December 2004 - hunting 16-31.12.04

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Hexham Courant 31.12.04 ‘WE WILL CONTINUE TO HUNT’ By WILL GREEN - HUNT supporters hope that the sound of the horn and the baying of hounds in the festive season has not been heard for the last time across Tynedale, as record numbers attended the annual post-Christmas meets in the district. More than 2,000 people went to the Tynedale Hunt’s meet in Corbridge on Monday, with as many again attending the area’s other hunts. In Fourstones, some 300 people met to follow the Haydon Hunt, alongside more than 20 riders. There were also good turn-outs for the Border Hunt at the Percy Arms at Otterburn and the North Tyne at the Black Bull at Wark... (story)

Hexham Courant 31.12.04 HUNTS MEET - Tynedale, North Tyne, Haydon, Border, Newcastle& District Beagles... (story)

Western Daily Press 31.12.04 BISHOP FEARS FOR JOBLESS HUNT WORKERS - The Bishop of Hereford has urged the Government to make sure hunt workers are not left on the streets when the ban comes into force next February. Bishop Anthony Priddis has written to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael asking what help is being planned for hunt workers who will lose their livelihoods and homes when the sport is outlawed. Hereford is the most rural diocese in England and the bishop says many hunt staff are not covered by housing legislation designed to protect agricultural workers… There are five hunts operating within Hereford diocese, including the Ledbury which hit the headlines when some of its members stormed Parliament… (story)
BBC News Online 31.12.04 Bishop's plea for hunt staff jobs - A bishop has asked the government for reassurances about workers who risk losing their jobs over the hunting ban. Bishop of Hereford Anthony Priddis has written to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael saying kennel staff could lose their homes because of the legislation… (story)
Scotsman 31.12.04 Bishop's Plea for Threatened Hunt Workers By Phil Hazlewood, PA - A bishop from one of the Church of England’s most rural dioceses has asked the Government for reassurances about workers who risk losing their livelihoods when the hunting ban comes into effect. The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis, wrote to the minister for rural affairs, Alun Michael, to point out that kennel workers face losing their jobs and their homes because of the legislation. A total of 15 hunts operate either wholly within or partly within the boundaries of the Diocese of Hereford, which covers Herefordshire and parts of Worcestershire, south Shropshire and Powys. They include the Ledbury Hunt and the South Shropshire Hunt, members of which were involved in protests inside the Houses of Parliament earlier this year…. (story)

Rye & Battle Observer 31.12.04 Defiant Hunt buoyed by huge crowds - HUGE crowds gathered to witness the last legal Boxing Day foxhunting meet in Battle. Some 120 riders from the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt were greeted with cheers from an estimated 2,000 people thronging the Abbey Green…. (story)

Basingstoke Gazette 31.12.04 Icy weather halts Boxing Day hunt by Lucy Clark - FREEZING weather conditions halted what could be the last-ever Hampshire Hunt. The traditional event, which was held on Monday because Boxing Day fell on a Sunday, had to be cancelled because the frozen ground was deemed too dangerous for the animals. However, about 50 horse-backed members, 31 hounds and hundreds of followers still met at the Fur and Feathers pub in Herriard to show support for the 258-year-old hunt…. (story in archive)

Bury Free Press 31.12.04 Weather puts paid to Boxing Day hunt More than 500 people braved the frost to see off possibly the last Boxing Day Suffolk Hunt near Whepstead on Monday. Despite strong support and vows to fight the hunting ban, due to start in February, it was the cold weather which put a halt to the hunt – frozen ground forced organisers at Hawstead Place to abandon the event. Master of the Suffolk Hunt James Aldous said: "We are not going to pack up, but we are going to act legally, by trail hunting, until we win the court cases…" (story)

West Sussex County Times 31.12.04 Dead fox dumped in car - A DISEMBOWELLED fox was dumped on the front seat of a hunt protester's car off Stane Street in Pulborough on Christmas Eve. Christopher Black, 17, a member of anti-hunt campaign group West Sussex Wildlife Protection, had gone with his mother Carol Tibbits to the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt's meeting at Coombelands on Friday morning. They left the Nissan Micra parked and returned later that day to find the windows smashed and the broken body of a fox lying on the passenger seat…. Hunt master of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt Nick Bamber said he did not believe any member or supporter of the hunt had been responsible for the damage… (story)

Western Morning News 31.12.04 FARMERS' HUNT WILL NOT LET MORALE DROP - One of the Westcountry's most unique hunts will be meeting tomorrow, as it has done every New Year's Day for over 100 years - but this time there will be a greater sense of occasion. Just a few weeks ago, there was a strong possibility this could be the last New Year's hunt before a ban on hunting came into force and a way of life was lost forever. However, despite the cloud that hung over them, supporters of the Tiverton Staghounds never let their morale drop, or even considered closing the hunt. Instead, they have carried on doing what they loved. Traditionally known as "the farmers' hunt", the Tiverton Staghounds is renowned for its friendly, local atmosphere…. (story)

Kidderminster Chronicle 31.12.04 Hunters gather in defiance of ban - Hundreds of people braved the elements and flocked to Hagley Hall to support defiant huntsmen and women before a ban comes into force in February. Around 1,000 people gathered at the hall on Monday to watch the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt set off on the last Boxing Day hunt meeting before the ban is introduced on February 17…. Hunt master Peter Swann said he would defy the ban and said the Albrighton and Woodland would definitely go ahead in some form or another next year… (story)

Post & Times 31.12.04 LOTS OF CHANGES IN STORE FOR COUNTRY - The future of the countryside as we are about to start a new year is at a crossroads. A series of major political changes including farm reform and the creation of the new integrated agency for the countryside means that there are going to be enormous changes in the countryside that we know today…. Moving on - I couldn't help but wonder when I saw his Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales hunting in the Staffordshire Moorlands last week, whether this would be the last time that country folk would have the pleasure of welcoming him onto their land. With the hunting ban no more than a few weeks away, it is highly unlikely that we shall ever again see a member of the Royal Family riding on horseback through the hills and dales of the Staffordshire Moorlands. It has given so many people so much pleasure over the years meeting and chatting to His Royal Highness… (story)

Post & Times 31.12.04 CHARLES IN A BRUSH WITH THE MOORS - Prince Charles has again been hunting in the fields of the Staffordshire Moorlands. He joined more than 100 riders from the South Staffs and Meynell hunt last Saturday. Starting at the Blore crossroads near Ilam at 11.30am, he hunted over the Mayfield bridge through the Manifold Valley, Mapleton and finished at Calton at 3.30pm… (story)

Post & Times 31.12.04 HUNTERS ENJOY PEACEFUL MEET - Hundreds of people gathered at the Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt held at Dale Farm, Rue Hill, near Cauldon Low on Monday. A ban on foxhunting should come into effect on February 18. However the Attorney General has said the application for an injunction made by the Countryside Alliance will not be fought. This could mean hunting continuing until all the avenues of appeal have been exhausted. On what could be their last Boxing Day meeting our Moorlands reporter Leslie Jackson visited the Staffordshire Moorlands Hunt at Dale Farm, near Cauldon Low. Pictures: Wesley Webster… (story)

Craven Herald 31.12.04 Crowds turn out in force to support local hunt - A HUGE show of support was given to the Pendle Forest and Craven Hunt's last Boxing Day meet before Government legislation banning hunting comes into force on February 18… (story in archive)

Kent/East Sussex Courier 31.12.04 BLOODHOUNDS TRACK DOWN HUMAN PREY - While the future of fox hunting is bleak, members of the Coakham Bloodhounds were in the rare position of being able to enjoy their traditional Boxing Day meet without the aura of finality hanging over them… Organisers said 100 people turned out for the Sunday, December 26, meeting, which congregated at the King William IV pub in Benenden before the main event got under way through Hempstead Forest…. (story)

Kent/East Sussex Courier 31.12.04 BIGGEST TURN-OUT IN MEMORY - Tenterden witnessed the biggest hunt turn-out in recent memory on Monday as the Ashford Valley Hunt marked what could be the end of its long history. The annual Boxing Day meet, delayed by 24 hours to avoid hunting on a Sunday, saw an estimated 5,000 people cram into the town, which organisers said demonstrated a massive show of support for the seemingly-doomed tradition when the hunt ban comes into force in February… (story)

Kent/East Sussex Courier 31.12.04 HUGE SHOW OF SUPPORT AT ALL HUNT MEETINGS - On A CRISP winter's morning a record turn-out of nearly around 2,750 people descended on Penshurst to show their support for the festive meet of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt…. At Penshurst there were just four demonstrators holding a banner, who were told by a pro-hunt follower in front of camera crews "you only want to get your faces on the telly"…. Master Graeme Worsley told the Kent and Sussex Courier there was huge public support for the sport… (story)

Kent/East Sussex Courier 31.12.04 BIG CROWDS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT - The High Street in Lewes was packed with supporters who turned out to see the Southdown and Eridge Hunt set off on its traditional Boxing Day outing. More than 160 hunt members on horseback attended and the crowd of supporters on foot exceeded 2,000…. (story)

Kent/East Sussex Courier 31.12.04 THOUSANDS TURN OUT TO CHEER THE THREATENED HUNT - BY AMY WOOLFORD - The Highest turn out for more than 20 years was witnessed at the Boxing Day meet of the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt in Battle. More than 100 riders and thousands of foot followers gathered at the Abbey Green in the town on Monday at 11am to show their support for the hunt. Conservative MP Greg Barker, who covers Bexhill and Battle, also attended the gathering and spoke out against the ban…. (story)

Malvern Gazette 31.12.04 Hunt supporters turn out in record numbers - RECORD numbers turned out to support local hunts over Christmas. More than 6,000 supporters joined Ledbury Hunt for its Boxing Day meet, while many hundreds were at North Ledbury Hunt's meet at Stiffords Bridge. The Clifton-on-Teme Hunt meet, at the Hop Pole in Bromyard, attracted a further 1,000 or more… (story in archive)

Somerset County Gazette 31.12.04 Record numbers at hunt meet - RECORD numbers of hunt supporters attended the traditional Boxing Day meet of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds at the White Horse, Exford. More than 200 horses and many more followers on foot, many with their families, turned out in the cold, but clear weather to see the colourful sight. And when the Taunton Vale Harriers met at the Catherine Wheel, Hemyock, also on Boxing Day, attendance was 50% up with 120 horses and 600 people on foot… (story in archive)

Harrogate Advertiser 31.12.04 Crowd turn out for one of the last hunts - HUNDREDS of hunt supporters turned out to Monday's post-Christmas meet to show their defiance to the Government's ban on the sport. Around 90 horses and 500 people were at the Badsworth and Bramham Moor hunt at Aberford while 1,000 people and 185 horses supported the hunt's other meet at Wentbridge…. (story)

Herts & Essex Observer 31.12.04 HUGE TURNOUT FOR HUNT - HERTS and Essex hunts were left “encouraged” by the strong show of support at Monday’s traditional meets. At Matching Green, the Essex hunt was greeted by a crowd of around 1,500 people – “the biggest ever”, according to chairman Michael Herbert, despite the frozen ground resulting in no hunting that day… Joint master of the Puckeridge Hunt, Di Pyper, was equally thrilled with the turnout at the Washall Green meet in Brent Pelham. There was a crowd of between 1,500 and 2,000… (story)

Mid Wales Journal 31.12.04 Hunt supporters show defiance - Hundreds of people have taken part in hunts across Powys, two months before the activity is due to be banned… About a thousand people turned up to watch the Radnor and West Herefordshire Hunt set off from Kington town clock… Frosty winter weather failed to stop the Irfon and Towy Hunt going ahead, although members had to leave their horses behind and set out on foot… (story)

Hereford Journal 31.12.04 - Hunt supporters turned out in force for the annual Boxing Day meetings across the county – with record numbers making clear their determination to keep the tradition alive for years to come. Thousands lined the roadside to cheer on the hunt in Ledbury yesterday, with House of Commons protester John Holliday among those taking part in the procession through the town. Crowds were also strong in Leominster, Wormelow, Storridge, Garway, Kington and Bredenbury, with supporters voting with their feet to show their opposition of the hunting ban…. (story)

Ledbury Reporter 31.12.04 Hunt in show of strength at meet - The Ledbury Hunt celebrated a record turnout estimated at around 6,000 supporters at its traditional post-Christmas meet on Monday. Joint master Paul Smith addressed the large crowd outside the Feathers Hotel as riders had stirrup cup… Meanwhile North Ledbury Hunt met at Stiffords Bridge and the Clifton-on-Teme Hunt at the Hop Pole in Bromyard, where there were a further 1,000 or more supporters… (story in archive)

Romsey Advertiser 31.12.04 Hunt rallies support at holiday meets - ANTI-BLOOD sports protesters kept their distance during the Hursley Hambledon Hunt's first Yuletide meeting at Stockbridge. Instead of demonstrators waving placards and shouting abuse at huntsmen and women, more than 1,000 supporters thronged the town's High Street to welcome Monday's meeting of the Droxford-based Hursley Hambledon Hunt… (story in archive)

Shropshire Star 31.12.04 Duplicitous Bradley should come clean - What a duplicitous chap our local MP, Peter Bradley, has proved to be. On the front page of the Shropshire Star he apparently laudably concerns himself with the plight of BAE workers at the former Alvis factory who face possible redundancy, yet inside we have the story of local farriers facing the collapse of their businesses through the hunting ban which Peter Bradley so vigorously championed. Even worse, he now admits that he was more motivated by class warfare and "breaching the lodge gates" than any genuine concern for foxes…. Patrick Webster, Newport (letter)

Shropshire Star 31.12.04 Otis can stand on his own feet - With reference to the Otis Ferry story - Shropshire Star, December 16 2004 - headlined "Otis vows to continue riding after ban", I would appreciate if someone can advise if Otis is indeed the son of rock star Bryan Ferry?... It's just that in any copy printed in the Shropshire Star since the hunt ban debate began it always says that Otis Ferry, son of rock-star Bryan Ferry, etc, etc. Can't the poor guy be reported on without the constant mention of his father, who has absolutely nothing to do with the story in any case?... P Veloso, Shrewsbury (letter)

Leicester Mercury 31.12.04 NO RESPONSE - Responding to the question of high hedges from Nev Hall (Mercury Postbag, December 23), I asked the same question, among others. My MP Andy Reed totally ignored this question in the letter I received back in reply and now there is some suspicion about the fox-hunting ban being a damp squib. T Perkins, Sileby (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.04 WHY NOT INFILTRATE HUNTS? I am extremely amused by the hunting brigade's panic station antics now that the ban on hunting has been passed…. Now we, the antis, have our day, and all their gloating is over. Now it's our turn to stick up two fingers, and we have the law on our side!... East Devon MP Hugo Swire has said he will be seeking assurances from Chief Constable Maria Wallis that her force would not be using undercover officers to infiltrate hunts. Why shouldn't she? Is he scared to be caught red-handed breaking the law?... F Cleaves Par, Cornwall (letter)

Western Morning News 31.12.04 Ministerial claptrap - THE phrase used in your editorial, "the insufferable to justify the indefensible", about Alun Michael's article on the Hunting Act (December 16) was particularly apt. Rarely have I read such a collection of weasel words strung together to advance an unsustainable argument… It is deeply worrying that an intellect which produced such specious self-serving claptrap should occupy a high office of state. It really is time that Mr Michael followed the example of the former Minister of Education, Estelle Morris, and resigned, recognising that he is not up the job. J Ward-Hayne, Modbury, South Devon (letter)

Western Daily Press 31.12.04 HUMANE WAY IS ELUSIVE AS A FOX - Althogh I have never sat on a horse or hunted foxes, from what I have read and been told it seems that all culling methods are cruel, stressful, or indiscriminate. I do know that shooting at foxes with shotguns or .22 rifles, frequently causes wounding and long-term suffering… But I am more concerned with cruelty to approximately 600,000 cattle every year by cutting their throats. C Robinson Westbury Bristol (letter)

The Sentinel 31.12.04 CRUELTY SETS HUNTER APART - - When Richard De Prez (Sentinel, December 28) claims that his unusual name does not make him a "toff", I must agree. It is, in fact, his predilection for animal cruelty which sets him aside from the majority of his fellows. Apart from the obviously perverted and inefficient method of controlling the fox, the deaths and injuries to horses and hounds must make this method of dispatching a small animal the costliest possible and by implication, the domain of a minority… B G JONES Alsager (letter)

Malvern Gazette 31.12.04 Rabbit hunting just a front - IT is farcical to suggest that rabbits can be hunted in the same way as hares (Ledbury Reporter, December 17). The physique and lifestyle of the rabbit do not suit it to the type of torment currently inflicted on hares. Rabbit hunting will simply be used as a legal defence by hare hunts which continue hunting… Rodney Hale (founder/chairman, British Brown Hare Preservation Society) PO Box 70, Crediton (letter in archive)

Malvern Gazette 31.12.04 Hunt meet well supported - AS a committee member of the Croome Hunt Supporters Club, once again I would like to take thank all of Upton on Christmas Eve who turned out to see the meet, which was well attended by mounted followers… SALLY ROBINSON, Croome Hunt Supporters Club, St Johns, Worcester (letter in archive)

Cumberland News 31.12.04 ‘democracy not majocracy’ - I AM obliged to David Kerry for his support (The Cumberland News, December 17) and happy to assure him that my support for minorities is not partial: I chose target shooters and hunt supporters and participants as my examples simply because they were the only two groups I could readily think of who, in recent memory, have had their liberties removed by action of law… I have taken the liberty of coining a phrase that I think sums up what I was trying to say as to the rights of minorities in a democracy, that is: “democracy not majocracy”…. AC EGGLETONScroggie MeadowAnnan I HAVE just returned from yet another ruined dog walk in the countryside. The sound of loud and aggressive screaming voices along with packs of barking and crying dogs is both intimidating and intrusive…. This is my countryside too. Roll on the hunting ban so I can resume my unselfish hobby of peacefully walking my dog. J LAWRIEBrook StreetCarlisle (letters)

North East Evening Gazette 31.12.04 Police on wild goose chase - Your correspondent Steve Day (Draw Line At Sick Pastime, 14.12.04) and, earlier, Geoff Kerr-Morgan share a belief that our police, in voicing concerns that implementation of anti-fox hunting legislation will be difficult - if not impossible - to enforce, conclude this betrays a reluctance to prosecute. Both contrast this stance with that of the police's successful tackling of the violence experienced during the miners' strike. Such a comparison is unfair because during that strike the pickets' objectives were known… The anti fox-hunting legislation may have been well intentioned, but is ill-conceived, with logistical difficulties manifestly obvious. DAVE MIDDLETON, Stockton (letter)

Henley Standard 31.12.04 Foxes kill for pleasure - Sir, Bea Bradley claimed that foxes do not kill for fun. In my experience this couldn’t be further from the truth. A relative of mine keeps a large number of chickens and unfortunately a fox got into the run, killing each and every one of them. Very few of them were actually eaten. I do not hunt myself but strongly believe this natural way of keeping fox numbers at an acceptable level should be preserved… Mrs. E. Hatch, Lambridge Wood Road, Henley.
Ignorance of countryside Sir, Bea Bradley’s letter in the Standard does not surprise me and indicates her ignorance of the countryside. The fox is probably the one animal that does kill for pleasure…. I can remember once we were called out by a concerned neighbour that one of our in-calf heifers was acting in a strange manner. When we got to her we found she had calved early and was standing over her new born calf, still too weak to move. Each side of her was a fox goading her, first one then the other. She would have eventually collapsed with exhaustion and they would have gone in, killed the calf and then no doubt maimed or killed her… Mark P Hatt , South Stoke Road, Woodcote. (letters may be in archive)


Ross on Wye Journal 30.12.04 Hunt supporters out in force - Hunt supporters turned out in force for the annual Boxing Day meetings across the county – with record numbers making clear their determination to keep the tradition alive for years to come. Thousands lined the roadside to cheer on the hunt in Ledbury yesterday, with House of Commons protester John Holliday among those taking part in the procession through the town. Crowds were also strong in Leominster, Wormelow, Storridge, Garway, Kington and Bredenbury, with supporters voting with their feet to show their opposition of the hunting ban…. (story)
Leominister Journal 30.12.04 Record numbers support hunt - Hunt supporters turned out in force for the annual Boxing Day meetings across the county – with record numbers making clear their determination to keep the tradition alive for years to come. Thousands lined the roadside to cheer on the hunt in Ledbury yesterday, with House of Commons protester John Holliday among those taking part in the procession through the town…. (story)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 30.12.04 THIS WON'T BE THE LAST TIME - MORE than 1,000 hunt supporters turned out in force for what could be the last Boxing Day meet of the Cottesmore Hunt. Traffic in Oakham was grid-locked, cars parks were packed, and crowds milled around as the colourfully clad mounted riders trotted towards Cutts Close for their annual pilgrimage…. (story)

Gloucestershire Gazette 30.12.04 Crowds turn out to support hunt by Sarah Carless - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters turned out for the traditional Boxing Day meet on Monday, which could be the last before a ban on hunting with dogs comes into force in February. An estimated 3,500 people attended the Beaufort Hunt meet at Worcester Lodge, Didmarton, with more than 300,000 people turning out nationwide…. (story in archive)

Buckingham Advertiser 30.12.04 CROWDS TURN OUT AT HUNTS - THOUSANDS of people turned out across the region to witness this year's Christmas hunts. In Winslow, around 2,000 people watched the Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase pass through the town's streets on Monday, while in Towcester about 1,000 spectators watched the Grafton Hunt meet at the racecourse. There were about 140 riders in Winslow, and around 100 in Towcester… (story)

Telegraph 30.12.04 Notebook By David Cameron - We've got the words, but what's the tune? - Part of my role in the shadow cabinet is to help prepare the Conservative election manifesto. The question worrying me over Christmas is: how should it start?... The Heythrop Hunt Boxing Day meet in Chipping Norton provided some potential inspiration. The crowd was 20 times the size of any you would find at a political meeting. The Field Master told the crowd that everyone who cared about freedom should vote accordingly - and ended by pointing out that the last two politicians to ban hunting were Cromwell and Hitler. He roared: "Look what happened to them."… (story)

Western Daily Press 30.12.04 "AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON" "AND the Banned played on" is the title for a hunting tour by a party of 11 enthusiastic American riders who are due to visit the West Country in February. The party has been organised by GoneAway tours - the brainchild of Wiltshire horsewoman Pat Bryant and her business partner Carla Hawkinson, Master of the Tennessee Valley Foxhounds in the USA. "The tour is GoneAway's response to the recent hunting ban imposed by the British parliament," Pat explains. "We will be hunting Exmoor (stag and fox) up until the day of the ban, then travelling to Wiltshire where those who wish to do so will be hunting by invitation of the Avon Vale Hounds on February 19.…" The American party will move on from huinting with the Exmoor, to days with the Quantock Stag Hounds and the Dartmoor Hunt…. (story)

Isle of Wight County Press 30.12.04 BIG CROWD WATCHES HUNT RIDE OUT By Clare Wall - HUNT master Andrew Sallis questioned why the government would want to legislate against such a cross-section of law-abiding people, as hundreds of Islanders descended on Carisbrooke to support the annual Boxing Day hunt. Mr Sallis gave a rousing speech about the future of the hunt, to cheers and applause from spectators… (story)

Bristol Evening Post 30.12.04 HUNTERS RECEIVE GUIDE TO NEW LAWS BY BOB BEALE - Hunt supporters are being handed a guide which claims to tell them how to carry on hunting - after the ban comes into force. The Hunting Handbook 2005 is aimed at telling members and supporters how they can carry on hunting without risking prosecution when the Government ban comes into force on February 19… (story)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 30.12.04 Hunt supporters stage a show of strength by Claire Metcalfe - HUNT supporters thronged Malton Market Place for what could be the last legal Boxing Day meet. "It really is wonderful to see so many people here," said master of the Middleton Hunt, Charlie Gundry, addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 in bright winter sunshine…. A solitary hunt protester, Annabel Holt from Stearsby, near Malton, hung a banner from a lamppost. However, there were cheers when Malton-born Fiona Smith from Plymouth untied and removed it…. A spokesman for the Real Countryside Alliance, Edward Duke, made an impassioned speech before the horn was sounded… (story in archive)

North Wales Weekly Newspapers 30.12.04 Hunt vows to return in 2005 by Dave Jones, North Wales Weekly Newspapers series - ANIMAL rights campaigners have promised to keep fighting tooth and nail to stop fox hunting in the countryside, despite suffering a blow to their campaign this week…. The Boxing Day hunt would have been the last legal one for the Flint and Denbigh, but the Countryside Alliance's High Court challenge could mean hunters continuing until the dispute is resolved… (story)

Denbighshire Free Press 30.12.04 DEFIANT HUNT STAGES ITS OWN SHOW OF STRENGTH - Thousands pack Denbigh for annual hunt - HOARDS of hunt enthusiasts gathered in Denbigh on Bank Holiday Monday for what could be the last time before a ban is brought in. Members of Flint and Denbigh Hunt converged on Denbigh in a show of strength less then two months after MPs sounded the death knell for hunting…. (story)

Helston Packet 30.12.04 Hunting is still in the pink! by Laura Parsons - THERE was no deterring those keen to see fox hunting continue in the Helston area this week. More than 60 riders, the most for some years, turned out for the traditional Christmas Cury Hunt on Monday and more than 300 spectators lined the streets near the Monument…. (story in archive)

Camborne & Redruth Packet 30.12.04 Hunt supporters vow to return for 2005 meet - A HUGE turnout of hunt supporters at Carn Brea on Monday left many people in no doubt that fox hunting was a way of life which should not be destroyed. There was also criticism by those attending the annual event of MP Candy Atherton, who was not present, and support for her Conservative opponent, Ashley Crossley, who was. The Four Burrow Hunt has been meeting on the Carn for the traditional Christmas Day meet for generations and those taking part this year were in a determined mood… (story in archive)

Whitehaven News 30.12.04 PEOPLE SUPPORT HUNTS - EDMUND Porter donned his green jacket and led out the Eskdale and Ennerdale foxhunting pack on Tuesday on what may prove to be the last Boxing Day hunts. The pack ranged on foot over the steep slopes of Muncaster fell on Tuesday after bad weather ruled out Monday’s hunt…. (story)

Banbury Guardian 30.12.04 WE'LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR, SAY FOXHUNTERS - FOXHUNTERS in Banburyshire have vowed that this week's Boxing Day meet will not be their last, despite an impending ban on the blood sport. More than 1,000 members and supporters of the Warwickshire Hunt braved freezing conditions and crammed into the grounds of Upton House near Banbury for one of the biggest events in the hunting calendar… (story)

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 30.12.04 Frost halts day of Defiance - HUNT supporters from across Northamptonshire turned out in force for what may have been the last post-Christmas hunt before a ban is imposed next year, only to have it abandoned by the weather. More than 2,000 spectators, ranging from farmers to former huntsmen, showed their opposition to the Government's anti-hunting legislation by joining the Grafton Hunt meet at Towcester Racecourse…. Joint master of the Pytchley Hunt, Michael Bletsoe-Brown, said: "The Pytchley Hunt will continue and will not dissolve during this temporary hunting ban. We will be holding Boxing Day Meets for many years to come." (story)

Driffield Post 30.12.04 Hundreds follow the hunt - A THOUSAND people turned out to see Driffield's annual festive hunt - at a new venue and on a new day. The Middleton (East) Hunt this year held its traditional post Christmas meet on the town's Kelleythorpe showground on Monday, marking a move away from the usual venue on the Cross Hill car park. … (story)

Leicester Mercury 30.12.04 DATES FOR NEW YEAR HUNTS - Atherstone… Belvoir… Cottesmore… Fernie… Quorn… (story)

Western Daily Press 30.12.04 EXTRA POINT-TO-POINT RACES FOR BARBURY - With only a few weeks remaining of legal fox hunting - unless the ban is postponed through legal action - the spin-off sport of point-to-pointing remains as popular as ever among participants and spectators. So much so, that the Point-to-Point Owners and Riders Association (PPORA) has added an extra day to its usual January fixture next year - making it the first ever two-day point-to-point race meeting in the country…. (story)

Western Daily Press 30.12.04 I AM VERY PRIVILEGED, BUT I WORK SO HARD TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK - Hidden high in the hills behind Stroud stands Nether Lypiatt Manor, for almost quarter of a century the country home of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent…. Princess Michael, who spends as much time in the country as her public duties allow, has been busy in recent months promoting her new book and attempting to repair some of the damage done to her reputation…. In answer to a direct question she says that she has enjoyed hunting with both the Beaufort and the Vale of the White Horse, based at Cirencester. Both hunts are favourites of her relation Prince Charles… Asked about hunting the Royal is not afraid of courting controversy. "I have enjoyed it immensely," she admits…. (story)

Kentish Gazette 30.12.04 Hunters gather in show of defiance - HUNTING and countryside supporters gathered in their hundreds to give members of the East Kent Hunt a rousing endorsement. And they vowed the traditional Boxing Day meet would continue, despite new legislation to outlaw hunting with dogs…. Nick Onslow, spokesman for East Kent Hunt and Countryside Alliance, said: "We are defiant and determined. The hunting act is a pernicious piece of legislation based on prejudice…." (story)

Kentish Gazette 30.12.04 Supporters vow: we'll keep hunting alive - THREE foxes was the tally for Ashford Valley Hunt's Boxing Day meet on Monday when it hunted across Morghew Park, Smallhythe Road, Tenterden. A crowd of about 3,000 people gathered outside The Vine Inn, Tenterden, at what had been thought to be the last ever Boxing Day hunt and this year there were no hunt protestors in sight…. (story)

Reading Chronicle 30.12.04 Supporters determined to carry on hunting - DEFIANT hunt supporters turned out in Mortimer for the traditional Boxing Day meet - and vowed to continue the sport they love. David Fleming, joint master of the The Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt, climbed into a tree on Mortimer Common and shouted: "We will go on."… (story)

Chester le Street Advertiser 30.12.04 Hunters say fight to delay ban will go on - RECORD numbers of huntsmen and woman and their supporters gathered across the North-East on Monday for the last Boxing Day hunt before a ban takes effect in 2005…. One of the biggest gatherings was in Lanchester, where hundreds of supporters lined the streets to watch more than 60 horses of the Braes of Derwent Hunt set off…. (story in archive)

North Devon Journal 30.12.04 BIG TURNOUT TO CHEER BOXING DAY HUNTS - Record numbers of hunt supporters turned out to attend traditional Boxing Day meets across North Devon… Devon and Somerset Staghounds met at the White Horse, Exford, on Monday. According to joint master George Witheridge, there were more than 200 horses and an estimated 1,000 followers on foot… Torrington Farmers' Hunt met in the town square. Hunt master Ken Ford said the hunt had 58 horses compared to last year's Boxing Day hunt turnout of 28…. (story)

North Devon Journal 30.12.04 ROLLER COASTER YEAR - AND THAT MESSAGE TO MR BLAIR - Once again we come to the last issue of a year and take a look back over 12 months of variety. A year of ups and downs, and how we needed the bright spots to offset the dismal days and how welcome were the silver linings to some of the clouds…. Then in November came the real fiasco, the Parliament Act was used to force through legislation designed to stop hunting. The distaste of DEFRA, Blair and the Government which had been simmering in the farming community boiled over at the way the action of the proposed law was conducted and the fact that the administration chose to ignore the findings of the Burns inquiry…. (story)

Western Gazette 30.12.04 CROWDS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR TRADITION - Thousands of people lined the streets of Chard on Monday to wave off the riders and hounds taking part in the Cotley Hunt. The hunt has been an annual tradition in the area since 1797 and this year saw a record number of people taking part, with more than 130 horses… (story)

