity hunt TV documentary, filmed in the West, to be shown on the eve of next February's ban… Last night, it emerged that the West's biggest hunt, the Cotswolds-based Duke of Beaufort's, has been approached by production company Zig Zag, but hunt chiefs there are yet to decide to give their backing…. But the sight of celebrities out backing hunting just days before the ban has prompted anti-hunt campaigners to dust off their A-list and - slightly less-than-A-list stars - who have spoken against hunting…. (story)

Scotsman 9.12.04 The royals just can't shake off their cruel-toff rural image - JENNY HJUL - DESPITE their best intentions, members of the Royal Family continue to be bad ambassadors for country life. Indulging in rural pastimes, as they do, should provide ample opportunity for photogenic backdrops, while at the same time demonstrating how admirably committed they are to the countryside…. Visions of the Queen (mercifully) snapping a pheasant’s neck did not endear her to squeamish town folk… Now, just when country sports are under attack from a class-obsessed Labour administration and need all the good PR they can get, a royal servant is "blasted" during a Balmoral shooting party… (story)

Western Gazette 9.12.04 BURIAL BAN IS 'NAIL IN COFFIN FOR FARMERS' - A New burial law has been described as "another nail in the coffin for farming" by a property firm partner. The introduction of the National Fallen Stock Scheme and the burial ban have been described as "illogical" by George Chichester of Strutt and Parker…. "The problem is further exacerbated with the future of the hunt kennels also very uncertain. The burial ban means more cost, more hassle and more uncertainty for livestock farmers."… (story)

Southern Daily Echo 9.12.04 Carcass fear by Tom Husband - DEAD animals could litter New Forest roads for days on end because of new European red tape, it is feared. Ponies and cattle killed in road accidents could be left by the road for up to four days at a time because the incinerator currently used to dispose of carcasses does not meet new European Union standards…. Carcasses would only be removed on two days a week under the proposed scheme…. In order to bring the ailing furnace up to standard, the hunt kennels, responsible for collection and destruction of fallen stock, must purchase a new part. But the manufacturers are unable to supply the part until five months after the new EU regulation takes effect in January 2005… (story in archive)

Cotswold Journal 9.12.04 Anti-hunters go on watch - ANTI-hunt campaigners have vowed to act as extra eyes and ears for police when the ban becomes law next year…. Tonya Wood, joint master of the Heythrop Hunt, said that although the hunt would continue to be active in the area, monitors would be wasting their time looking for evidence of wrong-doing. Linda Graham, spokeswoman for the Cotswold Support Group for the Abolition of Hunting, said talks with police were ongoing…. (story in archive)

Western Morning News 9.12.04 MINISTER REJECTS CONFUSION CLAIMS OVER HUNTING BAN - The Government Minister responsible for steering the hunting ban into law yesterday rejected claims that there was confusion about how it would work in practice. Environment Minister Alun Michael spoke out in advance of the ban on the centuries-old country sport of hunting with hounds, which starts on February 19 2005. He told a London news conference to announce details of the Clean Neighbourhoods Bill "the obsession with hunting in some quarters never ceases to amaze me…." (story)

Times 9.12.04 Facts and foxes Sir, I deplore the hunting of live creatures almost as vehemently as I oppose the erosion of liberty implicit in the Hunting Act. However, neither cause is assisted by ludicrous claims… A. C. Grayling (Weekend Review, December 4) perpetuated the canard that cock fighting and the baiting of various animals were banned for humane reasons. They were not. The legislation was introduced to prevent riotous assembly which might have been the precursor of revolution… IAN SKIDMORE, The Shed, 1 Elwyn Court, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 9BZ. (letter)

North Devon Journal 9.12.04 WILL THE ANTI BRIGADE TARGET ANGLING NEXT? - Winter sun illuminated the estuary as I fished for flounder with my young son and his friend and, behind us, cyclists and walkers ambled along the Tarka trail. Though sport was a little slow, all seemed as it should be. Then my fellow angler wandered over. "Next year I guess we will have the Antis harassing us from the path behind!" Hunting, shooting and fishing have been linked together in the minds of many for years. I have repeatedly been told (frequently by hunting people) that when hunting is banned shooting and fishing will follow…. Times change, however, and anglers must ensure they do not allow complacency to give the antis their way. For sadly when hunting has gone they will need someone else to hunt down!... (story)

Tamworth Herald 9.12.04 PRO-HUNT LOBBY SHOULD FACE FACTS - I Am getting fed up with the 'prima donna' style ravings of the Atherstone Hunt. They appear to be allowed to make statements, sometimes of an inflammatory nature, anytime they wish, knowing you will print them in the Herald… the Government was elected in 1997 on a massive majority with a hunting ban part of its manifesto. Only the 'unelected' House of Lords kept it from becoming law a long time ago…. No horse or hound needs to die. Hunts can switch to drag hunting where the live quarry is replaced with an artificial scent…. 'Hyperion', Atherstone, name and address supplied. (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 CAT INSTINCT TO HUNT - Roger Stratton is right. Cats hunt small mammals and birds because that is their natural instinct. They do not know any better; humans do, and hunt purely for fun…. Marlene Thompson Hucknall Nottingham (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 DESPERATION OVER A SO-CALLED SPORT - Is Mr Stratton so blinded by his love of hunting that he cannot understand and agree that cats hunt purely on instinct, their owners cannot stop them and, unlike the "sport" of fox-hunting, there is no element of choice in their activities… Barry Lloyd Keynsham Bath and North East Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 BOTTOMLESS POT CAN OFFSET LOSSES - M Taylor and M Pearson claim they are sad that many hounds will have to be put down when the hunt ban becomes law. Did they feel the same remorse year after year when thousands of hounds, including puppies, were put down because they were no longer able to hunt?... Nick Williams Hucknall Nottingham (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 I HOPE COMMON SENSE WILL PREVAIL - As a former Wiltshire county councillor, who tried many times to have hunting banned from our land, I was most surprised to read that some of the hunting fraternity are intent on breaking the law and continuing to hunt after the legal ban comes in to force. One of the arguments they used at the time was that it was a matter for Parliament and not councils… Cllr David Glaholm Swindon Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 9.12.04 AN EASIER WAY TO ENFORCE HUNT BAN …Enforcing the hunting ban would be made easier if all identified on the day as taking part were made the subjects of anti-social behaviour orders and banned from riding horses or ponies for as long as necessary, with penalties applying for breaking the order. D Roberts Bridgwater Somerset. (letter)

Yorkshire Post 9.12.04 Coursing hares' mortality rate 'is low' From: Christopher Osman, (a hunting, shooting, fishing publican, born on a council estate. Not a toff), The Swan, Bradford Road, Liversedge. The article on hare coursing and the Waterloo Cup (November 27) was wrong. Hares are wild, not caught up and released, and they are not released for greyhounds to kill… (letter)

Western Gazette 9.12.04 IS THIS WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION? - With reference to your 18 November issue and the article on the farming pages with the headline "Land payment planned for horse owners". It appears the lower-paid members of our society, ie shop workers, factory workers and local authority staff, etc, will be subsidising the richest members of our society through the CAP…. I feel I must mention the hunting fraternity who claim their problems are based on a class war not initiated by themselves… Ron Bastable, Shearstones, Yetminster. (letter)

Kidderminster Shuttle 9.12.04 Hunt action will be futile - ON November 18, democracy prevailed and parliament made the decision to protect our wild mammals from the cruelty of hunting with dogs…. Instead of hunts pursuing doomed legal challenges they should use their time and money to convert to drag hunting. This will ensure no job loss… LEAGUE AGAINST CRUEL SPORTS, CAMPAIGNER AND FORMER RSPCA INSPECTOR Name and address supplied (letter in archive)

East Grinstead Courier or Sevenoaks Chronicle 9.12.04 TRUE COLOURS OF PRO-HUNT - So, At long last, after hours of prevarication by pro-hunt MPs and outright opposition by unelected hereditary peers, hunting with hounds has finally been outlawed…. Not so the hunters, though, eh? Throughout the campaigning years they've been telling us that they are a law-abiding community… Now, with their petulant threats of civil disobedience and illegal hunting, the public are seeing them in their true colours… DAVE WETTON, Hadlow (letter)

Banbury Guardian 9.12.04 IDYLLIC ILLUSION OF RURAL ANARCHISTS - WHAT an idyllic picture Anthony Jarvis (Banbury Guardian, December 2), paints. Kindly huntsmen cavorting with happy foxes, who have been protected and allowed to breed in the closed season so that they can join in the fun…. It is the arrogance of the hunting fraternity which makes them believe that they are above the law, even though that law has been passed by due democratic process… Anne Wylie, Queens Road, Banbury (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 DOWNFALL WILL BE HUNTING BAN - Having been a regular reader of The Citizen for years, some of the contents of letters is beyond belief… . Wait 'til these do-gooders see the results of foxes shot with shotguns (I have seen it, and it's not a pretty sight). You will then find that there's no one who wants hunting banned…. In closing I would like to say, I have voted Labour for over 50 years. I will not vote for them again. They seem to know very little about the countryside, but again they might be the opposition after the next election. The Fox Hunting Ban will do it in my opinion, dare I say they got it wrong again. Concerned for foxes. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 MY VIEWS HAVE CHANGED INTO REAL SYMPATHY - I Did not use to have any strong views on the subject of hunting with dogs. But during the last few months I have gained some very strong opinions. When it comes down to the fact that hundreds of people stand to lose their livelihoods (the majority of them not toffs), and thousands of beautiful dogs will have to be slaughtered, I have to say that I am now very much in sympathy with the pro-hunting brigade and very much against the spiteful Labour backbenchers who pressed for this law to be brought in…. MRS MARGARET CRADDOCK, Abbeymead, Gloucester (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 SILENT MAJORITY AGAINST HUNTING - The hunt ban is certainly not a "class matter". I am not a cloth cap person, I was taken to follow the hunt as a youngster, generations of my family rode to hounds. I have lived in the country for all my 60-plus years. I am totally opposed to hunting, as are the vast majority of the people who live in the country, but as usual we are the silent majority. For every hunt supporter there are 100 silent anti-hunt people, including farmers…. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 CLASS-RIDDEN MPS TO BLAME - Pamela Dean (Letters, The Citizen, November 30), wants us to blame the House of Lords for the unjust hunting ban. So, of course, does Tony Blair. However, those of us who have fought long and hard against this anti-fox, anti-hound, anti-horse, anti-common sense ban know exactly where to lay the blame - at the feet of the bigoted, class-ridden Labour back benchers, who now appear to be leading their leader!... LIZ WILKINS, Hardwicke (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 POOR THINKING OVER HUNT BAN - I Support the demonstrating young people from Hartpury's land management training. The Citizen letter refers to the hunt ban as 'democratic'. The Government ordered a hunt inquiry, it cost over £1 million and did not condemn hunting with hounds…. When the Berkeley hounds owner defends the hunt, he is referred to as the 'idol rich' riding with dressed up 'toffs'…. G. MARTIN, Saul (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 HUNTERS RIDING OVER LAW TOO - I Was appalled to see TV pictures of the pro-hunters terrorising police horses. It seems to me that nothing much changes. For centuries hunts have ridden roughshod over the countryside and country folk, now they will trample over the law and the will of the humble majority…. PAUL GRIFFITHS, Stockend Edge, Stroud (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 9.12.04 ANGRY OVER THE HUNT BEHAVIOUR - I Do agree with the ban on fox hunting. It's cruel. Not only that, they block the roads - like Wednesday in Westgate Street. I was late for a vehicle recovery, which made me very angry. T. M. DEMBENSKI, Gloucester (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 9.12.04 NOT EVERYONE TAKES THINGS AS 'GOSPEL' - W f ROWLANDS (Not meant to be vegetarians, Your View, December 1) claims I have an unusual view of life and the Bible. Well, if trying to think for myself and analyse what I read, not taking anything as "gospel", then yes, I am unusual, but then, so are many others!... And so, I believe, that not only have the farmers been conned over hunting (HE, November 24) with only one-in-10 of foxes hunted caught by a hunt, according to an experienced hunter, but also those that believe that the Bible is the literal or inspired word of God have, sadly, too! LEN SHORT, St James Road, Upton, Torquay (letter)

Ormskirk Advertiser 9.12.04 - YOUR editorial on the Waterloo Cup (Advertiser, December 2) was partisan and misguided to the extreme. How can hares being ripped apart for sport be "fitting"?... J.S. DERSHEN, Shepherds Lane, Halsall
SO Colin Pickthall suggests ignoring the cruelty of the Waterloo Cup this year because it is the last one. I don't think we will be hearing a "hurrah" from the hares as they are being ripped to death by the dogs… FULL NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

North Devon Journal 9.12.04 'NAMING AND SHAMING' IS AN IRRESPONSIBLE IDEA - I was most concerned to read in a recent issue of the Journal about Vernon Coleman's initiative to get people to report those who declare they will continue hunting after the ban comes into force. On Dr Coleman's website he encourages law-abiding citizens (presumably everyone who doesn't break the speed limit) to report doctors, magistrates, solicitors to their professional bodies, or individuals to the police, if they express a view that they will continue to hunt…. Is this not exactly the activity we saw (and see) in totalitarian regimes; the thin end of the wedge leading to a society of fear and Press suppression? Does it end with Press clippings about people we don't know or should we report neighbours, friends, family? And if not, why not?... NIGEL CHIVERS, Rowan Cottage, Muddiford. (letter)

North Devon Journal 9.12.04 HUNT BAN IS A POLITICAL DISASTER - It is clear from the correspondence columns in the Journal that pro- and anti-hunting people will never see eye to eye but both ought to be concerned about the health of our democratic society. No doubt both points of view have been held in rural families and communities, but until now that was a matter of opinion and individual conscience…. All this has been done in the name of democratic government. But wait a minute, is it the business of a majority in parliament to ignore the rights and customs of minorities? MPs are supposed, once elected, to represent the interests of all their constituents, not to engage in majoritarianism i.e. the dictatorship of the majority, especially when to do so will do untold damage to the fabric of society…. FRANK J. HIND, Rumsam Gardens, Barnstaple. (letter)

North Devon Journal 9.12.04 SUPPORTERS OF DRAG-HUNTING HAVE IT WRONG - Drag-hunting is not an alternative for hunts in England and Wales, contrary to name and address supplied's suggestion (Letters November 25)…. Above all, Lord Burns concluded that neither drag-hunting, drag-coursing nor bloodhound hunting would of themselves "mitigate to any substantial extent any adverse effects on the rural economy or the social life of the countryside arising from a ban on hunting." ALISON HAWES, Countryside Alliance Regional Director, Ermington. (letter)

Somerset Guardian 9.12.04 HUNTS SHOULD PAY GRAFFITI BILL - I totally agree with H Jones, Letters, Somerset Guardian, December 2. The graffiti sprayed on our roads by hunt supporters is disgusting and should not be tolerated…. At the very least, the local hunts could offer to pay to have the graffiti cleared up. DANIEL GILPIN, High Littleton (story)


Yorkshire Post 8.12.04 'BILL IN A DAY' TO DELAY HUNT BAN STILL ON OFFER – HAIN - Simon McGee - MINISTERS are still poised to back a "snap" Bill to delay the introduction of the fox-hunting ban, Leader of the House Peter Hain revealed yesterday. If peers offer a "copper-bottom" guarantee that they will consider a Government-introduced delay, the Cabinet Minister responsible for the Government's business in Parliament has told the Yorkshire Post that a Bill could be pushed through the Commons in less than a day…. But Mr Hain's comments were condemned by a pro-hunting Tory peer from Yorkshire, Earl Peel, who added that the offer was purely to help Labour out of a mess…. "It's just another case of crocodile tears with a Government in a mess and I see no reason why we should help them out of it," he said. (story)

Brentwood Gazette 8.12.04 THIS FOX ISSUE IS DUE TO MAN AND GREED - How I enjoyed the beautiful image of a young fox in go! December 1. Then I read Josie Stephenson's page on why these lovely creatures should be hunted. She must have iced water in her veins, which doesn't become a womanly woman… MRS B THOMPSON, Lorne Road, Warley Hill (story)

Brentwood Gazette 8.12.04 OPEN MINDED - Thank you for being the voice of reason and common sense regarding the appalling act to ban hunting. Those who have been calling for a ban have no idea what they are talking about or of the consequences of a ban…. CHARLES MURRAY, Runwell Road, Wickford (story)

Brentwood Gazette 8.12.04 WILL THERE NOW BE A BAN ON ROD AND SHOTGUN? - Now that it appears the 'hunting with dogs' ban is set to take effect in three months' time, may we also assume that a law banning the killing of creatures for sport with fishing rod or shotgun will now also be rushed through with equal fervour by this noble government… MRS ANNE ROBINSON, Robin Hood Road, Brentwood (story)

Taunton Times 8.12.04 DRAG HUNTING NOT VIABLE - Has Bob Andrews been hiding his head throughout the hunting debate? His argument (letters, November 25) shows a very sketchy understanding of reality. In the Government's own independent inquiry, Lord Burns concluded that converting to drag hunting is not a viable option for the majority of hunts in England and Wales, citing various factors. One fundamental limitation is the amount and type of land required for laying draglines…. Alison Hawes, Countryside Alliance Regional Director (letter)

Taunton Times 8.12.04 FOXES WILL BE SHOT IF HUNTING'S BANNED - In reply to the letter from Alan Foyle regarding hunting, it is obvious that he does not know anything about hunting and even less about shooting. Firstly, the fox is killed instantly and does not suffer, but when hunting is banned, the shooting of foxes will commence… D T, Taunton (letter)

Taunton Times 8.12.04 TIME STANDS STILL AT COUNTY HALL - Following the long-awaited Westminster vote to ban hunting, I attended the November meeting of Somerset County Club (sorry, Council). The high standard of debate was typified by one lady who deplored the hundreds of hours which Parliament had spent debating this measure and who then exhorted the council to encourage Parliament to spend even more hours delaying the whole thing for 18 months…. Barry Nowlan, Fairfield Road, Taunton (letter)

Cambrian Times 8.12.04 Delighted to see hounds - Madam, I have just read your article on the front page of last week’s Cambrian News. I find it difficult to understand Mr and Mrs Handcock’s remarks. I am a local (Machynlleth) smallholder, and on Saturday 27 November was delighted to see the Plas Machynlleth hounds going about their business in pursuit of countryside management…. Yours etc, Name and address supplied. (letter in archive)

