February 2005 - hunting 1-14.2.05

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Telegraph 14.2.05 Hunts a low priority for the police, says Clarke By Charles Clover Environment Editor - Police chiefs are right to give a low priority to enforcing the ban on hunting with hounds which comes into force this week, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said yesterday. Mr Clarke was speaking after the publication at the weekend of internal documents from the Association of Chief Police Officers which said that policing the ban "has not been afforded high priority in the National Policing Plan"… (story)

Guardian 14.2.05 Hard core to test law by flouting hunting ban - Sandra Laville and Owen Bowcott - A hard core of hunt members plans to flout the ban within days of it coming into force this week in order to test in the courts what they believe is an unworkable, unenforceable law. The majority of hunts in England and Wales say they will not defy the law if, as expected, the ban on hunting with dogs begins at midnight on Thursday… At least two Welsh hunts will openly defy the law. David Jones, master of the Cwrt y Cadno Farmers Hunt near Lampeter, Ceredigion, said: "I am 84, I am just a farmer and I have to keep hunting to protect the lambs."… (story)

Guardian 14.2.05 Hunts prepare to ride a thin line in week when the law changes - The Hunting Act comes into force on Friday and the battle to achieve a hunt ban will become one to enforce the law. Hunts and police are preparing for a showdown that will determine whether the ban becomes anything more than a symbolic victory for hunting opponents (quotes from: Cwrt y Cadno, Albrighton Woodland, Dwyryd, Black Combe & District Beagles, Zetland, Ampleforth Beagles, OSB&WK, South Shropshire, Surrey Union, CL&C, Mendip Farmers, Warwickshire Beagles, West of Yore, New Forest Hunt, Ledbury, Belvoir, Cury, Quorn) (story)

Guardian 14.2.05 Courts, not police, to tackle dissenters - Rosie Cowan, crime correspondent - The image of police on horseback leading a charge across the countryside to seize hunters defying the ban may be dramatic, but it is not realistic. Senior officers say it would be impractical and potentially dangerous to try to stop an illegal hunt in full flow. Instead, police will concentrate on gathering evidence to present to the courts…. (story)

Guardian 14.2.05 Jaw-jaw on hunting is a sop to MPs for war-war in Iraq - The ban is Blair's crust to Labour for backing an immoral war - Geoffrey Wheatcroft - Short of improbable developments in the courts, foxhunting will become illegal in England on Friday. Many people reading this will, no doubt, be pleased, but I suggest that the left might pause before gloating and wipe any smiles off their faces. This is a very nasty piece of political work indeed and what it says about the Labour party is truly horrible… Hunting is morally indefensible in strict ethical terms, but no more so than angling, which is in some ways more objectionable…. For Labour MPs, hunting has become a displacement activity, a means in which they try to persuade themselves - against all evidence - that they still belong to a radical movement. For the government it has been a vital sop to buy off discontent in the ranks, up to and including the most appalling betrayal of what the party once stood for…. Over and again, and to a degree quite unprecedented in political history, Labour MPs have been ordered to support ministers they despised and vote for measures they have detested…. As the election approaches, with a further drop in turn-out all too likely, politicians are wondering why they are so widely despised. Here is their answer. Blair got his war, Labour got their hunting ban. I hope it makes them all happy. (story)

Times 14.2.05 Hunt ban will be low priority for the police BY DAVID CHARTER - DRUG dealers will be a higher priority than foxhunters who break the law when the ban comes into force on Friday, Charles Clarke said yesterday…. (story)

Reading Chronicle 14.2.05 Hundreds set to defy hunting ban - Hundreds of packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs are planning to meet next Saturday - the day after the hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales…. (story)

Western Daily Press 14.2.05 HUNTING BAN: COULD NEW LAW DESCEND INTO FARCE AS HOME SECRETARY SAYS POLICE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN ENFORCING IT? - The police have more important work to do fighting crime than enforcing the hunting ban, the Home Secretary admitted yesterday…. (story)
Western Daily Press 14.2.05 ENFORCING HUNT BAN NOT A POLICE PRIORITY - Fighting crime is more important than enforcing the hunting ban, the Home Secretary warned yesterday. Just days before the ban comes into force, Charles Clarke said that tackling drugs and violent offences must come before arresting those taking part in illegal hunts…. (story)
Western Daily Press 14.2.05 FARCICAL END TO HUNT ROW - It has been a rocky path, but the Government will this week finally makes good one of their earliest pledges - a ban on hunting with dogs… Incredibly, far from reassuring the public that those who choose to break the ban will suffer the full force of the law, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has admitted that making arrests will be a low priority… This paper has always remained neutral on the subject of hunting, but to publicly admit you are not that bothered about enforcing a new law is absurd…. Well, there's leadership for you (story)

Gloucester Citizen 14.2.05 HUNTERS READY TO RIDE - WITHIN LAW - All four Gloucestershire hunts are expected to continue riding out - within the confines of the new law - when new hunting rules come into effect on Saturday. The Tetbury-based Beaufort Hunt - attended by members of the Royal Family - the Berkeley Hunt, the Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt and the Ledbury Hunt, which rides in the Forest of Dean, have said they will not disobey the new laws…. (story)

Torquay Herald Express 14.2.05 CALL FOR SUPPORTERS TO 'RIDICULE' HUNT BAN - Hundreds of local hunt supporters braved the cold at Exeter Racecourse on what may be the eve of the final week of their sport. Around 300 hunters gathered in one of the grandstands at Haldon Hill to hear Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart's rallying call… (story)
Western Morning News 12.2.05 BOSSY LABOUR TO SUFFER AT ELECTION - WARNING - The national leader of hunt supporters has predicted that Labour will take a hit at the next election from people "mystified by its bossy approach to governing". Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart, was speaking at a pro-hunt rally at Exeter racecourse last night. He said that while hunting was not a key issue for the majority of the population, the furore that had surrounded the hunt ban - due to come into force on February 18 - infuriated many voters… The purpose of last night's rally, he said, was to assure hunt supporters that the Countryside Alliance would not give up the fight to keep hunting…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 12.2.05 WE WILL BE OUT IN FORCE TO DEFY THE HUNT BAN BY TOM BACON AND CHRIS MILLS - Hundreds of hunt supporters gathered at Exeter Racecourse last night as hunts from across Devon vowed to defy a ban. Around 300 huntsmen and women gathered in one of the grandstands at Haldon Hill to hear chief executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart's rallying call…. The East Devon Hunt is among those planning to meet with hounds the day after the Hunting Act is due to become law… Roland Notley, chair of Tiverton Foxhounds, said that it would also meet to hunt legally…. A spokeswoman for Eggesford Hunt confirmed it would also meet on February 19… South Devon hunt, Silverton Hunt, Stoke Hill Beagles and Mid Devon Hunt are also among those who will meet on February 19…. (story)
Western Morning News 10.2.05 MEETING AT RACECOURSE AS APPEAL COURT RULES - Thousands of pro-hunt demonstrators are expected to gather near Exeter tomorrow as the Appeal Court rules on their latest legal move to beat the hunting ban…. (story)