Evesham Journal 30.12.04 End of an era? RECORD numbers of supporters heard defiant messages at Boxing Day hunt meets in the Vale, Cotswolds and Warwickshire…. Robin Palmer, joint master of the Croome and West Warwickshire, was at the head of a record number of riders who were cheered as they galloped from their meet on Broad Street, Pershore. "We will be back next year but we will not be breaking any laws," he said. Christopher Houghton, secretary of the North Cotswolds Hunt, said he had never seen such large crowds turn out for a meet in Broadway… Tonia Wood, joint master of the Heythrop, also reported a record turnout for the hunt's meet in Chipping Norton. "It was absolutely beyond belief," she said. Sam Butler, joint master of the Warwickshire Hunt, said more than 200 riders turned out for the meet at Upton House, near Stratford…. (story in archive)

Cornishman 30.12.04 WE'LL MEET AGAIN? - STEVE FLECTHER - Hundreds of people crowded into the tiny village square at Madron on Bank Holiday Monday to support what could be the last Boxing Day Hunt before next year's ban comes into force. Members of the Western Hunt, led by hunt master Ben Sparrow, rode into the village, riding hats in hand, to cheers and clapping by the many supporters… (story)

Northumberland Gazette 30.12.04 Life, and the hunt, will go on - WITH the enforcement date for the hunting ban looming, Gazette reporter MARISSA CARRUTHERS took to the countryside with the Percy Hunt to see what they are leaving behind and what they have planned for life after February 18. Pictures are by JANE COLTMAN. I ARRIVED at Newlands Farm, Belford, unsure of what to expect, but was greeted by friendly faces and warm introductions – far from the cry of red-blooded murderers that some would like to depict. Not dressed too well for the bitter weather I was kindly handed a "Percy Special", a large glass filled to the brim with whisky and cherry brandy, a lethal concoction created by the tenth Duke of Northumberland. It certainly did the trick and warmed me up…. (story)

Wells Journal 30.12.04 CROWDS GATHER AT HUNT'S 'LAST' MEET - Record numbers of hunt supporters and riders gathered at Priddy on Monday to enjoy what could be the last of the traditional Boxing Day meets of the Mendip Farmers' Hunt. About 2,000 supporters and well over 100 mounted hunters arrived to find that the 11am start had been delayed by frosty ground and icy road conditions…. (story)

Cheddar Valley Gazette 30.12.04 POLICE DEFUSE HUNT PROTEST CONFRONTATION - A confrontation between pro-hunt and anti-hunt protestors was successfully defused by police in Cheddar on Monday (December 27). Officers were called to Helliers Lane at about 12.25pm, following reports of a disturbance involving between 15 and 20 people in the street…. The Mendip Famers' Hunt attracted huge crowds - it is estimated that more than 2,000 people took part in the proceedings (story)

Wiltshire Gazette & Herald/Chippenham News 30.12.04 Hunting we will go - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters crammed into Lacock High Street to support the Boxing Day Hunt on Monday. For the first time barriers were set up to protect the Avon Vale Hunt from the crowd and protesters. … Members of the Avon Vale Hunt and the Countryside Alliance were taken back by the vociferous 5,000-strong support as members of the public clapped and cheered with them during a five-minute speech… (story in archive)

Melton Times 30.12.04 Hunting communities boosted by challenge - A GOVERNMENT U-turn on foxhunting means Melton's hunt community may have some breathing space in advance of next year's total ban on the sport…. The annual New Year's Day meet in Melton's Play Close will this year feature the Cottesmore Hunt (10.30am). (story)

Rutland Times 30.12.04 County shows support for hunt - Record crowds gathered for what could be the last ever Boxing Day meet for the Cottesmore Hunt. More than 1,000 people cheered as the hunt rode into Cutts Close to honour an age-old tradition of meeting in Oakham over the festive season… (story)

Midhurst & Petworth Observer 30.12.04 Spectators show their support for hunt - Spectators turned out in force for the Boxing Day meet of the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt. A record crowd, estimated at more than 1,000 people, gathered in Petworth Park for the traditional spectacle, held this year on Monday as Boxing Day fell on a Sunday. For many, even though they are not active participants in foxhunting, it was an opportunity to demonstrate their support for a country activity which could be consigned to history within weeks… (story)

Essex Chronicle 30.12.04 ESSEX HUNT CHEER BY STEVE CLOW - Fox hunting supporters turned out in force despite the cold to cheer on the traditional Christmas meet at Galley- wood Common. Upwards of 500 pro-hunting people were faced by a handful of anti-hunt protestors, but there were no clashes when Essex Farmers' and Union Hunt rode out on Bank Holiday Monday… (story)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 30.12.04 Foxes are pests and must be controlled - RECENTLY, while visiting in-laws, a fox came and killed five of my six-year-old daughter’s hens. These hens are always shut up during the hours of darkness so the culprit obviously used a daring day-time raid. I blame this on the people who feed foxes in their back gardens thereby making them much bolder and less timid of human activity. It is irresponsible to encourage these creatures…. The Government needs to spend more time on issues that will save the lives of people and not pests. Andrew Brown, Lyddington Road, Caldecott (story)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 30.12.04 Parliament needs to get its priorities right - IN the grand scheme of things fox hunting is not very important and never has been – it is a minority past- time in the countryside. It should not concern Parliament but sadly we have representatives who fail to grasp or understand the important issues of the day. It is the politics of spite and envy overlooking the fact that hunts these days are made up of all stratas of society. … A L Stubbs, Saxon Way, Bourne (letter)

Western Daily Press 30.12.04 WORKING HARD TO CONSERVE NATURE - As the organiser of the hunt ban demonstration, I thought I should set the record straight for R Hughes, who wrote to you recently. Prior to the march, I had a long and cordial telephone conversation with the manager of Clarks Village, and once he realised that I had no intention of disrupting his Christmas trade, he wished me well…. Mrs Patricia J Burrough Glastonbury Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 30.12.04 THE HUNTING ACT IS BARKING MAD - What does one have to do to break the new Hunting Act? Well, surely at the very least chase a wild mammal with a dog. Not at all. James Bradley, the civil servant from Defra in charge of hunting policy, has made it clear to me in a letter that even getting a dog to bark at a wild mammal can constitute hunting. If that mammal is flushed out then it must be shot. Presumably, this is to preclude any unnecessary suffering caused to it by an extended bark…. Defra's interpretation means that any farmer who keeps a dog in his yard to scare wild mammals away from his livestock at night would be a criminal from February 19. The Hunting Act is barking mad. Giles Bradshaw Rose Ash Devon (letter)

Derby Evening Telegraph 30.12.04 KILLING FOXES - BAD, KILLING BABIES - OK? - We are very privileged as a family to live and work in the countryside…. Man has hunted, fished and shot for many generations. One should always respect the quarry, whether it be one for the pot, to cull a surplus, or to protect domesticated stock or birds…. A hunting ban will not improve the fox's life. There are 12 times as many babies aborted in this country daily as there are foxes killed. How can we moralise over fox-hunting when 80 per cent of abortions are carried out on perfectly healthy foetuses?... Heather Edge, Poyser Lane, Kirk Langley. (letter)

Western Morning News 30.12.04 Whose cruelty? MY name is Ryan Lutey and I am 13 years old and cannot see the point in the foxhunting ban. Although I am only young I will miss watching the hunt, and miss following them in the car. The ban is being brought in by city dwellers and it would be like us banning offices and clubs…. Ryan Lutey, Wadebridge (letter)

The Sentinel 30.12.04 HUNTING IS ABOUT RIGHT OF CHOICE - - I have refrained from commenting on the fox hunting bill - that is until reading the letter published from Robert Stone. I fail to understand why people that have no links to hunting seem to be so opposed to it. I take no interest in football, however I don't suggest that we should remove this enjoyable pastime for many, all because I don't like it…. . If Mr Stone doesn't like it, he should consider finding a pastime that would take his little mind off the hunting issue. JULIE JAMES Alsager (letter)

Cornwall Packet 30.12.04 Chaos would result if we all ignored the law - FOR years now the prospect of reducing the cruelty which accompanies the so called "field sports" of hunting wild animals on horseback, accompanied by packs of hounds, has been the desire of an overwhelming proportion of the public… With regards to the vow of creating civil unrest, defying the law; if this was the attitude to be taken by all people, then only chaos could be the result. Name and address supplied (letter in archive)

Whitehaven News 30.12.04 — When many Lakeland farmers call in lampers to instantly shoot dead the occasional lamb-killing fox, and the Blencathra Hunt has for 30 or more years maintained and sent dogs into the largest known artificial earth in England, can the law banning foxhunting be said to seriously harm “pest control operations”?... Katherine WATSON, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire (letter)

Evesham Journal 30.12.04 Saddened by a law which kills the hunt - Unlike some of your recent correspondents I shall be saddened to see the law banning not just fox hunting, but also stag and mink hunting, hare coursing and beagling come into place in February. Although it does not directly effect me I have always enjoyed seeing these rural field sports and like many other spectators believe society will be poorer for the loss… Lewis Potter, Pershore Road, Evesham. (letter in archive)

Evesham Journal 30.12.04 How will we show animals the respect? Respect to Animals: in reply to Martin Cowan's letter of December 16th, 2004. Hospitals may still be filthy, patients get MRSA, British schooling is rated low in Europe, 40 dairy farmers a week are forced out of business but the Government manages to ban fox hunting. To what animal does this show respect?... Loder, Broadwell. Moreton-in-Marsh. (letter in archive)

Wells Journal 30.12.04 HUNT BAN COULD BE DECIDED MORE LOCALLY - Countrywide the arguments for and against hunting are equally balanced. Some communities are pro, others not. So why not leave it to county or even district councils to decide, with sensible cross-border arrangements…. Incidentally, one wonders how many police come from farming stock, perhaps even hunt themselves. Paul Inglesby Palmers Road Glastonbury (letter)


Bucks Herald 29.12.04 Hundreds at Boxing Day hunt meet - HUNDREDS of hunt supporters turned out in Aylesbury Vale on Monday for what could have been the last Boxing Day hunt, a tradition dating back 150 years…. At Cholesbury Common, Master of the Vale of Aylesbury with the Garth and South Berks Hunt Valerie Barr issued a rallying cry to supporters, pledging that the hunt would meet 'at the same time in the same place' on Boxing Day next year. Loud cheering and a round of applause of approval from supporters did not quite drown out the booing from the small but hardy group of protesters who had gathered at the meet…. (story)

Wilts & Glos Standard 29.12.04 Stay of execution for hunting? FOX hunting has been given a stay of execution following a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair. = But the Government, which says it won't fight an application for an appeal against a ban, continues to come under fire from both pro- and anti-hunt campaigners.. While the League Against Cruel Sports says the Government is 'giving in to bullying'. Vale of the White Horse Hunt joint master Mark Hill said: "We're certainly going to keep the pressure on. I would be completely cynical about their approach…." (story)

Tavistock Times Gazette 29.12.04 Rousing reception greets hunt at traditional meet - Protestors also vocal as horses and hounds gather in Bedford Square by Jane Honey - THE huntsmen and women of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt swept into Tavistock?s Bedford Square on Monday for what has been billed the last festive season meet before the implementation of a hunting ban next February. Horses and hounds arrived to a loud cheer from a large waiting crowd ? and whistles and boos from a small but vocal group of anti-hunt protestors…. The protest did not seem to affect the hunt members, including international modern pentathlete and Olympic medallist Kate Allenby, sticking by her intention to continue hunting, ban or no ban…. (story)

Western Daily Press 29.12.04 WANT TO BEAT THE HUNTING BAN? HERE'S A HANDBOOK - Hunts across the West have been warned to watch out for spies trying to infiltrate their groups in a bid to prove an intention to break the law, it emerged yesterday. The shock warning comes in a 45-page handbook from hunt leaders, outlining how enthusiasts can remain within the law when their sport is banned in February…. (story)

Torquay Herald Express 29.12.04 HUNTSMEN VOW: 'WE'LL BE BACK' BY STEVE PEACOCK - South Devon huntsmen have vowed they will back again for next year's Boxing Day meet - ban or no ban. Up to 2,000 supporters packed into Kingsbridge on Monday to watch the colourful spectacle of the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers' traditional Christmas meet set off from the town's quayside…. (story)

Torquay Herald Express 29.12.04 MINI HUNT ON HOBBY HORSES - A fun and frenzied Boxing Day hunt at a Cockington pub saw children bounding around on hobby horses. Little wooden horses, trimmed with tinsel, were ridden by toddlers for the Drum Inn's festive frolic. Their aim was to catch up with the "fox" which was finally spotted in the pub's gardens. Elsewhere in South Devon the full-size hunts met for their last Boxing Day events before their pursuits are banned…. (story)

Bath Chronicle 29.12.04 RECORD TURNOUT FOR MEET - Hundreds of hunt supporters descended on a Wiltshire village for the annual Boxing Day meet. The event was the biggest ever, attracting many people waving banners, backing the blood sport. There were about 140 hunters on horseback and many more following on foot. Master of the hunt, Jonathan Seed, said: "Everybody was cheering and clapping, and there were no anti-hunt protesters… (story)

Hemel Hempstead Gazette 29.12.04 HUNDREDS TURN OUT FOR LAST HUNT - MORE than 2,000 people were out on force at Cholesbury Common on Monday as what was the last legal hunt before a ban comes into force took place. Government legislation means that hunting with hounds is to be banned in England and Wales from February, and members of The Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt were determined to enjoy the occasion…. (story)

Reading Evening Post 29.12.04 Hunt vow to target Salter - Pro-hunt supporters identified a new target on Monday – MP Martin Salter. They claimed they’d be on his tail after almost 1,000 people flocked to support what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before a ban comes into force early next year. This year’s post-Christmas Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berkshire hunt attracted a record crowd to the starting point at the Horse and Groom pub in Mortimer…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 29.12.04 Weather cancels fox hunt by Helen Cartwright, Chester Chronicle Newspapers - THE last ever Boxing Day hunt was stopped by icy conditions. The Cheshire Forest Hunt has traditionally ridden out on Boxing Day from Lach Dennis, but with a ban on the sport due to come into force in February, many thought this year's is to be the last…. (story)
Chester Chronicle 29.12.04 Weather prevents last legal Northwich hunt by Helen Cartwright, Chester Chronicle Newspapers - A TRADITIONAL hunt in Northwich was scuppered due to nature rather than any ban this week. The Cheshire Forest Hunt traditionally rides out on Boxing Day from the Duke of Portland pub in Lach Dennis for what is one of the biggest event's on the hunting calendar. This year's hunt should have taken on even more significance, as a ban is due to come in force early next year…. (story)

The Shields Gazette 29.12.04 Supporters are out in force for annual meets - FOX hunting groups in the Scarborough area are continuing their fight against the ban on hunting with hounds in the hope that this year's Boxing Day meet are not the last. The Derwent and Staintondale Hunts were out in force for their meets this year ahead of the ban, which is due to take affect from February 18. But pro-hunt campaigner the Countryside Alliance has launched a legal challenge in the High Court in London seeking a judicial review which it says could delay the ban for some time… (story)

South Wales Guardian 29.12.04 Boxing Day hunt welcomes reprieve - RECORD numbers of supporters joined an optimistic Boxing Day hunt in Llandeilo on Sunday, with renewed confidence it would not be their last…. (story in archive)

Leicester Mercury 29.12.04 MINISTER CAN'T ESCAPE GRILLING ON FLIGHT PATHS BY KATHRYN EDWARDS - An MP who fled protesters by hiding in a hospitality tent became trapped with an angry anti-flight paths campaigner for more than an hour. Aviation minister Charlotte Atkins ducked away from heckling pro-hunt supporters lobbying her over the hunting Bill and became stuck with county council leader and fierce anti-flight paths campaigner, David Parsons…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 18.12.04 A PROTEST OVERSHADOWED - We have just returned from the opening of the Rearsby bypass My wife and I met a small group of campaigners to lobby the aviation minister Charlotte Atkins, who should have opened the bypass, about Nottingham East Midlands Airport (Nema) and night flights. She, of course, did not attend due to the large number of pro-hunters who made their presence known…. I saw one pro-hunter with an open box of eggs obviously ready to pelt someone…. If that pro-hunter had thrown those eggs, it would have caused excitement and created the crowd to scatter… I would, however, like to thank the many pro-hunters who gave their support to our cause…. G Allen, Cossington (letter)
Leicester Mercury 18.12.04 DISMAY AT HIJACKING OF OPENING CEREMONY - I would like to express my dismay and annoyance at the hijacking of the opening of the Rearsby bypass by Countryside Alliance members on December 15. They took the shine of what should have been a day of celebration for the village of Rearsby. While many people in this part of the country may be sympathetic to their cause, it was quite inappropriate for them to use this occasion to make their point about hunting… John Lambert, chairman of Rearsby Parish Council. (letter)
Melton Times 16.12.04 £7M BYPASS WORTH THE WAIT - PRO-HUNT demonstrators yesterday disrupted the opening of Rearsby's new £7million bypass. More than 50 local hunt supporters – about 12 on horseback – caused havoc protesting at the presence of Transport Minister Charlotte Atkins, who had voted in favour of the hunting ban and was supposed to open the new route…. Daniel Cherriman, first whipper-in with the Quorn Hunt, said: "People might think we've hijacked the opening, but our careers have been hijacked. I'm going to lose my home and job as a result of this ban."… The ribbon was finally cut by Peter Winkless, chairman of Leicestershire County Council, who borrowed a huntsman's knife… (story)
Leicester Mercury 16.12.04 PROTESTERS HIJACK OPENING OF BYPASS BY TOM PEGDEN - A Government minister was forced to take cover when she was met by more than 200 angry hunt supporters who hijacked the official opening of a new road. Transport Minister Charlotte Atkins took refuge in a hospitality tent as hundreds of pro-hunt protesters held the surprise demonstration…. Quorn Hunt supporter Becky John, of Melton, said: "We are delighted the bypass is here. We just want her to go and tell Tony Blair we are not going away."… County council leader Coun David Parsons said: "The protesters have made their point, as you would expect. I would not say it's spoilt the occasion. It's an unexpected addition."(story)
The Sentinel 16.12.04 PRO-HUNT PROTESTERS TARGET MP AT OPENING - Staffordshire Moorlands MP Charlotte Atkins was forced to take cover after being ambushed by hundreds of angry hunt supporters at a road opening. Ms Atkins, a transport minister, was in Leicestershire yesterday to officially open a bypass near the village of Rearsby when 200 pro-hunt protesters launched the demonstration…. (story)
(The Sentinel) 16.12.04 MOORLANDS MP TAKES REFUGE FROM HUNT BAN PROTEST - PHIL CORRIGAN AND SAMANTHA COPE - Staffordshire Moorlands MP Charlotte Atkins was forced to take cover after being ambushed by hundreds of angry hunt supporters at a road opening. Ms Atkins, a transport minister, was in Leicestershire yesterday to officially open a bypass near the village of Rearsby when 200 pro-hunt protesters launched the demonstration…. Dressed in full hunt gear rider Mark Halford said: "This is the new road to Melton Mowbray. Melton Mowbray is the heart of hunting in this country. We will continue to fight."… (story)
BBC News Online 15.12.04 Hunting protest at bypass opening - Pro-hunting protestors have disrupted the opening of a long awaited bypass around a Leicestershire village… on Wednesday around 200 riders and protestors prevented junior Transport Minister Charlotte Atkins from cutting the ribbon…. Ms Atkins stayed within a contractors compound on the advice, she said, of police. The ribbon was eventually cut by a local councillor… (story)
Leicester Mercury 15.12.04 MINISTER HAS TO TAKE COVER - A Government minister took cover in a hospitality tent when she was confronted by hundreds of pro-hunt protesters. Transport minister Charlotte Atkins, who was in Leicestershire to open Rearsby bypass, was confronted with the demonstration this morning…. At one point, two riders charged a gate at the back of the compound. Officers closed it before they got in. One hunt supporter shouted "We can see you" into the tent at the minister…. Leicestershire County Council leader David Parsons said: "These people are legitimately protesting and we must accept that. I think the idea of banning hunting is ludicrous."… (story)

Telegraph 29.12.04 Labour's debacle is New Hunting movement - – I refer to Charles Moore's commentary piece (News, Dec 28) and, in particular, to the notion that draghunting is New Labour's "fantasy" solution to the issue of foxhunting… The huge turnouts witnessed across the country for the traditional Boxing Day meets provide a welcome demonstration of the strength of the hunting movement and hint at its scope to become a potent focus for political and moral opposition to the New Labour project…. Tom Lewis, Morghew Park Estate, Tenterden, Kent
There seems to be some confusion in the minds of the pro-hunting fraternity as identified by Rex Sly… Parliament passed a law that should be upheld. The class implications that the Countryside Alliance are alleging are just a pathetic attempt to justify their love of bloodsports, regardless of the cruelty involved. Jean Willis, Gillingham, Kent
How sweetly reasonable the Prime Minister appears this Christmas-tide. By rightly keeping his Attorney General on a leash so that the Countryside Alliance may exhaust every legal avenue to stop the hunting ban before it is enforced, he is at least restoring the 18-month moratorium agreed by the Commons but turned down tactically by the Lords… The Countryside Alliance appears to have forced an important concession but we are not yet out of the woods and Mr Blair will continue to confuse the scent for all he's worth. John Gouriet, Bicknoller, Somerset (letters)

Western Daily Press 29.12.04 CLAMPDOWN WILL SAVE OUR WILDLIFE - Your correspondent T Mason may well be correct that, out of spite, hunt supporters have started to exterminate all the wildlife from the countryside that they can because their cruel, loathsome pastime has been banned. Nothing surprises me about what these horrible people will do…. Chris Hull Yetminster Dorset (letter)

Louth Leader 29.12.04 Condemn bad behaviour and more people would support fox-hunting - Mr John Jaines says I write ‘ill informed tripe’ about foxhunting. (Letters, December 8). The fact he finds it necessary to use such abusive language merely serves to illustrate the weakness of the case he so clumsily seeks to make….The reason why I no longer support hunting with hounds is because of the bad behaviour and spurious arguments of many of those who support it. No true country person would want to be associated with the recent outrageous behaviour of hunt supporters in Parliament Square… Tony Weedon, North Somercotes (letter)

Worcester Evening News 29.12.04 Animals suffering everywhere, yet it's foxes that get all the attention - I FIND it most strange that it is acceptable to have pet superstores in our major cities where birds, reptiles, rabbits, guinea pigs and fish are kept in tiny cages or containers and sold to all and sundry without any checks on the future welfare of the animals….Would it not be better for the RSPCA and New Labour to concentrate their efforts on reducing this cruelty instead of funding and passing the biased, prejudiced, cruel Bill on hunting with hounds - the most natural form of pest

Shropshire Star 29.12.04 Hunt ban a bad law for Britain - I disagree entirely with Alex Beyer. I believe the hunting ban is a bad law and a parliamentary disgrace…. Robert Jenkins, Telford (letter)


Daily Post 28.12.04 Blair's no match for cunning fox - FOX hunters have promised they'll be back for next year's traditional Boxing Day meet, and it's a promise they won't find hard to keep…. The ban, as drafted, is thus one of the most farcical ever devised for the statute books: impossible to define or interpret, impossible therefore to police, and so woolly as to be worthless as the basis for a successful prosecution… At the end of a disastrous year for the government's credibility, the Parliament Act had to be invoked for only the fourth time in over 50 years, quite possibly undemocratically inasmuch as it did not apply in this case, to bring in law which the government did not even really want. Small wonder the roads are currently littered with the corpses of foxes. One can only presume they are hurling themselves under the wheels of cars and lorries in despair. (story)

Daily Post 28.12.04 Boxing clever By Steve Bagnall And David Powell, Daily Post - FOX hunters last night vowed they will be back for next year's Christmas chase. Hundreds turned out for the traditional Boxing Day meet of Flint and Denbigh Hunt yesterday with leaders pledging to carry on…. With meets in Pembrokeshire, Newtown, Brecon and Carmarthen-shire, there was more hunting activity in Wales than any other part of the UK, said a Countryside Alliance spokesman. Other Welsh hunt supporters crossed the border to join members of the 150-strong Cheshire Hunt in Tarporley. The Tarporley Hunt Club, established in 1762, is the oldest hunt club still in existence in the world…. (story)

South Wales Echo 28.12.04 'Backbench bigots will not stop us' - That was the defiant message from the Glamorgan Hunt and its supporters as they gathered for the final Boxing Day hunt before next year’s ban begins. More than 600 people gathered in Cowbridge to show support for the Glamorgan Hunt and opposition to the hunting ban, which is due to come into force on February 17…. Before setting off, Vale of Glamorgan councillor John Thomas, joint Master of the Glamorgan Hunt, told the people lining the street: "See you next year, same place, same time." (story)

Telegraph 28.12.04 Defiant mood prompts record hunt turnout By Nick Britten - Hunts across England and Wales reported record turnouts yesterday in what could be the last legal Boxing Day meet…. Mark Westwood, 45, the master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, said the 1,000-strong crowd on foot at Hadleigh, Suffolk, was far larger than in previous years… In Blackmill, near Bridgend in south Wales, more than 100 members of the Llangeinor Hunt were seen off by about 700 supporters braving freezing conditions…. Richard Thomas, one of the hunt masters at the 242-year-old Tarporley Hunt Club, Lancs, one of the oldest hunt club still in existence, said: "Hundreds of thousands will meet today, just as we are doing. The Government sees tradition as a threat. Now is the time to stand together and take on the Government. We can't allow ourselves to be confined to history." … More than 3,500 people - one of the biggest crowds of the day - gathered to watch around 200 horses set off on the Beaufort Hunt along the Gloucestershire-Wiltshire border. Lord Scott of Foscote, a senior judge and hunting enthusiast for 45 years, had his plans to ride with Grafton Hunt in Northamptonshire curtailed by the frost. He said he would not sit on any hunt cases because of his well-known objection to the Bill and his hunting associations…. (story)

Telegraph 28.12.04 Lada Man mixes with the 4x4s By Paul Stokes - One car stood out among the 4x4s lining the verges outside Beverley racecourse yesterday for the Boxing Day meet of the Holderness Hunt. The 10-year-old red Lada Niva has become an emblem of hunting with hounds as a classless pursuit through its use by Kevin Jackson, known to many as "Lada Man"…. Mr Jackson, a foot follower, gave interviews as his wife Josie distributed leaflets urging people to "Fight the Ban"…. As the hunt disappeared, the Lada headed a few miles west to the village green at Lund where the Hunsley Beacon Beagles were gathering…. (story)

Telegraph 28.12.04 The Resistance must be ready for a long battle ahead By Charles Moore - Our local hunt met yesterday, as it always does at this time, on the site of the Battle of Hastings. This year, the crowd of supporters was so great that traffic stopped altogether and horses and hounds had to cram against the gates of the abbey to make room…. It worries me, though, that pro-hunting people are still so politically innocent. Last week, the Government let it be known that it would not contest an injunction delaying introduction of the hunting ban until the Countryside Alliance's court challenge to the Act is complete. This was immediately spun as a "reprieve" for hunting. It is not, because a British Government, thank goodness, still has no power to give or withhold an injunction… The commitment of hunting people is stronger than almost any other social/ sporting/service-providing activity in this country, and it is as strong as it has ever been. But a ban will, of course, make life very difficult for the right training of hounds. It will mean that some people drop away. To minimise all this, the resistance has to be huge on February 19. Even more important, though, it must be planned to continue for as long as it takes. (story)

Telegraph 28.12.04 Hounded out - Once the hunting ban comes into force, the nature – and employment prospects – of many villages will change. Will house prices fall? Dominic Prince reports… The village of Somerby in Leicestershire has a church, a post office and village store, two pubs, a primary school and a riding stables. The ironstone buildings are handsome in a rough-hewn sort of way. The 800 or so residents have an air of contentment, especially those who earn a living from the Cottesmore Hunt. … Carol Freckingham runs a livery yard in Somerby, where she keeps between seven and eight horses for people who hunt with the Cottesmore. "Without the hunting they are not going to bring me the horses," she says…. It is no secret that Somerby House Farm, one of the nicest family houses in the village, with 25 acres, stabling and a manège, was slow to sell, and then not at a particularly good price. On the market at the moment is Stag House, a five/six-bedroom farmhouse in the heart of the village. It comes with a large walled garden and four stables. Its price has been reduced from £459,950 to £445,950 (Murray Estate Agents, 01572 755555)….(story)

Times 28.12.04 Hunt community goes on war footing BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - HUNTSMEN and women have been ordered to make life difficult for police to enforce a ban on hunting…. Hundreds of people turned out to support their local hunts and witness the spectacle before it is consigned to history. Behind the scenes, however, hunts were preparing a fight to save their sport that had been planned with military precision and checked by a team of lawyers…. (story)

Times 28.12.04 'If I can't wear the red coat, I'll wear tweed. I won't stop' BY SIMON DE BRUXELLES - THERE was only one creature more elusive than the fox as the Avon Vale hunt gathered in the picturesque Wiltshire village of Lacock yesterday: the hunt protester…. The Government’s attempts to ban hunting had at last achieved something: the turnout of supporters had more than doubled since the last Boxing Day meet to more than 5,000 people…. Only one of the riders would admit that he would be absent from next year’s event if the ban comes into effect on February 18. James Gray, the Tory spokesman on rural affairs, and one of a small handful of hunting MPs, said: “I have been hunting for 30 years and I shall continue to do so for as long as it is a legal activity, but as a Member of Parliament I believe I have to uphold the law as it stands, whether I personally agree with it or not.” Mr Gray, who rides with the Avon Vale hunt several times a year, was, however, a lone voice… (story)

Guardian 28.12.04 Record crowds for hunting's last hurrah - Countryside Alliance says thousands turned out to support the traditional Boxing Day outing to show opposition to the imminent ban - Kirsty Scott - Thousands of supporters turned out yesterday for what may prove to be foxhunting's last big hurrah. The Countryside Alliance said the traditional Boxing Day hunt, delayed until yesterday, drew around 300,000 hunters and followers across England and Wales, determined to show their opposition to the ban… The Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds said 1,000 people turned out in support of them, significantly more than in recent years… But Anita Young, a protester, disagreed. The 53-year-old legal secretary from Hadleigh, part of a small protest at the Essex outing, said the high turnout in support of the hunt did not mean Britons did not want to see hunting banned… (story)

Guardian 28.12.04 The old enemy, not New Labour, defeats the South and West Wilts - Anne Perkins - Heather is a large freckly grey mare with a kind expression and hairy heels (the equine equivalent of sensible shoes). She is so tall, and her controls feel so remote, it is like sitting upstairs on a double-decker bus that's been hijacked by a well-meaning eccentric. Great view, but wherever are we going? Heather is to be my window into the hearts of the people of the South and West Wilts Hunt, gathered for the traditional Boxing Day meet…. The master and huntsman, Adam Waugh, is brutally realistic in his assessment of the future: "We need cash to keep going. If we can't hunt we can't raise the cash. The best we can do is to try to hold on, to wait and to campaign for a change of heart, or a change of government." By lunchtime, hunting was abandoned for the day. Too much frost on the ground for either man or beast. … (story)

Manchester Evening News 28.12.04 Hunts out in force - FOXHUNTING supporters in the north west turned out in force, despite icy weather disrupting what could have been the region's last chance of Christmas hunts before the government ban is due to take effect in February…. Members of the 150-strong Cheshire Foxhounds Hunt gathered outside The Swan Hotel in the main street of snow-covered Tarporley…. (story)