South Wales Echo 8.12.04 So much for the right to protest - IT was most interesting to read last Friday's Echo column of Kevin Brennan MP, about pro-hunt demonstrators. I was especially taken aback by the words "Not content with exercising their legitimate right to protest...'' Anthony Bright, St Dyfrig Road, Penarth (letter)

News Shopper 8.12.04 Look after your pets properly - Here you go again isn't it about time you changed the record? Last year News Shopper ran similar stories on foxes and fox-hunting and were inundated with letters from pro and anti-hunt readers. With regard to people losing pets to foxes; if we want to keep animals as pets then we are responsible for their safety and welfare…. Jan Yarker, Address supplied (letter)

News Shopper 8.12.04 School kids fighting - There has been a lot in the news recently about fox-hunting. Myself and some friends from Erith School feel very strongly about people killing foxes for fun. We are trying to help stop fox-hunting because we really don't understand the purpose of this…. Sam, Ben, Jake & Gangadeep, Erith School (letter)

Western Daily Press 8.12.04 HUNTERS MUST ACCEPT REALITY - Since when have the pro-hunt fraternity ever voted anything but Conservative? Their whingeing and whining and persistent disruption of MPs going about their daily work is doing nothing to enhance their cause…. R M Morris Minehead Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 8.12.04 CONTRADICTIONS What a strange man Mr Haines of Cirencester must be. First, he tells us we should get pleasure from watching stoats, weasels and foxes hunt their prey, and next he tells us it is morally wrong for anybody to take pleasure in watching hounds hunt. J W Alexander Corsley Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 8.12.04 MANGE KILLS FOXES HORRIBLY - Mrs M Johnston should know better. To suggest control of foxes should be left to operation of the horrible disease mange is truly "beyond belief"…. The anti-hunters' invincible ignorance and lazy sentimentality will be the death of the fox. A D F Hodson Frampton-on-Severn Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 8.12.04 STOP EROSION OF OUR BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS - Sarah Content Trowbridge Wiltshire (letter)
Bath Chronicle 6.12.04 ANTI-TERRORISM - I Felt I had to write regarding the anti-terror police raids in Manchester… I was not afraid of the 'terrorists' but of the anti-terror police…. Bans on fox hunting, smoking, ID cards with every single piece of your identification on it, cameras that can scan all number plates and access all data about the owner - when will it all stop? SARAH CONTENT, Castley Road, Hilperton, Trowbridge (letter)

Yorkshire Post 8.12.04 Flawed figures fail to back up Alliance claim From: Robbie Beechey, Eastfield Lane, Kellington. I see that the Countryside Alliance is claiming that 70 per cent of the public believe that police should not enforce the hunting ban…. This only goes to prove that you can use polls to get any answer you want… If someone chooses to break any law, even one they disagree with, they are very much in the wrong, and must be prepared to accept the consequences.
From: Brian Haigh, Mortimer Terrace, Healey, Batley. Apparently, there are more than two million pensioners living below the poverty line of £118 per week in this wonderful country of ours, and Mr Prescott says on the radio that fox-hunting means nothing to most of the public.. so why does the Government continue to squander millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on these irrelevant issues… (letter)

York Evening Press 8.12.04 Real barbarians - IT is sad when a mother of three children can explain the difference between a pheasant and a partridge and a rabbit and a hare, but can't explain why a fox has killed their pet ducks. Like all predators, a fox will kill any form of food to survive and as much as possible to store for another day, like a larder…. EA Carter, Marston Crescent, Acomb, York. (letter in archive)

Cumberland News & Star 8.12.04 Nature isn't sport - I AM sure Eric Martlew and Elaine Milbourn are as appalled as W Whitham (News & Star, December 1) at the Spaniards and their “tradition” of bullfighting, but they are hardly in a position to do anything directly about that, unlike foxhunting…. GUS PROUD, Skinburness Village, Silloth On Solway (letter)

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 8.12.04 Drag hunting is the answer - IN response to Ron Freethy, Nature Watch feature (LET, December 1) the issue of the hunt without the fox is easily resolved with the setting up of drag hunts… SHEILA BRENNAN (Mrs), Bombay Street, Blackburn (letter in archive)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 8.12.04 IS HUNTING ACT LEGAL? - So the fox hunting ban is now on the books. The Government used the Parliament Act to force it through… the question is, has the Parliament Act any validity in British law?...This is something which will have wider implications for any other times this Act has been used. Pat Wells, West Common Gardens, Scunthorpe. (letter)

Belfast Telegraph 8.12.04 Support for banning cruel sports must be absolute - Gordon Anderson, of the Countryside Alliance (Writeback, December 2) accuses me of being an extremist on the issue of fox hunting…. The idea that another creature can be tortured or killed to satisfy human pleasure is disgusting and must be banned by the law… LORD LAIRD of ARTIGARVAN, House of Lords, London (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 8.12.04 Ignorance of hunting sports is evident - Rational argument requires a sound premise. Lord Laird and P Morrow (Writeback, November 12) argue against hunting from the premise of its inherent cruelty. Those who follow hunts regularly have observed at first hand the behaviour of the quarry during the course of its pursuit and have marvelled daily at the natural defences which enable the fit and healthy wild animal to outwit both its human and its canine pursuers…. ELIZABETH M. BROWN (Mrs), Aldergrove, Co Antrim (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 8.12.04 Remember tale of Jemima Puddleduck - Lord Laird's perception of the countryside seems to be based entirely on the books of Beatrix Potter and a selective viewing of anti-hunt videos. Perhaps he should remember that in The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck the foxy-whiskered gentleman was dispatched by two foxhound pups…. J. ANDERSON, Ballynahinch, Co Down (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 8.12.04 Rural people don't need to be lectured - Lord Laird has failed to show us any evidence of cruelty in regards to hunting. He has not once referred to any independent scientific evidence and it is most annoying for him to lecture rural people on how to live…. COUNTRY DWELLER, Dunadry, Co Antrim. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 8.12.04 Seeing things from a different perspective - If foxes have to be culled, sadly someone has to kill them. Perhaps someone could deliver to the House of Commons a fox that needs culling and the MPs who voted against hunting could despatch the poor creature in their more humanitarian way…. We killed our rats with Warfarin. They die slowly bleeding to death internally. Killing by a pack dogs seems humane by comparison… J. F. M. HALL (Mrs), Belfast 8. (letter)
Belfast Telegraph 2.12.04 Engaging in emotive rhetoric on hunting - Lord Laird's comments in Writeback are very much on the extreme fringes of the hunting debate. Like some extremists on the Government backbenches, Lord Laird has succumbed to the temptation of engaging in emotive and partisan rhetoric, leaving the job of finding a commonsense resolution to others involved in the debate…. GORDON ANDERSON, Countryside Alliance Ireland (letter)

Newsletter 8.12.04 There's More Humane Ways To Deal With A Fox - I read with incredulity the letter from Strangford MLA Jim Shannon which was carried in your newspaper on November 24. As someone who was brought up in the country, I would agree that foxes are a problem to farmers, but do we have to chase them for miles and have them pulled apart by a pack of hounds? I don't think so…. Wondering (name and address supplied) (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 8.12.04 ANGLERS TO THANK FOR CLEANER RIVERS - In reply to Ms Flear's letter explaining how anglers treat fish…. If there were no anglers, Ms Flear would not have to worry about fish welfare as there wouldn't be any fish. Most of our waterways would have been industrially polluted years ago, and whole eco-systems would have vanished, had it not been for the diligence of anglers… Fox hunting is not a means to control vermin, it is a sport, on which many people's livelihood depends, that is why though I don't agree with it myself, I do not think it should have been banned. The whole idea of the ban was not based on grounds of animal welfare, but was engineered as an exercise whereby New Labour thought they had found something they could have a vote on which would unite the whole party and they didn't even manage that. The secondary reason for the ban was to attack 'the toffs'… Even this was a bit pointless, as if they want to attack 'filthy rich people who live in the country' they only have to wait for MPs to get all their expenses forms in… P North, Elm Way, Brigg. (letter)

Horncastle News 8.12.04 Any life is precious It seems to me that hunters, shooters and their supporters who claim that killing wildlife is good for wildlife, belong to the same school of thought as those who believe in the so-called ‘just’ war - the condoning of the killing of any number of innocent civilians supposedly for the ‘greater good’… PATRICIA WICKHAM (Mrs), Caistor (letter)

Bromsgrove & Droitwich Spa Advertiser 8.12.04 Chase is on - I AM neither pro nor anti-hunting but I would suggest that every hunt in the country goes out on the same pre-arranged day. I'm damn certain there aren't enough police to chase them all, certainly not in north Worcestershire… RL Evans, St Augustine's Drive, Droitwich Spa (letter in archive)

Louth Leader 8.12.04 Hunting: You’re wrong Mr Weedon! Editor - I would like to thank Mr Weedon for his letter on the subject of foxhunting. It was a perfect illustration of what I said in my previous letter about unqualified opinion, ignorance and prejudice that surrounds this issue…. Point two: that foxes only scavenge still born or dead lambs. Wrong again I’m afraid, ask any sheep farmer particularly on the upland areas of Britain and he will soon explain the necessity of culling…. If any of your readers wish to find out the facts for themselves instead of reading the ill informed tripe written by Mr Weedon then please contact your local hunt for details of their next meet, you will be made most welcome. John Jaines, South Cockerington
Ban will help to exterminate vermin - Editor - I write to say that as an ardent supporter of fox hunting with hounds I am being persuaded that the Government may unintentionally have got it right with their proposed ban. Apparently the ban on hunting in Scotland has resulted in almost twice as many foxes being killed than when hunting with hounds was allowed…. Mrs I Dainton, South Somercotes (letters)

Carmarthen Journal 8.12.04 PROBLEM WILL GET WORSE - Regarding your article 'Dead stock dumped in roadside protests' (Journal, December 1), I can only assume the problem with fallen stock being dumped at the roadside and in the beautiful countryside around Wales will only be exacerbated with the hunt ban that is due to take effect in February… Linda Lake, Hermon, Cynwyl Elfed (letter)


Western Mail 7.12.04 Role of dogs in pest control - NATIONAL Assembly Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas says the hunting ban is a failure of the democratic process. Speaking to exhibitors at the Winter Fair, Lord Elis-Thomas promised to do everything in his power to emphasise the essential role dogs play in pest control in Wales.... (story)

Western Mail 7.12.04 Farmers ban Army - Steve Dube, Western Mail - A NEW warning was issued last week that rural Wales could become a no-go area for the Army because of the hunting ban. CLA Wales chairman Ross Murray, who is a former soldier, claims a top Army officer has told him that it is now virtually impossible to get landowner support for military training... (story)

Western Daily Press 7.12.04 HUNTS VOW NOT TO BREAK LAW - Hunt leaders in the West confirmed a major U-turn last night - officially ditching the strategy of deliberately breaking the hunting ban. Just 14 months since tens of thousands of hunters and supporters signed a pledge on "Declaration Day" to break the law on hunting, campaign leaders confirmed that no hunt organisation would act outside the law after February 19.... But now, the director of the Cotswold-based national hunting authority, the Master of Foxhounds Association, confirmed that hunts would find "other equestrian activities" instead of fox hunting. Yesterday, MFHA director Alastair Jackson said: "Our message is that we are encouraging all hunts to continue within the law as legal entities in order that they can continue in existence until there is a repeal of this law...." In recent days, Ian Farquhar, the master of the West's biggest hunt, the Beaufort, has been among those chairing a series of meetings from Wales to the south coast. With the help of legal experts, these have explained to hunt staff and followers exactly what the law entails, and ways around it.... (story)

Western Daily Press 7.12.04 RURAL CASUALTIES DEMAND FINANCIAL AID - Business leaders in the part of the West most dependent on hunting demanded aid from the Government last night - to stop them going bust. A delegation of businessmen from Exmoor called for a meeting with Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael to press for help after the ban comes into force in February. About 50 businesses from across north Devon and west Somerset attended a public meeting called by West Somerset District Council, to discover how the council could help them survive the hunting ban.... (story)

Star 7.12.04 Moss backs fox - SID BILLINGTON - More pointless snippets of news from the Independent's Pandora page, and this time he's linking celebrities to fox hunting... According to this insightful piece, these lovely celebs are on a list of "high profile pro-hunters", who are apparently in talks to appear in a Channel 4 documentary called The Last Hunt. The programme will air on February 17, the day before the ban becomes law, and will follow 'stars' at the Beaufort Hunt.... (story)

Mid Devon Gazette 7.12.04 STAGHOUNDS HISTORY IS A TIMELY LABOUR OF LOVE FOR AUTHOR RICHARD - Little did Richard Lethbridge know when he began work on his latest book that he had picked such a topical issue. The Umberleigh-based postman launches his 300-page book about the Barnstaple Staghounds on December 13.... Richard, 46, said: "In 2000 I wrote my first book about the Tiverton Staghounds. I realised that nobody was writing down hunt histories. It was while carrying out the research into that book, and looking through newspaper archives, that I found out about the Barnstaple Stag Hounds.... The hardback book, which includes photographs, is published by Bideford-based Lazarus Press and is priced at £21. It will be available locally after its December 13 launch at the Hunter's Inn pub at Heddons Mouth (story)
North Devon Journal 2.12.04 'HUNTING BAN MAKES BOOK MORE PERTINENT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS' - Little did Richard Lethbridge know when he began work on his latest book that he had picked up on such a topical issue. The Umberleigh-based postman launches his 300-page book about the Barnstaple Stag Hounds on December 13…. Richard, 46, said: "In 2000 I wrote my first book about the Tiverton Stag Hounds. I realised that nobody was writing down hunt histories. It was while carrying out the research into that book, and looking through Journal archives, that I found out about the Barnstaple Stag Hounds…" (story)
North Devon Gazette & Advertiser 1.12.04 Story of hunting in its heyday - AS the hunting debate rages on, a North Devon man this week launches his latest book, giving a telling insight into hunting in the region. The focus of the book, by author and postman Richard Lethbridge, is the story of the largely unknown Barnstaple Staghounds…. countryside activities. His latest book, The Barnstaple Staghounds, was born from a discovery during research for his previously successful title, The Tiverton Staghounds…. Mr Lethbridge also touches on the Barnstaple Harriers, which hunted hares in the 1870s and 80s, the Barnstaple and North Devon Harriers from 1893, the Barnstaple and North Devon Badger Club around 1914, the Cheriton Otters Hounds, which were kennelled in Barnstaple, and the North West Devon Draghounds, formed in 1934 and which carried out both fox and drag hunts…. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 7.12.04 TIME FOR FOX HUNTERS 'TO GET IN TOUCH WITH REALITY' - I feel I must set the record straight in reference to Judith Richardson's reply (Fox hounds not bred to be pets) to my letter of November 15. In this letter I bemoaned the fact that the blood sports community was always distorting the truth in their desperate attempts to influence public opinion, and unfortunately Ms Richardson appears to be no exception to this rule. … I did say that fox hounds are bred to hunt and kill and are therefore not safe around children… I would refer Ms Richardson to a report from the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare called What About the Dogs? This report concludes quite specifically that it is "not difficult to retrain fox hounds to drag hunt"…. The sooner they wake up, see the light and get on with the 21st Century, the better. JOHN TRUSCOTT Kent Road Mapperley (letter)

Yorkshire Post 7.12.04 Farce of the fox-hunting row From: Brian Wilkinson, Burdale Close, Norton on Derwent, Malton, North Yorkshire. It is a sad fact that to all intents and purposes the fox-hunting debate is over – but what two splendidly passionate letters on the November 29..... It has been apparent from the word go that vastly more than a small proportion of the "banners" were acting from a purely class warfare base and without the slightest knowledge of the effect on the social life of the rural community, let alone the rancour between the rural and urban populations it would create, to nobody's benefit. All this and never mind the cost – and not a fox's life saved to boot.... (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.12.04 POLICE PRESENT TO HANDLE HUNTERS - Doesn't M Taylor know that, according to the hunters' own figures, they already shoot 6,500 hounds every year - old ones and young ones that don't come up to scratch - and that is an underestimate.... Regarding the policing of a hunt ban, I am fed up with police claiming they won't have the manpower or time to enforce a ban because other crimes, such as burglary, are a higher priority. They always turn out three or four cars, vans and helicopters every Saturday and weekdays against animal rights people when they are trying to save foxes, deer, hares and mink from being torn to pieces.... P Richardson Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.12.04 COUNTRY FOLK NOT ALLIANCE PAWNS - I am thoroughly fed up with the way the Countryside Alliance is being portrayed and portrays itself, as speaking for country people and country dwellers... I love dogs and horses and don't object to foxes being controlled if they are a pest, but, I don't support hunting with dogs, never have, never will.... Christy Leonard-Nelson Devizes Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.12.04 ANNE'S EXAMPLE BAD FOR WILDLIFE - I was disgusted to read that Princess Anne is continuing to hunt when Parliament, backed by the people of this country, consider hunting so cruel that a ban is on the statute book... Helen Weeks West Coker Somerset (letter)

Western Morning News 7.12.04 YOU CAN ONLY REASON WITH THE REASONABLE - Peter Edwards of Plymouth should have tuned in to the Sky House of Lords TV channel on November 11, where he would have been able to hear a reasoned debate on the subject of hunting as it should be carried out.... I watched the same TV news pictures on September 16 that he says he did, but what I saw were TV cameras deliberately targeting the few points of heat and anger generated by the heavy hand of the police who at once started targeting heads with their batons - a practice banned by police regulations.... Tess Nash, Helston (letter)

Western Morning News 7.12.04 THE HUNT LENT A HAND TO HOME GUARD - It may be of interest to historians and to the many present supporters of the Dartmoor Hunt that, at our Remembrance Day service, I talked my wife into wearing not only her medals from her wartime service as a Wren but her armlet designating her a member (aged 16) of the Dartmoor Hunt Mounted Patrol. In those steamy days of the late summer of 1940 it was feared that German parachutists possibly disguised as nuns (as had recently occurred in Belgium) might descend on Ringmoor Down and elsewhere adjacent to the reservoir pipeline aiming to destroy the Plymouth's water supply.... Louis Le Bailly, St Tudy Cornwall
Living free lives - YOUR article (Nov 27) says "hares are released for greyhounds to chase and kill", which is a total misrepresentation of the facts. Hares are not released for coursing purposes. The hares are living free, natural and wild lives, and the greyhounds are coursing them on their own natural and familiar territory.... S Clark, Okehampton
Thank you for pointing out those errors, which we are happy to correct - Editor (letter)