Bristol Evening Post 14.2.05 HUNTING BAN 'NOT PRIORITY' - Fox hunters could get away with ignoring the hunting ban if police decide not to fund enforcement of the new law. With only days before the hunting ban comes into force Home Secretary Charles Clark said fighting major crime like drugs and violence was more important than enforcing the ban… Both of the two biggest hunts in the force area, Badminton and Berkeley, have said they will be out with riders and hounds on Friday… (story)

Yorkshire Post 14.2.05 WE CAN'T ENFORCE HUNT BAN, TOP POLICE ADMIT - Action 'will be low priority' for forces - Jane Charnley - HUNTS will escape prosecution if they defy the ban on their sport, the Government admitted yesterday as senior police officers warned the new law is unenforceable. The embarrassing admission from Home Secretary Charles Clarke that the hunting ban will not be a priority for hard-pressed police forces came as hunts across Yorkshire said they would be riding out with hounds as usual – and using loopholes in the law to do so legally… "I don't think anybody would be naive enough to suggest that throughout this entire process that hounds who are behaving legally will not at some stage head off for a fox," said Tim Easby, Yorkshire representative of the MFA and master of the West of Yore hunt… Holderness head huntsman Robert Howarth warned there would be a "tremendous amount of operational difficulties" and said the law was unworkable…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 14.2.05 HOPE HASN'T GONE – BUT FOXES MAY - Hunts across Yorkshire are in the final days of being able to pursue their sport legally, and for one the ban will bring an end to centuries of tradition. THERE won't be a dry eye in the yard when the Bilsdale hunt, which claims to be the oldest in the country, puts its hounds away on Thursday after what could be its last traditional hunt. Jane Charnley reports…. Mrs Skilbeck, who grew up with the Glaisdale hunt, near Whitby, said Bilsdale was not expensive either, with an annual subscription of £250 and each meet costing £5. Riders need to sort out their own horse…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 14.2.05 HUNTING BAN A PANTOMIME - Police have the right priority - THE fiasco which the ban on hunting with dogs has turned into provides a fine example of a government getting itself into a hopeless mess, and deservedly so. The exercise of a little imagination and a little foresight was all that had been required in order for the Government to have avoided the divisive and increasingly ludicrous consequences of allowing Parliamentary time for such an ill-judged piece of legislation…. Small wonder ACPO has downgraded policing of this fatuous law; the prospect of officers arguing in the middle of a muddy field with a Master of Hounds as to whether the dogs running around, barking madly, are in legal or illegal pursuit of a fast-disappearing fox cannot be especially welcome – especially when there is so much serious crime to keep them more than busy. (story)

Western Morning News 14.2.05 ENFORCING HUNT BAN IS LOW PRIORITY FOR POLICE: CLARKE - Police chiefs are right to give a low priority to enforcing the foxhunting ban, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said yesterday…. (story)

Cumberland News & Star 14.2.05 Hunts preparing to defy ban Hunts preparing to defy ban - HUNDREDS of packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs are planning to meet next Saturday – the day after the hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales…. (story)

Edinburgh Evening News 14.2.05 Hundreds of hunts ready to defy ban - AMANDA BROWN - HUNDREDS of packs of foxhounds, hare hounds, deer hounds and other hunts and clubs are set to gather next Saturday - the day after the hunting ban comes into force in England and Wales…. (story)

Horse & Hound 14.2.05 Growing concerns over hunt ban policing - Holly Kirkwood - Revelations in the weekend's papers have strengthened the case for the law to be deemed unworkable, say hunt supporters - Documents leaked to Sunday's Observer newspaper have further revealed the extent of police confusion surrouding how to enforce a ban on hunting, as well as emphasising that dealing with hunts is to be a low priority for police officers…. (story)

Telegraph 14.2.05 Three held in clashes at last hare-coursing event - Three people have been arrested in clashes between anti-hunt protesters, spectators and police at the last major hare-coursing event to be held in Britain. Around 200 animal rights protesters demonstrated against the sport at the four-day Waterloo Cup in Altcar, Lancs, which was brought forward by a week to evade the imminent hunting ban. They clashed with spectators who taunted them by waving fox tails and throwing missiles, including a dismembered hare, bottles and cans…. (story)
Daily Mail 14.2.05 Violence erupts at last hare-coursing Cup - Violence erupted today at Britain's last major hare-coursing event before the sport is made illegal. Animal rights protesters clashed with spectators at the final Waterloo Cup, which had been moved forward by a week to avoid the ban on hunting, which becomes law from Friday. Three people were arrested by police…. (story)
BBC News Online 14.2.05 Defiant spirit at last Waterloo By Kevin Bocquet - These are country people who feel under attack. And although their eyes may have been on the hare coursing their thoughts were on the impending ban. The overriding reaction from everyone here and the organisers is defiance: they say foxhunting and hare coursing will survive the ban about to be imposed…. (story)
BBC News Online 14.2.05 Arrests as coursing event starts - Several people were arrested when the final Waterloo Cup hare coursing event began at Altcar, Merseyside, on Monday. Dozens of coursing enthusiasts were forced back by mounted police as they tried to clash with protesters. A dismembered hare and a firecracker were among the missiles thrown at anti-blood sports protesters…. (story)
Scotsman 14.2.05 Protesters Clash at Last Hare-Coursing Event By Will Batchelor, PA - Violence erupted today at Britain’s last major hare-coursing event before the sport is made illegal. Animal rights protesters clashed with spectators at the final Waterloo Cup, which had been moved forward by a week to avoid the ban on hunting, which becomes law from Friday. Three people were arrested by police… (story)
BBC News Online 14.2.05 Hare coursing moved to avoid ban - Thousands of people are due to attend the final Waterloo Cup hare coursing event, which has been brought forward to avoid the impending ban on hunting…. (story)
Manchester Evening News 14.2.05 Last hare coursing event - BRITAIN'S last major hare-coursing event gets under way today in Lancashire before the sport is banned by the Hunting Bill. The Waterloo Cup sees 64 of the world's best coursing greyhounds compete in a three-day knockout tournament at Altcar…. (story)