Mirror 28.12.04 BAN? WE'LL BE HERE NEXT BOXING DAY - Hunters vow to 'get around' law By Steve Mccomish - HUNTERS turned out across the country yesterday and vowed: "We will be back next year." More than 300 hunts met across England and Wales, watched by thousands of supporters, for the traditional Boxing Day meet…. Mark Westwood, 45, Master of Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, said: "We are going to be hunting again this time next year."… More than 100 members of the Llangeinor Hunt were watched by around 700 supporters in Blackmill, Glamorgan…. Law lord Lord Scott, 70, a member of the Grafton Hunt in Northants for 45 years, said he will not sit in cases of illegal hunting… (story)

Sun 28.12.04 A HUNTSMAN tips his hat as he sets off for the last legal Boxing Day fox-hunt yesterday. Tarporley Hunt Club — the world’s oldest — set off from the Cheshire village as other hunts took place across Britain. Many vowed to defy new laws next February making it illegal to hunt foxes with hounds. Richard Thomas, 34, told supporters: “Now is the time to stand together.” (story)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 GOOD NATURED DEFIANCE - Hunt supporters across the Westcountry turned out in force for the traditional Boxing Day meet and as an act of defiance against the likely ban on the sport… More than 200 hundred supporters gathered outside the Bedford Hotel, for the meet of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt…. (story)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 THOUSANDS SHOW SUPPORT FOR HUNTS AND RURAL LIFE - More than 300,000 people attended traditional Boxing Day hunts across Britain yesterday in a massive show of support…. Mark Davison, chairman of the Cury Hunt Club Supporters in West Cornwall, epitomised the defiance…. (story)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 QUENTIN DEMANDS HUNT APOLOGY - Comedy actress Caroline Quentin is demanding an apology from a national newspaper over gossip-column claims that her husband had welcomed fox hunters on to their Devon estate. The Independent reported that her husband, Sam Farmer, had given the go-ahead to the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt to go over their £2 million 21-acre estate at Morebath, near Bampton, after an approach by the hunt master, James Green…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 27.12.04 CAROLINE IN HUNTING ROW APOLOGY CALL - Top comedy actress Caroline Quentin is demanding an apology from a national newspaper over gossip-column claims that her husband had welcomed fox hunters on their Devon estate. The Independent reported that her husband, Sam Farmer, 33, had given the go-ahead to the Dulverton Farmers' Hunt to go over their £2m 21-acre estate at Morebath, near Bampton, after an approach by hunt master James Green. Mr Green was reported to have said Mr Farmer had been delighted to give permission and that he and one of his two children had attended a hunt on foot. But lawyers acting for Ms Quentin, 43, have demanded The Independent retract the assertion that the family was delighted to assist the hunt and that they had attended a meet… (story)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 FEARS FOR RED DEER IF BAN IS ENFORCED - More than 500 supporters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds arrived on Exmoor yesterday to make a defiant pledge that 2004 will not be the last Boxing Day meet…. (story)

Gloucestershire Echo 28.12.04 THOUSANDS TURN UP FOR LAST HUNT - Thousands of people turned out to support the Cotswold Hunt at what could be the last ever Boxing Day meeting. More than 50 huntsmen and women gathered at The Frogmill Hotel in Shipton Oliffe and were cheered on by a crowd determined to defy the impending ban… Supporter Jo Aldridge, who attended the Beaufort hunt at Didmarton, said: "We've had a huge turnout, about 4,000 to 5,000 people on their feet, which is the biggest I've seen…." Delly Everard, of the Countryside Alliance, attended the Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt near Longhope. She said: "There are 200,000 people supporting the Boxing Day hunts across the country, which proves it isn't just hunters who are opposed to the ban…." (story)

Gloucester Citizen 28.12.04 'WE WILL BE AROUND NEXT YEAR' - "WE will still be hunting this time next year" were the defiant words which echoed around a county village yesterday. Hundreds of hunt supporters braved the cold and gathered at The Glasshouse near May Hill for the annual Boxing Day meet of the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt. "They will not stop us," shouted huntmaster Geoff Peters to a crowd of 400 people… (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 28.12.04 LANDOWNERS MOURN MORE LOSS OF RIGHTS - Landowners say 2004 will go down as the year when many of the basic rights of property owners were undermined. And they have warned of more problems ahead resulting from the drive to widen countryside access. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act and the bill to ban hunting have both fundamentally changed the whole nature of land ownership, says the Country Land and Business Association… (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 28.12.04 THE LAST POST FOR TRADITIONAL SPORT - Hundreds of people turned out to watch what could be the last ever Boxing Day hunt through Lincolnshire. Members of the Burton Hunt were surrounded by well-wishers as they set off on their course around the countryside yesterday…. (story)

Western Mail 28.12.04 Hunstmen drive on at Llangeinor - Steve Dube, Western Mail - The last Boxing Day Hunt before the Hunting Act comes into force drew bumper crowds yesterday. Steve Dube watched the Llangeinor Hunt ride out… It was standing room only in the Fox and Hounds, as around 700 people turned up to support the hunt, but most onlookers were outside admiring the horses…. (story)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 28.12.04 Hunt is defiant in face of ban by Kevin Shoesmith - DEFIANT pro-hunters gathered at a local beauty spot for what could be the last Boxing Day hunt. A 1,500-strong crowd ignored the frosty weather to watch the Vale of White Horse Hunt gallop around Cirencester Park… (story in archive)

South Wales Argus 28.12.04 Record crowds turn out for hunts - TWO Gwent hunts saw record crowds of supporters and little in the way of protest yesterday as the countryside community reflected on a momentous year…. In Abergavenny yesterday, a larger crowd than any in recent history packed into Frogmore Street, warming themselves with mulled wine and pastries provided by a local hotel… Before a horn was blown to signal the start of the hunt, the Master of the Hounds, Alan Hayes, took a megaphone and addressed the crowd. Then the street erupted into the sound of applause and the thudding of hooves and the Monmouthshire Hunt was off… (story in archive)

Eastern Daily Press 28.12.04 Hunt supporters show solidarity - Hunt supporters turned out in force across the region yesterday at traditional Boxing Day meets - vowing to fight a proposed ban on their sport and ensure its survival. Every hunt reported bumper turnouts at their meets, with many crowds at least double their normal number…. As the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds gathered at Hadleigh in Suffolk, senior joint master James Buckle said: "The size of the turnout here today is indicative of how people feel…." As around 1000 people saw off the North Norfolk Harriers at Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, joint master Roger Bradbury described the new legislation as "useless and worthless"…. Around 2500 people converged on Fakenham Racecourse, where supporters of the West Norfolk Foxhounds were urged to fight on to protect the hunt…. Wymondham Market Place was crammed with more than 500 people supporting the Dunston Harriers…. At Bungay nearly 2000 people turned out to greet the Waveney Harriers…. (story)

Aberdeen Press & Journal 28.12.04 BLAIR MAY YET BE OUTFOXED BY HUNTERS - Those who indulge in the age-old tradition of fox-hunting sent a defiant message to the Labour Government with record turnouts at post-Christmas gatherings across England and Wales…. (story)

Bath Chronicle 28.12.04 RECORD NUMBERS TURN OUT FOR ANNUAL HUNT BY EMMA COONEY - Hundreds of hunt supporters descended upon a Wiltshire village yesterday for the annual Boxing Day meet. The event was the biggest ever, attracting many people waving banners, backing the blood sport. There were about 140 hunters on horseback and thousands following on foot. Master of the hunt, Jonathan Seed, spoke to the Chronicle the moment the first fox had been caught…. (story)

Western Daily Press 28.12.04 HUNTS MEET IN FORCE BUT WILL IT BE THE LAST HURRAH? BY MARK FORD M.FORD@BEPP.CO.UK - Huntsmen took to the field, lanes and village greens in record numbers yesterday in a defiant gesture against the ban which could make this the last Boxing Day hunt. The post-Christmas meetings traditionally draw large crowds, but Monday saw some of the biggest gatherings of the hunt fraternity in years as thousands of supporters braved the winter chill in a show of strength… Even Alison Hawes, the South West regional spokesman for the Countryside Alliance, was staggered by the turn out with hunts across the South West reporting bumper crowds. "It has been phenomenal, we have never seen such support," she said, returning from the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers hunt in South Devon…. AT the Beaufort meeting, some 3,500 people watched 200 riders, led by joint hunt master Ian Farquhar, ride off in the winter sun…. At least 2,000 supporters made their way across the crisp, frost-frozen hills of mid-Somerset to the tiny village of Priddy to greet the Mendip Farmers Hunt on the village green… (story)

Scotsman 28.12.04 Pro-hunters defiant at Boxing Day meets - RUSSELL JACKSON - HUNTSMEN yesterday vowed their sport would live on, as supporters turned out in high numbers for the traditional post-Christmas meets across England and Wales…. But the defiant attitude of huntsmen and followers at the Beaufort Hunt along the Gloucestershire-Wiltshire border was typical yesterday…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 28.12.04 Defiant - See you same time next year, vow Boxing Day hunters - WE'LL be back! Back on February 19 and back on Boxing Day 2005. That was the defiant message from hunts which met yesterday across the two counties for their traditional Boxing Day gatherings… Clare Rowson, a Countryside Alliance spokeswoman, called the turnout in the Midlands "unprecedented" as more than 2,000 supporters came to Droitwich for the Worcestershire Hunt meeting, dwarfing the 40 protesters… In Pershore, 1,000 people braved the wintry conditions yesterday to see the 60-strong Croome and West Warwickshire hunt set out…. Meanwhile, a much larger than usual crowd of supporters saw the Clifton-on-Teme Hunt meet at the Hop Pole Hotel in Bromyard…. More than 5,000 people - up 1,000 on last year - descended on Ledbury to see off 200 mounted members of the town's hunt. … Val Alfrey of the North Ledbury hunt, said 60 huntsmen and women took part and about 300 people attended their meet in Storridge, near Malvern, which was taken on foot due to frozen ground…. Pam Trewin, secretary for the Wyre Forest Beagles, said about 180 supporters followed their hounds for three hours. At the Warwickshire Beagles, which met in Feckenham, near Redditch, about 250 people watched, up from the normal 150…. (story in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 28.12.04 CROWDS DISPLAY SUPPORT FOR HUNT - Devon huntsmen and women spoke of their pride after hundreds of supporters turned up to the annual Boxing Day meet of the East Devon Hunt. Up to 1,000 spectators gathered at Woodbury Castle to watch members of the hunt gallop off into the countryside, making it one of the biggest events in the South West… (story)

Shropshire Star 28.12.04 Hunts delighted after Boxing Day meets - Hunt organsiers today hailed traditional Boxing Day meets at towns and villages across Shropshire and Mid Wales a success after thousands turned out in support… Senior hunt master of the North Shropshire Hunt, Ann Carding, said the meet attracted the best crowd seen for many years with around 1,000 out on foot and another 100 on horseback…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 28.12.04 HUNDREDS SUPPORT HUNTS BY BEN FARMER - Hunt supporters turned out in force for what could be the last Boxing Day meet before the pursuit is banned. Leicestershire and Rutland's five hunts met on what is traditionally the biggest day in their calendar…. The Quorn met at Hickling, just over the Nottinghamshire border, in front of more than 300 people. Followers said it was the biggest Boxing Day crowd in memory…. The Cottesmore Hunt, in Cutts Close, Oakham, the Fernie, in Great Bowden and the Belvoir, in Grantham, all attracted crowds…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 28.12.04 COURT CHALLENGES MAY DELAY BAN - Hunting will be outlawed from February 18, after the Parliament Act was used to force through a ban in the face of opposition from the House of Lords. However, the Countryside Alliance has launched a High Court challenge to the ban, saying the Parliament Act itself is illegal…. (story)

Newcastle Journal 28.12.04 We're not riding into history, say hunters By Robert Brooks, The Journal - Fox-hunters took to the North-East countryside for their traditional Boxing Day ride yesterday, warning Prime Minister Tony Blair: "We'll see you again next year." Alnwick's Percy Hunt was among a cluster of gatherings - possibly the last legal seasonal hunts with hounds - across Northumberland…. Countryside Alliance spokesman Richard Dodd said more than 2,000 turned out at the start of the Tynedale Hunt in Corbridge, Northumberland…. Mr Dodd said large numbers were reported at other hunts in the region including about 600 people at the South Durham Hunt in Prime Minister Tony Blair's Sedgefield constituency… Hundreds of people from all walks of life - business leaders, farmers, children, horse enthusiasts and pensioners - had braved the harsh winter morning for the meet of Morpeth's annual Boxing Day hunt… (story)

Newcastle Chronicle 28.12.04 A-hunting we'll go By Peter Taylor, The Evening Chronicle - Hunts met across the North East and were told they would continue for "many, many years to come". James Cookson, master of the Morpeth hunt, told hundreds of people who had gathered to watch: "This is what a few bigoted members of parliament want to stop. Fortunately, we've had a bit of a Christmas present and they are running a bit scared at the moment…" (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 28.12.04 EVENT: 'We will fight on' says hunt - HUNDREDS of people clapped and cheered as the defiant joint master of the Fitzwilliam Hunt vowed to hunt again next year. George Bowyer addressed a large crowd of spectators which gathered in Stilton, near Peterborough, for the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt…. But Maxine Kaye, from Cambridgeshire Animal Rights, who was one of a handful of protestors at yesterday's hunt, said: "I think this will be the last hunt. They may be able to hold the ban up for a while but they are just playing for time."… (story)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 28.12.04 THOUSANDS OUT TO SUPPORT HUNT - Defiant foxhunters scented victory in their bid to carry on hunting with hounds when thousands of supporters rallied at hunt meetings at Brocklesby and Louth…. There were up to 2,000 supporters at the South Wold Hunt from Louth Cattle Market and more than 1,000 at Brocklesby…. (story)

Oxford Mail 28.12.04 A-hunting we will go while we still can - Large crowds turned out to watch hunts across Oxfordshire at what could be the controversial field sport's last Christmas gatherings. Up to 2,000 spectators - some in designer wellies - watched the Old Berkshire Hunt in Faringdon yesterday (Mon Dec 27), while the Heythrop Hunt's meeting in Chipping Norton attracted a record crowd, according to hunt organisers…. (story in archive)

Irish Independent 28.12.04 300,000 turn out in a show of defiance against hunting ban - SUPPORTERS of fox hunting claimed that more than 300,000 people attended traditional Boxing Day meets yesterday in a massive display of opposition to the ban due to come into effect on February 18. More than 300 hunts met across England and Wales for one of the high points of the field sports calendar - delayed for a day because Boxing Day fell on a Sunday - with many vowing that this would not be the last time they pursue their sport at Christmas…. (story)

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 28.12.04 Hunt draws vast crowd - THOUSANDS of people packed into a village square yesterday to witness what could be the last traditional Christmas hunt. An estimated 3,000 people lined the streets of Brigstock to cheer on riders, hounds and horses from the Woodland Pytchley Hunt before they set off on their annual festive event…. (story)

The Sentinel 28.12.04 DEFIANT HUNTERS FOXED - BUT ONLY BY WEATHER - RICHARD BRAMWELL, EMMA FITZGERALD AND CHRIS PROUDLOVE - Hunt supporters turned out in force for the traditional Christmas meets - despite freezing weather forcing the cancellation of the events. Crowds still braved bitter conditions to gather at three sites across Staffordshire yesterday in an act of defiance against the Government's bloodsport ban. Supporters of the Meynell and South Staffordshire hunt - some wearing anti-Blair badges - sipped mulled wine against the backdrop of snow-covered countryside at Abbots Bromley, near Uttoxeter…. Hundreds met at Woore, near Newcastle, to support the North Staffordshire Hunt, but frozen ground meant the event was cancelled… At Rue Hill, Cauldon, near Leek, nearly 200 supporters turned up for the Staffordshire Moorlands meet, where frosty conditions also put paid to a full-blown hunt… Members of the 150-strong Cheshire Hunt gathered in the main street of Tarporley…. (story)

Northern Echo 28.12.04 We will bend to the law, but not bow, say hunters by Gavin Engelbrecht and Helen Mi - A RECORD number of huntsmen and women gathered in the North-East yesterday for the last Boxing Day meeting before the hunting ban comes into force… Between 60 and 70 members of South Durham Hunt gathered at The Talbot pub, in Bishopton, pledging to return this time next year, even if they have to walk a legal tightrope… One of the biggest gatherings in the region was in Lanchester, County Durham, where hundreds of supporters lined the streets to watch more than 60 horses of the Braes of Derwent Hunt set off…. (story in archive)

Nottingham Evening Post 28.12.04 FOX HUNTERS' DEFIANT ACT - SEAN KENNY - Defiant fox hunters came out in force on what could be the last Boxing Day hunt before it is outlawed… Around 60 riders from the South Notts Hunt and hundreds of supporters gathered in a frosty Car Colston yesterday for the traditional post-Christmas hunt… (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 28.12.04 COURT BATTLE LOOMING - Fox hunts face a stay of execution as legal wrangles over a ban continue. But anti-hunt MPs in Notts say they have no qualms about any delay caused by Countryside Alliance plans to seek an injunction postponing the ban. … (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 28.12.04 SCENT OF VICTORY - PETER CRAIG AND PAUL DONOVAN - Defiant foxhunters scented victory in their bid to carry on hunting with hounds when thousands of supporters rallied at hunt meetings at Brocklesby and Louth…. There were up to 2,000 supporters at the South Wold Hunt, which left from Louth Cattle Market, and more than 1,000 at Brocklesby…. (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 28.12.04 ANNUAL HUNTS ATTRACT LARGE CROWDS - PAUL DONOVAN AND PETER CRAIG - The frost rather than any Parliamentary legislation appeared to pose the biggest threat to the area's Boxing Day hunts, which between them attracted around 3,000 spectators. About 1,000 people turned out to watch the Brocklesby hunt, and 2,000 to see the South Wold spectacle…. (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 28.12.04 MP DEFENDS MOVES - Cleethorpes Mp Shona McIsaac defended the Government ban on hunting with hounds and called on foxhunters to abide by the law…. (story)

York Evening Press 28.12.04 We'll meet again by Claire Metcalfe HUNT supporters thronged Malton Market Place for what may have been the last legal Boxing Day meet. "It really is wonderful to see so many people here," said master of the Middleton Hunt, Charlie Gundry, addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 in bright winter sunshine yesterday…. York and Ainsty Hunt's traditional Boxing Day meet at Easingwold attracted several hundred people (story in archive)

Hull Daily Mail 28.12.04 'THIS HUNT WILL NOT BE OUR LAST ONE!' With the unmistakable mix of smartly-dressed huntsmen and excited hounds, Beverley Westwood took on a traditional air for the Holderness Hunt. More than 2,500 people descended on the ancient common land for the hunt's showcase meet yesterday. Held a day later than usual this year due to Christmas falling on a weekend, the hunt attracted one of its largest attendances…. (story)

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 28.12.04 Boxing Day hunt called off - AN East Lancashire hunt's final Boxing Day event was halted before it even began, due to the area's white Christmas. The Rossendale-based Holcombe Harriers traditionally meet at Rivington Barn, near Horwich, on Boxing Day for an event which has become a flash point for protesters and supporters alike. But members of the hunt said they opted for a small gathering away from Rivington this year after snow fell throughout Christmas Day…. (story in archive)

South Wales Evening Post 28.12.04 HUNTSMEN VOW TO MEET SAME TIME NEXT YEAR - Huntsmen in South West Wales meeting for their traditional Boxing Day have vowed this will not be the last time they practise their sport at Christmas. A meet at Banwen in Neath yesterday was one of half a dozen in the region. It meant there was more hunting activity here than in any other area of the UK…. (story)

Birmingham Post/Mail 28.12.04 Support for rural hunts - The hunting community launched a civil rights campaign against the Government yesterday as a record 300,000 people turned out nationwide to support the traditional Boxing Day meets…. The meets came as a new poll commissioned by the Countryside Alliance found 77 per cent of people thought a ban on hunting with hounds, due to come into force on February 18, would be confusing and difficult to police. A second survey of 1,042 carried out by the group found that 96 per cent of people did not think Home Secretary Charles Clarke should concentrate on enforcing the ban… (story)

Birmingham Post/Mail 28.12.04 Defiant hunters vow to continue - They came in their hundreds. A steady stream of men, women and children with dogs in tow turned out to see what could be the final Boxing Day hunt after more than 200 years of tradition…. At the Warwickshire Hunt traditional Boxing Day meet, held yesterday as there are no hunts on Sundays, there was little evidence of protests as up to 2,000 people turned out in support of the threatened pastime…. (story)

North West Evening Mail 28.12.04 HUNTSMEN VOW TO KEEP SPORT ALIVE - HUNT followers in Low Furness have vowed to keep the tradition alive, in spite of a looming ban on their sport. About 100 members and supporters of the North Lonsdale Foxhounds applauded the announcement, made before the start of yesterday’s hunt…. (story)

Dorset Daily Echo 28.12.04 Defiant hunts ride out by Bob Jolliffe - MORE than 600 hunting enthusiasts turned out for what could be the last Boxing Day foxhunt in the New Forest. The Boxing Day hunt is traditionally the most popular of the year…. The bright, frosty weather drew the crowds to the meet at Janesmoor Pond near Fritham with an estimated 500 turning out in support… There was also a bumper attendance at Blandford for the Portman Hunt's Boxing Day hunt. More than 100 horses and around 2,000 people on foot met outside the Crown Hotel in West Street to support the threatened event…. The New Forest Hunt will cease hunting this year on February 18, the day before the Hunting Act becomes law, but will keep up "mounted exercises" until the normal end of season in March…. (story in archive)

Cambridge Evening News 28.12.04 'We'll be back again next year' - HUNTERS were in defiant mood and promised to be back again next year for the highlight of their year - the Boxing Day hunt. More than 1,000 people turned out yesterday at Eltisley Green for the Cambridgeshire With Enfield Chace… (story)

Mid Devon Gazette 28.12.04 CONFUSION PERSISTS OVER HUNTING BAN - Tiverton Foxhounds met for the traditional Boxing Day meet outside the Half Moon pub in the town centre amid yet more confusion over the ban against hunting. The meet was due to be the last annual post-Christmas hunt before the Hunting Act comes into force on Friday, February 18…. The Devon and Somerset Staghounds also pledged to carry on hunting within the rules set down by the Hunting Act… (story)

Mid Devon Gazette 28.12.04 DEVON AND SOMERSET STAGHOUNDS MEETS - Devon and Somerset Staghounds have announced their hind hunting meeting dates for January. All meetings start at 10.45am… (story)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 Cars kill foxes - THERE are about 250,000 foxes in this country. On average over the last few years, hunts have killed 250 and cars have killed 5,000 every year. Is it not time we banned driving? Jack Nicholls, Totnes (letter)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 PLEASE GROW UP, PEOPLE OF DISTINCTION - Surely the hunting ban is long overdue. I cannot believe all the threats that are coming from those well-to-do folk who can afford all the gear and expense it incurs to go and rip up a fox or two in the name of sport…. Peter Carroll, Paignton (letter)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 A SHOT IN THE FOOT - My husband and I have been Countryside Alliance members and previously Field Sports members for some years and involved in hunting for over 30 years. We were disappointed to see in the winter edition of the Countryside Alliance Campaign Update a paragraph urging members to take an active part in the next parliamentary election, as "at least 100 constituencies are in rural or semi-rural locations". This in itself is to be applauded but, unfortunately, adjacent to this and placed only one inch away, was the statement that "the Conservative Party pledge to introduce a Government Bill to reverse any hunt ban"…. Brussels. The UK Independence Party is the only political party that will provide a remedy to this attack on our British way of life, especially in the countryside. Margaret Fountain, Dawlish (letter)

Western Morning News 28.12.04 Human predators - IN principle, I see no difference between riders on horseback following hounds in pursuit of foxes or deer, and photographers in 4x4 vehicles following lions or cheetahs in pursuit of weaker animals. What is amazing is the vast number of people who consider one activity to be barbaric and the other as entertainment. That is sheer hypocrisy!... C Martin, Dorchester (letter)

Western Daily Press 28.12.04 WHY MINISTER IS SEEN AS BIG JOKE - According to Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael, there is no confusion over the hunting ban law, although his wriggling on Mr Bradshaw's case, where written evidence existed, was hardly convincing… perhaps he would like to publicly express his views on the following scenarios, which are bound to occur: two hounds legally flush a fox from a cover to be shot, but it's only wounded and, before a second shot can be administered, it makes it to ground beneath a tree, where it then cannot be reached, or into a larger wood, where it cannot then be found. In either scenario it will mean the fox will then suffer a long and painful death. Is that not far worse cruelty? With hunting proper, such cases would never exist, it being 100 per cent dead or alive - hence why both the law and the minister are regarded as little more than one big joke among so many people. Ray Bird, Acton Turville, Gloucestershire (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 28.12.04 THE HUNTING FRATERNITY IS BEHAVING LIKE SULKY BOYS - The Government has not let Mr Jallands down (Letters, November 26), he does that quite adequately by himself. Labour is championing the plight of innocent animals, hunting with dogs may be a 'sport' to Mr Jallands ... it is anything but that to a defenceless, terrified creature hunted down and torn apart… B. & D. TORR Barnfield Wilford
More to life than the hunt - What a pathetic person and a waste of space that Otis Ferry is. On a recent interview on TV with Jeremy Paxman concerning the ban on hunting, this poor little rich boy whinged that he didn't know what he would do if he couldn't go hunting three times a week. I have some choice suggestions. C. KENT High Road Chilwell (letter)

Western Mail 28.12.04 Foxes and folk - Did you know that, contrary to the Countryside Alliance myth, blood sports, are not a town versus countryside issue? A Mori poll conducted in November 2000, on attitudes towards fox hunting among countryside dwellers, showed that in the countryside, there was a majority in favour of a ban of almost two to one!... ROB CURTIS, Merthyr Dyfan Road, Barry (letter)


Scotsman 27.12.04 Huntsmen Vow to Continue Their Sport By PA News Reporters - Huntsmen across England and Wales gathered for the traditional Boxing Day meet today, vowing this would not be the last time they practised their sport at Christmas. One master of hounds in Suffolk said that the attendance of about 1,000 supporters to see his hunt off sent the Government the message: ‘Up yours!’ to the ban.” Meanwhile, senior judge Lord Scott of Foscote announced he would not sit in any cases of illegal hunting brought under the Hunting Act 2004, which he said he “hugely regretted”…. Master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds Mark Westwood said he was confident this would not be the hunt’s last Christmas meeting…. (story)

Reuters 27.12.04 Record crowds gather for hunts - LONDON (Reuters) - Record crowds have gathered to hear cries of "tally-ho" and the barking of hounds for what could be the last traditional post-Christmas hunt before a ban comes into effect next year… (story) 27.12.04 Record numbers at last Boxing Day hunts - Fox hunts have seen a record turnout up and down Britain in their last traditional Boxing Day meets before the country sport is banned…. a new Hunting Handbook has also been published to let hunts know how to continue within the law…. (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Turnout high at Christmas hunts - Thousands of huntsmen and women across England and Wales took part in what could be the last post-Christmas hunt before a ban takes effect in 2005. Turnout for the annual event in every region has been reported as high, with the Countryside Alliance claiming 300,000 spectators at 300 hunts…. More than 1,000 people turned up to see off the Essex and Suffolk hunt from Hadleigh, Suffolk, which organisers said was many more than usual… On Monday morning about 500 people turned out to watch the Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers in Devon, while an estimated 3,500 saw the Beaufort Hunt set off along the Gloucestershire-Wiltshire borders. More than 2,000 were at the start of the Tynedale Hunt in Northumberland and 600 at the South Durham Hunt in the Prime Minister's Sedgefield constituency, a Countryside Alliance spokesman said. A further 2,000 were also reported at the Holderness Hunt in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Lord Scott, one of the country's top judges, was to join the Grafton Hunt in Northamptonshire as part of his protest against the hunting bill… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Hunters arrive on Blair's doorstep By Brian Wheeler - Tony Blair's local hunt was out in force on Monday in a show of defiance at the threatened ban on the sport. Some 97 members of the South Durham hunt gathered in the village of Bishopton, in the prime minister's constituency, for what could be their final Boxing Day meeting - delayed for one day as hunts do not take place on Sundays… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 In pictures: Christmas Hunt - Atherstone… Beaufort… Wensleydale… Cheshire Hunt… Hampshire… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Thousands join in Christmas hunts Hunts people across the West turned out for this year's post-Christmas meets, which could be the last before a ban comes into force in 2005. An estimated 3,500 supporters saw the Beaufort Hunt set off along the Gloucestershire-Wiltshire borders… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Turnout high at Christmas hunts - Hunts are taking part across the North East and Cumbria in what could be the last post-Christmas hunt before a ban takes effect in 2005… The Countryside Alliance says more than 2,000 people were at the start of the Tynedale Hunt in Corbridge, Northumberland… Mr Dodd said large numbers were reported at other hunts in the region including about 600 people at the South Durham Hunt… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Hundreds out for Welsh hunts - Hundreds of people have taken part in hunts across Wales, two months before the activity is due to be banned… In south Wales, people were taking part in the Llangeinor Hunt at Blackmill, near Bridgend, watched by a large crowd of supporters…. (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Hunt cancelled due to bad weather - A hunt in Warwickshire has had to be cancelled because of bad weather. More than 2,000 people turned up to attend the Warwickshire Hunt at Upton House on Edge Hill before organisers called it off due to ground frost… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Thousands to attend annual hunts - Thousands of supporters are expected to turn out for traditional post-Christmas hunts being held across the Midlands, possibly the last before it is banned…. But members of the Albrighton Woodland Hunt near Stourbridge say they intend to look for loopholes in the law… (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Hundreds expected at annual hunts - Hunts in the South East are meeting on Monday for the annual Boxing Day event - potentially the last of its kind…. Organisers of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt said 1,000 people were expected to turn up…. The East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt, which is due to meet in Battle, said it was also expecting hundreds of people at its event…. (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Boxing Day Hunts moved to Monday - Hundreds of pro-hunt supporters and protesters are expected to turn out for about 20 events across the East Midlands on Monday… Members of the Cottesmore and Belvoir hunts in Leicestershire have pledged to continue despite the ban…. In Lincolnshire, hunters will set off from Belvoir Hunt in Grantham, the Blankney in Sleaford, the Burton at Lincoln Showground and the South Wold at Louth Cattle Market….(story)

Guardian 27.12.04 Big turnout for hunt - Mark Oliver and agencies - Fox hunters turned out in strong numbers across Britain today, vowing it would not be their last post-Christmas meeting despite the government's planned ban on hunting with dogs…. In Blackmill, near Bridgend in south Wales, more than 100 members of the Llangeinor Hunt were seen off by about 700 supporters braving freezing conditions… Meanwhile, James Buckle, senior joint master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, said he was confident this would not be the hunt's last Christmas meeting…. Around 1,000 supporters gathered to watch the Essex and Suffolk while three anti-hunt protesters held up a banner which read: "Stop hunting. Get a life." … Today one member of the judiciary, senior judge Lord Scott of Foscote announced he would not sit in any cases of illegal hunting brought under the Hunting Act 2004, which he said he "hugely regretted"…. (story)

Scotsman 27.12.04 Majority Say 'Hunting Ban Difficult to Police' By Andrew Woodcock, PA Political Correspondent - More than three-quarters of voters expect the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales to be difficult to police, according to a poll released today. And just 4% say that enforcing the ban – due to come into effect on February 18 – should be Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s top priority, above issues like immigration, drugs, terrorism and anti-social behaviour. The poll, commissioned by the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, came after a Scottish court found a huntsman not guilty of hunting with dogs under the different ban already in force north of the border. He argued he was not hunting foxes, but flushing them out to be shot… (story)