Western Morning News 7.12.04 WHY THE RABBIT AND HARE ARE DIFFERENT - The degree of misinformation, wilful or otherwise, about what the Hunting Act forbids and exempts and why is reaching ludicrous proportions. Jim Barrington, of the "Middle Way" group (a reasonable-sounding front for hunting interests) ludicrously claims that the fact it will be illegal to use dogs to hunt hares but legal for rabbits will make Britain "the laughing stock of the world" (WMN, Nov 19). He should know that there are perfectly valid reasons for the distinction. Firstly, hares are considerably larger than rabbits and harder for dogs to kill quickly when they catch them.... Alan Kirby, Hayle (letters)

Western Morning News 7.12.04 IF HUNTERS CAN BREAK LAW, THEN... Whatever the rights and wrongs on the way the ban on hunting was pushed through, I would like to ask the pro-hunters where they get the figure of 59% (which they bandy about on their posters etc) of people supporting hunting?... if the majority must comply with the law, then what right does a small minority have to break the law of the land? Mrs B Crofton, Weston-super-Mare Somerset
Ban shooting - HUNTING folk tell us that shooting foxes is cruel.... . In light of this, on the back of their placards that read "Fight prejudice, fight the ban", will they please add "Fight cruelty, ban shooting". Theo Hopkins, Lifton Devon
They're ordinary folk - MY thought regarding hunting is that the red jacket and white trousers are a uniform just like footballers, cricket players, army, navy, air force and school children - they all wear uniforms. They are ordinary people and are to enjoy the sport.... Lyn Armitage, Falmouth (letters)

Grimsby Telegraph 7.12.04 FANTASTIC MR FOX DOES US A FAVOUR ... The fox is one of the best vermin control systems we possess and properly managed is an asset.... A fox can kill over 20 rats in a day... Many people are brought up with the blood lust of killing and have never grown out of it. I did.... Ex farmer, Grimsby. (Name and address supplied). (letter)

York Evening Press 7.12.04 Irony of slaughter - FIONA H Dunn tells us at great length about the slaughter of her animals by foxes (Letters, December 1). She then informs us she and her family also spend their time slaughtering animals.... Jackie Anderson, Manor Garth, Wrelton, Pickering. (letter in archive)

York Evening Press 7.12.04 Hunt children? Fiona Dunn justifies hunting of foxes on the grounds that a fox kills for the sake of killing. She then says her children hunt, shoot and fish - and, therefore, kill purely for the sake of killing.... Roger Duggleby, Bootham Terrace, York. (letter in archive)

York Evening Press 7.12.04 Bad reputation - I READ a letter that yet again showed complete ignorance about the life style of the fox.... People adopt the view that foxes kill for the fun of it because the they are often disturbed when killing and are unable to return to the corpses to store for future use - so they are landed with an unwarranted reputation. SP Roberts, Church Lane, Nether Poppleton, York. (letter in archive)

Bath Chronicle 7.12.04 WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS TO FIGHT ANY KIND OF PREJUDICE - Duncan Warriner's letter 'What does Len know of hunting?' (Letters, December 2) puzzled me on a number of counts, but primarily his apparent lack of knowledge about what type of animal a hound is.... I have attended a couple of hunt meets (as a Morris dancer, helping to perpetuate a tradition that doesn't involve killing) but have also never been in at the kill or whatever they call it, as I don't want to have nightmares for the rest of my life... CHRIS STILLMAN, Wellow Tyning, Peasedown St John (letter)

Bath Chronicle 7.12.04 AT LEAST PUBLISHED OPINIONS ARE MY OWN - I Do seem to have a way of getting up the noses of certain Chronicle readers, don't I? This time it's Duncan Warriner (Letters, December 2)... my statements about the shooting of dogs too old to hunt, or simply not up to it, were based on a recent national radio broadcast in which a master of hounds openly admitted that this happens... LEN LIECHTI, Newbridge Road, Bath (letter)
Bath Chronicle 2.12.04 WHAT DOES LEN KNOW OF HUNTING? Hounds are killed anyway according to Len Leichti (Letters, November 22). Oh dear, oh dear. Here we go again, is there any subject he claims not to be fully conversant with? Cycling, walking, bus gate, you name it and Len claims to be all knowing. Now he turns to a subject about which for certain he knows nothing, other than reading the anti-hunting press and being led like a lamb to the slaughter…. DUNCAN WARRINER, Neston Road, Corsham (letter)
Bath Chronicle 30.11.04 COUNTRY PEOPLE DON'T 'NEED' TO KILL - I Have neither the desire nor the intention to get into a protracted and ultimately tedious correspondence concerning the imminent ban on hunting with dogs. However, I must correct James Sanders and MJ Bailey who, writing from very different perspectives, both appear to have the illogical and mistaken idea that I approve of the shooting of hunting hounds so as to save foxes… LEN LIECHTI, Newbridge Road, Bath (letter)
Bath Chronicle 27.11.04 HOUNDS ARE ALL KILLED ANYWAY WHEN THEY OUTLIVE THEIR USES - This morning, on the day that the Parliament Act was likely to be invoked in order to permit the Commons to enact the wish of its democratically-elected representatives… LEN LIECHTI, Newbridge Road, Bath (letter)
Bath Chronicle 25.11.04 SINCE Mr Liechti (Letters, November 22) seems to know such a lot about the treatment of hounds, it is a pity that he is apparently ignorant about the effect the ban on hunting will have on the country folk. To him, the lives of a few foxes are more important than those of hundreds of hounds… MJ BAILEY, Elm Grove, Bath (letter)
Bath Chronicle 25.11.04 ABSOLUTE TRUTHS ARE FOR MONKS - 'Hounds are all to be killed anyway' (Letters, November 22). Further to the letter from Len Liechti, I would like to add a few comments. I should make it clear that I am anti-hunting, anti-war, anti- hanging and anti all killing. Fortunately, I realise that in a non-perfect world, it is not possible to adhere to absolute truths… Regarding the specifics in Mr Liechti's letter it is rather illogical to suggest that it is OK to shoot the hounds "because these hounds would not have been bred anyway" on the one hand and then state later that he cannot support the abuses of those (the hunting fraternity) who "exhibit such disregard for the welfare of their fellow creatures, and such hypocrisy"… Shooting hounds to save foxes is like making love to preserve virginity. JAMES SANDERS, Combe Road, Combe Down, Bath (letter)
Bath Chronicle 22.11.04 HOUNDS ARE ALL KILLED ANYWAY - This morning, on the day that the Parliament Act was likely to be invoked in order to permit the Commons to enact the wish of its democratically-elected representatives, I heard on the radio a hunt official condemning the proposed legislation on the grounds that it would result in his pack of hounds having to be put down. Under questioning, he admitted that every hound is eventually put down - that is, shot - when its useful hunting life is considered to be over… LEN LIECHTI, Newbridge Road, Bath (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 7.12.04 HUNTING DILEMMA FOR ANIMAL LOVERS - Being country born and bred, brought up in a village surrounded by five farms, my grandfather, two uncles and three cousins all farmers, I have seen the dreadful devastation a fox can wreak among lambs and chickens in particular. These beautiful animals kill for the lust of it... At least the dogs make short work of the kill with a sharp nip in the neck. This is a natural way to kill for any animal except the cat, which has to have its fun first.... J E KNOCK, Broadsands Avenue, Paignton (letter)

The Sentinel 7.12.04 CONFUSED BY BANNING LAWS Mr John Baillot's letter (November 23) concerning banning laws was confusing. He gave excellent reasons for stopping dangerous, cruel and anti-social activities by using laws and then appears to justify the same activities by stating that it would be intolerant to ban them. He also attempted to equate our essential need for food with 'sporting' activities causing physical and mental suffering and in many instances death to animals... The fact is that by the time I had read Mr Baillot's ideas on banning laws I wondered whether or not we should have banned bear-baiting... G HAMMERSLEY Milton (letter)

The Sentinel 7.12.04 WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE HUNTED? Referring to the letter by Julie Smith of Packmoor, on December 3... To disprove her belief (if indeed she did believe it) he asked her to run as fast as she possibly could all the way around her housing estate without so much as stopping or considering slowing down (rather like a fox would have to do if being chased across the countryside by a pack of ravenous hounds)... It was all just fictitious for Julie Smith, but tragically not so for the fox. PETER T RIDGWAY Bradwell (letter)

The Sentinel 7.12.04 FOX HUNTERS WILL NOT RIOT In previous correspondence I have argued that whatever the right or wrongs of fox- hunting, the people who involve themselves in such activities are, in the main, a reasonable, well-balanced and law-abiding group of individuals. However, at least according to Mr Haywood, (The Sentinel, Wednesday, December 1), I am in the wrong. They are in his book a violent, bloodthirsty, mindless and law-breaking group who will wreak havoc when the Bill to ban fox-hunting comes into force in February 2005.... I think it was Oscar Wilde who said that in his opinion fox hunting was "the unspeakable in vain pursuit of the uneatable" and his description, although dated, might be more apt than that of Mr Haywood's. MALCOLM SHENTON Hanley (letter)


Rutland Times 6.12.04 Hunt 'looking at all options' - Drag hunting is not an option for survival as far as the Cottesmore Hunt is concerned…. Cottesmore spokeswoman Phillippa Mayo commented: 'Drag hunting won't satisfy what many of our followers come hunting for…. We have hundreds of people who follow by car or on foot and they come only to see the hounds and the chase of the fox. Only around ten hounds are required for drag hunting as opposed to the 30 we would normally take out on a hunt…" (story)

Hull Daily Mail 6.12.04 TORY MP SUPPORTS HUNTERS - Shadow home secretary David Davis pledged to back efforts to fight the ban when he joined a meet of the Holderness Hunt at Hotham, near Market Weighton.... (story)

Times 6.12.04 Hunt ban is a bit of a drag for Stowe pupils BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - PUPILS at Stowe public school are to switch to drag hunting next season after the hunt ban. Dr Anthony Wallersteiner, the headmaster, wants to save the 52-year-old beagle pack with its strong bloodlines. The school will test various forms of drag or trail hunting to see which scent will be best for the hounds to follow…. Dr Wallersteiner said: “There seems little point in breaking up the bloodline of a beagle pack that has been in existence for more than 50 years. So we will tough it out until the law is replaced…." (story)

Times 6.12.04 Protest beat myopic PC BY BEN SHEPPARD - THE pro-hunt campaigners who invaded the House of Commons escaped detection because a policeman was too short-sighted to read their forged invitation letter, it was claimed last night…. The slip was one of several blunders that allowed five protesters to burst on to the floor of the chamber while hunt demonstrators rallied outside…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 6.12.04 FANFARE FOR THE COMMONS MAN - We know how much they earn, how much they claim in expenses and how many times they speak in the commons, but what do MPs actually do all day? Lee Marlow joins David Taylor MP to find out… You might also disagree with his fence-sitting approach to the fox hunting issue (he voted for a ban, but admits he could be persuaded to opt for a licence scheme if hunts stopped cubbing). But if you walked a day in his shoes, you would find it hard to begrudge him his £4.80 share of your income tax. (story)

Taunton Times 6.12.04 LET'S FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS - So the hunting fraternity are to contest the hunting ban in the courts. The three million who lost jobs in the 1980s had no such luxury. That it is about liberty, freedom, townies v country people, and rural life is futile. The House of Lords, and most of the Conservative Party have turned this into a right wing political issue, resurrecting the class war of yesteryear, coupled with a hidden agenda… Alan Foyle, Taunton (letter)

Driffield Times 6.12.04 Hoping police take a dim view of hunting activities - O J Lawson, of Westgate, Driffield, writes . . . I feel it necessary to pen a response to your article from November 10, Hunt vows, we will not go away. I think an article of this nature should never have made it to print… I can only question their morals. As for pest control, the figure per fox killed by a hunt is £5,000. How efficient?... I hope the humility of being taken away in a police van brings these people to their senses and makes them realise that they are the same as me and have no God given right to break the law, let alone have it printed in a newspaper telling us all of their unlawful intent. (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 6.12.04 Poem for the hunt - By Parliamentary Decision/The "ayes" have the decision,... No more the Holderness, the Quorn,... They trampled o'er the rights of man, With this shameful hunting ban. David Thompson, Maple Park, Hedon. (letter)

Telegraph 6.12.04 Foxy things - It is obtuse to speculate that "drag hunting" refers to the costume worn by the hunter (letters, Dec 4). Obviously, it refers to the hunting of a drag artiste… Lydia Rivlin, London N10 (letter)

Western Morning 6.12.04 Foxes will suffer - WELL done, you antis - when you reflect on what you think is your victory, perhaps you will realise that you have signalled the death knell for foxes, as more will be killed now… It seems to be MPs from the towns - but why are they not busy about more important things like lack of dentists, cleanliness in hospitals, funds for schools, safety on the railways, lack of proper policing, lack of action on drugs and the need to police imports of cheap meat?... W Watson, Yelverton (letter)

Western Daily Press 6.12.04 HUNTS ENSURE STRONG POPULATION OF FOXES - Your correspondent asks why, after generation after generation has hunted the fox, has this vermin not been exterminated? Surely this is the point countrymen have been trying to make. Hunting with hounds ensures the perpetuation of a manageable number of strong, healthy country foxes. The survival of the fittest, if you like…. Finally, there are many former racehorses needing suitable homes, without flooding the market with ex-hunting horses. Prices will fall and horses, which have known nothing but hunting and the care of experienced grooms, will end up in unsuitable hands. Mrs D M Harvey Dursley Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 6.12.04 CLIMATE OF FEAR AND INTIMIDATION - You recently published a spread focusing on the views and the personality of Ian Farquhar, Master of the Beaufort Hunt, including an appealing photograph that depicted a cuddly grandfather with his beloved dogs. However, since the publication of that article, threats have been made by the hunting fraternity to ignore the law when it comes into force, and to incite mayhem and wanton destruction throughout our country…. Mary Ratcliffe Swindon Wiltshire (letter)

Yorkshire Post 6.12.04 Shame From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby. I refer to the ban on foxhunting with dogs: shame on any government that makes honest citizens into potential criminals. (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 6.12.04 REFRESHING TO HEAR SOME OTHER POINTS OF VIEW - What a superb letter from David Challice, Points of view, December 1, about the hunting issue…. Name and address, withheld on request (letter)

Shropshire Star 6.12.04 Raid at Otis's home was a waste of tax - What a waste of council tax when four vans, uniformed officers, dog handlers, three marked and two unmarked cars went to Otis Ferry's home. I, like thousands of others, have said that we are going to break the law when we go hunting after the ban comes in on February 18…. D Evans, Telford (letter)

Leicester Mercury 6.12.04 UNFAIR VIEWS - In response to G A Wright's letter ("Pro-hunting rants", Postbag, December 1), I would like to point out that, providing it has been properly trained, a gun dog will never run after another mammal and will never be encouraged to do so…. I suggest you look further into the "issues" of both hunting and shooting before writing in through rose-tinted spectacles. Rob Price, Desford. (letter)

Northern Echo 6.12.04 HUNTING - SEEING the picture of the snared fox (Echo, Nov 29) was rather sickening. Unfortunately, this sort of thing will, no doubt, be seen more often as a result of the ban on hunting. The very best and least cruel way to cull foxes is by hunting with hounds… Sylvia Walton, Barton.
PATRICK Blewitt (HAS, Nov 25), on the strength of a statement by one MP, tells us that those opposed to hunting do so, not because they think it cruel, but because it is a "class struggle". The thought of Ann Widdecombe and the late Alan Clark, prominent opponents of foxhunting, as secret Trotskyites engaged in class warfare seems somewhat unlikely. - Eric Gendle, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.
FURTHER to Patrick Blewitt's letter (HAS, Nov 25), in which he bemoans his fate as a frustrated hunter of rabbits, may I extend my sympathies… Possibly, his hobby could have avoided the threat of the axe had arrogant huntspeople taken heed earlier and voluntarily opted for change…. John Milburn, Chester-le-Street. (letters in archive)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 6.12.04 WE HAVEN'T HEARD LAST OF THIS ONE - Yesterday morning I was sitting listening to an item on foxhunting on the local radio news… As the only natural predators of foxes were bears and wolves, and these are now extinct in this country, with the ban on foxhunting coming into force, what is there now that will control the fox population? If foxhunting has been banned because the kill is barbaric, why hasn't 'cat keeping' also been banned?... When hunts, by their very nature, take place well away from public roads, how are the police going to be able to tell the difference?... Name and address supplied (letter)

Irish Examiner 6.12.04 When will foxhunters get the message? - Philip P Lynch, Chairman, Farmers Against Fox Hunting and Trespass (letter)
Irish Independent 14.11.04 Bringing fox hounds to heel - Philip P Lynch, Chairman, Farmers Against Fox Hunting and Trespass Callan, Co Kilkenny (letter)
Ulster Herald 11.11.04 Fox hunters have no right to our land - It‘s about time fox hunters realised that this is the year 2004 and not 1650 or even 1690… As this present hunting season kicked off, record numbers of Hunt Ban notices appeared in provincial newspapers nationwide. To date I have never seen a notice inviting a hunt to ride over crops, or through herds of cattle or flocks of sheep…. The days of riding to hounds over the rights and property of farmers are numbered. Philip P. Lynch, Chairman, Farmers Against Fox Hunting and Trespass, Gleann an R’, Mallardstown, Callan, Co. Kilkenny (letter may be in archive)

Basingstoke Gazette 6.12.04 High praise for hunting stance - Sir.-I wish to congratulate Lord Portsmouth on his decision to hunt. I am sure he will only be one of many, some who will not have been out before, who will wish to enjoy the many aspects of a day's hunting…. -James Crosbie Dawson, Northington Farm, Overton. (letter in archive)