Western Morning News 14.2.05 BRADSHAW'S APOLOGY OVER E-MAIL ATTACK - Mp Ben Bradshaw has been forced to apologise to an Oxford University undergraduate after his staff accidently e-mailed her a message describing her as "insufferably arrogant". Biochemistry student Hannah Caspar, 22 and from Exeter, received the e-mail, riddled with insults, after she had written to her local MP, Mr Bradshaw, to complain that Labour had let the country down over a number of issues, including the war in Iraq and fox hunting… Rather than a reply to her request for answers, she instead received an e-mail from Mr Bradshaw's personal assistant Lenny Shallcross which was actually intended for his colleagues - not Miss Caspar…. He signed off his curt message asking: "If you can suggest any sarcastic comments to add, gratefully received."… (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 14.2.05 MP'S AIDE IN OUTSPOKEN ATTACK ON FORMER MAYNARD'S STUDENT - 'I don't know why this girl has annoyed me so much. the arrogance is insufferable' - City MP Ben Bradshaw has apologised to an Exeter student after his aide described her as insufferable and arrogant in an e-mail blunder…. (story)

Western Morning News 14.2.05 YOUNG PATRICIA WAS BOWLED OVER BY STAG - A unique incident - never before seen in the long annals of the chase - or so we said in the article accompanying Richard Austin's extraordinary photographs of Devon and Somerset Staghound whipper-in John Stone being knocked off his horse by a stag. But nothing's new in Exmoor's ancient hills. The Western Morning News has been contacted by a staghound supporter who says exactly the same thing happened to her in August 1936…. (story)
Western Morning News 4.2.05 THE STAG'S REVENGE - It looks as if the quarry has finally got his own back on the hunters… (story)
Western Morning News 4.2.05 THE DAY THE HUNTED BECAME THE HUNTER - The tables are turned ...or so you might think looking at this extraordinary series of photographs taken by Richard Austin. It appears as though the stag is wreaking revenge on the huntsman - but, as an eye witness of the event, I can report that the animal was actually attempting to cross the road. From our vantage point, Richard Austin and I watched in horror as Devon and Somerset Staghounds whipper-in John Stone found himself on a collision course with the careering stag…. Richard and I were attending the hunt near Winsford in the heart of Exmoor as part of the WMN series on the staghounds - and a full account of the day will appear in Monday's paper…. (story)
Western Morning News 31.1.05 FLUSHED FOR THE CHASE - And so a-hunting we must go. We reach the point in this series where we get down to the nitty-gritty of chasing a wild animal. But not killing it, that'll come next week because the story of the chase deserves more than a single article. Today we attend a "meet" then follow Devon and Somerset Staghound (D &S) huntsman Donald Summersgill as he takes his best hounds to flush one of Exmoor's red deer from cover. Donald and his "tufters" - the older and wiser hounds - must draw a wood, a copse or a cover and put a deer to flight, only then can the hunt proper join with the pursuit…. (story)
Western Morning News 24.1.05 HUNTING PLUS HORSES EQUALS A LOT OF HARD WORK - Continuing our behind-the-scenes series looking at the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Martin Hesp visits the hunt stables and finds no let-up in the workload TAKE away the lorry and the mechanical horse walker, and on a dark January day the Exford stables of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds looks like a place that has been lost in time. The 19th century, yes - the 21st, no way…. (story)
Western Morning News 17.1.05 INTELLIGENT HOUNDS ARE THE HUNT'S ENGINE ROOM - Continuing our series looking behind the scenes at the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, Martin Hesp has been finding out about its pack of 60-couple of hounds with a visit to the immaculately-kept kennels at Exford… (story)
Western Morning News 10.1.05 MYSTERIOUS ART OF DEER HARBOURING …. The Devon and Somerset Staghounds have four harbourers who are all part-time employees. So big is the country that each of these men has his own area and he - and he alone - is responsible for finding a "warrantable" animal for the hounds when the hunt meets on his patch. Critics say any deer will do, as long as it provides the people on horseback with a chase, but harbourer Atkins insists that he is only interested in finding beasts which ought to be taken from the herd. It's all part of the wide-reaching, amorphous and emotive subject which can be filed under the heading: deer management…. (story)
Western Morning News 3.1.05 FLAWED ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY - Two articles in today's Western Morning News point up the difficulties and the deeply divided opinions about the best way to control and manage some of the most beautiful wild animals that live in the Westcountry. In part one of an exclusive series on the Devon and Somerset Staghounds we highlight the means by which red deer on Exmoor have been controlled for centuries, with mounted huntsmen and a pack of hounds. And in a separate story looking at Government policy for the future management of deer, we report the criticism levelled at Nature Conservation Minister Ben Bradshaw's proposals for increased levels of deer stalking with rifles to keep rising numbers in check…. To the anti-hunt backbenchers who forced the Government's hand on this issue and then pushed through a complete ban in the face of serious doubts by ministers, it's not an issue that appears to have really registered. Many regarded hunting as simply wrong and saw its perpetrators as bloodthirsty toffs who deserved everything they had coming. They seem to have given little thought to the animals themselves. But the truth is the hunted animals - and particularly the red deer - owe their existence on Exmoor and the Quantocks to the fact that they are hunted. As a quarry they have a value and an importance to the landowners, many of whom hunt themselves or support the hunt. The fear is what will happen to them once that "value" is lost when hunting is banned…. (story)
Western Morning News 3.1.05 DEER EXPERTS ATTACK 'FLAWED' ACTION PLAN - A new action plan for the management of England's wild deer has been criticised by one of the leading bodies involved with Exmoor's herd of red deer. But the Exmoor and District Deer Management Society believes it is flawed and fails to address the gap that banning hunting will leave… The society's chairman, Hugh Thomas, said he was "unimpressed" by the action plan… "We already know the economic benefits of hunting to Exmoor. They are enormous. There is nothing in this document that approaches this problem. How will the deer be conserved for the future? Who will feel the responsibility for them?... (story)