Guardian 27.12.04 Clashes feared on hunting's big day - Saboteurs offer to help police when ban introduced - John Vidal - They are now almost as traditional as the "men in pink" galloping over the fields in pursuit of the hounds, but today's Christmas meeting of more than 250 fox hunts could also see the last major gathering of the "men in black" - the hunt saboteurs who run around fields and woods blowing horns, imitating hunt calls and spraying the ground with lemon scent to try to confuse the dogs…. The saboteurs, most well known to the authorities after years of being apprehended for disrupting hunts, say they should be taken seriously. "We are seeking high-level meetings with government and senior police officials with a view to helping them enforce a hunting ban", said spokesman Nathan Brown yesterday… The saboteurs, who claim that the imminent ban on hunting with dogs has renewed interest in "sabbing", say they have already held one meeting with police in Sussex. But rather then being welcomed with open arms, they say they were warned that they could be arrested for inciting violence if they continued to provoke the hunters after the ban is imposed. … (story)

Times Online 27.12.04 Huntsmen spurred on by record turnout BY SIMON FREEMAN, TIMES ONLINE - A record 300,000 people turned up to watch and support huntsmen as they gathered for their traditional Boxing Day meets in England and Wales today - and foxhunting campaigners vowed that this would not be the last time they rode out at Christmas… Mark Westwood, Master of the Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds, said he was confident this would not be the hunt's last Christmas meeting…. In Blackmill, near Bridgend in south Wales, more than 100 members of the Llangeinor Hunt were seen off by about 700 supporters braving freezing conditions…. The Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers hunt got off to a peaceful start in Kingsbridge Quay, south Devon, with 76 hunters on horseback and more than 500 supporters on foot. The Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds were met by a small anti-hunt protest consisting of three local women holding a banner which read: "Stop hunting. Get a life."… Members of the 150-strong Cheshire Hunt gathered in the main street of the snow-covered village of Tarporley. Richard Thomas, one of the hunt masters, said: "Now is the time to stand together and take on the Government…. . Countryside Alliance spokesman Richard Dodd said more than 2,000 were at the start of the Tynedale Hunt in Corbridge, Northumberland… Mr Dodd said large numbers were reported at other hunts in the region including about 600 people at the South Durham Hunt… At the Holderness Hunt in Beverley, East Yorkshire, John Haigh said: "There has been massive, massive support.,,, More than 3,500 gathered to watch around 200 horses set off on the Beaufort Hunt… story)

Times 27.12.04 Law lord shows his colours with parting shot at 'ridiculous' ban BY VALERIE ELLIOTT - Lord Scott of Foscote says he will not sit on any hunt case - ONE OF the most senior judges in the country has said that he disapproves of the ban on hunting and will not sit on any hunting case. Lord Scott of Foscote, a law lord, said in an interview with The Times: “I regret the ban hugely. It makes me very sad indeed. If there were any cases in front of the courts I will not sit on them — I have been too involved for too long. I disagree in principle with the Act and it would be inappropriate for me to sit as a judge in these cases.” … Lord Scott, 70, has been hunting for 45 years and rides with the Grafton in Northamptonshire…. A majority of British people expect huntsmen and women to obey the new laws banning the sport, according to a poll commissioned for the League Against Cruel Sports. About 72 per cent said they believed “people who support hunting would be wrong to carry on hunting in view of the new law”…. (story)

BBC News Online 27.12.04 Hunt master welcomes legal delay - As fox hunts across the South get under way, a Berkshire hunt master has welcomed the expected legal delay to a ban on hunting with dogs. Christopher Austen, of the Garth and South Berks Hunt, covering parts of Hampshire and Oxfordshire, described the ban as a "retrograde step"…. (story)

Telegraph 27.12.04 Notebook By W F Deedes - Sir Humphrey wouldn't let the PM get away with it - I suppose I should feel depressed by the thought that yesterday's gathering of hunts for their traditional Boxing Day meets will probably be their last; another piece of English tapestry gone for ever. But, perversely, I feel far more depressed by what the Prime Minister's manoeuvres around this sport tell us about the way we are governed now…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.04 WE'LL BE RIDING FOR YEARS TO COME - Hunts throughout the Westcountry will gather today for what could be their last traditional Boxing Day meet before their sport is banned…. Ken Ford, master of the Torrington Farmers' Hunt, said: "We'll be meeting at 11am in Torrington Square as we always do and to be honest I think we'll be doing it on Boxing Day the year after as well…." Graham Higgins, master of the East Cornwall Hunt, said their traditional meet at Jamaica Inn, Bolventor, would go ahead and was sure it would not be the last…. Diana Scott, one of the joint masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said: "We are expecting a big attendance at our traditional meet at Exford…." (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.04 HANDBOOK GIVES HUNTS LEGAL ADVICE - Westcountry hunts will today be issued with detailed advice on how to continue operating until the "temporary" ban on the country pursuit is lifted. As hunts across the region ride out for what could be the last Boxing Day meet the Countryside Alliance is publishing a "hunting handbook" giving legal advice on how to continue "hunting activity" within the law after the ban comes into force…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.04 NO HOPE FOR FOXES - THIS YEAR OR NEXT - Today, as on Boxing Days for decades, huntsmen, hounds and horses will gather outside pubs and on village greens across the Westcountry to sip a stirrup cup before riding off in the hope of finding a fox. It's a scene that has been played out against a background of uncertainty and controversy for years. But this year, unless the courts intervene and despite Tony Blair's cynical and transparently self-serving delaying tactics, it will be happening - legally, at least - for the last time… There will be those passionate and committed animal campaigners who will today be celebrating that this is the last Boxing Day meet. The Western Morning News respects their view. Equally, however, there will be great bitterness among the hunt workers and followers, and the wider rural community. Much of that bitterness will rightly be directed at the Government which has behaved appallingly in allowing this legislation to reach the statue books when - as ministers up to and including the Prime Minister have made clear - they don't really believe in it, but thought it expedient to let potentially troublesome backbenchers have their way… (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.04 THRIVING HUNT FACES THE FUTURE UNDAUNTED - Continuing our series profiling Westcountry hunts, Lindsey Kennedy finds members of Cornwall's Western Hunt bearing up well DOGGED determination spiced with anger best sums up the mood of supporters of the Western Hunt which remain undaunted by the looming prospect of a ban. "I'm not prepared to get rid of the hounds," said Master Ben Sparrow, with the quiet forcefulness of a man who refuses to bow under pressure…. (story)

Western Morning News 27.12.04 BACKROOM DEALS ARE FAR FROM DEMOCRATIC - WE ALL know that it happens. We accept it, even, as one of the distasteful costs of democracy in a free and market-driven society: the squalid little backroom deal, the abuse of a legal technicality which enables the guilty to walk free or the venal to cling to power. It sticks in the craw, but we defer to the greater good enshrined in the law…. In hunting, contrary to much of the propaganda put out by its opponents, it is a fundamental principle that the quarry should be killed humanely and with dispatch. No such principle has guided the Government as it has hounded and harried hunting. Time after time, Mr Blair has pretended to give hunting "law". He would, he assured us, amass and assess the evidence and make the decision accordingly. Millions of pounds were spent, and hundreds of thousands of hunt supporters travelled from every corner of the kingdom, not once but twice, to give him that evidence. He amassed it - and ignored it…. The passions and money of the animal rights groups, the passions and jobs of the hunting fraternity, the lives of foxes, horses and hounds, all hang in the balance as Blair and his chums play their sordid and exploitative little games to ensure no end but their own survival (story)

Western Daily Press 27.12.04 HUGE OPPOSITION TO THE SURVIVAL OF FOX HUNTING - Fox hunters face overwhelming public opposition to any attempt to continue their pastime when a ban comes into effect, a poll revealed yesterday. The findings come as hundreds of hunts from Tyneside to Dartmoor gather for the highlight of their calendar…. A majority also believe the Hunting Act "should remain in place and hunting should not be allowed to restart", the survey for the League Against Cruel Sports found…. (story)

Irish Independent 27.12.04 Stags 'saved for another day' as annual hunt called off - PLACARD-wielding hunt saboteurs had an unexpected Christmas bonus when two of Leinster's biggest hunts failed to go ahead yesterday. Dozens of anti-hunt protesters turned up at Kells and Ashbourne in Co Meath to show their opposition on what is traditionally the biggest hunting day of the year. But the saboteurs were delighted when St Stephen's Day events, run by the Meath Fox Hounds and The Ward Union Stag Hunt, were cancelled - although the reasons for cancellation were not immediately clear… Meanwhile, in the south-east, the Waterford Foxhounds held their annual meet in Tramore, Co Waterford which passed off virtually incident-free. Up to 35 hunt saboteurs, led by John Tierney, gathered outside the Majestic Hotel on the quay front to watch some 50 huntsmen, women and children gather at around 11am. Mr Tierney said that as the hunt left there had been "a bit of pushing and shoving from both sides, but nothing serious"…. (story)

Shropshire Star 27.12.04 Hunts say the fight against ban goes on - Record crowds turned out to see the traditional Boxing Day hunts across Shropshire today, with organisers declaring they will not be the last. Eleven hunts were taking place across the county, with protest leader Otis Ferry leading the South Shropshire Hunt out from Hook-a-Gate, near Shrewsbury… The hunts meeting were: Albrighton at The Royal Victoria Hotel, St Mary's Street, Newport; The David Davies hunt, at the Angel Hotel in Llanidloes; Ludlow Hunt at Ludlow Castle, the North Shropshire at The Bear, Hodnet; Shropshire Beagles Corbett Arms, Upton Magna, Nr Shrewsbury; Sir Watkins Williams Wynn/Wynnstay Malpas, Cheshire; Tanatside Royal Oak Hotel, The Cross, Welshpool, Teme Valley; The Knighton Hotel, Knighton, Powys; the United hunt at The Castle Hotel, Bishops Castle and the Wheatland at Morville, near Bridgnorth…. (story)

Derby Evening Telegraph 27.12.04 'FOX HUNT HOUNDS KILLED OUR PET CAT' BY GRACE HENDERSON - A couple who found their cat dead after a hunt passed next to their land claim he was ripped to pieces by hounds. Margaret and Andrew Wheatley (both 50), of Wood Lane, Horsley Woodhouse, found six- year-old Felix's remains in a thicket on December 12… The South Notts Hunt went through the area three days earlier…. (story)

York Evening Press 27.12.04 Ban `generates extra support for fox hunts' - THOUSANDS of determined hunters were expected to turn out today for what could be one of the last legal fox hunts in York and North Yorkshire… Jeremy Timm, senior master for the York and Ainsty Hunt, said he expected a bigger turn out than usual today… Stephen Rawlings, secretary of the Saltersgate Farmers' Hunt, said: "We've got a big meet at the Fox and Rabbit pub, Lockton, and we're expecting a lot of people there…." Peter Teasedale, a member of the Sinnington Hunt, said: "I think we'll have more support than ever…." (story in archive)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 27.12.04 HUNTING: Tradition lives on - A SCENE that could soon be consigned to the history books will be played out today at the traditional Bank Holiday hunt. Horses and hounds from the Fitzwilliam Hunt will gather in Stilton to enjoy a pursuit that faces extinction under new laws…. (story)

East Anglian Daily Times 27.12.04 Threatened hunts seek show of support - THE region's traditional Boxing Day hunts will take place today with the pro-hunt lobby believing there will be an unprecedented show of support for the country sport. Liz Mort, eastern region director for the Countryside Alliance, said she is expecting more than 400,000 people to turn out at hunts nationally to make their feelings known – with many of those in Suffolk and Essex… Hunt supporters from across north Suffolk are expected in Bungay to see the Waveney Harriers…. Edmund Vestey, master of the Thurlow Hunt, said: "I think today's meeting is crucial. Boxing Day is one of the two show days of the season and this year, with the threat we are all under, it is not just Boxing Day which is important – it is every day…." (story)

Telegraph 27.12.04 Hunting: a mare's nest - The report (News, Dec 24) on delaying the coming into force of the Hunting Act 2004 raises serious issues. It says that "the Government has told the Countryside Alliance that it will allow its application for a High Court injunction stopping the law coming into operation, as intended, on Feb 18". It is not for the Government to allow or deny this application, since the court will decide…. Francis Bennion, Parliamentary Counsel, 1973-75, Author, Statutory Interpretation, Budleigh Salterton, Devon
- Farmers in south Lincolnshire have experienced a massive increase in incidents of illegal hare coursing over the past few years. Our police force is unable to cope with this increase, saying that this crime is low on its incident priority list. When the ban on hunting comes into operation, will the Government bring the class issue into force again, making fox hunting higher on the police's priority incident list than illegal hare coursing?... Rex Sly, Former Master of Foxhounds, Crowland, Lincs (letter)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 27.12.04 Hunters are now hunted - From February 2005, instead of the police being called upon by fox hunters to save them from the hunt protesters, the hunters are now at risk of fines or jail if the protesters call the police… What the hunters should have done is copied most of British industry, like Rover and Royal Doulton, and transferred hunting over to the Chinese. That way it would have been done cheaper, with fewer overheads, and the Government would have been too frightened of upsetting the Chinese to ban it. Mrs Doyle, Bridgnorth Road, Wombourne. (letter)

Western Daily Press 27.12.04 COMMONS IS ARBITER OF LAW - - I agree with John Gouriet that the House of Lords is indeed a safeguard and guardian of our democracy. However, both Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 are primary legislation, and the 1949 one is not secondary legislation, as Mr Gouriet states, both becoming statutes on receiving the Royal Assent…. Lionel Hutt Keynsham North Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 27.12.04 EXPLAIN, PLEASE Sir - Perhaps Alun Michael could explain why it is cruel to hunt a hare but it is not cruel to hurt a rabbit. Anthony Brown Taunton Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 27.12.04 SHOOTS MUST BEWARE A BAN - These landowners who have complained about hunts that have been on their land without permission, have all come out of the woodwork since the vote to ban hunting from February 2005. I have no doubt that John Mastrangelo allows shooting on his land. Will he feel the same when he loses his extra income when the animal rights followers ban shooting?... D Moore Swindon Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 27.12.04 IT'S STILL A VITAL ISSUE - - I'm sorry but J Knowles has failed to convince me that he is bored stiff with the subject of hunting. I don't believe that someone who purports to be neutral in their views would then go on to write a 350word letter including references to poll results and other stock phrases easily recognisable as pro-hunt propag anda… Gill Purser Cheltenham Gloucestershire (letter)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 27.12.04 No need for wasted time - Alan Nugent says he has asked the chief constable of the West Midlands for an assurance that not a single police hour fighting crime in Sandwell will be lost to the anti-fox hunting law. The question of wasted police hours is entirely in the hands of the hunters themselves: all they have to do is to obey the democratically enacted law of the country…. Barbara Michell, Codsall Road, Wolverhampton (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 27.12.04 FOXES WON'T JUST 'GET IN WAY' OF A DRAG HUNT - In your article "Guide on hunting unlikely to impress" (December 16), Laurence Robertson, Tory MP for Tewkesbury, said: "And what happens if you do go drag hunting, a fox gets in the way and the hounds chase it? Will you be committing an offence?"… If, after the ban, fox hunts claim to be drag hunting, and try to deviously lay trails in such a way that hounds "accidentally on purpose" find a fox, they would in fact be hunting illegally, and will find they cannot get away with such transparent tactics. PENNY LITTLE, Protect Our Wild Animals, Great Haseley, Oxfordshire (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 27.12.04 CRUELTY TO ALL ANIMALS IS OUR MAIN CONCERN - In reply to Len Short (HE, December 17), let's leave humans who kill for the lust of it out of this debate. We are talking about animals here and the fox in particular. Several occasions have been recorded where a fox had entered even a very well-constructed pen for hens and has laid waste to the whole brood by biting off their heads, not using any for food…. How can foxes be humanely controlled so that farmers do not lose their stock and sometimes their livelihood?... J E KNOCK, Broadsands Avenue, Paignton (letter)

Hull Daily Mail 27.12.04 YOU'RE PROBABLY RIGHT ABOUT THE COUNTRYSIDE BEING IN A MINORITY, THAT'S WHY THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH YOU ARE THE MAJORITY - After reading what was quite a "grown-up" letter for a 13-year-old by Rachael Chapman (Mail, December 4), I must point out one or two things regarding her pastime, hunting with dogs. Firstly, for one with "a brain, a heart and a conscience", how on earth did she forget to mention the poor fox being chased to the point of exhaustion and then torn to pieces?... My friends and I, who include cleaners, refuse collectors, fork-lift drivers, joiners, labourers and pensioners, all think hunting with dogs is a cruel and barbaric pastime…. JC Butcher, Coronation Road North, Hull. (letter)

Daily Record 27.12.04 A SIMPLE answer to fox hunting with hounds is to put leather muzzles on the dogs.They can still flush out the fox but cannot kill it. This would keep everybody happy. Edwards McIntyre, Dumfrieshire (letter)


Independent on Sunday 26.12.04 Fox-hunters jubilant at confusion over ban By Severin Carrell - Ministers have been caught up in a fresh row over the legality of fox-hunting, as packs around the country prepare for the biggest hunting event of the season tomorrow…. Fox-hunters will celebrate last week's surprise deal between the Government and the Countryside Alliance which will delay the start of the ban, which was due to take effect on 18 February, until well after the next election… Pro-hunt campaigners have now claimed that the Government's stance on hunting is in even greater disarray after it emerged that an official leaflet on the Hunting Act had effectively invented a new form of legal hunting, with packs of muzzled dogs…. (story)

Independent on Sunday 26.12.04 Otis Ferry: Leader of the pack How did the unremarkable, slightly solemn son of a rock star become the standard-bearer for the countryside's onslaught on government? Despite wealth and good looks, he loathes the bright lights and just wants to be left to his obsession By Alison Roberts …If the ban does come to pass, the man most likely to make a martyr of himself is the joint master of the South Shropshire Hunt, Otis Ferry, the dashing young blade who masterminded the storming of the House of Commons during the debate on the Hunting Bill in September… "He's not a flippant or frivolous sort of lad at all," says Davina Fetherstonhaugh, master of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt. "He's not a sort of overgrown teenager who'd enjoy a debutantes' ball. He's a very serious, grown-up hunter."… The former Telegraph editor Charles Moore says he should be given a peerage, while Charles Gordon-Watson, master of the fashionable Cottesmore Hunt in Leicestershire says: "I think he's fantastic. We have no leadership at the moment whatsoever. What we need is someone just like him to grasp the nettle and take it on. I think he certainly speaks for all of us, and I wish he'd speak out more."… Aged 17, therefore, Ferry joined the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire as a whipper-in, and for the next four years got up with the sun to scrub out the kennels… (story)

Sunday Times 26.12.04 Tally ho, dude! The hunt rides to America - JONATHAN GREEN - A foxhunters’ exodus is under way from Britain to the land of the free - Tomorrow morning Dennis Downing, splendid in his scarlet coat, will be up early to oversee the hounds — particularly his old favourites Gossip and Gorgeous…. It could be the scene in any British village. The difference is that Downing left England in 1998 and now works for the Blue Ridge hunt in Virginia, 50 miles west of Washington DC. Instead of the patchwork of Worcestershire fields he surveyed as master of the Croome hunt, he now rides through the spectacular Shenandoah valley with the Blue Ridge mountains in the background… Currently there are foxhound hunts in 35 states — hunting over vastly different terrains and for different quarries…. “We don’t have the same problems with foxes as you do in the UK so they are not vermin here,” says Joseph T Murtagh, of the Rose Tree Fox Hunting Club in Brogue, Pennsylvania, the oldest hunt in America… It was that atmosphere that had attracted Armbrust to leave America in 1980 and act as master of two British hunts — the Mendip Farmers and then the High Peak Harriers… (story)

Observer 26.12.04 Deer sanctuary increases concern over TB scourge - Lynne O'Donnell - A deer sanctuary run by the League Against Cruel Sports is at the centre of allegations that it is a breeding ground for deadly tuberculosis, casting a cloud over the organisation's vision for a sustainable future for the animals after hunting is banned. Hugh Rose, technical adviser to the British Deer Society (BDS), said 'very poor deer management practices' at the league's sanctuary in Somerset, including artificial feeding that had drawn huge numbers of deer to its land, could lead to widespread infection among deer on Exmoor. … Deer are regularly hunted with hounds on Exmoor. Tom Yandle, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said they help control numbers, cull sick, old and weak animals, cut down on inbreeding and disperse the herd, so numbers do not become concentrated in any one area… (story)

Observer 26.12.04 Hunts to test legal loopholes - Countryside Alliance document gives guidance on how to outmanoeuvre ban on year's biggest hunting day - Jamie Doward and Gaby Hinsliff - Britain's 250 hunts will tomorrow be issued with a 50-page manifesto drawn up by a team of lawyers telling them how to legally flout a ban on hunting with dogs…'The handbook will be published tomorrow. It will tell people how to hunt and stay within the law,' confirmed Tim Bonner, spokesman for the CA…. (story)

Sunday Telegraph 26.12.04 We'll fight hunt ban delay, says the animal rights lobby By Melissa Kite and Tony Freinberg - Animal rights groups have joined forces to stop a last-minute attempt by the Government to delay its own hunting ban. The League Against Cruel Sports, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the RSPCA have taken legal advice on lodging their opposition to a stay of execution on a hunting ban… (story)

Sunday Telegraph 26.12.04 You won't believe it's not hunting - By Melissa Kite - A new picture adorns the House of Commons tea room. It is a hunting print, depicting men in red coats riding to hounds in pursuit of a fox…. The 250 hunts embarking on their Boxing Day meets tomorrow will do so in good heart and as if nothing more than a vague inconvenience has been put in their way… When the ban comes into force, they will restyle themselves as drag hunts and will pursue a man trailing a vest. If they come across a real fox they will be able to kill it if they do so by accident. I predict quite a few accidents… (story)


Beverley Guardian 24.12.04 Boxing Day meet 'will not be the last' say defiant huntsmen - RECORD crowds are expected at Beverley's traditional Boxing Day hunt, which will take place this year on Monday December 27. The huntsmen say the traditional annual meet will not be the last, despite the hunting ban which will come into force in February. Chris Richardson, joint master of the Holderness Hunt, said they plan to carry on next season, but will stay within the law…. (story)

Evening Standard 24.12.04 Anger over possible hunt ban delay - Anti-hunt campaigners have accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation" after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election…. (story)

Scotsman 24.12.04 Anger over Possible Hunting Ban Delay By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor - Anti-hunt campaigners tonight accused the Government of bowing to “bullying and intimidation” after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election….. (story)

Eastern Daily Press 24.12.04 Massive support for hunts - IAN CLARKE - Thousands of hunt supporters across East Anglia go into their biggest day of the year on Boxing Day in good spirits despite the impending ban. The West Norfolk Foxhounds saw their largest turnout for many years at a Christmas Eve meeting today with an estimated 250 riders and hundreds more on foot at Sennowe Park, Guist, near Dereham…. (story)

Independent 24.12.04 Government accused of cowardice over hunting ban delay By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent - Ministers were accused of cowardice yesterday after it emerged that plans to outlaw hunting with dogs may not come into force for at least another year…. But Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "We're absolutely shocked by what the Government is saying - the Government has a moral responsibility to the public and to Parliament itself to vigorously defend what Parliament is saying…" (story)

Guardian 24.12.04 Deal to delay hunting ban faces sabotage - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - A government ploy to avoid mass breaches of the fox hunting ban during an election campaign was in danger of unravelling last night. Ministers had reached an implicit agreement with the Countryside Alliance that would delay the ban coming into force for a year or so beyond the scheduled date of February 18. … But the Campaign to Protect Hunted Animals said it would try to break up the "cosy deal" by seeking to make itself party to any action brought by the alliance so as to resist an injunction and ensure the act came into force as planned by parliament…. (story)

Telegraph 24.12.04 Blair accused of encouraging delay to Hunting Act By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent - Tony Blair was accused of committing a "constitutional outrage" yesterday when it emerged that he will encourage the courts to delay implementation of the Hunting Act. In a highly unusual move, the Government has told the Countryside Alliance that it will allow its application for a High Court injunction stopping the law coming into force as intended on Feb 18. Animal rights campaigners were infuriated by the proposal, which would enable Labour to fight a general election campaign in the spring without a pro-hunting civil disobedience campaign going on in the background…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 24.12.04 DELAY ON HUNTING BAN 'HYPOCRISY - Countryside Alliance accuses Government of political manoeuvring over 18-month respite - Simon McGee - PRO-HUNTING campaigners last night accused the Government of hypocrisy and political manoeuvring after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election… James Bates, Yorkshire's Countryside Alliance spokesman, insisted the decision to allow hunting to continue would not take the edge off the organisation's campaigning in the run-up to the next General Election…. Mary Rook, master of the Middleton Hunt, in North Yorkshire, added: "They want their own way on everything. They're worried and are trying to wriggle out of it. They want rid of us but they're not willing to do it until it suits them. It's totally and utterly hypocritical."… (story)

Daily Record 24.12.04 FOX HUNTS CONTINUE - FOX hunts will be able to continue for another year under a deal sanctioned by the Prime Minister yesterday… (story)

Eastern Daily Press 24.12.04 Hunt protests go ahead despite deal - A deal to give foxhunting a "stay of execution" will not stop protests against the ban disrupting the general election, hunt supporters threatened last night… Some believe the delay could help diffuse protests in the run-up to the next general election, widely predicted for May 2005. But last night Roger Myles, joint master of the West Norfolk Fox-hounds, said: "I don't think it will make any difference to protests during the election. People will still know a ban could be coming."… (story)

Western Daily Press 24.12.04 LABOUR CALLS OFF DOGS TO LET HUNTS FIGHT BAN - Anti-hunt campaigners last night accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation" after it emerged a hunting ban was likely to be delayed until after the General Election. Downing Street confirmed the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, was unlikely to block moves by the Countryside Alliance for an injunction to halt the implementation of the ban while it mounted a legal challenge to the new law…. Jo Aldridge, of the Duke of Beaufort's Hunt, in Gloucestershire, said yesterday: "It doesn't actually change anything; we were going to carry on hunting in some form legally anyway…" (story)

Western Morning News 24.12.04 BLAIR BACKS OFF ON HUNTING BAN - 'Cynical' move to avoid election confrontations - Tony Blair was accused of "gross betrayal" by hunt opponents last night after he signalled that hunting with dogs could remain legal until long after the next General Election…. Guy Morlock, master of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt, said: "This is purely a move to delay the ban beyond the General Election."… (story)
Western Morning News 24.12.04 DOWNING STREET HAS GIVEN IN TO THREATS, CAMPAIGNERS CLAIM - Anti-hunt campaigners last night accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation"…. Viscount Astor, chairman of the Old Berkshire Hunt, accused the Government of a "cynical ploy" to avoid a ban before the General Election…. (story)
Western Morning News 24.12.04 STIRRUP CUPS RAISED TO BLAIR'S HESITATION - Hunt members across the Westcountry have been raising their glasses to the news that hunting may have a stay of execution. Martin Hesp joined the Devon and Somerset Staghounds STIRRUP cups were being raised with unusual gusto on Exmoor yesterday as members of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds toasted the news that hunting could well have been given a stay of execution… (story)
Western Morning News 24.12.04 IS DELAY OF BAN JUST A QUICK FIX? - Having forced a ban on hunting through Parliament last month, Tony Blair now seems happy to allow it to lie in the long grass of the appeal courts. London Editor Jason Groves detects some pre-election panic YOU couldn't get much more cynical. Five weeks ago the Government deployed the Parliament Act in order to ram through a highly controversial ban on hunting with dogs. Ministers high-mindedly declared that this constitutional sledgehammer was needed to ensure that the "will of the Commons" was not frustrated by the unelected Lords. Five weeks on Tony Blair lets it be known that he is quite content to see the will of the Commons frustrated for months, if not years, by the unelected courts in order to avoid the messy consequences of his actions disrupting plans for the General Election campaign…. (story)
Western Morning News 24.12.04 RELIEF OVER DELAY IN HUNTING BAN - Moves to delay the ban on hunting have been met with a mixture of relief and cynicism by Westcountry hunt supporters. While all are happy at the prospect of being able to continue their sport - albeit temporarily - many are suspicious of the Government's motives. Guy Morlock, master of the Spooners and West Dartmoor Hunt, said: "My gut feeling is that we should allow the ban to come into force in February and therefore there will be civil disobedience during the General Election…." Mrs Mella Wright, joint master of the Dulverton West Foxhounds, said she was still considering the implications of the announcement, but added: "It looks like here we go again."… Ben Sparrow, Master of the Western Hunt in Cornwall, said: "It is good news and common sense in the circumstances…" Michael Moore, from the East Devon Hunt, said: "These seems little more than a delay tactic designed to stop the hunting ban becoming an issue around the time of the next election…" Nick Gibbons, chairman of the Quantock Staghounds, said the Government's announcement was the main topic of conversation during yesterday's meet…." James Stuart, spokesman for Cornwall's Four Burrow Hunt, said: "I am feeling considerably heartened. Such a delay would be welcome maybe, but it is still not good enough…" (story)

Newcastle Journal 24.12.04 Blair can't fox his critics - How can it be possible to upset both sides in an issue like fox hunting? That, however, is what Prime Minister Tony Blair has managed to do with the announcement that the Government does not intend to challenge an injunction aimed at postponing the implementation of the Hunting Act… (story)

Southport Visiter 24.12.04 Anti-hunt fury over ban delay - ANTI-HUNT campaigners last night accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation" after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election…. (story)

Torquay Herald Express 24.12.04 BOXING DAY HUNT IN BALANCE - What could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunt meet ahead of a ban is expected to generate a large turnout of supporters and opponents in South Devon… The meets are at 11am apart from Britannia Beagles which meets at the Castle Hotel, Dartmouth at 1pm. The others are Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, The Quay, Kingsbridge; Dartmoor, The Square, South Brent; Mid Devon, Chagford Square; South Devon, Moorland Hotel, Haytor; and Modbury Harriers, Modbury Inn, Modbury. (story)

Leicester Mercury 24.12.04 HUNTS WELCOME REPRIEVE OVER BAN BY BEN FARMER - Hunts across the county have welcomed news their pursuit may gain a 12 month reprieve from a ban…. Clare Bell, spokeswoman for the Cottesmore, which hunts around Melton and Rutland, said: "It's very good news…" (story)

Bristol Evening Post 24.12.04 HUNTS MEET ON MONDAY - South Gloucestershire: Members of the hunt will meet at 10.45am at Worcester Lodge at the Badminton Estate near Didmarton. The Berkeley Hunt will meet at 11am the same day in Thornbury High Street. (story)

Hull Daily Mail 24.12.04 FOX HUNTS WILL GO AHEAD DESPITE BAN - One of the most colourful festive traditions in East Yorkshire will continue despite the ban on fox hunting…. Thousands of people will be turning out to see the Holderness Hunt at Beverley Westwood and the Middleton Hunt at Driffield showground in Kelleythorpe on Monday…. League Against Cruel Sports spokesman Declan McVeigh said: "We have asked our supporters not to get involved in protests this year…." (story)
Driffield Times 24.12.04 Kelleythorpe meet for hunt crowds - HUNDREDS of huntsmen and supporters will gather at the Driffield Showground on Boxing Day for what could be the last hunt of its kind before a government ban comes into force. In a move which organisers believe indicates the strength of support for hunting in the Driffield area, the Middleton Hunt's Boxing Day meet has been moved for the first time from the Cross Hill car park to the Kelleythorpe site. Joint master, Mary Rook, said: "It has become so popular that there is not enough room any more on the market place. It is so crowded every year with supporters…. (story)