South Wales Evening Post 6.12.04 IT'S FREEDOM THAT I WANT - It is the prerogative of any reader to think my letter of November 5 is drivel, as Howard Moss does… He is quite wrong to say that I am in favour of fox-hunting. As my letter indicated, what I am in favour of is personal freedom - something for which this country was once justly famous… B Jones, Waun Daniel, Rhos, Pontardawe (letter)

South Wales Evening Post 6.12.04 BOYCOTT FOR OUR CHILDREN - I Watched with disgust and dismay the news report on Assembly Health Minister Jane Hutt's decision to transfer children's neurosurgery from Morriston to Cardiff. The next item I saw was a protest against banning hunting. At the opening of the new Millennium Centre Fathers 4 Justice staged an eye-catching protest. A massive protest against Jane Hutt is what we need, but over-stretched parents of vulnerable children cannot hope to emulate the more vociferous protesters… Angela M Bridges, Sketty Avenue, Sketty, Swansea (letter)

Western Mail 6.12.04 Wild boars - the new fox? - Perhaps the "discovery" of packs of wild boar in Monmouth (which apparently need to be culled) could give the pro-hunt lobby an alternative target when the ban on fox hunting comes in…. Alternatively perhaps, the anti-foxhunting bill may have given the wild boar courage to state the wild animals' own position at last. HYWEL WILLIAMS, Business School, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd (letter)


Observer 5.12.04 Pro-hunt demo threat to London's 2012 bid - Mark Townsend and Denis Campbell - London's bid to stage the 2012 Olympics could be severely damaged by pro-hunt supporters planning a massive display of civil disobedience as inspectors for the Games visit the city. Hunting leaders have warned the organisers of the capital's bid that the country will be 'at war' as International Olympic Committee delegates arrive in February for a make-or-break assessment of London's facilities. Their visit coincides with the coming into force of the new hunting ban on 18 February… The Countryside Alliance has warned that it is planning another protest in Parliament Square on Friday 18 February, the first day fox-hunting will be illegal. At least a million people are expected to flout the ban by electing to go fox hunting the following day…(story)

Scotland on Sunday 5.12.04 Law on fox-hunting must be enforced - YOUR story ‘Fox killings double since ban’ (News, November 21) is not unexpected. Animal Concern and others have always argued that traditional fox hunting was not a method of fox control but a cruel sport…. Shooting is less cruel and more efficient, so it is no surprise that more foxes are being killed…. Police are making great savings by no longer having to send officers and helicopters out to deal with clashes between hunts and saboteurs on almost every Saturday during the winter. Some of those resources could surely be employed to ensure the law is not being broken. John Robins, Animal Concern (story)

Wales on Sunday 5.12.04 FIFTY thousand farmers and others have signed a pact that they will continue hunting after February 2005…. If farmers rebel, we should withhold all money in subsidies, etc, and prosecute. I have followed the hunt, being a country lad, but respect the law and will no longer do so. Name and address supplied (letter)


Times 4.12.04 Be Buddhist about hunting BY A. C. GRAYLING - The hunting ban needn’t be a drag. Treat it as an opportunity — to chase men across fields instead - A society shows its vigour when it argues with itself over its attitudes and practices, and never more so than when it succeeds in translating changes in attitudes into changes in practice — providing, of course, that both are well justified… In all the angry exchanges that have surrounded this issue, an important point has been neglected. This is that there is no need for hunting kennels and stables to be closed, for hounds to be put down, or for huntsmen to lose their jobs. On the contrary, there is an opportunity waiting to be grasped here which could secure and enhance the hunting world. The opportunity lies in hunts switching to drag hunting and “bloodhounding”, and perhaps even doing so competitively, with the Quorn, the North Cotswold, the Old Berkshire, the South Devon Foxhounds, the Beaufort, the Wynnstay, and others, competing to see which of them can most quickly find the drag (a strong smelling lure for hounds in lieu of live game), perhaps riding over the same or similar terrain after a drag scent laid by an expert countryman with an eye for a good ride…. (story)

Times 4.12.04 Armchair referee - South West London will be a thief's paradise on Varsity Day, says Chris Condron …. It got me thinking about the whole town versus country thing, ignorant townies imposing laws over ancient rural traditions — like ripping an exhausted fox to pieces with a pack of hounds. Hunting is a way of life; rural economies need to be supported. I’m just not sure about smearing the still warm blood of the kill on a child’s face…. (story)

Guardian 4.12.04 Anti-cruel sports campaigner - Wanda Wyporska, who works for the League Against Cruel Sports and who has completed a PhD, talks to Miles Brignall - There really is no such thing as a standard day here. What continues to amaze me, even after four months as press officer, is the variety of the work. One minute I am writing an article for the press, the next I am speaking to and advising supporters who have suffered at the hands of hunt supporters… Campaigns that are coming to the fore include the intensive rearing of pheasants for game shooting and improved conditions for racing greyhounds. It's not going to be dull. (story)

Spectator 4.12.04 The hounds of heaven - I took up beagling not as a political gesture but because my dog died. Having walked with him for 12 years, I found walking without him too sad, so I more or less stopped. Then I met a friend at a party — a state-school teacher who had once been a Marxist agitator in the local bacon factory — and heard a glowing account of the eccentricities of a day on the North Yorkshire Moors with the Ampleforth Beagles…. But, I thought, better late than never — a sentiment which is apparently prevalent throughout the countryside this autumn: a fox-hunting neighbour tells me that the Sinnington’s early season children’s meet attracted record numbers… Unhappy memories recurred of my last appearance on the hunting field, twenty-something years ago: it was a day with the Exmoor Foxhounds…. Beaglers turned out to be a very different proposition… (story)

Western Daily Press 4.12.04 HORSES WILL MISS RIDING WITH HUNTS - I'm Really proud of my connections with hunting and I can't tell you how disappointed I am that there looks like being a total ban from next February… I had the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hounds meet at my house last Monday and old See More Business was out with them, and loving it…. (story)

Shropshire Star 4.12.04 No lucky horseshoe for farriers By Chief Reporter Peter Johnson - Dozens of farriers in Shropshire and neighbouring counties could see much of their trade wiped out - and might even go bust - as a result of the fox hunting ban. They are now considering taking the Government to court in a bid to claim compensation for lost earnings… (story)

Shropshire Star 4.12.04 Hunt ban won't hit 2005 races - Fears that the fox hunting ban would affect the Shropshire and Welsh Border point-to-point season in 2005 have been allayed by the Jockey Club. But racing journalist Arthur Shone warns that the ban may have a deep impact in years to come… "I would think that there is the possibility that hunts could combine. So instead of North Shropshire, South Shropshire and Tanatside having three separate fixtures, the north and south could combine…" (story)

Cambridge Evening News 4.12.04 Foxy virtues From Michael Michalak, Swaffham Road, Burwell - NOW that the Hunting Bill has at long last become law I suspect the poor old fox will be subjected to a campaign of slaughter that would have made Stalin blush…. But now the long-awaited change has come and with it the inevitable spoilt child syndrome, and maybe the sight of Prince Charles, stripped of his passion for the pastime, leaving our shores forever. Now perhaps the fox will be seen for what it is, one of our most beautiful wild creatures whose faults are far outweighed by its virtues, not a plaything for those to whom pain and cruelty are just an unfortunate by-product….(letter)

Telegraph 4.12.04 Whip in hand - It seems to me, as a non-hunter, that it is obvious the drag version (letters, Dec 2) is not considered an alternative to the real thing. Can you imagine riding a horse in a short skirt, suspenders and stockings? Not to mention the problems with the falsies when taking fences. Brian Wilkinson, Garmouth, Grampian (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 4.12.04 GET A REAL LIFE - The hunters say that they are right And they deserve to have their say/But when anyone against them speaks/They say it's not fair play./They rarely shout if a hospital shuts/Or if a factory closes down/When normal folk get hit for six/They don't even frown….. IAN GUY, Cashes Green, Stroud (letter)

Western Daily Press 4.12.04 JILLY'S TRIBUTE JUST THE START - The idea of having a monument to all the animals we humans have used and abused in our wars with others seems a good idea in principle, but it must not be used to divert attention away from the present day abuses, both legal and illegal… It is also a bit of a contra-diction in terms when Jilly Cooper shows great enthus-iasm for this project yet tries to sanitise or divert attention away from what the cruel-sports fraternity do to our wildlife for a day's fun, plus the abuse and neglect of horses and ponies by some of that fraternity. David Thomas, Westbury, Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 4.12.04 MYSTERIES OF HUNT INQUIRY - The letter from Paul Gammon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association echoes many of the questions that, for me, have never been answered concerning the much quoted Burns Report. At the end of a 22-page submission on deer-hunting to the Burns Inquiry, dated January 2000, I included the following paragraph. "We have already registered our view that this inquiry is misconceived. We believe it to be patronising to those MPs who voted so overwhelmingly for a ban on November 28, 1997…." The paragraph went on to question the impartiality of some members of the committee… Doreen Cronin, Former Secretary of Devon & Somerset Residents' Assocn for Deer Protection, West Quantoxhead, Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 4.12.04 BEWARE OF THE 'IF IT MOVES BAN IT' CROWD - Whether hunting people have, according to the John Prescott, contorted faces, are squirearchy, gentry or toffs, is irrelevant to the hunting dispute. Likewise, those allegations that hunting is about power and class and people who go about the countryside "in uniforms"…. The killing of foxes will continue by means as cruel as hunting ever was, simply because foxes kill lambs, geese, ducks and poultry. Having secured a ban on hunting from February 19, those, opposed to field sports of all kinds, will now proceed against game shooting. If they succeed, no doubt fishing will be next on the list. Where does all this end? David Allen, Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.12.04 ANNE SHOWED CONTEMPT BY RIDING WITH HOUNDS - After this week's display of Princess Anne riding with hounds to show support for hunters and her utter contempt for the general public who, in the main, hate hunting - may I ask the League Against Cruel Sports to go for the royals next, instead of shooters? Mrs Jennie Cook, Tale Common Head, Honiton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.12.04 BLOOD SPORTS SUPPORTERS ARE NO BETTER THAN YOBS - Supporters of blood sports who claim the Hunting Act is more to do with class than welfare, Points of View, November 27, think they are better than inner city yobs who enjoy using hedgehogs as footballs. The rest of us think that they are not. David Fanson, Beacon Lane, Whipton Exeter (letter)

Western Morning News 4.12.04 CAMPAIGNERS USE DANGEROUS TACTICS - In your excellent editorial following the passing of the misbegotten Hunting Bill (November 19) you ask: "So how did it come to this?" In your comprehensive analysis you omitted one important factor. Before the 1997 election, New Labour's coffers received a million pound sweetener from the animal rights faction in return for including a pledge to ban hunting in the manifesto…. Jonathan Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 4.12.04 HUNTING BAN IS DEMOCRACY - On May 1, 1997, the Labour Party won a massive landslide victory with a manifesto that included a ban on hunting with dogs. In June 2001, Shona McIsaac was returned as a Labour Member of Parliament for the Cleethorpes constituency with a promise to vote against hunting with dogs. The Labour Party also had a historic second landslide victory… As the Tory party can't win fair and square at the ballot box, they will use any means possible to attack the democratically-elected Government; from infiltrating the Countryside Alliance to setting rural residents against urban…. The minority should accept the view of the majority. Duncan Anderson, Mill Lane, East Halton. (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 4.12.04 THE OTHER SIDE - I N response to Ronny Jillings' letter on Tuesday, November 30, about recent bans. It seems you can only see one side of the ban proposals. The fact is that these bans are necessary steps in the aim to improve the health, safety and well being of the people of Britain… These bans are not a personal attack on your rights or liberty, but an attempt to bring Britain into the 21st century and improve our quality of life… The smoking, hunting, children smacking, fireworks using, junk food eaters of this country will forever moan about it…. Jenny Backstrom, Cleethorpes. (Full address supplied). (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 4.12.04 ANGLING NOT CRUEL LIKE FOX-HUNTING - Brenda Flear (Viewpoint, November 22) writes about fox-hunting being a sport of the countryside and defends her views by criticising angling and accusing anglers as being cruel. I don't mind constructive criticism if the person is knowledgeable regarding the subject, but in this instance she is not. If anything, anglers protect the species by caring about and for the fish they catch, so they will be there for future generations. They don't deliberately kill for sport… I really don't think there is the slightest similarity between fox-hunting and angling and don't accept any grounds for criticism. An irate, third-generation, dedicated angler. B Bailey Main Street, Saxby All Saints. (letter)

Yorkshire Post 4.12.04 FOX HUNTING MAINLY ABOUT SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST From: Cynthia Berry, Far Ings, Wigginton Road, York. I was perplexed by comments made by Emma Milne, who appears to have been either mis-informed or has got the wrong end of the stick with some of her statements. Fox hunting is not about chasing and killing for amusement: it is a tried and tested, centuries-old method of culling weak, sickly and old foxes. Fox hunting scatters foxes over a wide area, keeping them at arm's length from poultry and helping to prevent in-breeding. In fact, many a time the hunt returns without seeing, chasing or killing a fox…. My father's farm was slap bang in the middle of mining country in South Yorkshire, just a stone's throw from Arthur Scargill's home. What happened to the livelihoods of miners all those years ago is going to happen to thousands of countryside people next year. (letter)

Cumberland News & Star 4.12.04 Rats or rabbits don’t count - GORDON Brown, chairman of the Carlisle branch of the National Farmers Union, says in his letter (November 26) that farmers will face prosecution under the new Hunting Act if they use dogs to kill rats or rabbits. This is not true, as using dogs to hunt either species is exempt under the Act…. JOHN BRYANT, Protect Our Wild Animals, London (letter)


Telegraph 3.12.04 Magistrate quits over hunting ban By Richard Savill - A magistrate has tendered his resignation from the North Avon Bench after 19 years because he says he cannot administer the ban on hunting with dogs. Derek Pearce, 59, who has hunted for 35 years and is a member of the Beaufort Hunt, said the new law was "not based on evidence but on prejudice", and was an "abuse of power" by the Government…. (story)
Western Daily Press 3.12.04 I COULDN'T SIT IN JUDGMENT ON MY FRIENDS - West magistrate Derek Pearce revealed yesterday he has become the first West JP to quit the bench, after his position was left "untenable" with the ban on hunting. The JP has written to North Avon Magistrates bench in Yate tendering his resignation citing his opposition to the new law. Last autumn, the Western Daily Press revealed how Mr Pearce was preparing to sign the infamous Hunting Declaration - and pledged to defy any ban…. MR Pearce was one of the prominent speakers when a Declaration Day event was held by the Beaufort Hunt at Badminton last October….
MEANWHILE, one of Mr Pearce's neighbouring farmers hit back yesterday at the Beaufort. In yesterday's Daily Press, farmer John Mastrangelo slammed the hunt for allowing its hounds to run amok in his farmyard….. last night, Mr Mastrangelo said: "The last time the hunt collected a dead animal from me was on September 10 last year, and since then I've used the Ministry scheme…. "(story)
Times 2.12.04 JP quits bench rather than enforce ban on hunting BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - A MAGISTRATE is resigning over the Government’s moves to force through a ban on hunting with dogs. Derek Pearce, 59, who has sat on the North Avon bench for 19 years, has written to the justices’ clerk tendering his resignation over what he says is an unjust law. Although other magistrates have said that they are planning to quit rather than sit in judgment over many friends who are prepared to defy a hunt ban, Mr Pearce is one of the first to do so…. Mr Pearce was following the Beaufort Hunt yesterday, as he has done for 35 years. An injury has forced him to give up riding temporarily, so he was on his bicycle in anorak and jeans rather than his usual dark blue jacket with buff lapels….(story)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 WE'LL BE OUT AS USUAL AND IN OUR HUNDREDS - Hunters in the Cotswolds yesterday played down the prospect of the biggestever hunt meet in the country taking place on February 19 - the day after the hunting ban becomes law. And they said reports that as many as 1,000 horses and 10,000 followers would gather to ride out from Cirencester Park were "simply not the case". The reports suggested that as many as five or six hunts, including the Beaufort, the Cotswold Vale, the Berkeley, the Cotswold Farmers and the Vale of the White Horse (VWH), would come together in a mass show of defiance. Cirencester Park, seat of Lord Apsley, is in VWH territory. Its joint master Mark Hill said yesterday no decision had been made. "We really can't say what will happen on February 19, apart from to say that we will be out as usual…" (story)
Wilts & Glos Standard 3.12.04 Hunt planned for the day after the ban - THE master of one of the country's top hunts will lead an illegal hunt the day after a ban comes in, he revealed today. Mark Hill, master of the Vale of the White Horse hunt in the Cotswolds, will proudly lead out a group of thousands of followers on February 19 - the day after a ban comes into force. "We will be meeting somewhere - that's a definite," said Mr Hill. "Old England isn't dead yet…." (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 REWARD TO CATCH DEER POACHER - Furious anti-hunt campaigners on Exmoor last night offered a reward of £1,000 to catch the poacher who shot and then beheaded a stag in a deer sanctuary…. The stag's decapitated body was found on Baronsdown - a League-run sanctuary - on October 29. Its discovery shocked both the anti-hunt and pro-hunt campaigners on the moor. (story)
Western Morning News 3.12.04 TROPHY HUNTERS SUSPECTED IN SANCTUARY STAG KILLING - A stag living in a deer sanctuary, on Westcountry land owned by the League Against Cruel Sports, has been shot and decapitated by trophy hunters. The 12-year-old stag was resting at Baronsdown, near Dulverton, Somerset, after the four-week rutting season, when it was killed last Friday. Paul Tillsley, who runs the 225-acre sanctuary, found the stag's corpse while out on his rounds…. Tom Yandle, chairman of Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said: "This is certainly not something that the hunters would get involved in. It would be by no means in their interest."… (story)

Western Morning News 3.12.04 COUNTRY FOLK ARE NOW LIKE AN ETHNIC MINORITY - People living and working in the countryside are suffering prejudice almost as bad as that experienced by ethnic minorities, says Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - the UK's only black farmer OVER the last few months the words "minority" and "prejudice" have been bandied about with monotonous regularity as the foxhunting furore has fuelled prejudice against a group of people because of their way of life and traditions…. Being black, I have a very good understanding of what it is like to be a member of a minority group…. Today's underclass are people who were born and bred in this country, people who have for generations given this country great service, dedication and commitment. It is my belief that if you live in the countryside it is tantamount to being a second-class citizen… I am keen that issues facing the countryside are still seen to be important and not ignored. Unfortunately, they don't raise as much passion as foxhunting, but are equally, if not more, important. My concern is that now that the foxhunting bill is no longer front page news other issues will be forgotten by our urban brothers. What we need to do is keep the cause of the countryside alive and keep it alive on a daily basis…. (story)