Western Morning News 14.2.05 QUANTOCK HUNT DATES FROM 1862 - The Quantock deer are widely believed to interrelate with the main Exmoor herd. Stags in particular regularly cross the "land bridge" that exists through forested areas like Crowcombe Heathfield and the wooded coombes of the Brendon Hills…. (story)
Western Morning News 14.2.05 HUNT IS EXPERT IN THE ART OF SURVIVAL - Having followed the hounds on Exmoor, Martin Hesp takes a behind-the-scenes look at stag hunting by visiting the Quantock Hills, where the local pack is no stranger to hunting bans… Like any other hunt chairman, Mr Gibbons is not a happy man at the moment. Spending an hour in his company, you begin to feel that he bears a large weight of responsibility on his shoulders when it comes to the inevitability of watching his pack - the Quantock Staghounds - suffer the indignity of a ban on hunting…. (story)

Hull Daily Mail 14.2.05 LEADERS MUST NOT BE PUT OFF THE REGION - E Yorks: The Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce says it hopes political leaders will not be put off visiting the region by the scuffles that accompanied a recent ministerial visit. The Chamber met Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon when he visited Beverley earlier this month to talk about a range of business issues. But the event was overshadowed by a pro-hunt protest outside Toll Gavel Methodist Church that saw Mr Hoon pelted with eggs while protestors tried to stop him entering the building…. (story)
Beverley Guardian 11.2.05 Hunt protest against Minister condemned - ANGRY scenes in Beverley in which Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was pelted with eggs and several people were hurt, have been attacked as disgraceful by organisers of his visit. But countryside campaigners who were protesting at the Government's proposed ban on hunting with dogs, say had they planned a peaceful protest and were only trying to block Mr Hoon's way…. Brandesburton farmer Chris Richardson, joint master of the Holderness Hunt, who was among the protestors, said it had been planned as a peaceful protest, 'but one thing led to another'…. (story)
Hull Daily Mail 11.2.05 THE BEHAVIOUR OF FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS - To Set the record straight not only did the pro-hunt protestors pelt eggs at the Secretary of State for Defence, they also spat at him and his security man…. In my opinion, the foul language used by men and women participating in the protest was more akin to football hooligans on the rampage than so called "gentle country loving folks"…. JH Davis, St Giles Croft, Beverley. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 11.2.05 PRO-HUNT YOBS HARASS DISABLED WAR VETERAN - I Applied for and received an invitation to attend a meeting with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon on Friday, February 4. On arrival at 2.30pm, my wife found it difficult to park because of a crowd with placards, even though my car was well labelled disabled. For the information of those louts, I am 80 per cent war disabled through being wounded and being taken prisoner of war for four years… To me these protestors are very ignorant bullies. Mr Smithard, Cananda Drive, Cherry Burton. (letter)
Hull Daily Mail 8.2.05 ALLIANCE REFUSES TO CONDEMN BAD EGGS - The Countryside Alliance was today urged to publicly condemn pro-hunt campaigners who pelted Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon with eggs…. Today, George McManus, Labour's election candidate for Beverley and Holderness, said he and Mr Hoon were assaulted in the incident. And he revealed he was so distressed by the events he briefly considered quitting the battle for sitting MP Jim Cran's seat, with a General Election thought to be only months away…. (story)
Nottingham Evening Post 7.2.05 PROTESTERS PELT HOON - Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was pelted with eggs by demonstrators on a visit to East Yorkshire. The Ashfield MP arrived at the Toll Gavel Methodist Church in Beverley on Friday as part of a visit to support the Labour Party's parliamentary candidate George McManus. Pro-hunt demonstrators had gathered outside the church to protest about the introduction of laws banning hunting with dogs…. (story)
BBC News Online 5.2.05 Demonstrators pelt Hoon with eggs - Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has been pelted with eggs by demonstrators during a visit to East Yorkshire. Mr Hoon arrived at the Toll Gavel Methodist Church in Beverley on a visit to support the Labour Party's parliamentary candidate George McManus…. One protester claimed some demonstrators suffered injuries as a result of action by Humberside Police. In a statement, the force said: "The behaviour of some of the protesters in Beverley was unacceptable."… (story)
Yorkshire Post 5.2.05 MINISTER HIT WITH EGG IN HUNT ROW - William Green - Political Correspondent DEFENCE Secretary Geoff Hoon yesterday scuffled with pro-hunt supporters and was hit with an egg during a visit to Yorkshire. The protest broke out after pro-hunt supporters sat on the ground to block his entry into a Beverley hall where he was scheduled to speak in support of Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Beverley and Holderness. The candidate George McManus was also hit by an egg in the melee as police pulled demonstrators to their feet. The meeting was held up for about 20 minutes…. But pro-hunt demonstrator Peter Hole, who took part in the sit-in, was unrepentant… Mr Hole, who hunts with Colne Valley Beagles, added: "The point is that we were there to demonstrate the strength of our anger and determination to carry on hunting – we did just that." (story)
Hull Daily Mail 5.2.05 HOON: NO DATE YET FOR SIGNING OF CONTRACT - E Yorks: Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has been put under pressure to sign the next stage of the vital Hawk contract…. Mr Hoon, who was in Beverley for a meeting hosted by Labour parliamentary candidate George McManus, was confronted outside Toll Gavel Methodist Church by pro-hunt protestors who pelted him with eggs and tried to stop him getting into the event…. (story)
Guardian 5.2.05 Hunt egg pelt for Hoon - Defence secretary Geoff Hoon was pelted with eggs by pro-hunting demonstrators outside a chapel in Beverley, east Yorkshire (story)