Malvern Gazette 24.12.04 Hunt to meet up - THE Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt are holding their Christmas Eve meet in Upton today (Friday). They will gather outside the White Lion on High Street… (story in archive)

Swindon Evening Advertiser 24.12.04 Will this be last Boxing Day hunt? - HUNTS are inviting Swindonians to witness what could be the last ever Boxing Day chase. The two nearest hunts are in Cirencester and Tetbury, and organisers are expecting a record turnout…. (story in archive)

Northern Echo 24.12.04 Hunt members appeal for support - MEMBERS of an annual Boxing Day hunt have urged supporters to turn out in force. This year's Boxing Day Braes of Derwent Hunt meeting, in County Durham, will be staged on Monday, December 27, because its members do not hunt on Sundays… (story in archive)

Newcastle Journal 24.12.04 Record numbers are expected at hunts By Peter Taylor, The Evening Chronicle - Organisers of Boxing Day hunts in the North East are looking forward to record turnouts for what may be some of their last pursuits… Hunts due to take place on Monday morning in Northumberland are the County Border, which sets off from the Percy Arms Hotel, Otterburn; College Valley/North Northumberland, from the Market Square, Wooler; Haydon hunt, from the Railway Inn, Fourstones, Hexham; Morpeth hunt, from the Dyke Neuk Pub, Meldon, Morpeth; Percy hunt, from the Cook and Barker Inn, Newton-on-the-Moor; West Percy hunt from the Queen's Head, Glanton, Alnwick; North Tyne from the Black Bull, Wark; and Tynedale from Corbridge Market Square. The Newcastle and district beagles hunt was due to move off at noon from the Swinburn Arms, Stamfordham; in County Durham the Braes of Derwent hunt is to take place from the Queen's Head, Lanchester, while the south Durham hunt will set off from The Talbot, Bishopton, near Sedgefield…. (story)

The Sentinel 24.12.04 CYNICAL BLAIR TAKES THE HEAT OUT OF HUNTING BAN - Yesterday's Christmas meet of the Cheshire Forest Hunt was due to be the last (legal) one ever. But now hunting with hounds has been given a reprieve - possibly for another two whole years - while an appeal against the Government ban goes through the courts. Here, the joint master of the Cheshire Forest Hunt, Richard de Prez, gives his opinion… (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 24.12.04 COUNTRYSIDE: Hunt ban delay 'a ploy by Blair' - A PRO-FOX hunting campaigner has accused Tony Blair of attempting to "shelve" controversial plans to ban the pursuit until after the next General Election. Jane Thorpe-Codman was left bruised and bleeding after allegedly being pushed to the floor by a police officer during pro-hunting protests outside Parliament Square in London earlier this year…. (story)

South Wales Evening Post 24.12.04 PROTESTERS ARE SET TO PICKET HUNT - Protesters have vowed to picket the final Boxing Day hunt in Neath this weekend. Huntsmen in Neath are heading out on the last legal Boxing Day fox hunt with hounds on Monday…. and Neath branches of the Green Party will be protesting at the hunt and have invited other groups to join them on the day. Miranda La Vey, chairwoman of Neath Green Party and deputy leader of Wales Green Party, said: "Hunting with hounds is a barbaric excuse for a sport and a ban has long been Green Party policy…." The controversial Hunting Bill - passed by Parliament - looked to have ended hunting with hounds forever. But Banwen bosses say it will not stop members of the Miners' Hunt enjoying one of their favourite pastimes…. (story)

Oxford Mail 24.12.04 Hunt to defy ban by 'exercising hounds' - One of Oxfordshire's biggest hunt's has plans to continue riding with packs of hounds even when the new law to ban hunting with dogs comes into force. Members of Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase could be meeting outside the Red Lion pub in Stratton Audley on February 19 next year as the Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hound Club… The move has been condemned by the anti-hunting lobby. Penny Little, of the Oxfordshire branch of Protect Our Wild Animals, said: "A hound club is just a front and a nonsense. We all know they intend to carry on hunting…." (story in archive)

Hexham Courant 24.12.04 HUNT MEETS - Tynedale… Haydon… North Tyne… Border… Newcastle & District Beagles… (story)

Bury Times 24.12.04 Last ever fox hunt meet? HOLCOMBE Hunt will be travelling to Southport on Monday for what could be its last-ever Boxing Day meet… (story in archive)

West Cumberland Times & Star 24.12.04 HUNTS WANT HUNDREDS FOR BOXING DAY - HUNT supporters are being urged to turn up in their hundreds at Cumbria’s traditional Boxing Day meets. The Countryside Alliance is encouraging supporters of freedom and tolerance to back their local hunts in the face of the Hunting Act, which comes into force on February 18. Several hunts will be held on Monday rather than Boxing Day itself. This includes the Melbreak Foxhounds, which will meet at Bridge End, Lorton, at 10am on Monday, and the Blencathra Foxhounds, which will meet in Keswick Market Square at the same time…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 24.12.04 HUNTING - PLANS ARE DRAWN UP - Police are worried that new fox hunting laws will be difficult and costly to enforce. Gloucestershire officers are drawing up plans on how to deal with those who continue to hold hunts after it becomes illegal in February next year… Gloucestershire police spokesman Ian Anderson said: "When hunts have been planned in the past, we've known the dates so we could plan our coverage properly. But we can't exactly send a sergeant out over some fields on the off-chance there's an illegal hunt when all it could be is some people going for a ride in the country. Operationally the force is hoping the anti-hunt lobby will be our eyes and ears and let us know if a hunt is taking place…" Chris Adams, member of the Cotswold Hunt, dismissed Gloucestershire force's plans. He said: "Hunt saboteurs won't be any use at all. "Farmers won't want them on their land. Plus we've got no plans to break the law anyway." (story)

Gloucester Citizen 24.12.04 'START HUNT BAN AND FACE MUSIC' - Leading pro-hunting campaigner David Redvers from Hartpury, has called on the Government to introduce the hunting ban before the General Election and face the consequences…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 24.12.04 'FOXES ARE VERMIN - I DON'T SEE WHY THERE'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT HUNTING' …Hunting looks set to continue for another year after the Government announced that it would not oppose any legal moves to delay the implementation of the ban. Was the Government right to even consider banning hunting? My own personal opinion, and I have never been hunting in my life, is that I don't really know why they want to ban it. It's been going on for centuries. I think the farmers need it and from what I understand the foxes are vermin. I don't see what all the fuss is about personally…. (story)

Basingstoke Gazette 24.12.04 Call to join in annual meet - The Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt will be holding the traditional Boxing Day meet on Monday, at 11am, at the Horse and Groom, in Mortimer. We would like to offer a very warm welcome to the whole community to come to the meet and to follow the hunt by car, bicycle, foot or horse…. Fleming, Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt, Hermitage, Thatcham. (letter in archive)

Basingstoke Gazette 24.12.04 Hunts `are no longer useful' - I would like to thank Joe Robertson for his letter in last Friday's Gazette, regarding fox hunting ban. For a change, I am in agreement with him on this issue. I expect that he, like me, will decline this kind invitation from Luke Axel-Berg (in the same Gazette issue) to attend the meet at the Fur and Feathers in Herriard on Monday… Bill Yalden, Hawthorn Way, Basingstoke (letter in archive)

Guardian 24.12.04 I see Charles Clarke not as a farmer (Sketch, December 21), but as a jolly Father Christmas, bringing goodwill to all and kindness to animals. For at last we have a home secretary who voted for a total ban on hunting with dogs, therefore the will to ensure the hunting law is not broken. Helen Weeks, West Coker, Somerset (letter)

Western Daily Press 24.12.04 WE DIDN'T CALL FOR LETTERS CAMPAIGN - Your article Now the Alliance is at war with the BBC (December 16) was misinformed. The Countryside Alliance has never sent an e-mail, or any other communication, urging its members to complain to the editor or publisher of BBC Wildlife Magazine… The Alliance did make a single private complaint to the BBC Director General's office and received an apology. BBC Wildlife Magazine apologised for implying that the magazine endorsed animal rights groups in its calendar…. The Alliance did not lose its complaint to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). The complaint was not rejected, although the PCC did decide no further action was necessary. The only criticism in the adjudication is of the reaction of the Western Daily Press to the complaint… Tim Bonner Countryside Alliance
Editor's note: Mr Bonner has always been entitled to his opinion - as are we. The fact is, we did win, as the UK Press Gazette, "bible" of the newspaper industry in Britain, properly reported (letter)

Western Daily Press 24.12.04 CHARGE THE HUNT FOR DEMO POLICING COSTS - Following the recent pro-hunt demonstration in Street, Somerset, I say it's up to our local councillors to ensure the bill for extra policing be sent to the organisers of the demonstration. Why should we, the ratepayers of Street, be seen to support cruelty?... Now we come to a statement from the spokesperson from Clarks Village, Ms Sarah Cliff, saying no one representing Clarks Village had met with the demonstration organisers, but going on to say Clarks Village was not happy with the arrangements made by the organisers. How could Clarks Village be against any arrangements if no one met the organisers? R Hughes Street Somerset (letter)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 24.12.04 For and against: Hunt ban is still stirring the emotions - IN reply to Mr Alexander (Letters, December 10), of course fox hunting is cruel when it is regarded as a sport. It is, however, primarily a cull necessary to maintain the fox population within the limits of natural food supplies… The alternatives to hunting with dogs appear to be lamping… . Unfortunately it is not easy to distinguish the type of animal and at least one human has been shot in this way…. . As for shooting by day, it is only necessary to recall the cruel scenes televised during the BSE cull where marksmen failed to dispose of a target, much larger than a fox, with the first shot then frantically chased a terrified wounded animal for several minutes before ending its misery. Neither method possesses the hunt’s swiftness of kill. D WALKER Jasper Road, Oakham#
RECENT letters have encouraged me to imagine myself as Charlie Fox, pondering my fate. Now Charlie is a pretty cute cookie. As a fit young thing I think I’d go for the hounds every time. There’s a 95 per cent chance of getting away cleanly from those stupid doggies. Perhaps, though, for the sake of delicate minded humans, I should consider being shot and wounded, poisoned, even gassed, just as long as I don’t show myself to offend their sensitivities… Robert Nix Knossington
CAN the Cottesmore Hunt stop all this emotive nonsense about the hunting ban and putting hounds down. What do you think happens to the hounds when they are too old to hunt?... Kate Theedom Oakham (letters)

Bristol Evening Post 24.12.04 I SEEM to remember the BBC telling us that Bristol had the highest population of foxes in the country. If this is so have I gone blind? I haven't seen packs of dogs pursued by riders in Queen's Road, nor has Bristol become a lookalike for the Wild West's Dodge City with people cruising Bedminster with rifles… Perhaps it is not I who am blind, but those in the countryside who refuse to see an alternative to hunting, and believe that the rules of our society shouldn't apply to them. Paul Cook, Hanham (letter)

The Sentinel 24.12.04 DEMOCRACY'S GONE TO THE DOGS - If what I hear is correct about Tony Blair's alleged decision to allow hunting with dogs this year, then shame on you, Prime Minister. The decision clearly demonstrates that despite years of media coverage that animal rights supporters are aggressive Mr Blair, you and your advisers know perfectly well that the true perpetrators of violence are the hunters who kill for entertainment and pleasure…. Address supplied (letter)

The Sentinel 24.12.04 CRUEL OWNERS WILL KILL HOUNDS - So dogs will die because of the hunting ban, will they (Letters, December 16)? Of course they won't. Dogs will die because callous hound owners will have them killed rather than continue to care for them…. I'll tell you what, Mr/Ms whoever you are (you're certainly too cowardly to have your name printed): contact me when the ban comes into force and I'll care for and feed your dogs, at no charge to yourself, as an example of how a real animal lover behaves…. PETER CANTLIFF Wolstanton (letter)

Grimsby Telegraph 24.12.04 FOXES ARE NATURAL PREDATORS - Iwas disappointed with Pat Wickham's latest letter in defence of the red fox, although I admired the photograph of the large dog fox printed above it. Pat states that they are beautiful, harmless creatures, she even witnessed a fox strolling through a field full of lambs without attacking…. (letter)

Harrogate Advertiser 24.12.04 From: Nick Belcher, Ash Road, Harrogate. MR W B Thompson’s letter ‘thrown to the dogs’ of December 3 denies that foxes are a particular pest.However, if shooting foxes were as unneccessary as hounds was believed, then logically the 700 hours spent debating by parliament for the foxes welfare would have banned shooting them too, or recognise that a method of pest control was indeed necessary… (letter)

Wiltshire Times 24.12.04 Last hunt is very good thing I AM delighted by the prospect of this year's Boxing Day fox hunts being the last. I am also concerned by what the hunting minority, who have not achieved their objectives by democratic or legal ways, may do to put pressure on the public. … J BOWLEY, Warminster (letter in archive)


Esher News & Mail 23.12.04 ENFORCING HUNTING BAN MAY THREATEN RESOURCES By TONY GREEN - SURREY’S Chief Constable Bob Quick has warned pro-hunt groups that pouring extra resources into enforcing a foxhunting ban means that Surrey residents would lose out on the current level of policing. In an interview with the News & Mail, Bob Quick said that officers from Surrey Police are contacting hunt organisers to explain the law and to ask that they adhere to it…. Mark Sprake, master of the Surrey Union Hunt, told the News & Mail that hunting supporters taking part in acts of civil disobedience didn’t have to involve them breaking the law, such as refusing to allow their land to be used by the Army…. “Certain Surrey farmers no longer take cake sewage from London. They have obviously created some sort of hostility.” Mr Sprake said many farmers are reliant on the flesh collection service provided by the hunt kennels… “Hunts make up 50 per cent of the Government’s national scheme,” he said. “If the whole thing falls apart, it will be mess. The whole thing is an absolute fiasco…." (story)

Essex Chronicle 23.12.04 BOXING DAY HUNTS GO AHEAD - Traditional Boxing Day hunts will run in mid-Essex this Christmas under the shadow of a ban. On February 19 legislation becomes active to make hunting with hounds illegal and end the sport in its current form. Hunts do not run on Sundays so the Essex Hunt, which covers an area from Chelmsford to Haverhill, will meet on Monday December 27 at Matching Green… The Essex Farmers and Union Hunt will meet on December 27 at Galleywood Common at 11.15am…. (story)

Worcester Standard 23.12.04 Last 'legal' festive hunt set to draw crowd - THIS YEAR'S traditional Boxing Day Hunt - the last one before the Hunting Act comes into force on February 18 - is set to be more popular than ever, according to pro-hunting groups. Eight meets have been organised across Worcestershire on Monday - they are not held on Sundays - and the Countryside Alliance (CA) is predicting record turnouts as well as widespread support from people in favour of hunting…. (story)

Somerset County Gazette 23.12.04 Hunt vows to go on - Hunt bosses in Somerset have warned against civil disobedience while legal challenges to the hunting ban are going through the courts…. (story in archive)

Buckingham Advertiser 23.12.04 HUNT INVITE, Grafton hunt - GRAFTON Hunt members have invited residents to their traditional Boxing Day Meet at 11am at Towcester Racecourse on Monday, December 27…. (story)

Gloucestershire Gazette 23.12.04 Hunt supporters encouraged - HUNTS are encouraging everyone who supports freedom and tolerance to support them at the traditional Boxing Day meets… The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt will meet at Worcester Lodge Didmarton, at 10.45am and the Berkeley Hunt in Thornbury High Street at 11am (story in archive)

South Shropshire Journal 23.12.04 The hunt wil go on – despite looming ban South Shropshire huntsmen and women – facing a ban on the sport they love from February 18 – are encouraging locals to support their traditional Boxing Day meets. Two south Shropshire hunts, The United Pack and Ludlow Hunt, will meet on Monday, December 27…. (story)

Ludlow Journal 23.12.04 Defiant huntsmen call for support - Local hunts are encouraging everyone who supports freedom and tolerance to support them on the traditional Boxing Day meets…. The following local hunts will be meeting on Boxing Day at 11am unless another time is stated: Ludlow: Ludlow Castle. South Shropshire: The New Inn, Hook-a-Gate, near Shrewsbury. United: The Castle Hotel, Bishop's Castle. Shropshire Beagles: Corbett Arms, Upton Magna, near Shrewsbury, noon. Wheatland: Morville, Nr Bridgnorth. North Shropshire: The Bear, Hodnet. Teme Valley: The Knighton Hotel, Knighton, Powys. Albrighton: The Victoria, St Mary’s Street, Newport, Tanatside: Royal Oak Hotel, The Cross, Welshpool (story)

Hereford Journal 23.12.04 Hunt expects good support By DEBBIE COLLINS A defiant Ledbury Hunt is expecting record numbers of supporters to muster for what could be its last legal Boxing Day meet… (story)

Telegraph 23.12.04 Anger over possible hunting delay - Anti-hunt campaigners have accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation" after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 23.12.04 ANGER OVER POSSIBLE HUNT BAN DELAY - Anti-hunt campaigners have accused the Government of bowing to "bullying and intimidation" after it emerged that a ban on fox hunting was likely to be delayed until after the General Election… (story)
BBC News Online 23.12.04 Legal move set to delay hunt ban - The government says it will not oppose the Countryside Alliance if it seeks an injunction delaying the ban on hunting. The alliance will challenge the way the ban was pushed into law in the High Court next month, but it also plans to seek an injunction if it loses… Tory peer and Old Berkshire Hunt chairman Viscount Astor said it was a "cynical ploy to avoid a hunting ban in the run-up to the general election"…. (story)
BBC News Online 23.12.04 Politics of hunt ban timing By Norman Smith - The expectation had been that hunting would be banned from 18 February. Now it seems almost certain that it will not be outlawed until well after an expected May election. This follows legal moves by the Countryside Alliance to challenge the government's use of the Parliament Act to push the Hunting Bill into law despite House of Lords opposition…. (story)
BBC News Online 23.12.04 Blair 'won't stop hunt ban delay' - The government says it will not oppose the Countryside Alliance if it seeks an injunction delaying the ban on hunting. The alliance will challenge the way the ban was pushed into law in the High Court next month, but is also planning to seek an injunction if it loses…. (story)
Times 23.12.04 Secret deal allows for extended foxhunting BY PHILIP WEBSTER AND TOM BALDWIN - FOXHUNTING will carry on in England and Wales beyond next year’s likely general election under a secret legal deal negotiated with Downing Street, it emerged last night. The Times has learnt that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, has agreed that he will not oppose any application from the Countryside Alliance for an injunction postponing implementation of the hunting ban before the courts have ruled on its legality…. An injunction would allow hunting to continue for several months or possibly even a year — well after the election. Tony Blair is understood strongly to support the advice of government law officers on the injunction which, senior Whitehall sources say, could help to draw the political sting from the issue. …(story)
Times Online 23.12.04 Anti-hunt lobby furious at deal to delay the ban BY JENNY BOOTH, TIMES ONLINE - Opponents of foxhunting have reacted with fury to the news that the bloodsport is set to continue for another year under a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair. The field sport was due to be outlawed in England and Wales on February 18 after the Parliament Act was used to force through a ban, overruling opposition from the Lords…. John Cooper, chairman of The League Against Cruel Sports, said there was "no excuse" for delaying. "We are appalled that Downing Street is giving in to threats of violence, bullying and intimidation instead of defending the decisions of Parliament and doing everything within their power to uphold the Hunting Act which now has Royal Assent," he said….(story)
Times Online 23.12.04 Timeline: Hunting row - There is a long history of attempts to ban fox hunting - here are some of the key moments, and a look forward to what might happen next…. (story)
Sky News 23.12.04 LIFELINE FOR HUNTING - Fox hunting in England and Wales may not come to an end in February after all, thanks to a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair. The blood sport will still become illegal on February 18 but an application for an injunction has been filed and the Attorney General will not fight it, Downing Street has confirmed. All legal avenues are likely to be exhausted before fox hunting comes to a complete end, and that could take up to a year…. (story)
Guardian 23.12.04 Hunting could continue until after next election - Simon Jeffery - Foxhunting could continue in England and Wales for at least another year after the government said it would not block a legal challenge to the 2005 ban. Downing Street confirmed that Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, was not seeking an injunction to a challenge from the Countryside Alliance over the legality of the ban…. Papers lodged at the high court in the names of John Jackson, the Countryside Alliance chairman; Mair Hughes, a farrier's wife from the Rhondda, in Wales, and Patrick Martin, a member of the Bicester hunt, said the 1949 Act - which replaced the original Parliament Act of 1911 - is illegitimate, because it was forced through parliament despite the Lords' opposition by use of the previous act…. (story)
Independent 23.12.04 Deal allows extension to fox hunting By James Lyons, PA Political Correspondent - Fox hunting is set to continue in England and Wales for another year under a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair, it emerged today. The field sport will be outlawed from February 18 after the Parliament Act was used to force through a ban in the face of opposition from the Lords. But the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith will not fight an application for an injunction from the Alliance, Downing Street confirmed…. (story)
Cambridge Evening News 23.12.04 Supporters cheer delay to fox hunt ban - HUNTS in Cambridgeshire have welcomed news that the Government will not oppose a legal battle to save fox hunting… Paul Roberts, from the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace Hunt, said: "We are very pleased with the news. I personally think it is a ploy to take it way from the election issue…." (story)
Shropshire Star 23.12.04 Supporters' delight over hunt ban delay By Political Editor JOHN HIPWOOD and NATALIE GREENWAY - Hunt supporters were effectively given the go-ahead today to carry on hunting throughout next year despite the law banning hunting with dogs taking effect on February 18…. Myles Salmon, master of the Wheatland Hunt, near Bridgnorth, said: "It's got to be good news - but it is only temporary. We will fight on and eventually we will win…." (story)
Gloucestershire Echo 23.12.04 PM SANCTIONS FOX HUNT DEAL - Fox hunting is set to continue in England and Wales for another year under a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair, it emerged today….. (story)
Worcester Evening News 23.12.04 Hunt reprieve will not lessen anger - HUNT supporters in Worcestershire have welcomed news today that foxhunting is set to continue for another year under a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair…. Bob Brierley, spokesman for the Worcestershire Hunt, said anything that would extend the killing of foxes in a humane way rather than them being "shot to death" had to be welcomed…. (story in archive)
Reuters 23.12.04 Legal bid may delay hunt ban By Kate Holton - Fox hunting could continue beyond next year's expected general election after the government said it would not oppose a legal bid delaying a ban. Any delay would largely remove the troublesome issue from the general election for Prime Minister Tony Blair's government… (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 23.12.04 LINCOLNSHIRE ECHO - COMMENT - The expression "if there's a will there's a way" comes quickly to mind over the latest chapter in the fox-hunting debacle. It matters not whether you are pro or anti-hunting. It would only be the very innocent who would fail to raise an eyebrow over the latest news from Government HQ…. This is just a smokescreen to delay the ban until after the next general election…. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 23.12.04 Blair sanctions hunting deal - FOX hunting is set to continue in England and Wales for another year under a deal sanctioned by Tony Blair, it emerged today… (story)
Manchester Evening News 23.12.04 'No secret deal' as fox hunting goes on - Ian Craig - FOX-HUNTING with dogs is to continue for longer than expected - but the government today denied it had agreed a secret deal…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 23.12.04 HUNT DEFIANT BY AIMEE BEDFORD - Devon hunt supporters turned out in force on the outskirts of Exeter as a new deal to delay a ban on the blood sport was being made. Around 40 supporters, including children, joined the Silverton Hunt yesterday at Marshall Farm, near Ide. Hunt master Andrew Knox said enthusiasm for the sport was growing, despite the threat of a ban, which now looks likely to come into force after a May General Election… (story)

Telegraph 23.12.04 Business as usual despite ban on hunting By Hugh Condry - Hunting or no hunting, the coming season's point-to-points are going ahead as scheduled. The fixture list is published, all 209 meetings have advertised programmes and many of the 3,500-odd horses due to compete, from January to June, have been out hunting to earn qualification…. (story)

Tamworth Herald 23.12.04 SO, WILL THIS BE OUR LAST MAJOR FOX HUNT MEETING? - A Massive turnout is anticipated in support of the area's local hunt at their traditional Boxing Day meeting. The meeting of the Atherstone Hunt, which has supporters throughout the Tamworth and North Warwickshire areas, is to take place in the square at Market Bosworth at 11am on Monday, December 27…. (story)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 23.12.04 Boxing day meet 'not the last' - With the biggest hunt meet of the year drawing close, bloodsport supporters remain defiant that it will not be the last…. Peter Swann, hunt master with the Albrighton Woodland Hunt, near Kidderminster, told The Chronicle in September that he feared his pack of dogs might have to be put down in the event of a ban. But he is now more confident…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 23.12.04 We'll meet again! By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle - EVERYONE who supports hunting is invited to attend what could be the last Christmas-time meets ahead of February's ban. The Countryside Alliance is urging anyone 'who supports freedom and tolerance' to back their hunt at the traditional Boxing Day gathering, which takes place on Monday, December 27 because of the clash with Sunday…. (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 23.12.04 HUNT TRADITION GOES ON - The traditional holiday hunt meet will go ahead in Retford as normal this year with defiant hunters insisting they will carry on after the February ban. Grove and Rufford Hunt will meet at the White Horse in Barnby Moor on Monday December 27 for the popular annual event… (story)

Evesham Journal 23.12.04 Hunting in force before ban - VALE hunts are expecting record turnouts for their Boxing Day event before next year's proposed ban… Christopher Houghton, secretary of the North Cotswolds Hunt, said: "We do expect a record number at the Boxing Day meet to show their support for the hunt and foxhunting…." Rosa Hill, spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: "We are advising hunters to wind down their activity prior to February 18 and for people to stop breeding hounds…" The Croome and West Warwickshire meet in Broad Street, Pershore, the North Cotswold at High Street, Broadway, Leadon Vale Bassets at Lower Lode Hotel, Forthampton, Tewkesbury, and the Warwickshire Beagles at the Rose & Crown, Feckenham. (story in archive)

Western Gazette 23.12.04 HUNTS PREDICT RECORD TURNOUT - Hunts in Dorset are hoping to see a record turnout of supporters at their traditional Boxing Day meets, to be held this year on Monday 27 December. Delly Everard, the Countryside Alliance's regional director for Wessex, said many people had made clear their determination to support their local hunt in the face of the Hunting Act, which comes into force on 18 February…. (story)
Western Gazette 23.12.04 HUNT HAS HIGH HOPES - Two regular Boxing Day events in Crewkerne will be taking place on Monday. Seavington Hunt will meet in Market Square at 11am and the annual pram race will commence shortly after the riders' departure… (story)
Western Gazette 23.12.04 THE HUNT IS ON - The Blackmoor and Sparkford Vale Hunt will be holding its traditional Boxing Day meet on Monday 27 December at 11am in the centre of Castle Cary… (story)

East Grinstead Courier 23.12.04 BOXING DAY COULD BE LAST MEET FOR HISTORIC HUNT - The Last Boxing Day hunt before the national ban on hunting with hounds comes into effect will take place on Monday. The Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt will be meeting at the Leicester Arms in Penhurst. Graeme Worsley, master of the hunt, said they were expecting a good turnout for the day…. (story)

The Forester 23.12.04 STORM FORCE EIGHT IN COURT - Three men from the Forest of Dean were among the eight pro-hunting campaigners who appeared before magistrates in London for their part in storming Parliament. All eight are charged with disorderly conduct under the Public Order Act after they entered the House of Commons debating chamber on September 15 this year…. The three Forest protesters are horse breeder David Redvers, 34, of Tweenhill Farm, Hartpury; John Holiday, 37, a huntsman, of Ledbury Kennels, Bromesberrow; and auctioneer Andrew Elliot, 42, of Allbright Lane, Bromesberrow… (story)
Birmingham Post 22.12.04 A waste of £1m, say hunt protestors By Sarah Probert, Rural Affairs Reporter, The Birmingham Post - Eight pro-hunt demonstrators, who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban foxhunting have denied charges of disorderly conduct…. As the eight men emerged from the central London courts, their solicitor Matthew Knight spoke to reporters. He said the defendants had pleaded not guilty because “if you do not intend to cause harassment, alarm or distress and reasonably thought you would not do so, you do not cause an offence and that is precisely what they say”. He described the decision to bring the case as “a monstrous waste of public money”. He said that he understood, from speaking to some MPs, that the case had already cost more than £1 million, with more than 100 officers investigating… (story)
Western Daily Press 22.12.04 PROTESTERS DENY COMMONS 'INVASION' CHARGES - Eight pro-hunt demonstrators who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban fox-hunting three months ago, yesterday denied charges of disorderly conduct…. Ferry, of Keeper's Cottage, Eaton Mascott, Shrewsbury, has led the South Shropshire hunt since May (story)
Daily Record 22.12.04 EIGHT IN COURT OVER FOX HUNT PROTEST - EIGHT pro-hunt protesters accused of storming the House of Commons chamber appeared in court yesterday. The men, including Otis Ferry, 22, son of Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry, and Luke Tomlinson, 27, a close friend of princes William and Harry, all denied disorderly conduct…. (story)
BBC News Online 21.12.04 Men in court over Commons protest - Eight men have appeared in court in connection with a pro-fox hunting protest at the House of Commons…. They included Otis Ferry, 22, son of rock star Bryan Ferry, and a Shropshire hunt leader…. (story)
Racing Post 21.12.04 House of Commons eight deny charges by Graham Green - STUD manager and syndicate organiser David Redvers was among eight pro-hunt demonstrators who denied charges of disorderly conduct on Tuesday after entering the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban fox-hunting in September… Outside the court, solicitor Matthew Knight, told reporters his clients had pleaded not guilty because “if you do not intend to cause harrassment, alarm or distress and reasonably thought you would not do so, you do not cause an offence and that is precisely what they say.”… (story may be in archive)
Daily Star 21.12.04 Protesters deny Commons charges - Eight pro-hunt demonstrators who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban fox-hunting have denied charges of disorderly conduct…. Ferry, of Keeper's Cottage, Eaton Mascott, Shrewsbury, has led the South Shropshire hunt since May (story)
Sky News 21.12.04 PROTESTERS DENY CHARGES - Eight pro-hunt demonstrators who stormed the chamber of the House of Commons have pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct… Ferry, of Keeper's Cottage, Eton Mascot, Shrewsbury, has led the South Shropshire Hunt since May. Tomlinson, a polo player, is of Down Farm, Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. The other six were: David Redvers, 34, a horse breeder, 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, Herefordshire…. (story)
Shropshire Star 21.12.04 Ferry in court on Commons protest - Shropshire's Otis Ferry was one of eight pro-hunt protesters who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on fox-hunting, who today denied charges of disorderly conduct…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 21.12.04 PRO-HUNT PAIR DUE IN COURT - Two pro-hunt demonstrators from Gloucestershire who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate were due to appear in court today faced with charges of disorderly conduct. They are among eight demonstrators charged with disorderly conduct under Section Five of the Public Order Act after they entered the Commons chamber on September 15. County men David Redvers, 34, a horse breeder, of Corsend Farm, Hartpury, and Luke Tomlinson, 27, of Westonbirt, were appearing at Bow Street Magistrates' Court…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 21.12.04 MPS WILL BE SUMMONED BY HUNT PROTESTERS - Two hunt supporters from Gloucestershire who burst into the House of Commons chamber are to summon Labour ministers to give evidence at their trial. The group's solicitor is arranging witness orders for MPs present during the protest on September 15. They include Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael and Peter Hain, Leader of the Commons…. (story)
Scotsman 21.12.04 Hunt Protesters Deny Commons Stunt Charges By Emily Pennick, PA - Eight pro-hunt demonstrators who entered the House of Commons chamber during a debate on a Bill to ban fox-hunting today denied charges of disorderly conduct…. (story)