Western Morning News 3.12.04 HUNTING SHOULD BE A FREEDOM OF CHOICE - It is the break of dawn at the kennels at the home of the Mid Devon Hunt, situated on the north-west corner of the Dartmoor National Park. For Guy Allman, huntsman for the organisation, the day is about to follow a familiar pattern to those of the past six years… (story)

Derby Evening Telegraph 3.12.04 NO RIGHT TO OPT OUT OF DEMOCRACY - The great public debate over the recent Parliamentary decision to ban fox-hunting continues unabated… we now have huntsmen and landowners saying they have no intention of heeding the Commons dictate. There have been some extraordinary radio interviews. One farmer said he would retaliate by refusing power companies access to repair power lines… By all means let the Countryside Alliance, or whoever else, challenge the validity of the Commons vote through the law courts. But unless the legislation is overturned, then our farmers and hunts are guilty of an unattractive arrogance in considering themselves above the law of the land. (story)

South Wales Argus 3.12.04 Hunt supporters condemn MP phone threat - HUNT supporters have condemned a threatening telephone call made to Blaenau Gwent MP over his support of the fox hunting ban. Special Branch officers are investigating a call made last week to the Bryn-mawr office of Labour backbencher Llew Smith. But Diana Bown, a member and former chairman of Monmouthshire's Curre Llangybi Hunt, said: "I think it is appalling and I certainly would not condone this type of behaviour…" (story in archive)
South Wales Argus 2.12.04 Phone call threat to MP - SPECIAL Branch officers are investigating a threatening phone call made to Blaenau Gwent MP Llew Smith. The call was made last week to the MP's Brynmawr office by a pro-hunt campaigner angry at Mr Smith's stance against fox hunting…. (story in archive)

Chester Chronicle 3.12.04 Racecourse boss hopes ban will be thwarted by loophole - RACECOURSE boss and huntsman Richard Thomas will not be drawn on whether he is prepared to hunt in defiance of a fox-hunting ban due to take effect from February… He is holding out hope that the Countryside Alliance, which is mounting a legal challenge, will find a loophole in the Hunting With Dogs Act…. Farrier Doug Thompson, of Great Barrow, a former master with the Vale of Lune Harriers, believes the law is a nonsense…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 3.12.04 Hunting fan fires a broadside at 'bigot' MPs By Maria Malatesta, Chester Chronicle - PASSIONATE Cheshire hunt follower Steve Creer brands MPs behind the ban on the sport as 'bigots with no understanding of rural life.' Steve, has followed the Wynnstay Hunt, between Cheshire and North Wales, for 40 years…. 'Ordinary respected members of rural society will now all of a sudden become criminals through a completely unjust law but how on earth can hunting be policed when it takes people in rural areas many hours to get a policeman if someone is robbed? (story)

Stourbridge News 3.12.04 Hunt's last stand - Members of one of the Midlands' biggest hunts are set to descend on Hagley Hall in force for their last festive outing before the blood sport is outlawed next year. Albrighton Woodland Hunt's traditional Boxing Day meet at Lord Cobham's stately home will be a last stand against the forthcoming ban on hunting with hounds - due to come into force in February…. (story in archive)

Henley Standard 3.12.04 FOX HUNTING - GOOD OR BAD? ONCE the central and only question as to whether fox-hunting should be banned was: ‘Is it cruel’? Now, arguments and debates from both sides of the hunting-with-dogs fence have introduced many other issues, although the much-discussed Burns Inquiry could only conclude that hunting with dogs ‘seriously compromises the welfare of the fox’. Last week, the Standard reported on a meet of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt at Peppard which has prompted a number of letters from readers, both for and against (see Letters to the Editor, page 6). Here, Marion Bowden, former Master of Fox Hounds and now vice chairman of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt, puts the case for hunting, and Labour M.P for Reading West, Martin Salter, puts the opposing view…. (story may be in archive)

Tenby Observer 3.12.04 South Pembs. Hunt Week another success - The recent South Pembrokeshire Hunt Week proved another success. The week getting off to a great start with a meet at Shipping Hill, Norchard, on Monday, November 22 ,very generously hosted by Philip and Jan Mathias, on what turned out to be a lovely day…. (story)

Wandsworth Borough News 3.12.04 MP supports ban on hunting - Tooting MP Tom Cox has welcomed the ban on hunting with dogs, branding the activity barbaric. He said: "I could never understand how people found any pleasure and enjoyment in chasing an animal, only to watch it being ripped apart by hounds once caught…. (story)

Somerset County Gazette 3.12.04 Hunt ban: MPs to meet minister - THREE local MPS are to meet Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael to try to thrash out a better deal for people on Exmoor who will be hit by the ban on hunting. MPs Ian Liddell-Grainger (West Somerset), Adrian Flook (Taunton), and Nick Harvey (Devon North) are lining up the meeting in a desperate bid to support people, who will suffer a loss of livelihood…. (story in archive)

Darlington & Stockton Times 3.12.04 Hunts aim to keep hounds busy pending ban appeal - HUNT masters and supporters are drawing up plans of how their animals can be exercised once the hunting with dogs ban becomes law in February. Although the Countryside Alliance is questioning the legality of the ban, any action to overturn it may not be possible before mid-summer…. John Snaith, chairman of the Zetland Hunt, which hunts along the borders of North Yorkshire and County Durham, said: "We may be a little bloody- minded when it comes to people like water and electricity companies getting access to our land. They may find things a little awkward…." (story in archive)

Wells Journal 3.12.04 SERIOUS DOUBTS OVER HUNT BAN - Police in mid-Somerset fear that the fox hunting ban could present the force with serious problems…. PC Simon Selby, the Police Federation officer for the East Somerset police district, said: "The passing of this law has divided public opinion, and any defiance of the law could potentially create widespread public disorder. The federation stance is that this sort of problem would be highly resource-intensive for forces to deal with. Added to this will be the difficulty of gathering evidence to ensure successful convictions, and the federation also believes that the law is unclear in giving a precise definition of hunting…." (story)

Wells Journal 3.12.04 HUNT BAN DELIGHT - Having campaigned at a local, regional and national level for the abolition of bloodsports such as hunting for the past 20 years, I naturally express my delight at the ban being introduced as soon as February next year…. Those who feel they must defy the law and continue causing this dreadful cruelty will find themselves behind bars - and that's exactly where I've always maintained they should be. Kevin Saunders St Mary's Road Meare
At long last, it was my impression that not only had it been agreed that hunting with hounds would be made illegal in the near future, but that the arguments against this so-called (barbaric) sport were shared by the vast majority of thinking people across this country, both in rural and more urban areas…. John Gibson Hooper Avenue Wells (letter)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 3.12.04 Countryside should be left in peace - I HAVE never hunted foxes, and have no intention of ever doing so as I think it is rather cruel. However, I unreservedly believe it should be allowed to carry on, as it should be treated as an issue on which grown-up people should be allowed to decide how to live their own grown-up lives…. A Stafford, Manton
I AM writing in response to Len Loullis’ letter last week. People seek different requirements from their jobs: the Prime Minister wants power; the businessman wants profit; and the hunt servants want to work with nature… Ironically, however, the real loser in all this is the fox because, without the help of the hunt, famers will look to alternative methods to control them. Zoe Smith (15), Barrow
THE hunting question has nothing to do with the fox’s welfare. It is driven by the class hatred of the likes of Hain, Banks, Kaufman and their fellow travellers, and Blair disclaims them. ROBERT CREES, Barrow, Oakham (letters on site for a week)

Yorkshire Posts 3.12.04 HUNTING WITH DOGS: THE SNARLING GOES ON From: Charles Rushton, Pasture Close, Strensall, York. So, fox-hunting is a minor issue of little interest to the majority of the electorate, according to our worthy Deputy Prime Minister…. We have heard so much of democracy during this travesty; it surely illustrates one of the primary failings of our so-called democratic system when the leisure pursuits and way of life of whole slices of the people can be trampled on in such a way….
From: Catherine Baker, Thornton-le-Beans, Northallerton, North Yorkshire … My father now works for the Church's Regional Commission for Yorkshire and the Humber as a regional development officer… My father fears that the passing of the Hunting Bill will make his job 10, maybe a 100 times, harder now the countryside has lost another valuable income. Perhaps Mr Blair and those Labour MPs who demanded that hunting with dogs should be abolished might bear in mind that a lot of my friends and I get the vote next year….
From: Ian Marlow, Pasture Avenue, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Leeds … No animal should be abused for sporting pleasure – ever
From:G Holmes, The Grove, Idle, Bradford. I am amazed and alarmed at the dupliicity of our ruling party… We cannot determine how people spend their leisure time, they say. Substitute fox-hunting for casinos, and with a few honourable exceptions, Labour's total lack of integrity is revealed in all its shabbiness. (letters)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 CATS TAKE A TOLL - Animal rights groups should be more concerned about the welfare of mice, rats and song birds tortured and torn apart by cats belonging to so-called animal lovers than about royals following a fox hunt…. Roger Straton Bristol (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 HUNTS MUST RESPECT LAW - Having lived in deer hunting country for many years, it was heartbreaking to see and hear the end results of a day's stag hunting, and the comments made by members of the hunting fraternity in the local the same evening were hard to believe. Later, when I moved to my present home in the middle of the Berkeley hunt territory, it was the same with the foxes. I cannot tell you how elated I was when the Parliamentary ban on blood sports was announced… S R Grimes Sharpness Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 PURSUIT OF HINDS IS CLEARLY CRUEL - It is not only red deer stags that are hunted. Hinds are hunted also. What about the clear and obvious cruelty caused by making a pastime of hunting hinds running with their calves?... Janet Hall Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 3.12.04 WHY IT'S RIGHT TO FIGHT FOR OUR FREE SPEECH - I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate the Western Daily Press on the final conclusion of the PCC's investigation involving the complaints against free speech by Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance. This attitude of the likes of these people is well known in rural areas of the British Isles by generations of country dwellers…. M J Haines Cirencester Gloucestershire (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 3.12.04 MAJORITY SUPPORT BAN ON FOX HUNTING - I would like to express my opinion on the recent long-awaited democratic Commons vote to ban fox hunting. Firstly, the majority of British people want it banned and know it is an outdated cruel sport, no different, if not worse, than dog fighting, badger baiting, cock fighting and all the other barbaric traditions…. John Watkins, Derby (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 3.12.04 BIG ISSUES ARE BEING ADDRESSED - I was always told "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit". After reading Richard Aitken-Davies's letter (Opinion, November 26), I can understand why… Just remember, Mr Aitken- Davies, I am one of those people who agreed with Labour's mandate to abolish fox-hunting and a lot of your own party supports this… Peter Broughton, Taddington Road, Chaddesden. (letter)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 3.12.04 No hunting the hunters - I have written to the Chief Constable of the West Midlands and asked for his assurance that not a single police hour fighting crime in Sandwell will be lost due to the anti-fox hunting law. I believe the correct priority for the police in Sandwell should be hunting criminals and not fox hunters. We have enough problems of our own with gun crime, drugs being pushed to our children and our old folk not even being safe in their own homes. Police should not be taken off the streets of Sandwell and deployed to the countryside in order to arrest normally law abiding citizens…. Alan Nugent, West Bromwich West Conservative Association, Beech Road, Wednesbury. (letter)

Lincolnshire Echo 3.12.04 A VENOMOUS RULE CAN NEVER BE A GOOD LAW - In reply to Rachel Astill-Dunseith's comments on hunting and the people who hunt, the only obvious reply is to inform the public that any law based on venom towards people, be they a minority or a majority, cannot be a good law…. J. ELKINGTON Brauncewell Manor, Sleaford
I agree with E. C. Coleman (November 25) - the fox has been dumped here by aliens. It has no more place on this planet in a modern world than say, tradition… I wholeheartedly agree that hunters should continue regardless of the law. I mean, what could "they" (the authorities) do against such an ungovernable force?... For once I will be cheering on the police at a demo. How ironic the police are now the hunt sabs. M. FROST Dynche Drive, Horncastle
Robert Nelstrop (November 29) states "police men and women have been a long standing and well respected ally of the farmer and landowner in the battle against all aspects of rural crime". Well excuse me, but I thought the police officers were an ally of all citizens who are respectful of the law…. This is not a ridiculous law but one that we, the majority of decent, law-abiding people, want…. WALLY CROFT Birchwood Estate, Lincoln (letters)

Shropshire Star 3.12.04 Priority for foxes, not the elderly - I cannot, in honesty, relish the thought of a fox being pursued by a pack of hounds. But the knowledge that countless elderly people cannot venture beyond their own front door without being subjected to verbal or physical abuse by a pack of mindless louts gives me far more cause for concern…. Isn't it about time we re-evaluated our priorities?... Anne Smith, Shrewsbury (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 3.12.04 CAN YOUR DOG TELL DIFFERENCE? - Dog owners beware. You have less than three months to teach Fido the difference between rats and cats, and rabbits and hares. When you take advantage of the "Right to Roam" he will be allowed to chase rats and rabbits, (the operative word being chase) but if he even sniffs at another mammal a £5000 fine could be heading your way, and that age old pastime of chasing the neighbour's cat is a definite no-no… K E WATTS, via e-mail (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 3.12.04 FAR FROM SILENT OVER BIG ISSUES - Sonia Friend accuses me of being "painfully silent" on dividing issues (November 18). I may not have commented frequently on fox hunting. I don't regard it as the most important issue facing Britain today. Contrary to what Ms Friend says, I have never been fox hunting and I'm never likely to. But I wouldn't vote to ban others from doing so…. PAUL JAMES, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester (letter)

Post & Times 3.12.04 FOX HUNT BAN'S MAD - Some good points were made by Cynicus Remus in your last letters column regarding whether police would have any practical way of prosecuting the twisted weirdos who go foxhunting with horses and dogs. As police find it hard these days to prove many instances of illegal or anti-social behaviour against anyone, how will they be able to come up with cast-iron evidence against a bunch of scarlet and black-clad horsemen and women to prove they are chasing an animal to death rather than just out for a vigorous ride in the countryside?... More Cynical Still Marchington (letter)

Northampton Chronicle & Echo/Evening Telegraph 3.12.04 Hunt ban is enforceable with support from public - I WRITE in response to the open letter to the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire from Dr J Harper. I am not the Chief Constable but would like to offer my support to him in enforcing the Hunting Bill, as I hope others will…. The hunting ban is not an unenforceable law, Dr John Harper simply wishes it as such. Let all who are disgusted by the blood sport enthusiasts prove him wrong. If the police are well supported the ban can easily be enforced…. (Mrs) P V Croot, Grange Close, Denton, Northampton. (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 3.12.04 'LAW WOULD PROVE AN ASS IF HUNTING BILL OVERTURNED' - I would like to know how the Countryside Alliance is able to go to the courts and try to overturn the will of the majority of our elected MPs and the majority of right-minded people of this country, just so they can carry on the barbaric sport of fox hunting…. If these despicable, people don't like the democratic system, then they should clear off and never come back - though I would not wish them on anybody else. Here is an idea, just off the top of my head. Why don't they go to America? It seems to be full of the same sort of idiots. It's certainly run by one. S Maw, Earlsgate, Winterton. (letter)

Henley Standard 3.12.04 Hunt for the real facts - How wonderful to see the recent fox hunt meet at Peppard covered by the Henley Standard, but what a shame that it seemed to have been written with an anti-hunt bias and that your reporter is obviously better at English than maths. For the record there were 46 mounted followers, eight saboteurs and about 300 people turned up for the meet, some of whom followed on foot…. Kate Waddington, Fawley.
Memories from now on - The Henley Standard was a breath of fresh air for covering the hunt at Peppard Common. It was lovely to see a local paper covering a local hunt event which is still legal…. Name and address supplied
Rights for the minority - I always thought that we were part of the civilised world, on a par with France, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland and the USA, but no longer. We are now out-of-sync with these nations, which all permit hunting. This is because the House of Commons has decided that, despite the fact that we live in an educated mature democracy, they are in a position to impose their moral views on the rest of us…. Christopher Austin, Garth and South Berks Hunt, Newbury.
A dreadful decision - I was surprised and delighted to see those lovely pictures of the Garth and South Berks Hunt in the Standard. It was disappointing to see, according to your paper, that 80 per cent are against hunting. In our village we love to see the hunt for we know what damage the foxes do. I’ve see young lambs being attacked by them and people forget this…. Mrs. N. Oxley, Ipsden.
What will they do next? - At last some coverage in your paper of a very popular rural pursuit in the area, but what happened to the facts, did they get lost in political correctness somewhere? In my opinion, the figures given regarding the numbers of riders and followers was totally incorrect, you mentioned 20 riders on horseback, I counted just under 50, you mention 100 mounted riders and supporters, I counted more than 200 supporters on foot alone… Sally Stallwood, Crowsley Way, Sonning Common
Bigoted views of Labour MPs - Whilst I appreciate the coverage your newspaper has given the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt the report appeared to be lacking in fact and detail. For some reason you have incorrectly reported the actual numbers of riders and supporters, reducing their numbers by at least half and swelled the numbers of hunt saboteurs threefold. To put the record straight there were 46 mounted riders and in excess of 200 foot followers with eight anti-hunting people…. The Hon Ines Garton, Reading Road, Shiplake. (letters may be in archive)
Henley Standard 27.11.04 DEFIANT HUNTERS KILL ONE FOX - Two protesters arrested - YOU CAN sense the determination to carry on, not to be told what to do by the ‘townies’. And that includes Tony Blair, his Cabinet, most of his MPs, as well as many from other parties. And it also applies to around 80 per cent of the general public… there were no signs of local protest when the Vale of Aylesbury with the Garth and South Berks Hunt met on Peppard Common last Saturday…. The hounds and professional huntsman Philip Hague were joined by about 20 hunters on horseback and many more followers in cars and on foot….(story)
Henley Standard 26.11.04 TWO ARRESTS AS SABOTEURS BID TO DISRUPT HUNT - Two hunt saboteurs were arrested this week as fox hunters ‘met’ on Peppard Common on Saturday — two days after the law to ban hunting with dogs was passed. There was a group of about 20 anti-hunt protesters trailing members of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt as they set off from the Common on Saturday…. (story)