Northern Echo 14.2.05 FOXHUNTING - Two letters caught my eye (Echo, Feb 8). Mr Pender says it is the will of the people to ban foxhunting. Foxes are vermin and the farmers will regret the ban when they lose poultry and they will have to shoot the foxes…. RJ Walters, Whitby. (letter in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 14.2.05 BLOODTHIRSTY HUNTERS DO NOT REPRESENT MY TOWN - I would like to comment on the story on the Tiverton Staghounds and their bloodthirsty antics. You quote John Lucas as saying: "Hunting is to the country what football is to city dwellers." What rubbish. Speaking as someone who goes to watch Tiverton Town whenever I can, I can assure him that football is far more popular in the countryside than his barbaric antics…. Steve Bush, Ford Road, Tiverton (letter)

Basingstoke Gazette 14.2.05 Warm welcome for hunting ban - Before your readers take up the sad and desperate invitation to support the Hampshire Hunt by Mr Axel-Berg, in your letters page (February 4), they may like to consider what hunting is really about. A terrified animal will be pursued by people on horseback and in vehicles until exhausted, then be torn to pieces by a pack of dogs simply for "fun"… -Name and address withheld. (letter in archive)


Sunday Telegraph 13.2.05 50,000 prepare to defy hunting ban on its first weekend By Melissa Kite, Deputy Political Editor - About 50,000 people are to defy the ban on hunting which comes into force this week by taking part in choreographed trail hunts at the weekend using foxes that were killed earlier. Up to 250 hunts will demonstrate their intention to survive by congregating at pubs, village greens and town centres across England and Wales on Saturday in one of the biggest mass meets in history… Graeme Worsley, the master of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent, said that his hunt would obey the law but others would not…. Mike Felton, the joint master of the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, said: "Nobody likes doing this. The whole thing is hugely undignified. It will be a sad day but it is beholden on us to make sure the structure stays in place."… (story)

Independent on Sunday 13.2.05 Hunting ban: The end of the world as they know it - Cries of both 'Tally-ho' and 'Good riddance' rang out across the fields this weekend as hunts enjoyed one last legal outing before their ancient practice is consigned to history. Stephen Khan reports… this was the Beaufort Hunt's last meet. Since the 1600s, the copper horn has pierced the air above 760 square miles of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. But no more. Not for the Beaufort. Not for any hunt… The huntsman: Iain Fleming, secretary, the Thurlow Hunt, East Anglia "It is a safe family day out. The ban is a tragedy. The hunt will stop; we are not law-breakers. But this is an infringement of our civil liberties." (story)

Independent on Sunday 13.2.05 Courts told: stand by for influx of ban-defying hunters - By Francis Elliott and Severin Carrell - Court officials have been warned to prepare for a surge of prosecutions as hunters attempt to defy this week's historic ban on hunting foxes with horses and hounds. The Independent on Sunday can reveal that Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, has written to all court officers in England and Wales, alerting them to an expected "influx of cases" in the days following Friday's ban…. (story)
Scotland on Sunday 13.2.05 Courts and police put on alert over fox hunt ban - BRIAN BRADY WESTMINSTER EDITOR - RATTLED ministers have put courts and police on alert for a surge in ‘civil disobedience’ when the controversial law to ban fox-hunting is finally brought into force in England and Wales this week. Government legal chiefs have written to the bosses of all crown courts and magistrates south of the Border, warning them that the potential for illegal protests in the days immediately after the ban is enforced on Friday could have a tremendous impact on their workload…. Jan Berry, who chairs the Police Federation in England and Wales, has admitted that vociferous opposition to the new law - and hunters attempting to flaunt the regulations - would put huge strain on the resources of small rural forces. A confrontation with a large section of the rural population in the midst of an election campaign could prove disastrous for Tony Blair’s attempts to win a third term in power…. (story)

Observer 13.2.05 Top police chiefs admit hunt ban won't work - Secret memos reveal growing fear of civil unrest - Mark Townsend, environment correspondent - Britain's most senior police officers have raised grave concerns that the imminent hunting ban is unenforcable, will erode morale, and could precipitate large-scale civil unrest, internal documents obtained by The Observer reveal. Records of meetings and in-house emails show the level of concern and confusion among senior officers on the eve of the ban, which this week prohibits fox hunting in England and Wales after almost 700 years. They show that any attempt to apprehend those who decide to continue hunting next weekend has already been dismissed as impractical… Provisions in other Acpo guidance add that riot police and officers trained in 'conflict management' may have to be used if widespread unrest materialises. Avon and Somerset police confirm they have looked at grading hunts in the same way as football matches…. (story)
BBC News Online 13.2.05 'Low priority' for hunt policing - As the week dawns that will see hunting with dogs in England and Wales outlawed, the Mail on Sunday sums up the mood among the pro-hunting lobby. "Tally No," reads its headline to a story which forecasts that hundreds of hunts are going to defy the ban. The Mail says that police doubt whether the new law can be enforced, but that view is taken further by the Observer…. (story)
Sky News 13.2.05 HUNT BAN 'LOW PRIORITY' - Police chiefs are right to give a low priority to enforcing the fox hunting ban, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said. The pastime will finally be outlawed across England and Wales on Friday after years of political controversy. However, those who flout it may escape arrest according to internal documents from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), published in The Observer…. (story)

Observer 13.2.05 taste the thrill and fear of the chase as hunting gallops to its final tally-ho - Many centuries of rural tradition are brought to an end this week as hunting with hounds is banned. Novice Lynne O'Donnell rides with two hunts and finds a desperate sense of disbelief in the shires - As driving hail gave way to watery sunshine, Douglas Summerkill, a huntsman, knocked back his whisky, brushed the crumbs of a home-made vol-au-vent from the lapels of his red wool jacket and sounded a long, flat note on his brass horn. His hounds raised their tails in excited anticipation of the day's chase. The Devon and Somerset Staghounds moved off from their midweek meet at Headgate across the North Molton Ridge and on to the rolling, gorse-peppered hillsides of the Exmoor Valley in search of a hind. … 'I can't even kill the mice in my feed bin,' the joint master of the Dulverton Farmers' Foxhounds in Somerset, Susie Maund, told me…. Like the Devon and Somerset, the Grafton Foxhounds in Northamptonshire had been 'hunting like mad' ahead of the ban, joint master Colin Richmond-Watson said before we rode in last Thursday's hunt near Buckingham… (story)