Belfast Telegraph 23.12.04 Minister extends ban on coursing of Irish hares By David Gordon - Environment Minister Angela Smith has extended a ban on hare coursing in Northern Ireland. The prohibition will now be in place until at least March 31, 2005. Earlier this month the Countryside Alliance handed over a petition against the ban signed by more than 7,000 people. It has also initiated legal action against the measure…. (story)

Melton Times 23.12.04 MEMBERS CLASH OVER FOXHUNTING - TEMPERS flared at a meeting of Melton's rural task force on the subject of hunting. On Friday members were discussing the impact of the foxhunting ban on the town and what those affected by the ban should do next. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said he would do all he could to promote the equestrian business but Melton Borough Council leader Malise Graham believes it spells the end for many people…. Alastair Benton, of the town's Market Partnership, directed criticisms at Labour Party members present…. Labour MEP Philip Whitehead was keen to redirect the discussion. He said: "I think we should all keep our tempers. Arguments like this are not helping matters at all. You do that and millions will rise up on the other side. I warn you of that."…(story)

Nottingham Evening Post 23.12.04 FEEDING CITY PESTS SHOULD BE FOR THE BIRDS … Britain is far too silly about animals to change habits quickly (why use Parliament to improve the lot of human beings when you can get bogged down in something as comparatively unimportant as hunting with hounds?). Even so, it is time people understood that pigeons are vermin…. (story)

BBC News Online 23.12.04 MPs' 'pro-hunt nuisance calls' - Police are investigating threats made to two north Wales MPs over their stance against hunting with hounds. Ian Lucas and Martyn Jones have received answer machine messages from people they believe are connected to the pro-hunt lobby. The recordings reputedly threaten to make their lives "hell"… Adrian Simpson from the pro-hunting lobby Countryside Alliance said he would "totally condemn" the making of nuisance telephone calls. "We would far rather see them lose their seats at the next general election," he added. … (story)

Ulster Herald 30.12.04 Time for traditional cruelty at Christmas - In this Christian and supposedly civilised country, there will be widespread cruelty inflicted on wild animals over the Christmas holiday season. This reaches a peak on St Stephen's Day which is a traditional time for hunt meets and hare coursing meetings… John Tierney, Campaigns Director, Association of Hunt Saboteurs, PO Box 4734, Dublin 1 (letter may be in archive)

Driffield Times 23.12.04 Don't spend too much on presents - Seth Crosswaite, aged 35 and a half, of Mill Street, Hutton Cranswick, writes . . . Dear Father Christmas - Knowing how busy you are at this time of year, I thought I would save you the bother of delivering the following items to myself, my family and our horse this Christmas owing to the recent ban on hunting due to be brought into force in mid February. I have also included approximate costs of the presents all due to be purchased in Driffield… In addition, please ask my farrier, riding instructors, livery yard and vet not to spend too much on Christmas as I will not be spending as much with them in the New Year. Many thanks and a Merry Christmas (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 23.12.04 OUR CLASS SYSTEM SHOWS HOW WELL WE ARE DOING - John Phelps, Points of view, December 14, asked UKIP that if the hunt ban attacked the toffs, thus making everybody equal, then why didn't you support it? I am happy to explain, but I don't think he's going to like it. Firstly, we always knew that the ban was primarily about class warfare, but now the Labour Party has admitted it… per cent of Britons now describe themselves as middle class, a fascinating statistic…. David Challice UKIP Exeter branch chairman (letter)

Western Morning News 23.12.04 LABOUR WILL CREATE MORE CRIMINALS - With the approach of a General Election, New Labour in general, and the Home Secretary in particular, have been at pains to persuade us of a reduction in the levels of crime… It does, however, seem to be a curious and counterproductive tactic to create at a stroke of the Parliamentary pen last month a brand new class of criminal - the foxhunter. If prosecutions are brought to successful conclusions after February 19 that will certainly affect the crime statistics adversely for the re-election prospects of the Government. So be it…. Britons do not wish to be ruled from on high by moralising utopians. They demand competence, accountability, value and a light hand from their government. This demand is not being satisfied by legislation like the Hunting Act. J Ward-Hayne, Modbury South Devon
Hunt pantomime - I AM writing in response to all the headlines in the WMN regarding the hunting ban - and I am afraid to say these hunts have to face up to what is happening and stop… Hunting with hounds, as I view it, looks like a bit of a pantomime on horseback. But my point is that a ban will be law - so I am shocked to hear these hunters say they will revolt. We all have to abide by the same laws, no matter how strongly we feel…. Mrs B Redford, Saltash
Superb piece - WESTERN Morning News Opinion on Thursday December 16 was headlined Scaring Foxes - The Labour Way. A superb piece, many congratulations. John Rushton, Chippenham (story)

Ulster Herald 23.12.04 Christmas cards depict seasonal cruelty - John Fitzgerald, Callan, Co. Kilkenny (letter may be in archive)
Irish Examiner 23.12.04 Tally-ho cards present false image - ’TIS the season to be jolly... and to be cruel. Christmas cards again depict fox, hare and stag-hunting as relics of auld decency…. For decades hunters have manipulated and misrepresented the visual art depiction of their sport…. For too long these tokens of ‘peace and goodwill’ have fostered the big lie that hunting is something to smile about. John Fitzgerald, Lower Coyne Street, Callan, Co Kilkenny (letter)


Carmarthen Journal 22.12.04 HUNT LAWS PLEA TO ASSEMBLY CHIEFS - Farmers and Countryside Alliance supporters across Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are stepping up the campaign to force the Welsh Assembly to introduce its own hunting legislation in Wales…. The FUW has called for decisions on hunting to be delegated to the Assembly for four years…. (story)
Western Mail 21.12.04 The last hurrah - Steve Dube, Western Mail - HUNDREDS of hunts throughout England and Wales will turn out for what may be the last of the traditional Boxing Day meets next Monday… Meanwhile, the Farmers' Union of Wales has stepped up its campaign to persuade the Welsh Assembly to rescue the tradition in Wales by introducing its own legislation…. The FUW has also warned taxpayers could be faced with a multi-million-pound Bill if the Forestry Commission is forced to fulfil its duty to control foxes. The commission currently relies heavily on packs to control foxes on their land. In a typical case, a hunt receives £200 from the commission and accounts for more than 100 foxes. But replacing local hunts with pest control officers could run into millions of pounds… (story)

Western Daily Press 22.12.04 WAR OF WORDS OVER HUNT CLASH - Dorset police were yesterday investigating fresh allegations of violent clashes between hunters and saboteurs in the West. The latest claims and counter-claims surround a meeting of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt on Saturday, at Longburton, near Sherborne in Dorset. Furious hunters claim that unruly saboteurs terrified a lone teenage rider by verbally abusing her and trying to pull her from her pony. The saboteurs say huntsmen on horseback attacked their van with whips and threw punches as they tried to drag some of its occupants through the open back door…. "A huntmaster and another red-coat whipped our van and tried to whip us," said Nathan Brown, a spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs' Association…. (story)
Weymouth Echo 20.12.04 Trouble flares between hunters and saboteurs by Rachel Grant -POLICE are investigating allegations of violence between foxhunters and saboteurs. The incidents are said to have happened at the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt at Longburton near Sherborne on Saturday when the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) and riders clashed… Joint hunt master Rupert Nuttall said: "They attempted dragging a 14-year-old girl, who was on her own, off her pony. It was the most cowardly act that I have heard of or seen…" Mr Nuttall said there was no misconduct from members of the hunt towards the protestors, although they did bang on the vehicle's windows… (story in archive)

Daily Post 22.12.04 Old scores, class wars ... the real reasons behind a hunting ban By Barry Henderson, Daily Post - IN Monday's Daily Post rural affairs minister Alun Michael urged hunt supporters to accept the new hunting ban. Here, in response to that article, the Countryside Alliance's regional director Barry Henderson argues that a ban will not stop cruelty - ALUN Michael's pathetic arguments in defence of a ban on hunting have already been described as "the insufferable attempting to justify the indefensible". Mr Michael has turned so many circles he has clearly reached the stages of utmost confusion. In his article, his argument flounders, utterly devoid of logic, in a quagmire of prejudice and bigotry…. (story)
Daily Post 20.12.04 The hunt debate is over and we must all obey the law By Alun Michael, Daily Post - RURAL affairs minister Alun Michael explains the Hunting Act, and says the decision was democratic and should be accepted by hunt supporters… (story)
17.12.04 NOW HUNTS MUST GIVE UP THE FIGHT - This week we are publishing guidance on the content and effect of the Hunting Act. The Act comes into force on February 18, 2005 and bans the use of dogs to hunt wild mammals, such as foxes, deer and hares. It also bans all hare coursing. The issue of hunting has been the subject of contentious debate, inside and outside Parliament, for many years. There are strong feelings on all sides. No one could have tried harder than I did - for three years - to persuade hunt supporters and opponents to find common ground. In that endeavour the Prime Minister backed me to the end…. Come on, you who support hunting - recognise that your voice has been listened to but that a democratic decision has been taken. It is now for law-abiding people to obey the law. (story)
Western Morning News 16.12.04 DEFY HUNT BAN AT YOUR PERIL - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael today threatens thousands of hunt supporters intent on challenging the hunting ban by urging courts to throw the book at them…. "Anyone who is convicted could find it hard to get a firearms licence as well as facing other difficulties in relation to employment or insurance as a result of conviction." He says that the law is "simple to understand, obey and enforce"…. The article drew a sharp response from hunt supporters last night. Baroness Ann Mallalieu, the Somerset-based Labour peer and president of the Countryside Alliance, described Mr Michael's views as "offensive and wrong". Lady Mallalieu, who intends to "test the law" by riding out with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds when the ban comes into force, said there was "enormous confusion" about the legislation…. James Pearson, huntsman with the Torrington Farmers' Hunt, who lives with his wife and two children in a home provided by the hunt, said: "I haven't got another job to go to. The Government goes on about drag hunting, but it won't work in Devon."… Farrier Malcolm Tribe said that the hunt ban would have a massive impact on his work and that of other farriers. Mr Tribe, who does a lot of work with the South Devon Hunt, estimated up to 25 per cent of his work could be lost at a stroke once the hunt ban comes in… (story)
Western Morning News 16.12.04 ACT EASY TO UNDERSTAND - AND EASY TO ENFORCE - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has been at the heart of the introduction of the Hunting Act, which comes into force on February 18, banning the hunting with hounds of foxes or deer. Today, in an exclusive article for the WMN which he titles The Hunting Act - Dispelling the Myths, Mr Michael urges everyone who feels aggrieved by the ban to act lawfully. Responding to Mr Michael's article, East Devon MP Hugo Swire, a hunt supporter, says the Government has ignored opinion and expert evidence to railroad through a ban… This week, we are publishing guidance on the content and effect of the Hunting Act. The Act comes into force on February 18, 2005 and bans the use of dogs to hunt wild mammals, such as foxes, deer and hares. It also bans all hare coursing…. (story)
Western Morning News 16.12.04 SCARING FOXES - THE LABOUR WAY - Fox hunting was famously decried by Oscar Wilde as the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable. Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael now offers a new spectacle - the insufferable attempting to justify the indefensible…. The WMN has always held and demonstrated respect for both sides of the heated hunting debate, and still does, but we have no respect whatsoever for the cynical, spiteful, two-faced, hypocritical manner in which the hunt ban has been introduced, and will now be implemented…. One particular phrase exposes Mr Michael's woeful failure to understand the countryside and the effect the hunt ban will have. He says we'll still be at liberty, once the ban is in place, to "shoo" any fox, hare or deer off our land, so long as no dogs are used. What a pathetic Islington drawing-room view of the countryside that conjures up; of landowners shooing away obliging little foxes, to keep the baa lambs and the clucking hens safe from harm. How depressingly that nonsense underscores New Labour's abject ignorance of the countryside. (story)

Bromsgrove & Droitwich Spa Advertiser 22.12.04 D-Day for local hunts - HUNT supporters are being encouraged to throw their weight behind the traditional Boxing Day meets in Droitwich Spa, Feckenham and Hagley… The Worcestershire Hunt will meet at the Raven Hotel, Victoria Square, in Droitwich at 11am. The Albrighton Woodland Hunt meets at Hagley Hall at 11am. Meanwhile, the Warwickshire Beagles will meet at 12pm at the Rose and Crown pub, in High Street, Feckenham, to show their commitment to the traditional countryside way of life… Clare Rowson, Countryside Alliance regional director for the West Midlands, said: "This will not be the last Boxing Day meet. Hunts will continue to hunt in a legal form until the Hunting Act is repealed." But Kevin White, a spokesman and activist for Redditch Animal Rights, said: "We will demonstrate at the Worcestershire Hunt meet in Droitwich on Boxing Day…." (story in archive)

South Wales Evening Post 22.12.04 VALLEY TRADITION WILL GO ON, HUNTSMEN PLEDGE - Huntsmen from the Neath Valley have vowed Boxing Day's hunt will not be their last. As many as 50 hunters gather at the Castle Hotel in Neath for the annual hunt every Christmas…. The controversial hunting bill - passed by government - looked to have ended hunting with hounds forever. But Banwen bosses say it will not stop members of the Miners Hunt enjoying one of their favourite pastimes…. (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 22.12.04 PRO-HUNTERS TO GATHER AT LAST BOXING DAY MEETING - Hundreds of hunting supporters are expected to turn out for the annual Boxing Day hunt meeting at Louth Cattle Market on Monday. It will be the last traditional South Wold Hunt meeting in Louth before hunting with hounds is banned in February… The Brocklesby Hunt will meet at 11am on Monday at the village point to point course (story)

Southern Daily Echo 22.12.04 Hunt takes action amid animal carcass fears by Sarah Jones - MEMBERS of the New Forest Hounds have pledged to take action to stop dead animals being left on the roadside for days on end. The local hunt has come to the rescue just weeks before new European Union regulations will dictate that the incinerator used to dispose of ponies and cattle killed in road accidents is inadequate…. Graham Ferris, spokesman for the New Forest Hounds, said: "Rather than see this disaster for the Forest, the hunt has decided that it will continue to offer a collection service for casualties on the open Forest and road traffic accident victims, even though using an alternative means of disposal will be significantly more expensive."… Mr Ferris estimated that the current service costs the hunt between £15,000-£25,000 and because of their uncertain future they can no longer afford to make collections from farms. Richard Manley, chairman of the Commoners Defence Association, said: "They have dug us out of the mire." (story in archive)

Yorkshire Post 22.12.04 What we need is tough action not tough-sounding soundbites. From: Terry Palmer, South Lea Avenue, Hoyland, Barnsley…. In other words, anyone engaged in any criminal activity whatsoever should forfeit all rights that they may previously have enjoyed before deciding to break any law of the UK. This would, of course, include fox-hunting with hounds. (letter)

Western Daily Press 22.12.04 BAN ON HUNTING WILL SEE MINISTER DESPISED - Does Alun Michael really expect to be taken seriously? He belongs to an autocratic government which has taken us into a war in Iraq against the wishes of the majority, resulting in the unacceptable deaths of a large number of British servicemen and thousands of innocent civilians… I believe that when hunting is banned next year, Mr Michael will find a significant number of people treat him - and the new hunting law - with disdain. Ian Gruncell Westbury Wiltshire (letter)
Western Daily Press 22.12.04 BACKBENCHERS FORCED DECISION - What nonsense from the Rural Affairs minister. He said: "Parliament's aim in passing the Hunting Act is to prevent cruelty - in this case the causing of unnecessary and intentional suffering to wild animals through hunting with dogs." Please give me a break…. The Government is making the fatal mistake of being so arrogant that it underestimates this minority. I, like many others, have lost confidence in this man who promised to fulfil his role fairly. David Redvers Hartpury Gloucestershire (letter)
Western Morning News 21.12.04 HUNTING ACT IS ABSOLUTELY CLEAR - Alun Michael MP, Rural Affairs Minister London (letter)
Western Daily Press 18.12.04 LAW IS CLEAR AND IT'S FOR THE LAW-ABIDING TO ABIDE BY IT - There should be no confusion about the Hunting Act. There is no anomaly. Defra is not backtracking and has not invented a new form of legal hunting, as suggested in the article, Frighten them with dogs, but don't kill…. Alun Michael MP, Rural Affairs Minister (letter)
Northern Echo 17.12.04 HUNTING - THERE should be no confusion about the Hunting Act. There is no anomaly. Defra is not backtracking and has not invented a new form of legal hunting… Setting any number of dogs on a wild mammal will be prohibited from February 18, 2005. So deliberately using dogs to chase a wild mammal, with or without the intention of catching it, will be banned… The Scottish law contains different exemptions, and permits the use of a pack of dogs to chase a fox to waiting guns. The Hunting Act will prohibit all such chasing in England and Wales. - Alun Michael MP, Rural Affairs Minister (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 22.12.04 I FEAR LOSS OF THESE ANIMALS - I am not a hunter; I have never hunted; I have even given up fishing for fun as I personally do not wish to use animals for sport. Due to the coming hunting ban I know that 14 foxes have been culled by a marksman using a rifle in an area of 150 acres in the last two months…. I also know of an area where I could view up to 50 deer every morning. The numbers have been decreasing over the last year and on many days none were to be seen. Yesterday I saw only two. Can the anti-hunting fraternity please explain to me how this is in the best interests of the fox and the deer. I fear these beautiful animals will be removed from the countryside due to the narrow-sighted efforts of people who have no understanding of the delicate balance between wild animals and farmers feeling the need to protect their livestock and crops in the countryside. T Mason Shepton Mallet Somerset (letter)

Horncastle News 22.12.04 The claim the hunt is controlling a ‘pest’ is laughable Recent pro-hunting letters to the Horncastle News have written of the dire consequences for foxes due to the ban on hunting. I agree the destruction of them by other means such as shooting, snaring, gassing and ‘illegal’ poisoning will continue, but these reprehensible activities have always taken place alongside the equally reprehensible pursuit of foxes by hunts… For its valuable contribution to the well-being of our countryside in effectively controlling rats and rabbits, the fox should be given the protection it deserves from killing of ANY kind. PATRICIA WICKHAM Caistor (letter)
Lincolnshire Echo 22.12.04 USEFUL FOX IS A NATIONAL ASSET - There cannot be another animal which has been more maligned and persecuted than our native red fox. Over the years the hunting fraternity has got away with numerous myths, false propaganda and blatant distortions about the poor fox in order to hound it to a gruesome death purely for "sport"… MRS PATRICIA WICKHAM Caistor (letters)

Lincolnshire Echo 22.12.04 Sporting chance the best option - THERE are five ways to control fox populations: 1. Shooting; 2. Trapping; 3. Gas; 4. Poison; 5. Hunting. If I were a fox, I know which one I would prefer; the one which gave me some chance of escape and a sporting chance at that…. PHILIP LOWE Ex-Lincoln, Sandy Bay, Hobart, Australia (letters)

Northern Echo 22.12.04 HUNTING - WHAT a fantastic Christmas present for all those opposed to the vile, barbaric practice of hunting with hounds which has now been confined to the dustbin of history…. Name and address supplied. (letter in archive)

Western Morning News 22.12.04 Anti-hunt vigilantes - FORGET all about Alun Michael's tendentious arguments in favour of his contemptible Hunting Act (WMN December 16). His article is nothing more than a blatant attempt to terrorise the rural community into submission by dire threats…. Dr Christopher Maycock, Crediton (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 22.12.04 FOX HUNT BAN IS JUST TIP OF THE ICEBERG - Regarding Bob Curtis' column (HE Dec 18) on fox hunting and pheasant shooting and so on. Is this the start of the next phase from the liberal humane groups? Now having all but got rid of fox hunting, is the next target hunting with guns?... ROY JOHANSEN, Aller Park, Newton Abbot (letter)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 22.12.04 - ‘We remain opposed to misguided law’ - I refer to the article in Tuesday’s Evening Telegraph (“We will rebel against ban”) about the announcement from the Countryside Alliance that 250 hunts will meet on February 19, the day after the ban on hunting with dogs comes into force. Whilst the content of the article was accurate, I would like to state for the record that the banner headline “We will rebel against ban” was not a quote from me… The plans announced by the Countryside Alliance are for the hunts to carry out legal activities on that day, and that is what the Fitzwilliam Hunt will be doing. We do, of course, remain unshakeably opposed to this prejudiced, misguided and unenforceable piece of legislation and we will continue to campaign for it to be overturned…. George Bowyer - joint master, Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt, Milton Park, Peterborough (letter) <

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 14.12.04 HUNTING: 'We will rebel against ban' - MEMBERS of the Fitzwilliam Hunt are set to join a major rebellion against the fox-hunting ban, a day after it comes into force. Joint master George Bowyer said the hunt would almost certainly join 250 other hunts across the country to test the new law on February 19….

Worcester Evening News 22.12.04 Death warrant I WOULD like to thank our Government for issuing a death warrant for thousands of healthy, happy hounds so that we can now shoot, gas, poison and snare foxes into extinction. Do all you anti-hunt protesters believe that you are animal lovers? I question your morals. PETER MOUNTJOY, Claines, Worcester. (letter in archive)

Louth Leader 22.12.04 Your bloodthirsty hunt days are over - EDITOR - Re fox hunting, when will the barbaric bloodthirsty hunting fraternity realise their fun days are over?... J H Andrew, West Street, Alford
We know the ways of the hunter all too well - EDITOR - G P Hoblyn recently complained that 99.9 per cent of people who are against the hunt ‘do not know what they are talking about’ as they have never seen a hunt, before going on to state hunters ‘only ride where permitted’ (‘Letters October 20). It is often said those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. G P Hoblyn would do well to listen to this age-old adage…. Mike Hobday, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)

News Letter 22.12.04 Horrified At Idea Of Hare Coursing - I read with disgust the article by Christopher Stalford condoning hare coursing and hunting (News Letter, December 4). I am a farmer's wife and have seen the cruelty involved in these so-called "sports" and cannot understand the mentality of anyone seeing "sport" in ripping a defenceless animal to pieces…. Mrs M Hamilton, Saintfield (letter)


Lynn News 21.12.04 End of the trail? West Norfolk Foxhounds expect huge crowds to turn out for the last traditional Boxing Day meet. … (story)

Coventry Evening Telegraph 21.12.04 Bumper turnout expected for hunt - Members of Atherstone Hunt are expecting record support for their traditional Boxing Day meet…. The Atherstone Hunt will meet in Market Bosworth's market square on Boxing Day at 11am…. The North Warwickshire Beagles meet at the Belper Arms, Newton Bergoland, on Boxing Day, at 1pm. (story)

Lynn News 21.12.04 End of the trail? West Norfolk Foxhounds expect huge crowds to turn out for the last traditional Boxing Day meet. They are already counting down to Friday, February 18, when hunting in this country will become illegal. "The West Norfolk Foxhounds will not be breaking the law after that date," huntsman Ian Higgs told the Lynn News. "While the legal fight to save hunting goes through the courts, we will try to keep going as a drag hunt. For the sake of the hounds we must try to find a solution."… "I have just come back from a day's hunting," he told the Lynn News. "We were out from 11am and finished just after 4pm. If we had been drag hunting it would all have been over in two-and-a-half hours. Drag hunting is a bit like playing football without a ball…." (story)

Bath Chronicle 21.12.04 LAND OWNERS SLAM RIGHT TO ROAM - Britain's rural property owners have hit out at the Government's Right To Roam legislation. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says 2004 will remain marked in the memory as a year in which many of the fundamentals of private property ownership have been given a severe shaking…. Mr Moorhouse also criticised the Bill to ban hunting which, he said, was a further erosion of private property rights… (story)

Crewe Chronicle 21.12.04 POLITICIANS have shown a total disregard for facts, not only with the Burns Report but the findings of the weapons inspectors in Iraq and the complete mishandling of the foot and mouth outbreak to name but a few… Talk of cruelty and barbaric sport does not wash with me especially when you consider circumstances such as kosher killing which is totally legal although alien to our slaughter laws…. NIGEL BURROWS Nantwich (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 Stress is natural - I WONDER whether those people who are against fox-hunting, because they believe it is cruel on account of the stress it causes, have considered the other side of the story… The stress experienced by the fox in a hunt situation is a natural stress… I have noticed a crop of car stickers appealing to us to "save tribal people". A hunting ban really would be a nail in the coffin for our native British 'tribal' way of life. A Macdonald Clark, Okehampton (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 MOTIVES ARE ALL WRONG WITH LAW ON HUNTING - As we approach the imposition of a ban on hunting with dogs it is worth considering just what is at stake. The Government's own report is clear - there is nothing to be gained by a ban…. Perhaps Mr Blair imagines that not much will be lost in denying justice to, what is after all, an unfashionable minority but this is the whole point: minorities at risk are always the unfashionable ones and Mr Blair's actions demonstrate that this is no less true in England now under his Government than it was under the continental dictatorships of the 1930s. Jonathan Higgins, Totnes (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 The law is the law - PERHAPS all those who are reacting with amazement, indignation and outrage that there are some people who may consider potentially illegal activity on February 19 and thereafter might ponder on this. Every day considerable numbers of the population will drive on our motorways and a large proportion of these will drive in excess of 70mph which, I believe, has been illegal for some time…. Nick Holdsworth, Ogwell Devon (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 Cherished animals - HOW uplifted I felt today on reading the lovely verse of the "Blessings of the animals" sent in by Miss Tamsin Rowe…. the blood lust of the foxhunters defies belief… Edna Kay, Lostwithiel (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 'Townie' backs hunt - I READ with great interest your article concerning the so-called "class systems" of hunting, red coats and velvet hats. I, having relocated to the South West last year from the Midlands, had no idea or information on any aspect of foxhunting… However, after meeting local huntspeople I realised that foxhunting is not a bloodied sport for rich people, but a vital and necessary life event that needs to carry on for all concerned…. I am for foxhunting totally and would support huntspeople in any way to continue their right to carry on foxhunting regardless of any law to prevent it. Kevin Crow, Torquay (letter)

Western Morning News 21.12.04 LET'S GET BACK TO TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS - In 1644 the Roundheads, led by Oliver Cromwell, cancelled Christmas Day by law. It was rigorously enforced by the puritan Roundhead parliamentarians, who were in power at the time, and who thought that they also had the right to force all others to believe in and practise their doctrine… This year as Christmas approaches we read in the Western Morning News, of Dr Christian Willinger, a German dentist, who has been coming to Exmoor to ride with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, who has now written to the owner of the Crown Hotel, Exford, where he has regularly stayed three or four times a year for the hunting, expressing his disgust with what is happening in Britain, as personified by the hunt ban, and declaring, in spite of the entreaties of the hotel landlord, that he will never come back to Britain again… Tess Nash, Helston (letter)

Western Daily Press 21.12.04 I'M BORED BY HUNTING ISSUE - I took your paper in the first place because it contained local as well as national news and I have enjoyed it over the years. But I am getting bored stiff with both you and your readers constantly banging on about hunting. I don't hunt, nor am I a member of any organisation, but I am very aware of the consequences of the ban, which are far more serious for local employment and business than just hunt staff…. This Government was voted in by 32 per cent of the vote on a nationwide vote; 59 per cent voted to keep hunting. So much for democracy…. J Knowles Tiverton Devon (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 21.12.04 Simply barbaric - Mrs Roberts of Cotgrave totally misses the point about fox hunting… The point about fox hunting is that it is barbaric beyond belief, animals are ripped limb from limb by a baying pack of hounds whilst still alive…. JASON ROSS 61 Arnold Lane Gedling Nottingham (letter)

Mid Devon Gazette 21.12.04 INVITATION TO HOUNDS' BOXING DAY MEET - This year, as Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, Tiverton Foxhounds will be holding their traditional Boxing Day meet on Monday, December 27, outside The Half Moon in the Market Square, Tiverton, at 11am. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all your readers and the rest of the local community to come and join us…. Nigel Cuthbert, Tiverton Foxhounds.(letter)

Mid Devon Gazette 21.12.04 Welfare of fox 'compromised' THE gentleman of Exmoor claims to be civilised (Letters, December 14). Ill-informed, on the Burns report into hunting with dogs, he certainly is… I would have hoped that 'Civilised of Exmoor' would welcome the fact that the chasing and inhumane killing of sentient creatures in the name of sport will soon be illegal. Ivor Annetts, League Against Cruel Sports, Tiverton. (letter)


Hampshire Chronicle 20.12.04 We'll meet again and again, defiant huntsmen declare - Hampshire's huntsmen are refusing to be intimidated by the ban on their sport in the New Year and are continuing with traditional Boxing Day meets. The Hampshire Hunt will take place on December 27th, starting at The Fur and Feathers pub, at Herriard, on the A339 road between Basingstoke and Alton. It will be one of several meets taking place around the county… (story in archive)

Market Rasen Mail 20.12.04 Could this be the last Boxing day hunt? - AS BOXING Day falls on a Sunday, the local hunts will be holding their traditional Boxing Day meetings on Monday, December 27. The Brocklesby Hunt will meet at the Point to Point Course, Brocklesby for an 11am start… The Southwold Hunt will meet at Louth Cattle Market for 11am on December 27 and the Burton Hunt will be at the Lincolnshire Showground at the same time… (story)

Portsmouth News 20.12.04 Huntsmen - and foes - expect big Boxing Day - A MASSIVE turnout of huntsmen, spectators and protesters is expected next Monday when the last legal Boxing Day fox hunt is held in our communities… Rosamond Masterman, secretary for the Hursley and Hambledon Hunt said: 'Judging by the number of inquiries I have had about this year, I think there will be a lot of people coming, and quite a few have been calls from people who have never been before"… Jeanette McClunan, from the Fareham and Gosport Animal Rights Group, is also expecting a lot of people to turn up – to celebrate the end of hunting… (story)

BBC News Online 20.12.04 Hunters told of 'zero tolerance' - Hunt supporters planning to oppose a ban of their activity are being warned the police will take a "zero tolerance" policy towards them… Nottinghamshire Police Authority chairman Councillor John Clarke has warned hunt supporters: "Break the law you'll be treated like the miners"… (story)

Northern Echo 20.12.04 Pro-hunt lobbyists to disrupt conference - THOUSANDS of hunt supporters are plotting a demonstration to disrupt Labour's spring conference in the region. Countryside Alliance members said they were gathering intelligence about the event, which will be held in Gateshead days before the hunting ban comes into force…. (story in archive)

Glasgow Herald 20.12.04 Dying to laugh - KEN SMITH and DAVID BELCHER …Letter of the law - The League Against Cruel Sports was incensed that pro-foxhunting protester Otis Ferry, son of Bryan, who stormed the House of Commons, was wearing a T-shirt, shamelessly copying the French Connection shops' logo, which stated, FCUK Tony Blair. The League, with its customary humour by-pass, complained to French Connection, who told the unhappy fox-huggers that, while it was appalled that the T-shirt might give the impression French Connection was pro hunting, its lawyers had told them that as Otis was not selling the shirts, there was nothing they could do about it…. (story)
Western Daily Press 20.12.04 FERRY NAUGHTY! - Prominent hunt activist Otis Ferry can continue to wear an anti-Tony Blair T-shirt despite copying a controversial fashion label's name in the process, it was revealed last night… French Connection have told anti-hunt campaigners there was nothing they could do to stop him since Ferry was not selling the shirts. (story)
Observer 19.12.04 Four-letter insult spells a whole lot of trouble as FCUK warns foxy Otis - Mark Townsend … Ferry junior has been told to 'FCUK off' by French Connection and, days after being charged with disorderly conduct for his part in storming the Commons, could face another brush with the law. In September, millions watched as the 22-year-old reigning pin-up of the hunting circuit invaded Parliament wearing a white T-shirt inscribed with a none-too-subtle 'FCUK YER BAN' message. Lawyers for French Connection were incensed that the company's highly successful marketing operation had been so publicly twisted to condemn government policy…. (story)