Bristol Evening Post 3.12.04 WHY THE LONG WAIT FOR SMOKING BAN? AT long last the Government has decided to ban smoking in restaurants and other public places…. I fail to understand how the Government can pass a law banning hunting in November 2004 and say it will become effective in February 2005. Are the fox and deer considered more important than the lives of we human beings?... I Pearce, Bristol (letter)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 3.12.04 ‘Sheer arrogance astounded me’ - I would like to respond to the reply by George Bowyer (“Fox letter really was ignorant”, Letters, November 26) following my letter on the subject of foxhunting as it now enters its final weeks. I mentioned the sheer arrogance of his kind, to which I now wish to add pomposity…. Erik Vitins, Stanground, Peterborough
‘Facts pulled out of thin air by master’ - Your recently published letter by George Bowyer, Joint Master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt, was a typical piece of pro-hunting propaganda, which pulled completely unsubstantiated facts and figures out of thin air…. Foxhunting is nothing to do with pest control. It is a sadistic form of entertainment, which we at the League Against Cruel Sports are relieved to see finally being outlawed after 80 years of campaigning. Mike Hobday, Head of public affairs, League Against Cruel Sports
‘This is a stupid law’ - With regard to the impending ban on hunting, I assume that exercising horses and dogs is not illegal, so the only offence committed is if a fox is killed. Otherwise it is not hunting. How can they have a policeman in every field every day? I don’t, and never will, hunt, but it’s just another unenforceable law. R LANE. Franklyn Crescent, Peterborough (letters)

Scotsman 3.12.04 Kerfuffle I confess I am weary of the endless kerfuffle over fox hunting. I am told there is a technical terms for my condition: tallyhosis. PD Clarke KIRKHOPE, SELKIRKSHIRE (letter)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 3.12.04 No justification - IT always amuses me how the hunting fraternity attempt to justify their little pastime. Typical of this attitude is Tony Hillier (EA Nov 27) who links the death of African children from aids with MPs voting for the ban on hunting with hounds…. Philip Beaven, Merton Avenue (letter in archive)

Harrogate Advertiser 3.12.04 From: William B Thompson, Park House Green, Harrogate - I FEEL that I must comment on last week’s articles and letters regarding foxhunting…. As for the ‘class war"’claims made in your article, it seems only the hunters who go on about this. I don't think I have ever read an article by an anti making any such claims… It is a great pity that the Countryside Alliance cannot sink some of the millions of pounds they are spending trying to stave off the inevitable in order to compensate the loyal staff who are going to lose out at the end of the day, or are they to be thrown to the dogs too?... (letter)

Worcester Evening News 3.12.04 Crush hunters who break law IT is now all out war. It is the British people, police and Labour government against the hunting brigade… The government and police will have to crush hunting brigade to prove no one is above the law. K HEMMING, Worcester (letter in archive)

The Sentinel 3.12.04 HUNTING IS THE KIND WAY TO KILL FOXES - In response to the letter from J Coyte of Hanford, may I please bring this disillusioned person back down to Earth with a few truths, rather than the glorified scaremongering that we hear so much of late? Firstly, J Coyte seems unaware of who actually hunts. In fact, while hunts do have their origins within aristocratic, land-owning gentry, modern-day hunters are, by-and-large, normal people doing everyday jobs, from school teachers to nurses…. If you do not wish foxes to suffer, support hunting, not an un-enforceable ban. Cars usually kill more foxes than hunting. Shall we ban them too? JULIE SMITH Packmoor (letter)

The Sentinel 3.12.04 THANKS TO RSPCA FOR HUNTING STANCE - I have recently received a letter of thank you from the RSPCA for my support and contributions towards the outcome of outlawing the activities of hunting with hounds. While pro-hunters will continue their campaign for what the believe is their right to go out in their countryside killing, they should stop and consider what it has been like for all those people who are against such barbaric activities and yet until now have had to put up with them… PETER T RIDGWAY Bradwell (letter)

Ilkley Gazette 3.12.04 I cannot feel sorry for a huntsman loosing his job; who can feel sorry for someone who makes a living out of enjoying terrorising animals, before they are ripped to pieces?... SAMUEL MOSS, Thornhill Avenue, Oakworth (letter in archive)

Gloucestershire Gazette 3.12.04 'Disgusting' hunt behaviour - Re the excellent letter submitted by Anon in last week's Gazette, like that person, I am writing anonymously because of the disgusting behaviour of pro-hunt supporters who threaten violence. We are the silent majority for obvious reasons but there are hundreds of us living in rural areas who will welcome the proposed ban and an end to its rude supporters who block our lanes…. Hunt ban supporter, Name and address supplied (letter in archive)

Cumberland News 3.12.04 - FARMER Willie Richardson, interviewed in Cumbria Farmer (The Cumberland News, November 19) defended hunting on environmental grounds. That he also hunts himself, as deputy master of Melbreak Foxhounds, wasn’t mentioned… Horror movies have as their essence the terror of an individual fleeing violent death. So does hunting. There is no question that its whole intention is a long pursuit, and to me that’s evil…. ROSE DALZIELLamberton Tavistock Devon (letter)


Whitehaven News 2.12.04 LONGHORN CATTLE VERSUS ANNE HATHAWAY’S COTTAGE? NO CONTEST! …I’ve never been fox hunting in my life, never had any desire to, simple as that. The last fox I clapped eyes on was playing around on the middle of a roundabout in Aldershot… If the hunting ban goes ahead it won’t bother me directly unless a few lambs start disappearing then it’s a different story, it’s no mercy time I’m afraid…. The whole issue has been hijacked by different parties connected to the countryside but it’s fair to say it’s seen as a line in the sand by the majority of us connected to farming and it’s become a case of us and them – this right-wing New Labour government against us… (story)

Formby Times 2.12.04 Cup set to beat the ban By Gillian Stratton, Formby Times - A FINAL Waterloo Cup will be squeezed into the hare coursing calendar - just hours before a controversial Government ban comes into force. The National Coursing Club has confirmed the doomed event will start on St Valentine's Day and finish on Thursday, February 16 - two days before the sport becomes illegal…. (letter)

Guardian 2.12.04 Tally-ho, gung ho - David McKie - There were cheering tidings for hunting folk when they opened their Sunday Telegraphs at the weekend. A poll by ICM, Melissa Kite reported, showed that 70% of the public did not want the police to enforce the impending ban on hunting…. Hunters needed this boost, for the previous day a YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph had made gloomy reading. The hunting issue, wrote the Telegraph's analyst, Professor Anthony King, would not win many votes for the Tories…. As ever, much hung on the way questions were worded…. (story)

BBC News Online 2.12.04 New warning over Army exercises - A rural pressure group warns that parts of mid Wales are in danger of becoming 'no go areas' for the Army. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said many landowners may prevent troops from using their fields because of the new hunting law…. (story)

Epping Forest Guardian 2.12.04 Rammell welcomes hunting decision - THE decision to make fox hunting illegal has been welcomed by Harlow MP Bill Rammell who said it was a "cruel, barbaric sport"…. (story)

Western Telegraph 2.12.04 MP calls for fox hunting ban to be delayed - CARMARTHEN West and South Pembrokeshire MP Nick Ainger says local fox hunts could continue to hunt for another 20 months, if the House of Lords co-operates on a new date for banning the activity…. The South Pem-brokeshire Hunt questioned Mr Ainger's reasons for delaying the ban. Committee member Diane Clements claimed it proved that the ban was not related to animal cruelty. "Why does he want to prolong the suffering he claims to protect?'' she said…. (story in archive)

Denbighshire Free Press 2.12.04 FURY OF HUNTSMAN - A HUNTSMAN is promising to campaign against Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane to ensure he is ousted at the next General Election. Jeremy Reed, who runs Flint and Denbigh Hunt’s kennels, vowed he would be out “every single day” during next year’s election to ensure the MP’s removal…. (story)

Western Gazette 2.12.04 COMMENTS ABOUT CLASS WARFARE ARE 'ABSOLUTELY CRAZY' - POLITICIANS and hunt supporters have hit back at a minister after he said the Hunting Act was about class warfare, not animal welfare. Peter Bradley, the parliamentary private secretary to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael and MP to the Wrekin, said the legislation was not about personal freedom, but about who governs Britain…. (story)

Reading Chronicle 2.12.04 We're not finished yet, claim hunt groups By Karl Plunkett - HUNT supporters turned out at Peppard Common in a show of defiance against the ban on hunting. Just days after the vote that outlawed hunting with dogs in England and Wales from February 2005, the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt assembled at the Red Lion pub for what could be one of its last legal outing… (story)

Western Morning News 2.12.04 HUNTS CAN STILL CHASE AND KILL FOXES - The difficulties faced by rural police forces in enforcing the new hunting ban were underlined by the Government yesterday, when it acknowledged that hunts would still be able to chase and kill foxes - provided they did not do so deliberately. In an internal briefing document inadvertently sent to the WMN, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that police and prosecutors would have to demonstrate that those committing offences under the new Hunting Act had done so intentionally…. (story)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 WE'LL HAVE LAW ON THE RUN, VOW HUNTS - Hunts across the country could re-brand themselves as 'virtual hunts' to continue their activities for years after the ban, the Western Daily Press can reveal. And yesterday it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in mass hunts within hours of the ban coming into force…. Last night the joint master of one of the West's biggest hunts, the Cotswold-based Vale of the White Horse, made clear that thousands would turn out for the meet on Saturday, February 19. Mark Hill said hunts would continue to meet, and would continue to operate in one form or another… (story)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 NO SELECTIVE OBSERVANCE OF OUR LAWS - Hunt followers who are doing their best to find ways round the ban which becomes law in February are playing a very dangerous game. It is one which could have hugely detrimental consequences for the whole country. Apart from being one of the most attractive and prosperous countries in the world, Britain is also one of the safest because of its long-established tradition of respect for the law…. There can be absolutely no argument against the right of hunt supporters to campaign against a law they do not like. If they can persuade enough people that their cause is just then they can look forward to the law being changed - but selective law-breaking is not an option (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 2.12.04 PRO-HUNT MARCH CAUSES GRIDLOCK - Hunt supporters marched from Hartpury College into the centre of Gloucester yesterday, causing chaos on city and county roads. They had been asked by police to march from the Westgate boating lake to minimise traffic disruption but defied the warning and brought some roads to a virtual standstill…. Sitting in a tailback between Hartpury and Maisemore, Adrian Saxelby, of Ledbury, spoke of his anger at having missed an appointment in Swindon. "I support the protest but I might lose a bit of work because of it," he said…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 2.12.04 PROTESTING STUDENTS DEFY POLICE - Fox-hunting supporters marched from Hartpury College into Gloucester city centre - defying police advice and causing traffic delays for commuters. The protesters, who walked to the Gloucester offices of city MP Parmjit Dhanda, had been told to march from the Westgate boating lake. Instead, they walked slowly along the key A417 Hartpury to Gloucester road, with traffic backing up in front and behind them…. Kay Robins, who lives in Frampton and was heading in the other direction to the march, said: "The traffic doesn't bother me. I don't mind being held up. I'm fully in support of them," she said. David Every, of the Ledbury Hunt, said: "We're here to make people realise that we want to carry on what we've been doing for years…" (story)

North Devon Journal 2.12.04 HUNTS WILL 'TRY TO THROW OUT BLAIR' - Hunt supporters in Torridge have vowed to fight the Hunting Bill to the bitter end. Torrington Farmers' Hunt has pledged that its hounds won't be destroyed and members say they will keep the hunt alive in some form so it can be restored at a future date…. (story)
North Devon Journal 2.12.04 JAMES FEARFUL FOR FUTURE AS HUNTING BAN THREATENS JOB - James pearson is just one of thousands of people whose working life now hangs in the balance, after MPs used the Parliament Act to outlaw hunting. As kennel huntsman for Torrington Farmers' Hunt, in less than four months' time he could be jobless…. (story)

North Devon Journal 2.12.04 LOOKS LIKE WE'LL BE PAYING AGAIN - No matter which side you stand on the great hunting divide we all have one thing in common - we'll all end up paying. Home Secretary David Blunkett says there will be no Government money to meet the extra costs of the police in enforcing the ban on hunting with hounds… So look out for the debate on which council services will have to be cut next year to pay for policing the hunting ban - assuming it can be policed. (story)

Frome & Somerset Standard 2.12.04 PRO-HUNTING MESSAGES ON HIGHWAYS - Pro-hunting groups are thought to be behind dozens of "Hunt On" signs painted on roads throughout the region. Police have condemned the graffiti as irresponsible vandalism but hunt supporters have dfended the work saying they have been left with no other option…. Richard Standing, master huntsman for the Mendip Farmers Hunt, said he could see why vandalism had been committed because emotions were running high and everything had gone against the pro-hunting groups… (story)
Somerset Guardian 2.12.04 HUNT FANS DAUB ROADS IN PROTEST - Pro-hunting groups are thought to be behind dozens of Hunt On signs painted on roads throughout the region. Police have condemned the graffiti as irresponsible vandalism but hunt supporters have defended the action…. Richard Standing, master huntsman for the Mendip Farmers Hunt, said he could see why vandalism had been committed… (story)
Warminster & Westbury Standard 2.12.04 PRO-HUNTING GRAFFITI ON MAJOR ROADS CONDEMNED AS VANDALISM BY POLICE - Pro-hunting groups are thought to be behind dozens of Hunt On signs painted on roads throughout the region. Police have condemned the graffiti as irresponsible vandalism but hunt supporters have defended the work saying they have been left with no other option… Richard Standing, master huntsman for the Mendip Farmers Hunt, said he could see why vandalism had been committed because emotions were running high and everything had gone against the pro hunting groups…. (story)

Warminster & Westbury Standard 2.12.04 WILTSHIRE HUNT PLANS TO SET UP LEGAL ALTERNATIVE - It May be an uncertain time for the hunting fraternity but that has not stopped one Wiltshire pack from celebrating its anniversary. It was business as usual for Wiltshire and Infantry Beagles, who met to celebrate 50 years of being welcomed to the farm by the Hendy family. And the hunters are determined to continue with their tradition by finding alternative, legal methods…. Instead of hunting hares, they will devise another method such as laying a scent trail which their beagles can follow perfectly legally…. (story)

South Wales Evening Post 2.12.04 PROBE INTO CARCASSES - Dead animals are being illegally dumped along the roadside throughout Carmarthenshire. It follows the discovery last week of 12 dumped dead animals on the road between Gowerton and Loughor…. The spate of dumpings is thought to have been sparked in protest against a new fallen stock scheme for farmers. The spate of dumpings is thought to have been sparked in protest against a new fallen stock scheme for farmers… (story)
South Wales Evening Post 1.12.04 DUMPED LIVESTOCK - Police are continuing their investigations into the dumping of 11 dead calves on the roadside between Loughor and Gowerton last week. It follows the discovery three days earlier of four dead calves abandoned on the side of the Carmarthen to Llandyssul road…. One theory is the dumpings may have been prompted by the hunting ban, as slaughtered calves are used legally as feed for hunting dogs. There is also anger in the farming community at the introduction of a payment and collection system for dead farm livestock. (story)
South Wales Evening Post 27.11.04 POLICE PROBE AFTER DEAD CALVES FOUND - CHRIS PEREGRINE - Police have launched an investigation after the grisly discovery of 11 dead calves on the roadside between Loughor and Gowerton. Passing motorists inundated police with phone calls after seeing the horrific sight in lay-bys along the A484 at around 10pm on Wednesday… The Farmers' Union of Wales suspects the incidents could have been prompted by last Monday's introduction of the national fallen stock scheme. It means that all dead farm livestock will either have to be taken to hunt kennels or be disposed of through the scheme, which attracts a £28 annual registration fee and a collection charge per carcass… (story)

Wiltshire Gazette 2.12.04 Princess joins the hunt - PRINCESS Anne gave fox hunting royal approval when she joined the Beaufort Hunt on Monday for a day following the hounds…. (story in archive)
Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 1.12.04 Princess Anne shows support for fox hunting - THE Princess Royal has become the first member of the Royal Family to be pictured fox-hunting since the ban on the sport was forced through Parliament. She was pictured riding with the prestigious Beaufort Hunt. Charles and his two sons, William and Harry, have frequently hunted with the Beaufort… John Bryant, from the anti-hunt campaign group Protect Our Wild Animals, said the Princess had shown "contempt" for Parliament by going hunting…. (story in archive)
Sun 30.11.04 Fox hunt for Princess - PRINCESS Anne defied the Government yesterday and became the first Royal to go fox hunting since the ban was forced through Parliament. She took to the saddle with the Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire near her Cotswold estate…. (story)
Times 30.11.04 Princess rides into the hunting lobby BY NICOLA WOOLCOCK AND ADAM FRESCO - THE Princess Royal has become the first member of the Royal Family to go foxhunting since the ban was forced through Parliament. She made an apparently defiant point of arriving for the start of the meet at Chavenage House, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire, yesterday. The Princess wore the Beaufort Hunt's traditional bluecoat with buff facings and rode until lunchtime with the hunt…. (story)
Telegraph 30.11.04 Princess Anne goes hunting despite ban - Princess Anne has become the first Royal to be pictured fox-hunting since the ban on the sport was forced through Parliament. She was pictured riding with the prestigious Beaufort Hunt, based near Tetbury in Gloucestershire - close to her home and the Prince of Wales's Highgrove residence…. (story)
Ananova 30.11.04 Princess Royal rides with hunt The Princess Royal has become the first member of the Royal Family to be pictured fox-hunting since the ban on the sport was forced through Parliament. She was pictured riding with the prestigious Beaufort Hunt, which is based near Tetbury in Gloucestershire - close to the Prince of Wales' Highgrove home…. (story)
Daily Mail 30.11.04 Anne goes hunting despite ban The Princess Royal has become the first member of the Royal Family to be pictured fox-hunting since the ban on the sport was forced through Parliament, it emerged today. She was pictured riding with the prestigious Beaufort Hunt, which is based near Tetbury in Gloucestershire… (story)
Western Daily Press 30.11.04 ANNE RIDES OUT WITH THE HUNT AND INTO STORM - Princess Anne provoked fury yesterday when she became the first Royal to hunt since a ban was forced through Parliament. She reignited the row over the Windsor family's support of the country sport as she headed out with West-based Beaufort Hunt…. The campaigns director from Animal Defenders International described it as "absolutely disgraceful"… (story)
Bristol Evening Post 30.11.04 ANNE HUNT SPARKS ANGER - Princess Anne provoked fury when she became the first royal to hunt since a ban was forced through Parliament…. (story)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 THE HOUNDS RAMPAGED THROUGH MY FARMYARD - A Cotswold farmer blasted the West's premier hunt last night after it let its hounds run amok through his farmyard, just months after promising not to. Back in March farmer John Mastrangelo was furious after the Beaufort Hunt rode across his land - despite his family banning the hunt for more than 30 years…. Last night, the Beaufort's Jo Aldridge said: "Our understanding of the situation was that in return for the Beaufort collecting Mr Mastrangelo's dead stock free of charge, he would allow hounds onto his land."(story)