Observer 13.2.05 Hunting's last bastion - Animal rights activists might seem deranged, but they have a point - Henry McDonald … Normally I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who marches under the banner of 'animal rights'. Perhaps unfairly, whenever I hear that term I instantly recall the most famous animal lover in world history, the man among whose first acts on seizing state power was to ban hunting, one Adolf Hitler…. After watching, however, the disturbing sight of a defenceless, exhausted and obviously terrified animal being chased through the Co Down countryside just over a week ago I think I'm changing my mind about at least one aspect of 'animal rights' - hunting with dogs. … (story)

Independent on Sunday 13.2.05 Christopher Hudson: Time to cry foul over fish - I know that, in writing about field sports, a claim to neutrality is so rare as to demand credentials, so here are mine. I don't hunt. I don't fish. I am neither vegetarian nor an animal activist. If I have an axe to grind, it is in the belief that government should not legislate against traditional liberties… There is optimistic talk of fox-hunting by accident, in which a group of idly trotting riders are out exercising hounds when all of a sudden a scent is raised, the hounds take off and the anxious riders are impelled to gallop after them in case they come to harm. Then there are going to be trail-hunts, in which a dead fox is dragged through woods, ditches and coverts in the hope that the hounds will catch sight of a live fox and chase after the real thing. These ploys will sooner or later fall foul of tightened legislation by this government of lawyers, which creates a new crime every three days…. Nevertheless, I have a modest proposal to make. It has been demonstrated that fish feel pain…. Angling is a pastime, not a necessity. As for cruelty, the practice of livebaiting, in which anglers impale fish on double or treble hooks through their lips and body in order to catch predatory fish - letting them struggle in agony until they are eaten by another fish or left to die of their injuries - is at least as nasty as what happens to foxes…. Faced with banning three million anglers, the Government might suddenly discover that, after all, hunting constituted an infringement of human liberties. (story)


Western Daily Press 12.2.05 BLAIR PLEDGES HIT FOR SIX BY THREE-PRONGED GROUP PROTESTS - Tony Blair was yesterday given a taste of the election campaign probems he faces as he was targeted by hunt supporters, a fathers' campaign group and the British National Party. The Prime Minister made a whistle-stop helicopter tour of the nation to outline the six key pledges he hopes will win him a historic third term…. Hunt supporters tried to storm his helicopter in Warwick, although heavy rain deterred some of the thousands of Countryside Alliance supporters who had been expected at the final stop in Gateshead…. (story)
Guardian 12.2.05 Six towns, six pledges - the election campaign begins - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - Tony Blair effectively triggered a three and a half month election campaign yesterday by unveiling Labour's six key election pledges on a six-city helicopter tour of England, ending at the party's spring conference in Gateshead with a promise to boost childcare…. Mr Blair, who was pursued by pro-hunt protesters all day, also sought to avoid any note of hubris… (story)
Scotsman 12.2.05 Scots have to make do with Labour lite - FRASER NELSON - SCOTS were given a watered-down Labour Party election pledge card yesterday as Holyrood ministers shied away from matching Tony Blair’s proposals for health, education and police reform…. The party leader was not upset by the countryside alliance protesters gathering outside the hospital and said despite the area being rural and the growing support for hunting to continue, voters do not care about hunting more than the NHS, anti-social behaviour, a strong economy and jobs…. (story)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 12.2.05 PM pays flying visit to hospital - THE Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health labelled Kettering General Hospital "world class" during a flying visit this morning… The party leader was not upset by the countryside alliance protesters gathering outside the hospital and said despite the area being rural and the growing support for hunting to continue, voters do not care about hunting more than the NHS, anti-social behaviour, a strong economy and jobs… (story)
BBC News Online 11.2.05 Blair outlines election pledges - Tony Blair has completed a whistle-stop tour of England signing his party's six pre-election pledges…. Mr Blair was greeted by pro-hunting supporters carrying banners as he arrived at Myton School in Warwick to launch Labour's education pledge "Your child achieving more"…. (story)
iAfrica.com 11.2.05 Blair unveils first election pledge - British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a "pledge pilgrimage" on Friday, setting out Labour's core promises to voters as he made his way to his party's pre-election spring conference…. Blair's trek northwards was not without incident, however. In Warwick, in the English Midlands, opponents of his government's ban on foxhunting gathered in an attempt to drown out Labour's pledge on education… (story)

Northern Echo 12.2.05 Crowds turn out in day of protests by Tony Kearney - FEARS of chaos on the streets of Tyneside proved unfounded as the first day of Labour's spring conference passed peacefully yesterday. A smaller-than-expected crowd of 1,500 Countryside Alliance demonstrators staged a noisy but trouble-free protest against the Government's ban on hunting with dogs…. Among the crowd were members of the Braes of Derwent hunt, including Philip Walker, of Tow Law, County Durham. He said: "We want to get the message over to leave the countryside alone." Despite a minor confrontation with BNP activists, who attempted to join the protest, the meeting remained good-humoured…. (story in archive)
Sunderland Echo 12.2.05 Fathers' rights protest man charged - A SUNDERLAND dad was appearing in court today following a fathers' rights protest on the Tyne Bridge… Although smaller than expected, about 1,500 countryside campaigners staged a noisy protest about the proposed ban on fox hunting. They sounded horns and waved placards next to the river Tyne on the opposite bank from the helipad where the Prime Minister arrived to give his speech to the Labour Party faithful. There was a minor confrontation with members of the British National Party, who attempted to join in the protest, but there were no reports of major disturbances. (story)
BBC News Online 11.2.05 Conference hunt demo greets Blair - Pro-hunt supporters gathered on Tyneside to protest at Labour's spring conference on Friday. Members of the Countryside Alliance demonstrated on the Newcastle side of the River Tyne, opposite the Sage Gateshead, the site of the conference… (story)
Reading Chronicle 11.2.05 Hunt ban protesters warn Labour MPs - Pro-hunt supporters gave a stark warning to the Labour Party that they will take the battle to save hunting to the polls later this year. As several thousand people gathered on Tyneside to demonstrate at the Labour Party's spring conference, the Countryside Alliance warned that its members will continue to fight what they described as an unjust and illegal ban…. (story)
Reading Chronicle 11.2.05 Hunt supporters in conference demo - Up to 4,000 pro-hunt supporters will demonstrate at the Labour Party Spring Conference, a spokesman said. They will gather on Tyneside to protest about the hunting ban, as ministers and hundreds of delegates attend the conference in Gateshead's new Sage music centre…. (story)
Lincolnshire Echo 11.2.05 HUNT JOINS PROTEST - Members of the Lincolnshire-based Blankney Hunt were joining 4,000 people in a demonstration at the Labour Party Spring Conference today. They were gathering on Tyneside to protest about the hunting ban, as ministers and hundreds of delegates attend the conference at Gateshead's new Sage music centre…. (story)
BBC News Online 11.2.05 Hunt demo expected at conference - Pro-hunt supporters are set to protest at Labour's spring conference. The Countryside Alliance says it expects up to 4,000 supporters to demonstrate against the hunting ban. They have agreed to keep to a demonstration site on the other side of the River Tyne from the conference venue in Gateshead….(story)