Western Daily Press 20.12.04 JUST OBEY THE RULES SAY HUNT'S MASTERS - One of the West's leading hunts urged its supporters to play by the rules when hunting is banned next February - for the first few weeks at least. Masters of the Vale of the White Horse hunt, which has numbered Prince William among its field in the past 18 months, told supporters they would be merely exercising their hounds from February 19, until the heat dies down…. The five joint masters of the VWH posted their plans on the hunt's own website, in a bid to rein in hunt followers who might openly defy the ban…. After confirming a huge meet to "demonstrate the strength and determination of the hunting community" on the first post-ban Saturday - February 19 - it said: "For the remainder of the season, with the permission of our farmers and landowners, we will undertake legal activities such as hunting an artificial scent, hound exercise, etc…. (story)

Shropshire Star 20.12.04 Fox hunters vow to carry on meetings - Shropshire hunts will be staging their usual Boxing Day meets this year but warned "this will not be the last" of the festive tradition despite the introduction of the hunting ban next year…. (story)

Daily Post 20.12.04 Business as usual as hunts snub ban By Gareth Hughes, Daily Post - THE hunting fraternity last night said it would be business as usual when the ban comes into effect in February…. Captain Michael Cunningham, of Denbigh, is due to take over as high sheriff of Clwyd in March. He is also North Wales chairman of the Countryside Alliance and a member of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt…. On Friday, during a private meeting with Countryside Alliance representatives and farming unions in Cerrigydrudion, Welsh secretary Peter Hain was asked why a terrier could be used to protect game birds but not lambs. Mr Hain apparently could not answer the question…. (story)

Independent 20.12.04 Fox-hunting is cruel - Is fox-hunting cruel? Of course it is. The problem for the fox-hunters is that their sport, no matter how highly eulogised, is one with the damning spectre of cruelty hanging over it. The foregoing is the admission of a pro-hunting journalist in the The Irish Field over a decade ago. Strip away from hunting the glamour, the sentimentality, the jolly camaraderie of the human participants and what is left? The elaborate bullying of one animal by a bunch of others…. Dick Power, Ballyneety, Co Limerick (letter)

Western Daily Press 20.12.04 A FINE SIGHT ON THE PROM - I am fed up with the letters from anti-hunters. My daughter has followed the hunt for five years, and also when she was in the pony club. I cannot say whether I disagree or agree with this, but I shall never forget that when we lived in Cheltenham we took the boys to see the hunt come up the Promenade to the Queen's Hotel on Boxing Day - it was a thrilling sight… J S Toly Stonehouse Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 20.12.04 RIDING OVER THE LIMIT - it seems that some fanatical hunt supporters intend to break the law in February. They should think again, because the traditional stirrup cup of strong alcoholic drink, when the hunt meets, could top up tipples from the night before… What a scene in Chipping Sodbury, if the police spot-check members of the Beaufort on suspicion of being over the limit. Roy Everett Yate Bristol (letter)

Aberdeen Press & Journal 20.12.04 BLAIR STYLE OF GOVERNMENT - The political spin and double standards of New Labour reached new heights in the debate on the Mental Capacity Bill. Your story (December 15) aptly described the antics of the Government as chaotic… The double standards were evident in that the motion was not allowed to be a matter of conscience and was passed to the Lords for amendments. It seems competent to ask the Lords to adjudicate on this bill, but not on fox-hunting. In other words, "you will do what the whips tell you". But we all now know you read that to mean do what Tony wants… George Paterson, 2 Loch Way, Kemnay (letter)

Western Morning News 20.12.04 Nonsensical Bill - REGARDING Anne Widdecombe's remarks pertaining to the Hunting Bill and common sense, how can common sense be applied to a totally nonsensical Bill? Patrick J Ellis, Eggesford, Chulmleigh (letter)

Basingstoke Gazette 20.12.04 Open invitation to Boxing Day hunt - This year, as Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, the Hampshire Hunt will be holding its traditional Boxing Day meet on Monday, December 27, at The Fur and Feathers, Herriard, at 11am (on the A339 between Basingstoke and Alton). I would like to extend a warm welcome to all your readers and the rest of the local community to come and join us…. -Luke Axel-Berg, Farringdon, Alton (letter in archive)

Basingstoke Gazette 20.12.04 Showing support for the ban on hunting - .- As a young man, I was impressed by a quotation from Oscar Wilde "the unspeakable in full pursuit of the inedible"… There is the blunt issue of obeying the law. Do we all have to obey all laws, even those we personally don't like or find inconvenient, or do some of us have the right to ignore or disobey part of the law?... Robertson, Downsland Road, Basingstoke (letter in archive)

Gloucester Citizen 20.12.04 I HAVE NEVER HIDDEN VIEWS ABOUT HUNTING Re: "Name and address supplied" (December 9) - I do not consider that I make my letters to The Citizen political. I sign them in my capacity as a local councillor and have never hidden the fact that I am a Labour supporter… In my manifesto when I first stood for Stroud District Council I told the ward of my views on killing wild animals for fun and was returned as their member…. As for Labour losing votes, I have a funny feeling that all blood sport participants already vote Tory. TONY SHORTT Husband, father, animal lover Stroud (letter)

The Sentinel 20.12.04 HUNTING LOGIC IS ALL WRONG - - In response to the letter "Dogs will die because of hunting ban", I am puzzled as to the logic of your correspondent's argument…. for the poor farmers not having hunt kennels to take away their fallen stock, don't they know there are other kennels that would gladly take the casualties? Kennels of working dogs, training kennels, breeding kennels and most of all the dogs' homes in every part of the country, struggling to feed the dogs in their care… NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

The Sentinel 20.12.04 END ATROCITIES AGAINST FOXES - I would like to say thank you to Peter Ridgway, of Bradwell, for his splendid commitment towards the outlawing of hunting with hounds. I'm sure I speak for the majority of the population of this country who have, as he says, waited for many years for the atrocities against the fox to end… JOCELYN COYTE Hanford (letter)

Lincolnshire Echo 20.12.04 HUNTERS RE-TELL THE FOX MYTHS - I Would like to challenge the hunting myths being promulgated by Wayne Cox (December 16). The fox is generally not a pest to farmers…. , to say that a hunting ban infringes civil liberties is nonsense… JULIA HOLLIDAY Hemingby Way, Horncastle (letter)

Bristol Evening Post 20.12.04 HUNTING DECISIONS NOT THOUGHT THROUGH - On the issue of fox control, surely all can agree that the poisoning and snaring of foxes should be de precated. This leaves the "sport" of "lamping" as the primary means by which foxes will be destroyed now that - at least for the time being - there is to be no more hunting… It is only the existence of hunting - and the accompanying "peer-group pressure" - that has up to now prevented the widespread use of rifles at night to kill foxes… Hugh Pitman, Malmesbury, Wiltshire. (letter)

Mancheste r Evening News 20.12.04 Barbaric - THE letter writer Fox Free, Gorton, resorts to the tired old canard that hunt opponents such as Ray King and I “speak of issues about which (we) know very little”… Clearly, he has had a sensitivity by-pass when it comes to foxes, and probably stags and hares, too…. Pauline Farmer, Stockport (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 20.12.04 BILL NOT JUST FOR END TO FOX-HUNTING - I Have read with interest the various arguments for and against fox-hunting… We have now reached the 21st century and allegedly have a greater understanding of what is morally and ethically acceptable… I would like to thank all the people who supported the ban, including the MPs, and in particular Ian Cawsey and Elliot Morley. Name and address supplied (letter)


Sunday Telegraph 19.12.04 Where the faults lie on hunts - I would not normally comment on a leak of a private letter – referred to in your article on the Countryside Alliance (News, December 12). However there are two important points. First, as I made clear in my letter to the Countryside Alliance chairman, John Jackson, civil disobedience can be both legal and illegal. I believe that the Countryside Alliance should articulate the case for civil disobedience within the law in order to help highlight the arbitrary and unjust nature of the hunting ban…. Second, having been closely involved in defending hunting in the House of Lords I am clear where the blame lies – with the Prime Minister…. (Viscount) Astor, House of Lords, London SW1 (letter)
Sunday Telegraph 12.12.04 Bitter split threatens Countryside Alliance By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter - The countryside Alliance is facing deep internal divisions over claims that its leadership has failed its members and that the group needs to become more militant to resist the Government's ban on hunting. Viscount Astor, the Tory spokesman in the House of Lords on countryside issues, has written a critical letter to John Jackson, the chairman of the Countryside Alliance, in which he accuses him of being duped by Tony Blair…(story)

Sunday Telegraph 19.12.04 Why should hunters be surprised that Special Branch has them in its sights (News, December 12), considering the many statements that have been put out about breaking the law? I am part of a peaceful group of middle-aged hunt protesters and we have often been amazed how quickly a hunt can call the police, seemingly using a direct line. When we have experienced aggression from hunters or their supporters we have had to resort to either ringing 999 or calling one of our friends on the road…. Sue Baumgardt, Hove, Sussex (letter)

Sunday Telegraph 19.12.04 … If this Government spent as much time tackling crime as it did debating whether men and women in red coats should pursue a fox, then we could give them some credibility. Joyce Gascoigne, Coleshill, Warwickshire (letter)


Guardian 18.12.04 Guide to age - Alexander Chancellor - I have to confess that, although I have sounded off from time to time on the subject of fox-hunting, I had never until last week taken part in a hunt. But having been asked by an American magazine to write an article about the hunting ban, I prevailed upon my friend Charles Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, to take me along for a day's outing with his local pack, the East Sussex and Romney Marsh…. I was assigned to the back of a quad bike driven by a terrier man, who had five dogs in a cage fixed to his handlebars…. Leaving aside terrier men, for whom the label "lower class" might have been invented, the field and its followers included only a tiny handful of people who could fairly be described as toffs. Most were farmers or farm workers, and one was an off-duty hospital worker following the hunt on a bicycle, wearing black Lycra tights….. foxhunting, I am persuaded, is not focused on the kill. It is focused on the chase, on the expert working of a pack of hounds, on the sense of belonging to a country community engaged in a centuries-old country pursuit…. The animal rights movement is driven not by love of animals but by hatred of people. Shooting may be threatened because of hatred of the rich people who do it. Fishing will never be threatened because fishermen are seen as humble and charming (story)

Leicester Mercury 18.12.04 PLAN FOR HOUNDS - A fox hunt may send some of its hounds to America because of the imminent ban on the pursuit. The Cottesmore, which hunts in Rutland and Melton, is considering ways to reduce the size of its pack of 100 hounds…. (story)
Rutland & Stamford Mercury 16.12.04 DEFIANT HUNT OUTFOXES BAN - THE Cottesmore Hunt is planning to send its hounds abroad when the fox hunting ban becomes law next February. It is a desperate measure to ensure the 100 hounds continue to be in constant work and to avoid having to put any of the pack down. The majority of the hounds will remain in Rutland, but others will be shipped to America, or Ireland where hunting continues to be legal…. Both the Cottesmore Hunt and the Fitzwilliam Hunt have vowed to test the ban by join-ing hunts around the country and meet on February 19 (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 18.12.04 GUIDE ON HUNTING UNLIKELY TO IMPRESS - Fox Hunts will be encouraged to take up new activities such as drag hunting and other equestrian sports in a guide set to be published next week by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The guide is seen as an olive branch tocommunities who are enraged at Parliament's ban on hunting with dogs which comes into effect in February. Defra want to keep hunts and the social functions associated with them together in the countryside, while encouraging them to take part in legitimate activities…. Laurence Robertson, Tory MP for Tewkesbury said: "The Government is nervous about what will happen in the countryside after the ban comes in…" (story)

Western Morning News 18.12.04 CAN YOU CALL THIS 'SPORT'? … Spending time on long Parliamentary debates over the rights or wrongs of fox hunting must be a bone of contention when there are so many other important laws that need addressing. Like a lot of folk I have my own views on established "country pursuits" and feel that if people want to get ponced-up and charge over hedges and fields on a big horse, with a pack of hounds chasing the scent of a fox??? well, okay…. What does get my goat is the so-called "sport" of pheasant shooting… (story)

Western Morning News 18.12.04 FARCICAL FOXY FUN FOR AN ARTIST ON THE FARM … LEILA Winslade's Farcical Foxes are up to their old tricks in a new series of pictures devised by the Exmoor-based artist. The Farcical Foxes are the creation of Leila, who gave up her job as an event manager to become a full-time artist in 1998…. "I am pro-countryside, but I don't want to get too political," she said. "Even so I am amazed by the whole thing. I can't believe the way the Government devoted so much time to it. "I think if you want to hunt, you hunt, and if you don't, you don't. To be honest, it's not my thing, I am an artist. "From my point of view, I like to see wild animals in the wild and I think that without hunting you will see a lot less if shooting is the method people use to control animals."… (story)

Leicester Mercury 18.12.04 HUNTING MEETS TAKING PLACE - Atherstone… Belvoir…Cottesmore… Fernie… Quorn…. (story)

The Sentinel 18.12.04 DON'T BE FOXED BY HUNT LIES - - In response to the letter from Julie Smith from Packmoor, can I point out a few truths to you?... Any problems foxes cause are far outweighed by the positive impact they have in keeping down rodent numbers. Hunts-people, stop making excuses to kill our wildlife for fun… A LONGSHAW Stoke-on-Trent (letter)

Scotsman 18.12.04 An unenforceable ban? - The master of the Buccleuch Hunt, Trevor Adams, may have been cleared of illegal fox-hunting on a delicate technical and legal point… There is a clear, basic ethical and legal argument for enforcement that can be presented effectively to the judiciary and law enforcers…. (MISS) KATHERINE WATSON, Rushton Drive, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire (letter)

Scotsman 18.12.04 Innocent animal - BBC TV news started with a hunter in Scotland opening Champagne because he had shot an innocent animal in its natural habitat, and also outwitted the law… Even if a species were over-populated, the government could provide its own humane methods on control - we do not need vigilante groups of thugs with dogs and guns satisfying their sick need to kill under the guise of a service to the community. SUZANNA THORPE, Bucknall Avenue, Lincoln (letter)

Worcester Evening News 18.12.04 Taking priority - IN reply to K Hemming (You Say, Friday, December 3) "It is now all-out war against the hunting fraternity" am I to understand that the breakdown of this wonderful country of ours is to be blamed on hunting with hounds? Mr Hemming should read the newspapers a little more closely. Each day there are reports of robberies, muggings, murders and drug abuse…. D K MOUNTJOY, Sinton Green. (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 18.12.04 THEY DON'T SPEAK FOR ME - I read with interest, and a little amusement, the huffing and puffing from the Countryside Alliance in its spat with the BBC Wildlife Magazine and its calendar. The magazine exists to promote the conservation and well-being of wildlife and to inform us about it. I trust that the BBC will not be browbeaten… Julian Brown, Stroud, Gloucestershire (letter)

Western Daily Press 18.12.04 EXPOSING THE HORRIFIC TRADE - With reference to K Abbey's letter. As an animal welfare campaigner and a conservationist, I totally agree more people should tackle and expose regular acts of animal cruelty. I, and many of my like-minded friends, protest to expose all cruelty. This includes blood sports, vivisection, factory farming, live animal exports, bear bile farming, consuming the flesh of other mammals and wearing their skins…. M J Haines, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (letter)

Nottingham Evening Post 18.12.04 In the mist of the moon/On a dark winter's night/Echoes a cry/of the fox's plight/Fox and cubs/Under glistening star/Now at rest/From hunters afar… D. McGOUGH (poem)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 18.12.04 Illogical solution - I see that the hunting fraternity have changed their logo from "Hunting with Dogs" to "Vermin Control" so as to try and get round the ban…. Vermin control is a job for the local authority and can be done humanely by birth control, which will relieve the hunting fraternity of their constant fear from the foxes' activities a lot quicker… Derek Wright, Westbury Street, Bradford (letter in archive)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 18.12.04 ANIMALS KILLING IS NATURE, HUNTING'S LUST - After reading a letter in Viewpoint on Monday, December 6, I had to put pen to paper…. The writer compared the torture of a mouse by a cat to fox hunting - the pain the mouse suffers before the cat kills it, also the hawk killing a dove. This is nature, it's what animals do. Now the poor fox, it has to outrun our brave huntsmen and women with a pack of hounds… KC Smith, St Hybalds Grove, Scawby. (letter)


Western Morning News 17.12.04 HUNTING HELPS TO MAINTAIN BALANCE - In the fourth of our series examining the future of Westcountry hunts in the face of a hunting ban, Duncan Sandes visits the East Devon Hunt, based predominantly around Mid Devon and Exeter FOR centuries, rural communities have recognised the significant role hunting plays in countryside management… (story)

Horse & Hound 17.12.04 Enforcing the Hunting Act in the courts - Clive Rees - Horse & Hound gets expert legal advice on the issues surrounding the enforcement of the Hunting Act in England and Wales - The golden principle of the law of England and Wales is that a jury must be satisfied — beyond reasonable doubt — that an offence has been committed and that the perpetrator is the person in the dock…. The point is that the defence has — subject to one or two restrictions — to prove nothing. The Crown must prove its case — to the hilt…. Provided we are seen genuinely to attempt to abide by the law during this Act, while preserving in our hounds their ability to hunt their appropriate quarry, we should have nothing to fear… (story)

Malvern Gazette 17.12.04 Hunt is defiant on eve of a ban - A defiant Ledbury Hunt says it expects a record crowd for its traditional post-Christmas meet as news breaks that police have charged three of its members following their invasion of Parliament… (story in archive)
Ledbury Reporter 17.12.04 Defiant hunt makes stand (story in archive)

Ledbury Reporter 17.12.04 Hare hunt turns to rabbits - Leadon Vale Basset Hounds has announced plans to hunt rabbits, when the hunting of hares is outlawed next year. Group spokesman Paul Hemingway said members would make use of what he termed a "ridiculous exception" to keep the hounds in the field in the Ledbury area. He said: "We are probably going to test the law rather than openly defy it. We have no intention of destroying our 30 hounds."… (story in archive)

Gloucester Citizen 17.12.04 PROTESTERS MUST STAY WITHIN LAW - The country appears to be set on a collision course for Friday, February 18, 2005. From that date it will be illegal to deliberately set your dog or dogs on a deer, fox or hare. It is a date that will go down in history as a major turning point in English life. Whether it lives on as a day of infamy or a day to celebrate, will depend very much on your point of view….The deliberate breaking of a law, democratically passed, cannot and should not be tolerated. We cannot have people picking and choosing the laws that they want to follow. And the police cannot choose which laws they enforce… (story)

Gloucester Citizen 17.12.04 WHAT THE LAW MEANS - Deliberately setting your dog(s) on a deer, fox or hare, for whatever reason, will be illegal from February 18. However, a dog owner will not face prosecution if their pet chases a wild animal without human encouragement…. (story)

Shropshire Star 17.12.04 Otis will be in the saddle for meet - The Shropshire hunt, led by celebrity huntmaster Otis Ferry, is planning to ride out for its annual Boxing Day meet. The South Shropshire Hunt will gather at The New Inn, in Hook-a-Gate, near Shrewsbury, at 11am… Two other hunts in Bridgnorth and south Shropshire will also gather on Boxing Day at 11am including the Ludlow Hunt, which will meet at Castle Square, in Ludlow; and the Wheatland Hunt, which will gather at Morville, near Bridgnorth. The United Hunt will meet at the Castle Hotel, in Bishop's Castle, at 11am on December 27… (story)

West Cumberland Times & Star 17.12.04 Fell packs ‘wait and see’ over hunting ban - FELL PACKS are adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy pending the introduction of the hunting ban on February 18…. John Vickers, Master of the Melbreak hunt, said this week: “Everybody is hanging fire to see what happens.”… (story)

Western Daily Press 17.12.04 CLARKS VILLAGE AND THE DEMO - Following recent coverage regarding a pro-hunt demonstration that took place in Street on December 12, Clarks Village would like to clarify its position. The management of Clarks Village was alarmed to read stories on December 10 and 11, as prior to reading the first story we were totally unaware of the proposed demonstration… Clarks Village does not have any allegiances with any pressure groups and its overriding concern is for visitors to be delighted with their shopping experience. Sarah Cliff Account Manager Primal PR (letter)
Western Gazette 16.12.04 PROTESTERS CHANGE HUNT PARADE TO PLEASE POLICE - Dozens of hunt supporters paraded through Street to make a stand against the Government's new anti-hunt laws. A crowd of around 200 people watched the peaceful procession of riders and foot supporters from the Mendip Farmers Hunt as they passed through High Street…. (story)
Central Somerset Gazette 16.12.04 BAN PROTESTORS HAPPY DESPITE LOW NUMBERS - Despite the efforts of organisers to attract several hundred riders to a hunt ban protest in Street on Sunday, less than 30 riders turned out on the day. Rumours of at least several hundred riders, possibly to include Camilla Parker-Bowles, proved false, when the riders and about 30 of their supporters travelled from Butleigh to parade along the High Street. Organiser Pat Burroughs from Butleigh said: "We are glad that the hounds did not arrive as was rumoured, as we worried about safety and I am really pleased at the broad representation…. (story)
Cheddar Valley Gazette 16.12.04 BAN PROTESTORS HAPPY DESPITE LOW NUMBERS (story)
Western Daily Press 13.12.04 CROWD CHEERS THE HUNT BAN PROTEST - Dozens of hunters were greeted with cheers and waves yesterday when they took their protest to one of Somerset's busiest Christmas shopping magnets. As many as 50 riders and supporters on foot and in cars from several hunts, made their stand in Street yesterday, with a crowd of about 200 braving the chill to greet them…. After assembling at Pat Burrough's farm in Butleigh, the riders were applauded as they trotted down the High Street, accompanied by the sound of cars horns and hunting bugles. Pat, a farmer and livery owner, organised the protest, which included not only hunt supporters from the Mendip Farmers, Seavington and Weston and Banwell hunts, but also farriers, farmers and a GP… (story)
Western Daily Press 11.12.04 VILLAGE IS READY FOR MASS HUNT PROTEST - Organisers of a hunt protest ride through a Somerset town tomorrow reassured Christmas shoppers at one of the West's biggest shopping centres last night they were not being targeted. Hundreds of horses are expected to parade through the middle of the Clarks Village site in Street tomorrow morning - but both shopping centre bosses and organisers of the pro-hunt rally insisted there would be no disruption to customers…. in recent weeks the event has mushroomed, as hunts themselves from as far away as Gloucestershire and Devon volunteered to take part. Sunday is not a hunting day in the West, and horses from hunts could swell numbers into the high hundreds… (story)
Western Daily Press 10.12.04 RIDERS TAKE PROTESTS TO SHOP VILLAGE - Hundreds of riders are expected to converge on Clarks Village at Street on Sunday for one of the region's biggest pro-hunt demonstrations. It will the be the latest in a series of demonstrations taking place before the ban on the blood sport comes into force in February. Farmer and livery owner Pat Burrough, who lives near Glastonbury, explains: "I'm not a member of the hunt but I, and others like me, are going to be so badly affected by the ban. It all started out as a very small protest ride but, as more people have heard about it, it's just grown and grown…." (story)

The Citizen 17.12.04 Dead fox dumped - HORRIFIED animal charity staff have condemned 'sick' hunting supporters who dumped a dead fox at a Blackpool animal centre. The fox was left, along with a torn off front page from Countryman's Weekly magazine, outside the RSPCA Animal Centre, Division Lane, on Monday netween 11am and 1.20pm…. (story in archive)
BBC News Online 15.12.04 Dead fox is dumped outside RSPCA - The body of a mutilated fox has been dumped outside the RSPCA's Blackpool Animal Centre. RSPCA staff found the dead fox, whose tail had been removed, alongside a torn-off front page from the Countryman's Weekly magazine…. (story)

Lancashire Evening Telegraph 17.12.04 Safe! - With the ban on hunting coming into effect in the New Year it looked like the end of the road for Dillon the dog. Dillon's wagging tail has become a familiar sight around Lancaster and Morecambe as part of the environmental health team's rat catching outfit but councillors had asked if he was for the chop because of the new legislation. Dillon's future is now in safe hands as council leaders have confirmed that he is free to carry on in the hunt for rodents because he is exempt from the new laws…. (story)

Chester Chronicle 17.12.04 THE wife of a New York property tycoon once famously remarked 'only little people pay taxes'. The hunting lobby seem to believe that 'only little people obey the law.' Time has run out for them at last…. CHRISTOPHER CLAYTON Waverton (letter)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 17.12.04 Cheeky call to police over hunt - For the last 15 years or more West Midlands police have been involved in protecting fox hunts from saboteur interference. Surely Alan Nugent, of West Bromwich West Conservative Association, has been aware of this? It seems a bit cheeky of him now to seek assurance from the Chief Constable that hunts which decide to continue to operate, against the law, should be allowed to do so unhindered… David Tonks, Beech Hurst Gardens, Seisdon (letter)

Telegraph 17.12.04 Sir – I recently let our spaniel out into the garden to chase away an urban fox. I have been agonising over my legal position ever since. Was I hunting with a dog, or using reasonable force to protect my property? Anthony Gardner, London NW1 (letter)

Worcester Evening News 17.12.04 Politics of prejudice - THE letter (You Say, Wednesday, December 8) from Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports was triumphalist to say the least. I wonder if he will still be applauding this corrupt Government when it rushes through a Bill to postpone the hunting ban for 18 months or more just to avoid its implementation close to the General Election next May…. Finally as Mr Batchelor believes he has seen the last of hunting could he explain something I have been trying to understand for years. Why have a number of people left LACS to support the continuation of hunting on the grounds of animal welfare? A simple question but I doubt it will be answered. JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)
8.12.04 Hunt law a change for the better DOUGLAS BATCHELOR, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, London SE1 (letter)
Horncastle News 8.12.04 Thanks for support with our peaceful campaign - DOUGLAS BATCHELOR, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports (letter)
Ulster Herald 2.12.04 Work still needed to end all fox-hunting - After 80 years of campaigning, the League Against Cruel Sports would like to congratulate MPs across the political parties, who voted to pass the Hunting Act 2004. The league would also like to thank its many supporters who have stood their ground, often in the face of intimidation by pro-hunters, and campaigned peacefully for a change in the law…. Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports, London SE1 (letter may be in archive)

Western Morning News 17.12.04 We're here to stay - WITH reference to Theo Hopkins' letter on disbanding the Countryside Alliance (WMN, December 2). Quite the opposite is the case. It is a resounding success. Without it we would not have been hunting for at least the last five seasons. It has become the voice of the countryside in many rural matters totally unconnected with hunting…. The figure of £5 million income is insignificant compared to the many millions spent on anti field sports propaganda by the RSPCA, LACS and IFAW (Ltd). The latter having been refused charitable status. If the three major London demonstrations, and many others, were not "grass roots" I should like to know what is. We members are proud to be associated with such an organisation and have no-doubt that eventually we shall win the day. Patrick J Ellis, Chulmleigh (letter)

Malvern Gazette 17.12.04 `We have not spoken yet' - WHAT a breath of sanity Dr Jones brings to the hunting issue (Your Letters, November 26) and what a contrast to the ill-informed and sentimental claptrap that has so clouded the debate. Are your readers aware that one casualty of the hunting ban has been a bill making better provision for disabled persons? Having spent more than 700 hours debating hunting, there was no time to conclude this piece of legislation…. MRS MARY WINFIELD, Worcester Road, Ledbury (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 17.12.04 LAMPING WILL TRIGGER CHAOS - On the issue of fox control surely all can agree that the poisoning and snaring of foxes should be avoided. This leaves lamping as the primary means by which foxes will be destroyed now that - at least for the time being - there is to be no more hunting. Lamping is very cruel and appallingly dangerous to humans… Hugh Pitman Malmesbury Wiltshire (letter)

Western Daily Press 17.12.04 LINGERING DEATH - While walking in Devon I spotted a dead fox that had been shot. Whether it had died of starvation or trauma, I could not tell. It had two choices: being shot, to suffer a slow and painful death, or death from hounds. P Hart Charmouth Dorset (letter)

Western Daily Press 17.12.04 HYPOCRISY OF THE BRITISH - The self-styled animal loving British are in danger of becoming the world's greatest hypocrites. A man threw a dog over a cliff to its death for chewing a curtain. If caught, he will be condemned as a monster and be liable to jail. n the other hand, hunts can (and have) chased a stag over a cliff and on to rocks below and into the sea for fun. This is quite acceptable because it was within their "human rights"…. D G Powell Taunton Somerset (letter)

Rutland & Stamford Mercury 17.12.04 Hunt invaded my garden - I WAS brought up in the countryside and, despite my mis-givings, had reached an understanding with the Cottesmore Hunt when it was under the auspices of Mr Barclay. How times have changed. On Saturday an out of control pack of hounds invaded my garden… If I kept a pack of unruly dogs I would probably be prosecuted. The hunt seems to regard itself as above the law… NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED
Right of reply - WE contacted the complainant earlier in the week as the owner likes to be informed when the hunt may be in the area so she can keep her cats indoors. We deeply regret the hounds ran through her garden and are very sorry she was put though so much stress. As soon as the incident had been reported to me, early on Saturday evening, I contacted the complainant by phone. We had a long conversation during which I repeatedly offered her our sincere apologies… Clare Warman Joint master of Cottesmore Hunt (letter)

Torquay Herald Express 17.12.04 FOXES DO NOT KILL FOR LUST, PEOPLE DO THAT - J e Knock (Your View, HE December 7) claims that as she is country-born and bred she has seen the devastation a fox can wreak among lambs and chickens purely for the lust of it! Well, there are many farmers who are not bothered by foxes simply because they take proper precautions when protecting their flocks…. LEN SHORT, Animal Voices, St James Road, Upton, Torquay (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 17.12.04 VOTE A MATTER FOR CONSCIENCE - Nowhere in the letters of Liz Wilkins and her hunting acolytes (December 9), do they mention one simple fact. The votes on hunting were a matter for individual conscience… Thankfully we are now entering an era whereby we are starting to deal with various forms of animal abuse which the vote on hunting and the Animal Welfare Bill should adduce…. DAVID DREW, MP for Stroud (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 17.12.04 DRAG HUNTING MAY BE ANSWER - It was good news to hear on Anna King's programme yesterday (December 7, Radio Gloucestershire), that hunts are thinking of taking up "drag" hunting. Their view being that this would keep horse and hound in condition…. PAMELA DEAN, Whiteshill, Nr Stroud (letter)

Scunthorpe Telegraph 17.12.04 'NO PLACE FOR HUNT IN SOCIETY' - In replying to the letter 'We haven't heard the last of this one', I would like to point out no species can exist beyond the point of the availability of a food supply and of shelter, particularly when raising young… I agree a lot of time has been spent on this issue but believe it should have been abolished many years ago and is an activity which should have no place in a civilised society. Robin Downs, Berkeley Street, Scunthorpe. (letter)

Harborough Mail 17.12.04 Flawed hunting bill is based on prejudice and ignorance - WHAT a topsy-turvy country we are living in! Yet again this Government promises to get tough on crime, but with police undermanned and stretched to the limit, what do they do? They create thousands more potential criminals out of what are probably the most law-abiding inhabitants of the countryside. I refer of course to the bill banning hunting with hounds…. JC Stephenson, Sywell Road, Holcot (letter)