Leicester Mercury 2.12.04 WHERE THE HUNTS WILL BE MEETING - Atherstone… Belvoir… Cottesmore… Fernie… Quorn (story)

Western Gazette 2.12.04 RIDERS SADDLE UP TO SUPPORT APPEAL - Members of The Cattistock Hunt Pony Club really went the distance for Yeovil District Hospital's Flying Colours Appeal. Following the success of their Junior Hunt Ball organised by Mrs Sarah Barber, and a sponsored charity ride with West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, there were smiles all round when they presented a bumper cheque for £1,000 to the Flying Colours Appeal…. (story)

Ormskirk Advertiser 2.12.04 WILL the Labour government be heralding the new Hunting with Dogs Act as the pinnacle of its achievements after seven years in office in the run-up to the General Election? With all manner of ill thought out and poorly followed through legislation and initiatives since the 1997 election (along with cronyism and sleaze)… I find it incomprehensible that so much time and effort was wasted on this Act (and the Parliament Act used to force it through) even though foxes are vermin. L.N. (Full name and address supplied) (letter)

Telegraph 2.12.04 End of the affair - Having tea in our kitchen after hunting on the Saturday after the Hunting Bill was passed, I noticed our huntsman looking awful…. He said: "It's my hounds; they are part of me – I haven't slept since Thursday."… Scilla Phillips, Cirencester, Glos
The response to my letter (Nov 23) asking why hunters don't rate drag hunting has been interesting…. A card from the wife of an ex-master of the Aldershot drag hunt quoting a late MP: "Drag hunting is like kissing your sister". Is this another country sport we townies don't understand? John Mittaz, Cheltenham, Glos (letters)

Lincolnshire Echo 2.12.04 BIGOTRY CREATED BILL TO OUTLAW HUNTING - I Am outraged that Parliament has invoked the fox hunting ban with no real evidence to support or justify such action. Vast amounts of money were spent on two reports whose favourable findings were totally ignored…. We must make sure this unjust law is repealed. Not a single fox would be saved by abolishing hunting…. MRS D. M. ALLEN Wellingore. (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 2.12.04 ALLIANCE'S CLAIM IS RULED TO BE MISLEADING - Norman Hunt is right to question the accuracy of the hunting fraternity's claim on the posters which had appeared all over the country (Viewpoint, November 22). There have been exaggerated claims about the level of support for hunting. The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled the Country- side Alliance's claim that 59 per cent of the public say keep hunting to be misleading… Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor. (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 2.12.04 ARGUMENT IS FLAWED - I Found B Jones's letter, linking the ban on fox-hunting with the fate of Christianity, both fascinating and thought-provoking (Postbox, November 25). On reflection, I think his case is flawed in three areas…. The Rev Pamela M Cram, Trem y Glyn, Pontardawe Road, Clydach (letter)

Western Gazette 2.12.04 SACK OUR 'NANNY' - In simple terms, the major difference between our legal code and that of our continental neighbours is that we may do as we please unless the law says we may not, while they are unable to do anything unless the law says they may…. However, we now have a Government headed by a Prime Minister that is determined to "modernise" our country. While this does not yet mean our legal code has been completely changed to reflect that of other EU member states, it does mean that the Government here is dictating more and more what we may no longer do. Of course, the Hunting ban is just the latest example of the ever-tightening restrictions on the way we live now…. John Parkes, Corton Denham, full address supplied. (letter)

Western Gazette 2.12.04 'PREJUDICED' ARGUMENT - Neil Buckoke's (Dorset Anti-Blood Sports) letter in October was not only factually wrong but clearly demonstrated the misunderstanding that has characterised the whole hunting debate. It is totally incorrect that hares only breed every few years… Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but hopefully this will be based on facts, not prejudice. Charles Bracker, Conservation officer, Membury (letter)

Western Gazette 2.12.04 HUNTERS' LETTERS ARE 'CRUEL BEYOND BELIEF' - The letters from the cruel revenge-seeking hunters are so biased and untrue as to be beyond belief Firstly, if slaughter houses are so cruel why eat meat? How this can be brought into the hunting argument I don't know… Chris Hull, Coles Lane, Yetminster.
THE Western Gazette wishes to make it clear that the pro-hunting letter published last week, allegedly from Rex Berryman of Sherborne, was a hoax. We are happy to make it clear that Mr Berryman has never been involved with Huntingdon Life Sciences, has never been a slaughterman, has never hunted and does not hold the views expressed in the letter. Letters in direct response to this fake e-mail will not, therefore, be published. target=main href="">(letter)

East Grinstead Courier 2.12.04 DOWNSIDE OF THE BAN ON HUNTING - Now there are masses of hounds and horses going to be put down and employees will have their cottages given to buyers of/as second homes. I hope you??re all pleased with yourselves. John Peel will be turning in his grave. S Clarke, Plawhatch Lane, Sharpthorne (letter)

Northumberland Gazette 2.12.04 Tosh to talk of hunting the sick - THEY say laughter is the best medicine. After reading Mrs Restall's letter last week this proved for me to be just so. This letter, as with all pro hunting, was the ultimate in hypocrisy but she did make me laugh with many of her countryside facts. They were reminiscent of my dad's old phrases, "a fishmonger doesn't shout rotten fish"…. I wonder if we are to see an upper class of law breakers should this bill prohibit this "carousel of terror". Stan Thompson, Alnwick. (letter)
Northumberland Gazette 2.12.04 Pro-hunt tactics in question - ONCE again we have a letter in your columns from a member of the pro hunt supporters trying to convince us all of the kindness they show to foxes by hunting them. I refer to the letter from Mrs S Restall, whose argument in defence of hunting with hounds (without going into details) is old hat and has all been heard before…. J Coxford, Alnwick. (letter)
Northumberland Gazette 2.12.04 The mind boggles at what would happen to animals hunts dislike - WELL I've heard it all. In her letter to the Gazette (November 25) Mrs Restall said those who hunt love foxes. If what hunters do to foxes emanates from love, the mind boggles at what they'd do to animals they dislike…. Mrs H A Jordan, Elsdon. (letter)

Cornwall Packet 2.12.04 Emotive language went a step too far - I AM not sure whether Peter Keen was supporting hunting in his recent letter or condemning meat eaters. However, I do feel his remarks concerning the slaughter of animals according to religious laws to be both inaccurate and racist in tone. As far as I am aware, when animals are slaughtered for consumption by Jewish meat eaters the process is vigorously supervised and the animals treated in as humane a fashion as possible…. Harvey Kurzfield, chairman Kehillat Kernow (The Jewish Community of Cornwall) (letter in archive)

Ulster Herald 2.12.04 Hunting ban is slippery slope for other rights - I'm glad that your paper has published two letters regarding the fox hunting issue. When I read the anti-foxhunting letter a few weeks ago, I thought that the UH was becoming a one-sided paper, so I'm glad that you printed a letter from the pro-hunting lobby… Field sports are beginning to be portrayed in the media as old fashioned and cruel. Well they're not and sensationalist journalism is just helping the potically correct brigade ban everything that we find enjoyable in life. L. Doherty (letter may be in archive)

Ludlow & Tenbury Wells Advertiser 2.12.04 Slowly losing our freedom to choose - LIKE many landowners and country folk, I am appalled by the decision of the biased House of Commons to ban foxhunting. They certainly did not listen to the rational arguments, the clear evidence of the Government's own inquiry into hunting with dogs; namely the Burns Enquiry, or the preferred wish of the Prime Minister…. Hugh Thompson, Brimfield, Nr Ludlow. (letter in archive)

Ludlow & Tenbury Wells Advertiser 2.12.04 A similar effect to the poll tax - IT would seem that the hunting bill and its consequence is likely to be to the Labour party what the poll tax was to the Conservatives…. M J Rhodes, Clee Hill Road, Tenbury Wells. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 DEER DIMINISHING AFTER NT BAN ENDED SELECTIVE CULLING - The alleged incidents of injured deer described by Arminel Scott although unfortunate are rare, otherwise they would not be notewor thy. When shooting an animal any sudden movement could result in it being hit in the wrong place. However, unlike stalking, when significant numbers of deer escape with this type of injury, there is absolutely no chance of that occurring with the hunted deer; its suffering will be only for a few minutes, before it is culled…. And your correspondent A Scott whinges about the treatment she has received from the hunters. I am surprised that considering the high level of intrusion and interference of these selfappointed hunt monitors, that the hunters have been so tolerant in the past!... D J B Denny Worcester (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 HIDDEN AGENDA WILL WRECK CIVIL LIBERTIES - Our nation needs to wake up to the risk posed to civil liberties, liberties which have helped make Britain the envy of the world for its traditions of freedom, openness and justice… . Every new piece of legislation outlawing something or another creates new situations in which formerly innocent activities could be regarded as offences in future…. Philip Binding Winscombe Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 WESLEY'S PLEA FOR REFLECTION - As the great debate about hunting continues it may be of interest to read what John Wesley published in his Journal on Friday, July 16, 1756. "Sir, Having observed your labours of love for the common people, I presume to beg your pen on behalf of the next class of God's creatures. "I am persuaded you are not insensible of the pain given to every Christian, every humane heart, by those savage diversions, bull-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing and hunting…." Rev H W Jones Wroughton Swindon (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 ROBBING POOR TO HELP RICH? The Countryside Alliance's idea that the public should pay compensation over the hunting issue is an extraordinary one. Who would be the recipients of such compensation? Despite their protestations, most hunt riders are vastly better off than the average taxpayer who would have to pay out…. S Hunt Bristol (letter)

Western Daily Press 2.12.04 COMPROMISE LETS US DOWN - I was sorry to hear that the Prime Minister would still like a compromise on the hunting ban if the House of Lords requests it. I start to wonder what sort of a system this is. Do the many hours of debate and the vote in the Commons yet again for a ban mean nothing?... Pamela Dean Whiteshill Stroud Gloucestershire (letter)

Yorkshire Post 2.12.04 Time wasters From: D.Wood, Thorntree Lane, Goole. I, for one, find it incredible and not a little disconcerting that the people charged with running this country can afford to waste so much time debating trivial matters like fox hunting (over 700 hours wasted) the ban on the smacking of children, and the introduction of Las Vegas-style casinos, all of which most ordinary people do not want in the first place….
Lessons of history point to a doomed fox-hunting protest From: Dave Bedford, Thornleigh Avenue, Wakefield. My thoughts on the enraged hunting lobby are that it has all been done before… The miners didn't get what they wanted, the steel workers didn't get what they wanted, and neither will you. (letters)

Northern Echo 2.12.04 HUNTING - IN reply to John Adams' letter (HAS, Nov 29) I feel that I must go into further depth to try and clarify my original point; that the House of Lords did not act out of place and they should not be criticised for voting fairly…. From what I have read, it is clear that there is a contrasting opinion and that no polls taken to date have served any real use. I say put it to a national vote and let us see how democracy has really been served. - Phil Townsend, Durham. (letter in archive)

Nottingham Evening Post 2.12.04 FOX HUNTERS ARE NO BETTER THAN FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS - The hunting fraternity has at last shown its true colours, and behaved no better than football thugs. Their threats are a disgrace in a civilised society, but then these people are not civilised…. SHEILA T. STATHERS (Mrs) Toton
Now ban factory farming - Labour MP Nick Palmer's concern for defenceless animals is commendable and now we have a ban on fox hunting. Will we now see Dr Palmer and this Government bring in a ban on the barbaric ritual slaughter of creatures, by some members of our community? After all, slitting a poor animal's throat and letting it bleed to death is just as barbaric as seeing a fox ripped to pieces… GEOFFREY KNIGHTON Old Oak Lodge Cottage Top Valley (letters)

The Sentinel 2.12.04 RURAL ACTIVISTS CAN'T EXPECT AN EASY TIME - The recent Queen's Speech outlined more of New Labour's plans to make our country safer from our enemies. The actions of the predominantly Tory rural action groups defy the Conservatives' claim to be the party of law and order. Having witnessed farmers' vicious antipathy (from day one of New Labour's Government) carried on to the present, and pledged for the future, I would suggest that they only practice what they preach when they are pampered by a Government of their own choice… BG JONES Alsager (letter)

The Sentinel 2.12.04 LEADERS NEED TO WAKE UP TO REALITY - As a person of no particular political allegiance, although I do admit to voting for the present Government at the time that they won power, I am astonished to read opinion polls that indicate that there is no viable opposition. Are people blind? Or have they just forgotten that this is the Government that is creating a dictatorship to rival those of many third-world African nations. This is the Government that rides roughshod over the democratic process by implementing the Parliament Act for the reformation of the Upper House and the anti-hunting Bill…. PAUL NICHOLLS Meir (letter)

Yorkshire Evening Post 2.12.04 Hunting truths - Labour MPs have blatantly misrepresented the truth about foxhunting. Do they know why country folk developed hunting with hounds?... I am prepared to prove step by step that this Act is vindictive and all about class warfare and nothing to do with the welfare of the fox. I challenge all anti-foxhunters to a debate and that includes the MPs of Leeds. Alex Paterson, Stonegate Road, Leeds (letter)

North East Evening Gazette 2.12.04 Will criminals be out foxed? - Now the Parliament Act has been used to ban hunting with hounds, the hunting community are claiming they will engage in civil disobedience. A recent correspondent of yours, Mr McDonald, says "police time would be better spent chasing real criminals". Well, if the huntsmen obey the law, they will be able to. S M HALL, Hemlington (letter)

North Devon Journal 2.12.04 POLITICIANS CARE ABOUT FARMING CRONIES - Supporters of the hunting with dogs ban should note the views of the local MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates on this issue, as reported in the Journal last week… it is clear that local Liberal Democrat and Conservative politicians care more about their cosy relationships with their cronies in the farming and hunting fraternity than about the important issues in North Devon, such as the low wage economy of this area, providing affordable housing for low wage workers, and the improvement of public transport. D.J. NEARY, Dune View Park, Braunton. (letter)

Somerset Guardian 2.12.04 ILL-THOUGHT ACTIONS OF HUNT GROUP - Everyone has a personal opinion and mine is that hunting with hounds is outdated and unnecessary…. What puerile behaviour it is to force your opinions on to the general public in a sickening and destructive display like that witnessed around our area on Monday. Pathetic and ill-thought out activities such as dumping foxes on a main thoroughfare and covering roads in graffiti show how ignorant and inconsiderate these people are…. H JONES, High Littleton (letter)


Southport Visiter 8.12.04 Cup bosses 'declare war' By Graham Davies, Midweek Visiter - WATERLOO Cup bosses have been accused of declaring war on campaigners by bringing the event forward to escape the Government hunting ban… Southport resident Tony Moore, from Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe, (pictured right) said: "If the Waterloo Cup is brought forward to squeeze in one last go, it would seem to be a recipe for disaster. It's a real kick in the teeth for campaigners. It could be very dangerous, as feelings will be running high…."