Northern Echo 12.2.05 Clarke is confronted by pro-hunt protestors - HOME secretary Charles Clarke was confronted by an angry band of pro-hunt supporters in North Yorkshire yesterday. He was looking at the work of Thirsk Clock Café, a youth club in the market town offering teenagers a meeting place and advice centre. But before he arrived, a group of around 30 protesters gathered outside the café. Mr Clarke was jeered as he entered the building and, as he left to visit the police station, an egg was thrown and several demonstrators jostled with the police…. (story in archive)

Exeter Express & Echo 12.2.05 HUNTS PLANNING TO GO AHEAD ON SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 - Axe Vale, Britannia Beagles, Cotley, Dart Vale and South Pool Harriers, Dartmoor North Beagles, Devon & Somerset Staghounds, East Devon, Mid Devon, South Devon, Eggesford, Silverton, Spooners and West Dartmoor, Stevenstone, Stoke Hill Beagles, Taunton Vale Harriers, Taw Vale Beagles, Tetcott, South Tetcott, Tiverton, Torrington Farmers, Chilmark and Clifton Beagles, Dulverton Farmers, Dulverton, Ilminster Beagles, Minehead Harriers, Quantock Staghounds, Seavington, Taunton Vale, East Cornwall, Cury, Four Burrow, Western…. (story)

Western Morning News 12.2.05 OPPONENTS GET READY TO REPORT BREACHES - Opponents of hunting are preparing to make sure that any breaches of the hunting ban - due to become law next week - will be reported to the police. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has formed a "Hunt Crime Watch" initiative giving its members guidance on how to spot any alleged illegal hunting activity… Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of LACS, said…. " we are concerned at what will happen when the hounds have not been retrained to follow a new scent. It is clear that our supporters and our wide network of monitors will still have much work to do. We are in talks with local police forces to inform them of a range of clear signs of illegal hunting."… (story)

Western Morning News 12.2.05 POLICE CAN TAKE HOUNDS - The home Office has told a Westcountry MP that police will have the powers to confiscate hounds as part of their duty to police the looming hunting ban. In a letter to Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross, a Home Office official said officers would not be allowed to confiscate horses, but could take hounds…. (story)

Southern Daily Echo 12.2.05 `Stop hunting or you will end up in court' by Chris Yandell - HAMPSHIRE'S top policeman has warned hunting enthusiasts that they will end up in court if they flout the ban that begins in just six days. Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan said his officers would police any suspected illegal hunts and use video evidence in an attempt to secure prosecutions…. The New Forest Hounds (NFH) has vowed to comply with the ban. It plans to continue staging meets, but says any hounds that chase a fox will be called off to prevent the group breaking the law… (story in archive

Shropshire Star 12.2.05 We will take laws to limits, vow hunts By Ben Godsal and Craig MacFarlane - Members of Shropshire hunts have vowed to stretch controversial new laws to their limits when legislation to ban the sport is introduced next week…. Myles Salmon, Master of Wheatland Hunt near Bridgnorth, said some form of meet would be held next Saturday - but would operate within the law…. Meanwhile members of the Ludlow Hunt today promised they would not hide… (story)

Bristol Evening Post 12.2.05 BACKING FOR MPS' BID TO END HUNTING - Mps from across the country - including our own, Roger Berry - have consistently voted to ban hunting with dogs. Our elected politicians said the "sport" should be banned. It is only right that their decision should be upheld by the High Court… Alan Maggs, Downend (story)


Sussex Express 11.2.05 Hunt meets - without fox - THE Southdown and Eridge Hunt is to meet at Firle Place on February 19 – two days after the Hunting Act comes into force. The Hunt and hounds will operate within the new law by setting a trail with a fox's scent…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 11.2.05 Luff DVD shows a cruel fate for fox - FOOTAGE of foxes being snared and shot is being distributed to animal rights campaigners to demonstrate the cruelty that will follow the implementation of the hunting ban. Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff is behind the DVD, which has been compiled by the Middle Way group on hunting, of which he is joint chairman…. (story in archive)
Western Daily Press 11.2.05 FOXES 'SUFFER MORE WHEN THEY ARE SHOT' - Video footage of foxes being snared and shot was yesterday being sent to animal rights campaigners to demonstrate the cruelty that hunt supporters claim will follow the ban. ADVD has been compiled by the Middle Way group on hunting, which backs a compromise solution of allowing hunting to continue under licence…. (story)
Western Morning News 11.2.05 HUNTING BAN WILL RESULT IN MORE SUFFERING TO WILDLIFE, SAYS REPORT - The impending hunting ban will create huge animal welfare problems in the countryside, according to a report published yesterday. The study, conducted on behalf of the Middle Way Group on hunting, concludes that the Government's preferred methods of fox control, such as shooting and snaring, all have significant animal welfare problems… (story)
Daily Post 11.2.05 MP aims to show cruelty of hunt ban - A MID Wales MP is behind a shocking video showing foxes snared and shot which is being distributed to animal rights campaigners. Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Öpik wants to show campaigners the cruelty he claims will follow the implementation of the hunting ban. The DVD was compiled by the Middle Way group on hunting, of which Mr Öpik is joint chairman…. (story)