Henley Standard 17.12.04 MP’s views not helpful - Having read the learned account in your paper of fox hunting and its industry for the case for fox hunting, 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, express his uncouth opinion of certain members of the House of Lords, and his trumpet blowing over the whole Poll Tax affair… Iraq and hunting have shown New Labour in its true colours: dictatorial, resentful and malign. — Yours faithfully, Mrs. B. L. Smith, Dunsden Green.
Foxes will not be grateful! - So Martin Salter, MP, is that your best shot? The Standard gives you the opportunity to set out your reasons for voting to ruin the livelihood of thousands of law-abiding men and women on modest incomes, and you come up with a few emotive and completely unsubstantiated phrases about cruelty, a flimsy misrepresentation of the Burns report, some cheap party political point scoring and irrelevant references to miners and bear baiting… Tom Coates, Baker Street, Aston Tirrold
Ban will not save foxes - What a stark contrast we had at the recent meet on Peppard Common of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt between the polite mounted followers’ behaviour and that of the hunt saboteurs…. Mr. and Mrs. J. Corrie, Peppard Common
Those in glass houses - Since when has Reading West MP been an expert on hunting? Marion Bowden gave your readers facts and information about hunting, unlike Mr. Salter in his reply. Just what do the Poll Tax and the miners have to do with hunting? A keen fisherman, Mr. Salter kills fish and that, according to him, is alright. He and others like him should know that those in glass houses should not throw stones…. Amanda Stewart (letters may be in archive)

Cumberland News 17.12.04 M NUGENT has jumped on the class war bandwagon that appears to be currently in vogue (Letters, December 10), but before condemning anyone, M Nugent really should have read the article properly and understood just what Peter Bradley, MP for The Wrekin, actually meant…. Move into the 21st century M Nugent and see hunting wild animals with dogs for what it really is: a cruel, outdated and unnecessary pastime. ELAINE M MILBOURNTorpenhowWigton
A C EGGLETON (The Cumberland News, November 26) argues that the will of the majority must not be allowed to ride roughshod over the rights of minorities. Well, I agree with him. The ignorance and prejudice of majority groups can undoubtedly cause untold damage to minorities whose only crime is that they don’t fit the accepted norm. However, Mr Eggleton is a rather partial advocate of his cause. He refers to a supposed right to hunt foxes but fails to set this in the context of any rights animals may have, or duties we may owe them…. DAVID KERRYWeltonCarlisle (letters)

Wiltshire Times 17.12.04 Foxes are not the only hunt victims left to rot - YOUR published letter from Mr JJ Riddle on the subject of fox hunting overlooks one or two important points. The amount of parliamentary time expended on this matter was due to the House of Lords time and again rejecting the bill. They are not an elected house, their opposition was based on their prejudice in favour of their hunting friends… RD TAYLOR, Holbrook Lane, Trowbridge (letter in archive)

Hexham Courant 17.12.04 PEOPLE’S WILL - LET us gloss over the emotional bits in Henry Straker’s letter (Courant, December 10). The practical arguments on hunting have been discussed ad nauseam and even the most vehement anti-hunter would not argue against killing a pest which decimates lambs or chickens – it’s the “how” that’s the problem…. D. STANLEY, Stamfordham (letter)

Hexham Courant 17.12.04 HUMAN HAVOC HAVING read the letter from Henry Straker (Courant December 10) asking if readers have seen the havoc and pain inflicted by a fox, may I ask if they have seen the pain and havoc caused by one human against another human, the pollution of the air, the oil from a tanker at sea and the bird life killed?... Name and address supplied (letter)

Hexham Courant 17.12.04 HUNTING FRATERNITY WILL FIND A SUITABLE ALTERNATIVE - REGARDING Mrs. Restall's letter (Courant, November 26), I think she will find that, in the future, she will still be able to do ail the things she lists at the end of her letter – provided, that is, that someone, keen to keep the hunting fraternity together, comes up with a sensible alternative…. Hunters must accept that “hunting to kill” will always be listed as a “blood sport”, alongside cock fighting, dog baiting, and shooting birds just for fun…. DAVID MASON, Dilston Avenue, Hexham (letter)

Hexham Courant 17.12.04 AFTER LIFE - COULD L. Hewer (Courant November 26) please tell me what happens to foxhounds when they have reached what huntsmen consider to be the end of their useful life. “ANIMAL LOVER”, Name and address supplied. (letter)


BBC News Online 16.12.04 Ferry vows hunt will still meet - Pro-hunt campaigner Otis Ferry says his hunt will continue to meet after fox hunting is banned from 18 February…. The 21-year-old master of the South Shropshire Hunt said he owed it to local farmers and supporters to continue riding three times a week during the season. Speaking on BBC Two's Newsnight programme he said: "We certainly won't be killing the hounds and I am not going to get rid of my horses…" (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 16.12.04 Ferry's vow on hunt meets - PRO-HUNTING protester Otis Ferry has vowed his hunt would continue to meet after fox hunting is banned in England and Wales from February 18…. (story)

Guardian 16.12.04 Hunt goes on despite Scotland's partial ban - Chased by dogs, then shot: is this better for the 'poor wee fox' ? - Kirsty Scott - It didn't take long for Trevor Adams and his fellow huntsmen from the Duke of Buccleuch Foxhounds to find and kill their first fox yesterday. The animal was flushed from cover and into the marksmen's sights in the hunt's first draw of the morning at Castleside Farm, near Ashkirk in the Scottish borders…. "We have evolved to shunting - shooting and hunting combined," said Alistair Campbell, master of the Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Hunt. It is an unhappy compromise for the huntsmen as well as the animal welfare campaigners. Hunt supporters insist that twice as many foxes are being killed now as before the ban (story)
Times 16.12.04 Buccleuch huntsman rides again BY SHIRLEY ENGLISH - A HUNTSMAN cleared last week of breaking Scotland’s fox hunting ban was back in the saddle yesterday scouring the countryside for foxes with his pack of hounds. Trevor Adams, 46, joint master of the renamed Buccleuch Foxhounds, formerly the Buccleuch Hunt, led a group of 22 riders and five men with guns on quad bikes across farmland at Ashkirk, near Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders… (story)
Scotsman 16.12.04 Where's the thrill without the chase? - IT IS A HARD, bright December morning in the Borders valleys…. Ahead of us, the harsh crack of a gunshot rings out into the winter air, dispatching a healthy female vixen flushed out of the cover of an acre of gorse by a pack of 20 foxhounds. The fox had no chance. It ran into the line of fire of six marksmen…. This morning, the Duke of Buccleuch Foxhounds’ hunt lasted just 20 minutes before a fox was found and killed. It is in stark contrast to its last official day of hunting in Scotland in 2002, when two foxes were chased but none were killed… (story)
icScotland 15.12.04 Hunt case 'cannot happen elsewhere' - A Scottish court case under which a "huntsman" was acquitted could not happen in England or Wales, the Government has said…. (story)
Western Daily Press 15.12.04 SCOTLAND HUNT IS NO PRECEDENT - A Scottish court case under which a "huntsman" was acquitted could not happen in England or Wales, the Government said yesterday. Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael spoke out after Trevor Adams, Joint Master of the Duke of Buccleuch's Foxhounds, was last week cleared at Jedburgh Sheriff Court of the charge of hunting contrary to the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002…. (story)
Scotsman 15.12.04 Cleared huntsman to lead fox 'pest-control' expedition - ROBERT FAIRBURN - A LEADING huntsman will head a foxhunting expedition today less than a week after being cleared of breaking the new legislation. Trevor Adams, 46, the former master of the Buccleuch Hunt, will be at the front of his hounds and 20 horseback riders providing their Pest Control Service….(story)
Observer 12.12.04 Hunt bill at a dead end - The new law has led to a peculiarly British farce with no winners - Ruaridh Nicoll - So, the sound of Trevor Adams' hunting horn will continue to split the winter mist that lies so magically among the Border's folds. The 46-year-old joint master of the Buccleuch Hunt was acquitted of deliberately hunting a fox with dogs on Friday…. It's been a bad few weeks for Scotland's anti-hunting movement. Their champion, Lord Watson, has been suspended by the Labour Party after being charged with two counts of fire-raising at a smart Edinburgh hotel. Now fox hunters rebranded as 'pest control' are free to barrel across the countryside, as long as the dogs are under control and there are efforts to shoot the fox once it is flushed from cover…. (story)
Times 11.12.04 English hunts plan mass rebellion BY VALERIE ELLIOT AND SHIRLEY ENGLISH - Pro-hunting lobby to take advantage of landmark ruling in test case - RIDERS and walkers from 250 hunts throughout England are to take part in a mass hunt on February 19 — the day their traditional sport is banned …. The new-found confidence of the pro-hunting lobby comes after Trevor Adams, 46, walked free from Jedburgh Sheriff Court cleared of breaking Scotland’s hunting ban in the first real test of the new law… (story)
Times 11.12.04 Legislation is undone by pest control rather than pleasure BY MAGNUS LINKLATER - THE clearing of Trevor Adams, Master of the Foxhounds with the Buccleuch Hunt, is a landmark judgment. It shows, as clearly as possible, that it will be almost impossible in Scotland to convict anyone who rides to hounds but claims to be doing so within the law. Provided they can demonstrate that they are involved in pest control rather than pursuing a fox for pleasure, they will have a strong defence…. (story)
Telegraph 11.12.04 Sheriff's ruling will flush out the zealots and class warriors By Alan Cochrane - Commentary - The most politically-charged, ill-conceived and badly drafted - and that was just the view of some of those who passed it - pieces of legislation in devolved Scotland's short history had its first day in court yesterday. And - surprise, surprise - it appears to have worked to the benefit, incredibly, of those many had feared would be hammered by its provisions. At least that is the conclusion that most will draw from the judgment of Sheriff Kevin Drummond in the case of huntsman Trevor Adams… (story)
Telegraph 11.12.04 First case falls as master and hounds cleared By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent - The first huntsman accused of breaching the ban on foxhunting in Scotland was cleared yesterday of deliberately hunting with hounds. Trevor Adams, 46, joint master of the Duke of Buccleuch's Foxhounds, was charged with hunting a fox with 20 hounds, two months after the sport was outlawed. But a sheriff found that he was "searching" for foxes, not hunting them…. (story)
Guardian 11.12.04 Scots hunter cleared in test case - Gerard Seenan - A huntsman was cleared yesterday of breaching Scotland's foxhunting ban in a case widely seen as a test of the two-year-old legislation. Trevor Adams, 46, from Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, had denied deliberately hunting a fox with 20 dogs at a farm near Kelso in October 2002…. (story)
Independent 11.12.04 Scots huntsman's use of hounds was legal By Paul Kelbie, Scotland Correspondent - A huntsman won a test case when he was cleared yesterday of using a pack of hounds to hunt foxes, in breach of Scotland's anti-hunting legislation. Trevor Adams, 46, from Melrose, was the first person to go on trial under the law, which was introduced in 2002 to outlaw the hunting of foxes with hounds…. * More than 250 packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs plan to meet as usual on 19 February - the day after the hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales… (story)
Mirror 11.12.04 MASTER IS CLEARED - A HUNT master was yesterday cleared of breaking Scotland's fox hunting ban in the first case since the law was brought two years ago… (story)
icScotland 11.12.04 Hunting laws 'observed' - A Glasgow Labour peer who introduced anti-hunting legislation has said he is undismayed by a man being cleared of breaching the hunting-with-dogs ban. Glasgow Cathcart MSP Mike Watson said the laws are being observed and hunts have now changed how they operate…. (story)
Scotsman 11.12.04 Foxhounds master cleared in first test of new hunting law - ROBERT FAIRBUR - THE first huntsman charged under Scotland’s controversial fox hunting laws was yesterday found not guilty, in a ruling which could have far-reaching effects for the sport. Trevor Adams, 46, walked free from Jedburgh Sheriff Court when it was ruled he had not deliberately hunted a fox with 20 dogs. … (story)
Daily Record 11.12.04 HUNTSMAN CLEARED OF FLOUTING FOX BAN - By Rob Fairburn - THE first man charged under Scotland's foxhunting ban was cleared yesterday. Trevor Adams, 46, could have faced six months' jail or a £5000 fine if convicted of hunting with dogs… (story)
Western Morning News 11.12.04 HUNT BAN PROSECUTION 'A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY' - Hunt supporters branded efforts to ban the activity a huge waste of money last night, after the first attempt to prosecute a huntsman for breaching the ban in Scotland failed. Trevor Adams, 46, was cleared of deliberately hunting a fox with 20 dogs in the Scottish Borders just months after the ban was imposed north of the border…. (story)
BBC News Online 10.12.04 Man cleared of fox hunting charge - A huntsman from the Scottish Borders has been cleared of deliberately using a pack of hounds to hunt foxes in breach of anti-hunting legislation. Trevor Adams, 46, from Melrose, was the first person to go on trial accused of breaking the law, introduced in 2002…. (story)
Guardian 10.12.04 Man cleared in Scottish hunting case - Sarah Left and agencies - A sheriff court in Scotland today cleared the first person to be tried under a two-year-old Scottish law banning fox hunting with hounds, but anti-hunt activists said the case proved hunting bans were enforceable. In what was considered a test case, Sheriff Kevin Drummond ruled that Trevor Adams, 56, had not broken the law, which was introduced in 2002… (story)
Independent 10.12.04 Huntsman cleared of breaching fox ban By Victoria Mitchell, PA - A huntsman was today cleared of breaking Scotland's fox hunting ban. In what was considered a test case, Sheriff Kevin Drummond ruled Trevor Adams, 46, had not broken the law introduced in 2002…. (story)
Leicester Mercury 10.12.04 HUNT MASTER CLEARED IN SCOTTISH TEST CASE - A huntsman was today cleared of breaking Scotland's fox hunting ban…. (story)
Edinburgh Evening News 10.12.04 Scots hunter is cleared of breaking ban - A HUNTSMAN was today cleared of breaking Scotland’s fox hunting ban…. (story)
BBC News Online 10.12.04 Fox hunting judgement is awaited - A judgement is expected in a test case for Scotland's anti-hunting legislation. Trevor Adams has denied deliberately hunting a fox with a pack of hounds near Kelso just two months after the Scottish Parliament brought in a ban. Mr Adams, 40, who is a former master of the Buccleuch Hunt in the Borders, offered what he called a fox control service. He could be fined or even jailed if found guilty…. (story)
Scotsman 1.12.04 Sheriff takes time over first test of ban on fox hunting - ROBERT FAIRBURN - A LEADING huntsman faces a wait to discover whether he has broken Scotland’s fox-hunting ban. Sheriff Kevin Drummond delayed delivering his verdict on Trevor Adams, 46, explaining it was the first prosecution of its kind and he wanted to study the legal arguments. Adams - who was joint master of Scotland’s largest hunt, the Buccleuch - stood trial at Jedburgh Sheriff Court charged with deliberately hunting a fox with 20 dogs at Courthill, near Kelso, Roxburghshire, on 16 October, 2002… (story)
Times 27.11.04 Foxhunting ban gets first legal challenge - BY GILLIAN HARRIS, SCOTLAND CORRESPONDENT - A FORMER master of hounds has become the first member of a hunt to appear in court charged with breaking the foxhunting ban in Scotland. Trevor Adams, Master of the Foxhounds with the Buccleuch hunt in the Borders, is accused of letting hounds run out of control in pursuit of a fox on farmland in October 2002, three months after the ban came into force…. Jedburgh Sheriff Court was told that Mr Adams’s hounds were chasing a fox when there were no armed huntsmen nearby…. Yesterday Ian Hutcheson, a farmer, told the court that he was alerted to the Buccleuch hunt, one of the oldest in Scotland, when he heard hounds baying…. Sergeant Nigel Bell said that he interviewed Mr Adams at Jedburgh police station after the complaint from Mr Hutcheson… “Had I been able to cross Mr Hutcheson’s land, I would have been able to stop them quicker. Neither I nor any member of the hunt was intentionally chasing foxes with the hounds.” … (story)
Scotsman 27.11.04 Hunt master in court to challenge ban - ROBERT FAIRBURN- THE first challenge to Scotland’s controversial ban on fox hunting started yesterday as the joint master of Scotland’s largest hunt appeared in court. In what is regarded as a test case of Lord Watson’s Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, Trevor Adams is charged with deliberately hunting a fox with 20 dogs - a charge he denies…. Ian Hutcheson, 50, a tenant farmer at Courthill, told the court that he had previously been a hunt follower but had come to the view that hunting was "out-dated". Under his tenancy agreement with Roxburghe estates, dating back to 1926, he had to let organised hunts cross his land. However, in October 2002 he received a telephone call from an organisation calling itself the Fox Control Service saying they would be in the area. Mr Hutcheson said he did not wish them to be on his land. He tried to seek clarification from the Scottish Executive and the League Against Cruel Sports to clarify where he stood…. (story)
BBC News Online 27.11.04 First huntsman appears in court - The first huntsman to be tried under Scotland's anti-hunting laws has appeared in court. Trevor Adams denied hunting a wild mammal with dogs near Kelso in 2002 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Friday…. (story)

Western Daily Press 16.12.04 NOW THE ALLIANCE IS AT WAR WITH THE BBC - The Bbc was embroiled in a major row last night after its wildlife magazine appeared to back antihunt campaigners. The war of words erupted yesterday when the Countryside Alliance accused the Beeb of overt bias. But anti-hunt groups said the Alliance was "clutching at straws" and accused it of resorting to "bully-boy tactics". The pro-hunt organisation is whipping up complaints against the Bristol-based BBC Wildlife Magazine after it issued a free 2005 calendar with months sponsored by groups against the bloodsport. February's page was paid for by the anti-hunt International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), while October's was funded by the League Against Cruel Sports…. (story)
Telegraph 10.12.04 BBC row over 'bias' in wildlife calendar By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent - The bbc was accused yesterday of "making a mockery" of its duty of impartiality by appearing to support groups opposed to hunting and shooting in one of its publications. A calendar issued free with this month's edition of BBC Wildlife magazine features photographs of a fox and a stag, each with an accompanying text condemning hunting with hounds…. A striking photograph of a red deer stag at rut illustrates the month of October, with an accompanying text by the League Against Cruel Sports, stating that it has "led the 80-year campaign to ban hunting with dogs"…. The Countryside Alliance said it was considering a complaint to the BBC governors and described the calendar as a "disgraceful abuse of the magazine's position"…. (story)

Western Daily Press 16.12.04 STRONG FOXES SHOT - More foxes are being killed in Scotland than ever before under anti-hunting legislation, it was claimed yesterday. The Scottish Countryside Alliance said nearly a third more foxes are shot using new methods, in which dogs can only be used to flush out the foxes, not kill them… (story)

Western Daily Press 16.12.04 PRO-HUNTERS TO TARGET FRONTBENCHERS - The Minister responsible for the hunt ban face the eight pro-hunt supporters who invaded the Commons in September in court, it was revealed yesterday. Lawyers working for the "Parliament Eight" said they plan to call senior Ministers who were present when the pro-hunters ran into the Commons during the hunting debate on September 15 - including frontbenchers Alun Michael and Peter Hain… (story)

Western Morning News 16.12.04 LABOUR ARE THE RURAL VANDALS - The co-chairman of the Conservatives yesterday expressed his opposition to windfarms, describing them as "environmental vandalism". Dr Liam Fox slammed the Government's understanding of rural issues and said Ministers had a "complete disdain for the countryside"…. And yesterday, Dr Fox spoke about how they would fight against the hunting ban. He said the ban was "criminalising" law-abiding citizens while appeasing the "criminal fraternity". "If we are elected, we will bring in a Bill to repeal the hunting ban," he said…. (story)

Shropshire Star 16.12.04 Hunts plan huge meets - Hunts in south Shropshire and Bridgnorth are expecting their best ever meets on Boxing Day with hundreds of people planning to cheer them on. The Ludlow, United and Wheatland Hunts will meet at 11am on Boxing Day with the Ludlow Hunt gathering in the town's Castle Square, the United Hunt meeting at the Castle Hotel, in Bishop's Castle and the Wheatland Hunt gathering in Morville. (story)

North Devon Journal 16.12.04 TALLY HO! ... WE'RE HUNTING THE VICAR - Foxes and deer around Knowstone were given a day of rest on Sunday when the hunt went out after a different type of prey - a vicar. Local vicar the Rev Andrew Jones nipped into the vestry after his Sunday morning service and swapped his cassock for running shorts and vest. He was then the quarry for the hunt - managing an impressive seven miles cross-country before the visiting Southern Shires Bloodhound pack caught up with him…. Local huntsman Rob Williams said the event was a show of strength by the hunting fraternity…. He added: "There to support them were the Tiverton Staghounds, the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Exmoor Foxhounds and Dulverton Farmers Foxhounds. Far from being a threat to our way of hunting this pack have been our staunchest allies and actually walked out of the Drag Hunt and Blood Hunt Association when it claimed it was in a 'win win' situation over the hunt ban…." (story)
Western Morning News 13.12.04 RED COATS AND VELVET HATS ARE HERE TO STAY - One of the region's most dedicated hunt members organised a bloodhound chase yesterday in an attempt to show anti-hunt campaigners that hunting means far more than 'class warfare'. Around 20 hounds from the Southern Shires Bloodhounds, based in Wherwell, near Andover, Berkshire, met at the Masons Arms in Knowstone, North Devon, yesterday after Tiverton Staghound member, Rob Williams, organised the hunt on Knowstone's Reverend Andrew Jones, as part of his fight against the hunting ban… Marc Winchester, master of the Southern Shires, who led the hunt yesterday said: "Today is about supporting all of the foxhounds in the country - we maybe an alternative but we are still on their side. We are one of the few bloodhound packs who are supporting foxhunting and we have followed every protest in the country…." (story)

North Devon Journal 16.12.04 HUNT DEMOS CALLED OFF FOR FINAL LAWFUL MEETS - Passionate demonstrations against hunting have been cancelled amid fears for the safety of supporters. The League Against Cruel Sports has called off its planned Boxing Day hunt demonstrations in Devon because hunting has now been outlawed - and concerns that peaceful protests may turn bloody. But hunts in North Devon, which plan to meet for the traditional Boxing Day hunt, have said they are expecting a trouble-free day out…. Taw Vale Beagles Hare Conservation Group's hounds will meet at Milltown Farm, Meshaw, near South Molton, on Tuesday December 28…. Torrington Farmers' Hunt will be meeting in Torrington Square on Monday, December 27. Chairman Tod Marshman said members were looking forward to it and were in "good spirits"…. (story)

Wanstead & Woodford Guardian 16.12.04 Stamps to help animals - ANIMAL lovers in Wanstead and Woodford are being asked to save their stamps from Christmas cards and parcels to benefit an animal welfare charity. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is asking for used stamps so it can help raise vital funds for the charity's annual Animal Action Week and related events held throughout the year. Event organiser Trish Moore said: "It's very easy to throw your envelopes into the bin without even thinking, but if you send the stamps in to us, funds raised from recycling them will go to help animals across the globe…." (story)

Stourbridge News 16.12.04 MP should represent my views on hunting - Copy of letter sent to Julie Kirkbride MP: I feel impelled to write to you as my constituency MP. In tonight's edition of the Stourbridge News I read that you will be present as a Pro Hunt supporter at the Albrighton Hunt at Hagley Hall on December 27…. Humans hunted first of all for food, the killing of the fox in this way is just a bloodlust since the fox was never on the menu of any gentleman of the 18th century…. I have never felt so incensed as this, that you should represent me while not representing my views. Ian Powick, Hagley (letter in archive)

Stourbridge News 16.12.04 Fox hunting British? - Nix's views on fox hunting are, at least to readers of this newspaper, well known. However, he seems concerned at this activity being mislabelled as a 'blood sport'. The Oxford dictionary defines the term as "..that involving bloodshed or the killing of animals". I hope this helps…. Paul Sawtell, By email (letter in archive)

Yorkshire Post 16.12.04 Hunting ban restricts rights of minority From: Stephen Fall, Pickhill, Thirsk. Dave Bedford, ("Lessons of history point to doomed fox-hunting protest," Letters, December 2), compares the fox-hunting ban to the closure of the coal mines, but the two are totally different. The coal mines and steel works were closed for commercial reasons, and the police only became involved to maintain law and order. Hunting, by comparison, has been banned by an Act of Parliament, because a majority of MPs wish to restrict the rights of a minority….
Excuses for 'sport' From: William B Thompson, Park House Green, Harrogate. IF fox-hunting is all about killing the weak and sickly animals, as claimed by Mrs C Berry (Letters, December 4), there cannot be much of a chase, can there?...
A vision of the future From: Michael J Brook, Birkby Hall Road, Huddersfield. FREEDOM? It's going, going ... gone. Many years ago, and thinking of myself as a bit of a cavalryman, I tried a season with the Rockwood Harriers. I never saw a real kill, although on several occasions I nearly killed myself…. You don't need to be a pink-haired student to realise that whatever killing takes place, it is on a thousandth of the scale of the sad animals reared in concentration-camp conditions for our supermarkets…
From: EW Beechey (Yorkshire representative, League Against Cruel Sports), Eastfield Lane, Kellington, Goole. IT is rare that I agree with a pro-hunter, but such is the case with one aspect of Charles Rushton's letter (December 3) concerning 700 hours of wasted Parliamentary time. However, what I don't accept is his reasoning behind this complete and utter farce…. (letters)

Western Daily Press 16.12.04 HUNT PEOPLE LOVE THE FOX - In response to Mary Alice Pollard, Cornwall's self-professed "voice for animals", and many other letter writers like her, I wish to put her straight…. Since this Government has been in power, hunting has become weakened, now to the point of a complete ban, which will do nothing for the fox, and be a complete disaster for it and the countryside….In France, where they do not hunt the open country in the same manner as here, there are no foxes. They are simply shot when they appear. When compared to here, there is not the proliferation of wildlife. In order to hunt fox, first you must find one. Harry Cursham Cambridge Gloucester (letter)

Western Daily Press 16.12.04 GIVE IT UP, IT'S SO MISERABLE - I suppose the Royals can't help hunting foxes. I find it sad beyond measure,… Princess Anne doesn't look at all happy; in fact, downright miserable. Why don't people try drag hunting? J Land Dursley Gloucestershire (letter)

West Briton 16.12.04 ABORTION LAWS 'A MAJOR STEP' - Putting it into perspective? Have Your Say (Bill Tully), December 2 IT IS ludicrous to compare fox hunting with abortion. The latter has been legal in Britain since 1967, and quite rightly, too… G RYAN, 8 Bosleake Row, Carn Brea, Pool (letter)

Western Gazette 16.12.04 FACTIONS MUST AVOID WAR IN COUNTRYSIDE - One hopes the pro and anti factions in the hunting debate will try to understand and tolerate the views and arguments of each other, so that war in the countryside can be avoided One hopes the hunting fraternity will be content with drag-hunting, that will not involve killing hounds and does not lead to gardens being invaded. Each side needs to make concessions. The middle way is almost always the best… Jeremy Cusden, Wyke Road, Gillingham (letter)

Western Gazette 16.12.04 AS A FARMER'S SON I RESPECT HUNT BAN - The Wells Lib-Dem Spokesman Tessa Munt has at last made her views clear on hunting, she would have voted against a ban. I am now the only prospective parliamentary candidate for Wells who respects the ban as it stands - and I am also the only PPC born in this constituency, and also a farmer's son… Dan Whittle, Labour spokesman, Wells Constituency. (letter)

The Sentinel 16.12.04 DOGS WILL DIE BECAUSE OF HUNTING BAN - In response to Mr A Haywood's letter in The Sentinel, December 1. Firstly I'd like to say that it is not just hunting foxes with dogs that is banned. From February 19, it will be illegal to hunt, track and kill deer, mink, hares, foxes and even mice with dogs. Two dogs can be used to flush the quarry, but it has to be shot or the law has been broken. I own a terrier and a whippet which will work until the ban comes into force, and then I will have to put them to sleep…. The hunt provides an essential service, by collecting dead animals for free and feeds them to the hounds. If farmers didn't have this service they would have to pay high costs to have their stock incinerated or would bury or burn them which is now illegal, thanks to Mr Blair. NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED (letter)

Evesham Journal 16.12.04 Respect to animals - I AM writing further to Peter Luff's comment in the Journal that the government's hunting bill is part to a class war…. This legislation will ensure that fox hunting - like bear-baiting, bull-baiting, badger-baiting, cock-fighting and dog-fighting - becomes a thing of the past. MARTIN COWAN, Briar Close, Evesham. (letter in archive)

York Evening Press 16.12.04 Room to spare to give Blair bum's rush - Keen hunter Yvonne Scales showed her behind with the words "Ban Blair " (December 10). She said that there was not room enough for "Buttocks to Blair". I disagree, I think there was room enough for the Oxford dictionary, with some to spare! D Fillingham, The Crossway, York. (letter in archive)

North Devon Journal 16.12.04 SENSE FROM SCOTTISH COURT - Those same MPs who cheerfully supported the world's biggest ever illegal hunt - for WMD in Iraq at a cost of billions of pounds and thousands of human dead and wounded - seem to have spent most of their time recently, when not voting themselves enormous rises in pay and conditions, working up a huge head of steam against a minority of folk who like to hunt… MR FAULKNER, East Honiton Farm, South Molton. (letter)

North Devon Journal 16.12.04 HUNT BAN IS DEMOCRACY AND MOST PEOPLE SUPPORT IT - The recent letters concerning the hunt ban from N.Chivers, F.Hind and A.Hawes contain some interesting and pertinent points, to which I would like to respond. N.Chivers and F.Hind seem to think people will be reporting hunting to the police because they got the idea from some web site or because we'll all be living some sinister "Vichy-esque" scenario. In reality I think it's more likely people who live in hunted areas will be reporting the hunters to the police for the simple reason they are heartily sick to death of having to regularly put up with hunting and its "foot followers"… ROBERT CORNISH, Summerland Street, Barnstaple
I HAVE just finished reading Tarka The Otter for at least the fifth time. In the current hunting with dogs debate I thought the following description of Tarquol's (the son of Tarka) death might be worth bringing to the attention of your readers… Thankfully at least this particular form of hunting is a thing of the past. G. HASLER, Castle Meadow, Buckland Brewer
NOW we know (Letters December 9). The hunting fraternity rejects drag-hunts. Why? Alison Hawes writes that farmers would refuse access to their land because they would not kill foxes. If these evil foxes are such a threat to their livelihood, why don't they shoot them?... SHEELAGH DARLING, Lee House, Marwood. (letters)

Oxford Mail 16.12.04 Dictatorial attitude - I fully support county council leader Keith Mitchell in his letter about the hunting issue (Oxford Mail, November 30). But whatever arguments are put forward in its favour, it will never get through to Penny Little and her kind…. It never registers with these people that control will go on with more horrendous suffering, and it will not be possible for objectors to film it. A hunted fox is killed extremely quickly or escapes unscathed - there are no half measures…. ALLAN BUSBY, Abingdon Road, Marcham (letter in archive)

Banbury Guardian 16.12.04 BAN BASED ON IGNORANCE - AS A non hunting farmer with a realistic picture of the countryside, I do entirely agree with Anne Wylie (Banbury Guardian, December 9), that the fox is an extreme nuisance and could have been cruelly exterminated years ago…. The Government introduced this bill on the pretext of improving animal welfare, when in reality the result will have an absolutely opposite and detrimental effect in all respects…. Tony Jervis, Winderton, Brailes (letter)

Ormskirk Advertiser 16.12.04 Lords to blame - YOUR correspondent (Advertiser, December 2) was wrong to blame the Labour government for the time spent on the Hunting Bill. The fault lies with the House of Lords for repeatedly rejecting the clear and consistent will of the Commons…. PAULINE FARMER, Seaton Way, Marshside, Southport (letter)