Reuters 1.12.04 Artist eats fox in protest … Performance artist Mark McGowan, who counts among his feats pushing a peanut along the road to Tony Blair's Downing street home with his nose, has eaten a fox, in protest at the public fixation with a government ban on fox hunting…. "It was a bit like rack of lamb," he told Reuters on Wednesday. "The trouble was the retching noises from the other people in the room."…(story)

Independent 1.12.04 Irons to lead the field in battle against hunting ban By Guy Adams December 2004 - Several public figures have threatened to go to jail in defiance of the Government's forthcoming ban on hunting, but no Hollywood stars have yet put their neck on the line in defence of the sport. That could be about to change, though. For Jeremy Irons is set to play a leading role in the Countryside Alliance's campaign of disobedience, which kicks off in the New Year. Irons - joint-Master of the West Carbery hunt in County Cork - has quietly supported the CA for several years, but work has until now prevented him being a regular mouth-piece for the organisation... (story)

Northwich Chronicle 1.12.04 Fox-hunting: The final Act? - FOX-HUNTING leaders in Mid Cheshire are meeting this week to decide how to combat the Government's decision to ban the sport…. Robert Walker, one of four joint masters of the Sandiway-based Cheshire Hunt, said: 'The Countryside Alliance lawyers are studying the ins and outs of the Bill, and we believe there will be enough loopholes to make it unworkable.'… (story)

Hereford Times 1.12.04 Aftermath of the vote to ban hunting - AS nearly a dozen hunts in Herefordshire ponder their future following the vote to ban fox hunting, the lives of up to 1,000 foxhounds could be at stake. Many of them are likely to be shot in the New Year if hunts are obliged to disband, or to drastically reduce their numbers…. Ledbury Hunt spokesman Donald Haden said at the moment nothing had been ruled in or out…. At the North Herefordshire Hunt, 78 riders turned out on Saturday in blizzard conditions to show support, although they did not sight a fox… (story in archive)

South Wales Guardian 1.12.04 Hunt ban `will cause chaos' by Huw Waghorn - A ban on hunting with dogs could plunge large parts of the Towy Valley into chaos…. Bethlehem farmer Nick Somerfield, FUW county president and chairman of the parliamentary and land use committee for Wales, told the Guardian: "This is a huge blow against democracy…" Members of the Llandeilo hunt have pledged to turn out for the annual Boxing Day hunt - regardless of what parliament says. (story in archive)

Shropshire Star 1.12.04 Labour's bigots will be haunted by Bill - So the bigots on Labour's backbenches have finally had their way. You can almost sense their nauseous self-congratulation and back-slapping for having "got one up on the toffs" whilst burdening their already well-used expense accounts in the Commons bar…. This Bill will ultimately haunt those involved in its creation. Guy Mayer, Market Drayton (letter)

Shropshire Star 1.12.04 Method of fox death is problem - After many years of debate, fox hunting with dogs is to be outlawed from February 2005…. I personally disagree with fox-hunting and the traditional way it is carried out, but I do believe that the fox is vermin and it does need to be controlled…. Paul Chidley, Newport (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 1.12.04 RSPCA WRONG WITH SUPPORT OF A FOX HUNT BAN - There must surely be a solution to this proposed ban on hunting that will save the many thousands of hounds and horses connected with this activity… Every MP who votes to ban hunting should volunteer to rehome and be responsible for a pack of hounds and when "pet" hounds start destroying homes they could ask the RSPCA to deal with the problem…. Not many years ago the RSPCA had to withdraw a poster simulating a mountain of dead dogs. This was a worthy campaign to stop people leaving dogs to overheat in cars. There was public outrage at that poster. A similar poster is now being created for real, but unfortunately the RSPCA is giving that reality its support. A. S. HALLS, Ledgemoor, Herefordshire (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 1.12.04 HUNT BAN IS A CLASS DECISION - Labour's life long ambition has been to get rid of anything remotely connected to the old aristocracy. So ban hunting , then open up all private land so we can roam anywhere…. Remember when you are out walking your own dog and you let it off the lead, what do they do? Head down, tail up, they are hunting. BOB JACK, Abbeymead (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 1.12.04 DEMOCRACY IS SERVED BY THIS - We voted for New Labour. It's election manifesto pledge to ban hunting. Hunting was banned. Democracy was served A majority of MPs voted for the ban. We voted for the MPs. Democracy was served… ANTHONY BEE, Gloucester (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 1.12.04 IT'S KILLING FOR ENTERTAINMENT - I Was not surprised to hear that Gloucester's Tory candidate, Paul James, supports hunting with dogs. The general Tory view seems to be that it's acceptable to kill animals for entertainment…. MICHELLE PIDGEON, Gloucester (letter)

The Sentinel 1.12.04 HUNTERS ARE MINDLESS - In The Sentinel, November 27, 'Shino', of Hanley, states that "Most members of the hunt are responsible, well-balanced individuals who merely like to go on a, usually fruitless, gallop round our countryside." These people are mindless, violent people who like to see an animal ripped apart in the course of a gallop around the country… ALAN HAYWOOD Meir Park (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 1.12.04 NOT MEANT TO BE VEGETARIANS - Len Short (Farmers have been conned over hunting, Your View, November 24) has an unusual view of life and the Bible. Why does he think man has developed a tooth format equipped with canines and incisors other than to tear and break up flesh? If we were meant to be vegetarians we'd all have teeth like a horse…. W F Rowlands, Lower Warberry Road, Torquay (letter)

Salisbury Journal 1.12.04 Foxhunting - the debate continues - If the fox is a pest, why was it reintroduced?... At the turn of the last century, some areas of Britain were so short of foxes that numbers were imported from France. These were sold at Leadenhall market in London to anyone who needed to replenish their stock to ensure good hunting…. GARY COLBOURNE, Bartlett's Common, Frogham
This is wanton and unacceptable killing - IN Steve Wilson's illuminating study of our hunter-gatherer forebears (Postbag, November 18), he concluded that "to be human is to hunt". However, while he and his fox-hunting chums have chosen to remain in an evolutionary cul-de-sac, the rest of us have struggled on…. The recent slaying of swans in this area and the disembowelling of exhausted foxes both constitute wanton and unacceptable killing for pleasure in my book, so it is here that the likes of Mr Wilson and myself must agree to differ. DENNIS PRICE, High Street, Netheravon
It is not a myth that hunts kill older hounds - DES Hobson, of the Pimpernel Beagles, is wrong to accuse Bob Hale of "repeating a myth of the anti-hunt lobby" by suggesting that hounds are destroyed when they become too old to hunt. Hare-hunting packs kill about 900 adult hounds each year and the principal reason is old age…. DAVID TIBBLES, Meadow Court, Fordingbridge
Do foxes need to be controlled? - I HAVE read so much about fox-hunting in your paper in the past few weeks that I feel I must make some comment myself. Fox-hunting is cruel and barbaric. It is not about controlling fox numbers but killing a wild animal for fun…. J J BLACK, Montague Road, West Harnham
Why concentrate on foxes? - I DO despair about the anti-hunting lobby! All other countries in Europe and the US shoot, hunt, fish, trap, bullfight (in Spain), yet do we complain or tell them off? No, we let them get on with customs that have gone on for centuries. So, why do we do it to our hunters and fishermen?... SIMON THOMAS, Fairview Road, Salisbury (letters in archive)

Lincolnshire Echo 1.12.04 'TOUCHY-FEELY' MPS NEED REALITY CHECK - The quote by city MP Gillian Merron probably tells us more about the biased view on fox hunting than anything else… Anyway, do MPs feel guilt when they are tucking into their steaks at Westminster? Do they think what it feels like to have their throats cut? I think not. As long as they don't have to think about it and can bury their heads in the sand the feeling will go away…. J. H. KEMP Alexandra Road, Woodhall Spa.
Now that the anti-fox hunting members of the public and backbench MPs in Parliament appear to have got their own way for the present, I would like to enlighten them a little as to how every fox survives! Every day of its life it will kill at least one bird or animal for food alone, be it a chicken, duck, pheasant, rabbit, lamb or piglet. After that it may have some sport of its own and kill many more, just for devilment!.... J. R. FOSTER Kennel Lane, Doddington. (letters)

Lincolnshire Echo 1.12.04 HOUNDING THE HUNTER? I JUST DON'T THINK SO... The desperadoes are all crawling out of the woodwork now that fox hunting is to be illegal from February 2005. The same old rhetoric and falsehoods are being aired by the same bunch of self-serving animal abusers…. Their sordid, selfish pastime is shortly to be terminated. Should they continue to pursue their cruel acts contrary to the law of this land, then not only shall they avail themselves of a criminal record but one or two of them may find that a ban from owning their beloved firearms shall follow. RACHEL ASTILL-DUNSEITH Lincoln.
So the 'bad' people of Britain say no to hunting with dogs. Let us get it straight. It is not just fox hunting but deer hunting and hare coursing. When was the last time you saw a deer or hare break into the chicken house and kill every chicken? No-one says these pathetic, puerile hunters cannot don red coats and gallop over the countryside to their hearts' delight, drag hunting. But no, they want to kill something… MRS B. FOSTER Larne Road, Lincoln.
According to E.C. Coleman (Your View, November 25), one of the reasons foxes should be hunted is because "their sole purpose in life is the wanton destruction of any living thing it can overpower, regardless of any need to survive by eating it". Interestingly another creature which fits that description is the domestic cat, and we wouldn't dream of subjecting our household moggies to such cruel treatment… DENNIS SUTHERLAND Newark Road, North Hykeham
Contrary to claims on these pages, the Government didn't ban "hunting with dogs". It was the elected members of the House of Commons, representing us, who democratically did so on a free vote, ie not tied to party diktat…. RALPH FEREDAY Burton Road, Lincoln.
If foxes are not culled humanely there will be a definite increase in the fox population. What then? As far as hunting with dogs goes, if it really is just a "sport" why don't they use an animal skin (not necessarily a fox) which is dragged ahead by a "runner" on foot or horseback, like the dummy hare used in greyhound racing?... F. MOORE Riby Close, Gainsborough. (letters)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 1.12.04 Take action Tally Ho No Thanks. The recent letters and media coverage regarding the decision to ban hunting with dogs has come not a day too soon…. The defiance by the Old Berks Hunt to break the law and continue with this sick pastime is pitiful… R Newitt, Swindon (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 1.12.04 HUNTING ALLIANCE WILL SEEK ELECTION PAY-BACK - A huge thank you to all the MPs who stood up to the immense pressure from the pro-hunt lobby, and voted for a total ban on hunting with dogs. For those of us (the majority), who wanted an end to the cruelty of hunting a wild creature with a pack of dogs to exhaustion, and a cruel and terrifying death, it is pay-back time…. Helen Weeks Protect Our Wild Animals West Coker Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.12.04 AN OLD-STYLE CLASS WARRIOR - So Peter Bradley of the Labour Party has come out as an old-fashioned class warrior, declaring that fox-hunting is the preserve of the landed gentry and that is why it had to be abolished. The man is one sick puppy. No mention of cruelty to the fox, or that 20,000 hounds face the death penalty, that hunt workers will lose their jobs and homes and have to leave villages because they cannot afford to buy a home locally as middle class urbanites flash chequebooks around. If he expects a pat on the back from the working class, I think he has made a big mistake…. M W Pearson Cinderford Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.12.04 FEUDAL IDEA IS OUTDATED - Seldom have I read such utter claptrap as that propounded by Peter Bradley. I really felt that I had been transported back some 80 years, because his ideas are so outdated. His views sound suspiciously like those of Mugabe in Zimbabwe and I suggest that he would be happy with the same result. My sympathies lie with the good people of The Wrekin… Richard Osborne Swindon (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.12.04 CRUELTY OF A DIFFERENT KIND - The hunting ban is now very close to becoming a reality. This makes me so sad and unhappy, the future of virtually all hunt horses and hounds across the country, and that is hundreds, is in jeopardy. Their only job and love in life is about to be swept from them…. M Taylor Gillingham Dorset (letter)

Western Daily Press 1.12.04 SIGN OF TIMES - The majority of Farmers For Action members do not have strong feelings either way about the hunting, shooting and fishing debate. The only reason for our protest and blockade is to secure a fair and sustainable price for the food we produce… Brian Hewlett Yeovil Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.12.04 HUNT BAN IS ABOUT IDEAS ON CLASS, NOT FOX WELFARE - What a bizarre letter from Terry Lee, Points of View, November 25, who compared the Countryside Alliance to the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany. Do please get a grip, Mr Lee, or at any rate consult a few history books before you start chucking ridiculous insults. If the hunting ban goes unchallenged then thousands of people will lose their jobs, including B &Bs, hotels, pubs, farriers, blacksmiths and so on. No wonder they are objecting to this lousy government…. David Challice UKIP chairman (Exeter Branch) Holland Road, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.12.04 WHO DO THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE THINK THEY ARE? - In his letter in Points of View, November 25, Terry Lee makes a valid point. Who are the Countryside Alliance and who do they represent? This group appears to urge people to demonstrate against the elected representatives of our nation who, after proper debate, make laws to carry out the electorate's wishes… Mr J Brokenshire, Salters Meadow, Sidmouth (letter)

Leicester Mercury 1.12.04 PRO-HUNT RANTINGS - The new hunting ban has not yet come into force and already Jeff Stone (Postbag, November 24) is laying a false trail…. What annoys me more than anything about the hunting issues is the fact that Mr Stone and his pro-hunters think or at least hope that the rest of us are stupid enough to swallow their rantings. G A Wright, Leicester. (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 1.12.04 License hunting - I am writing to say that I agree that fox hunting should be banned, if not completely then at least be licensed. Foxes are harmless and innocent creatures who are hunting for food and water like everyone else in the world… SARAH MARSHALL (Age 11) Surgeys Lane Arnold
Look elsewhere - At long last justice has been done and democracy has rightly won, which means those hooligans on horseback in their ridiculous get-up, the Countryside Alliance and of course Susie Lawrence will have to find something else to amuse themselves with…. BILL JONES Park Street Beeston (letters)

Northern Echo 1.12.04 HUNTING - I AM sick to death of remarks made by ignorant people about foxes being torn to shreds. They should look into the facts. The fox is an animal that is classed as vermin. It has no predators. The hunt exists today more as a business needed by landowners in the control of foxes harming their stock… There is no hunting when vixen have their young. Foxes shot or snared can take two to three days to die. Those gassed die gasping for air, unable to breathe. Orphaned cubs would starve to death. - Diana Davis, Bishop Auckland.
I HAVE been following the hunting debate with a great deal of interest ever since it raised its head. The Bill bans hunting wild animals with dogs, so presumably if your dog catches and kills a rat you are guilty of hunting. I don't suppose, for a minute, the Government even thought of it…. Jim S Hamer, Darlington (letters in archive)

Derby Evening Telegraph 1.12.04 HUNTING LARK - Fox-hunting banned? Nonsense. Those involved are addicted to animal abuse. They share the same mentality as those who ill-treat, starve and abandon domestic pets…. Pete Wadsworth, Arleston Street, Normanton. (letter)

York Evenin g Press 1.12.04 Barbaric foxes - IN reply to Mr and Mrs M Taylor, hunting is not "a barbaric pursuit with no reasonable justification" (Letters, November 23). People seem to forget that a fox kills. No just to eat b ut for the sake of killing. One lambing season, we lost more than 30 lambs in less than one week. A fox picked off the ewes with two lambs, knowing that she could only protect one, and killed the second…. Fiona H Dunn, Sproxton, York. (letter in archive)

York Evenin g Press 1.12.04 Hardly humane - DON'T you love it when the hunt people claim that fox hunting is humane and not cruel? Would they say the same if it was a loved one in place of the fox, being chased to exhaustion and then torn to bits by hounds? I somehow doubt it…. Yvonne Welsh, Lilling Ave, York. (letter in archive)

Horncastle News 1.12.04 Law is a recipe for disaster So the anti-hunt fraternity have their way. But the Government has at last admitted that this issue was not about animal cruelty but was about Labour getting its way against the land owning gentry. So bigotry has its way!... JOHN MARSHALL, Tetford
Turning town against country - Having spent 40 years rearing a country-loving family breeding horses and dogs and caring about nature and wildlife, we cannot understand why this tough demanding sport requiring fitness, commonsense, nerve and caring, the backbone of our country, should be stopped on a whim without evidence to justify and not supported by the Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, Home Secretary and ministers…. MR AND MRS R I KNOTT, Benniworth
Hatred shows their ignorance of nature - May I comment on the letters condemning John Marshall’s excellent letter (News, October 20). He is a pro-hunting farmer with a great experience of animal welfare, domestic and wild…. The banning of hunting with dogs will cause unacceptable cruelty to animals, domestic and wild. They are only showing their hatred of us through their ignorance of nature. HENRY FOSTER, Woodhall Spa (letter)

Louth Leader 1.12.04 Dressed to kill - it gets up my nose - John Jarvis (re: letter in The Leader) must have a very limited way of life if it depends on fox hunting…. Our television screens have been filled with pictures of angry crowds outside Parliament, protesting at the proposal to ban hunting with dogs, and people threatening to break the law if the bill went through. Did these people take part in similar protests when Mrs Thatcher closed down the pits and destroyed, totally destroyed, the way of life of whole communities across huge swathes of the country?... Jim Peck, Legbourne
Why do people so enjoy killing foxes? I would like to know what Mr Jarvis (Leader letters November 17) means by unqualified as I thought I had made it extremely clear I had lived in a rural area and, despite knowing much about it through local people who participated in it, still found it a revolting sport. Some years ago, whilst gaining my degree, a lecturer explained not only was fox hunting cruel and barbaric but also how it was a very ineffective measure of control…. David Broomfield, Louth
First to be wiped out was the Dodo - the fox will be next - I find in The Leader the master of a local hunt group has vowed to carry on, what they claim as a crazy law. Nick Ashcroft, of the South Wold Hunt, said the Countryside Alliance will take the fight to the courts if the age-old activity is outlawed…. Frank Wibberley, Louth (letter)

Northwich Guardian 1.12.04 Dismay over hunting ban - I AM dismayed at the decision taken to impose the ban on hunting and perhaps more significantly to effect its implementation as early as February, giving the hunts in Cheshire no time to prepare… JONATHAN MACKIE, Prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate, Weaver Vale (letter in archive)

Market Rasen Mail 1.12.04 Are accidental kills against the law? EDITOR - Now that hunting has been banned, what is the position regarding ‘accidental hunting’ of say hares by people like myself? Are we exempt from the ban, as we don’t intentionally hunt/support hunting? Surely I’m not going to be fined for letting my dog catch a hare, which are more common than foxes, if I’m not a hunt supporter?... Peter Smith, Louth
Blood-thirsty townies will take over - Let me point out I’ve got great respect for the people who object to hunting on grounds of cruelty or harm to any creature. But sadly seventy per cent of the objection is based on politics, jealousy, bias and other words which you could not print…. Bill Pickering, Osgodby
Pity supporters aren’t of ethnic origin The argument on the pros and cons of fox hunting could be easily resolved - and with no loss of blood - if all the Masters of Fox Hounds, whippers in, kennel maids and men, horse box drivers and grooms were black, coloured or of ethnic origin… Ron Hooton, Caistor (letter)

Skegness Standard 1.12.04 Anti-hunting lobby is blinded by hatred - It was with total revulsion that I watched those MPs toasting the hunting ban with champagne, without a thought for those hard working people’s livelihoods and civil liberties they had just ended. They think they’ve won the victory over toffs, yet time and time again it has been pointed out to them its ordinary country people who hunt…. LOUISE CHATTERTON, Orby
Personal choice is being eroded - Foxhunting is a highly emotive issue with strong beliefs on both sides of the argument. Whether it is right or wrong is a matter of personal choice. The issue here, I believe, goes much deeper. It is whether it is proper for governments to continue to legislate to criminalise whole sections of the public over issues which are a matter of opinion… DENIS CHANDLER, Hundleby (letter)

Milton Keynes Citizen 1.12.04 Class warfare - I really must respond to Mr Colbert's preposterous letter of November 24. He is unfortunately ill informed, and seems to have his opinions driven by spiteful class warfare concepts. Bringing his views on foxhunting together with his supposedly serious views on immigration is really quite pathetic…. Stephen P Willis, Kitelee Close, Hanslope
As a member of the Communication Workers Union, John Colbert writes a pretty garbled letter… It strikes me that Mr Colbert learned his letter writing at the 'School for Union Activists' which is why he could not help show his class bigotry by having a dig at fox-hunting 'toffs' despite purporting to be responding to an article about asylum seekers…. Roger Spiller, address supplied (letter)