Scotsman 10.2.05 Hunting Ban: Video Challenges Claims of Animal Rights Groups - By Amanda Brown, PA Environment Correspondent - The Middle Way Group which campaigned for licensed hunting with hounds released a video today highlighting the consequences of the Hunting Act. The film shows how foxes will suffer in agony after being trapped in snares or shot and wounded rather than killed instantly by hounds…. Labour’s Baroness Golding, a Middle Way co chair, said of the animal welfare lobby “if they really care about animal welfare they should have an ongoing look at this Bill and the effects of it and put money into doing it. We’ve done that and nobody else seems to be doing it at all.” (story)

West Cumberland Times & Star 11.2.05 Police claim packs won’t defy hunt ban - CUMBRIA police chiefs confirmed their determination to enforce the ban on fox hunting but they don’t expect hunts to break the law. Senior officers spoke out ahead of the ban, which comes into force next Friday… Despite Supt Turnbull’s warnings, a Cumbrian hunt does plan a meeting at the ancestral home of its founder near Threlkeld next Saturday. The Blencathra Foxhounds will meet at The Riddings, the one-time home of Squire Crozier who founded the pack with two hounds from the disbanded John Peel pack after the death of the famous Caldbeck huntsman. Secretary Bob Fell said: “We will meet and walk the hounds up to the kennels. We are not going out with the intention of hunting, but it is a chance to let people know we are still there despite the ban.”…. (story)

BBC News Online 11.2.05 Fox hunters 'will avoid arrest' - People suspected of fox hunting on the first weekend of the ban will not be arrested, Kent Police have said…. But officers said they will not make arrests on the day, instead warning offenders they are breaking the law. Police said evidence would still be gathered and repeat offenders would be arrested at a later date…. (story)

Western Morning News 11.2.05 SOUTH TETCOTT HUNT HISTORY - Hounds have been kept at kennels in Tetcott for more than 200 years. But the hunt as it is known today was originally formed in the 1900s, when a local private landowner decided to discontinue running his own pack of foxhounds. After that it was set up as the South Tetcott Hunt, and was essentially regarded as a farmer's pack…. (story)
Western Morning News 11.2.05 BAN WILL NOT STOP HUNT FROM KEEPING UP TRADITIONS - Life in the West Devon village of Tetcott has long been centred around hunting. But with the controversial ban looming, South Tetcott Hunt supporters are doing all they can to retain as much of the tradition as legally allowed. In the latest in our weekly series looking at Westcountry hunts, Lucy Cockcroft reports IN THE countryside around Tetcott village, hunting is a way of life far removed from the "moneyed toff" image portrayed by city-based protesters….(story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 11.2.05 HUNT BAN DEBATED - The Countryside Alliance will be holding a question and answer session for the public in advance of the hunting ban, which is scheduled to come into force on Saturday, February 19. The meeting will be held at 7pm on Wednesday, February 16 at the Royal Agricultural College in Stroud Road, Cirencester…. (story)

Kent/Sussex Courier 11.2.05 HUNT GOES ON - WITHIN THE LAW - Although hunting with hounds will be banned in England from Friday, February 18, the Ashford Valley Hunt is adamant it will meet as usual the following day to hunt without breaking the law. Hunt chairman and Kent chairman of the Countryside Alliance Richard Middleton said: "They will be doing a number of different things but their intention will be to remain within the law."… (story)

Hexham Courant 11.2.05 HUNT VOWS TO STAY WITHIN LAW By EVE FULLER - MEMBERS of the Tynedale Hunt have pledged to stay within the law if the ban on their sport goes ahead. At an extraordinary general meeting held in Stamfordham Parish Hall, they agreed proposals aimed at guaranteeing the future of the 150-year-old hunt…. On Wednesday the Tynedale and Percy hunts gathered at the Barrasford Arms, where more than 100 riders and several hundred supporters attended what may be one of the last hunts before the ban (story)

York Evening Press 11.2.05 Hunts' defiance by Chris Greenwood - HUNTSMEN and women will rally across North Yorkshire in a mass display of defiance the day after hunting with dogs becomes illegal…. Edward Duke, a founder of the real Countryside Alliance, said the Middleton Hunt will meet at Birdsall kennels…. Farmer Steve Newlove, 25, of Thorpe Underwood, said more than 50 members of the York and Ainsty North Hunt will meet at Boroughb-ridge's Market square for a non-hunting meet…. Sinnington Hunt members… who have painted seats red to show Tony Blair how many MPs his party will lose at the next General Election when hunt supporters change their vote. (story in archive)

Ledbury Reporter 11.2.05 End of a tradition - Ledbury Hunt will hold its last legal fox-hunt with dogs on Thursday, meeting at the Corse Lawn House Hotel at 10.45am. But on Saturday, February 19, one day after the hunting ban is likely to come into effect, the pack will be out in force again, meeting at The Hurst, Welland, at 10.45pm…. North Ledbury Hunt will also continue and will gather at Old Colwall House at 11am on Saturday, February 19… (story in archive)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 11.2.05 Family witnesses slaughter of deer - A Cannock family's day out on the seaside was marred when they were forced to witness the sick slaughter of a deer. Elle and Mick Antell, from Allport Road and their nine year-old daughter Chanelle, were heading towards Brayford Quarry, in North Devon, last Saturday (February 5) when their route was blocked by a group of hunters pursuing the helpless animal…. The hunters, believed to be supporting the Tiverton Staghounds, then dragged the bloodied animal in front of the Antell's car leaving nine year-old Chanelle, a pupil at St Luke's Primary School, horrified…. Mrs Antell has now joined the League against Cruel Sports after being 'disgusted' by the hunters pursuit of the animal…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 11.2.05 FOOTBALL JUST CANNOT BE COMPARED TO HUNTING - I have no views either way regarding hunting with hounds, but I found myself amazed at the ludicrous comments made by Tiverton Staghounds master John Lucas about how a family visiting South Molton found themselves blocked in and unable to get away from the sight of a stag being chased and killed… Football may not be - or have been - whiter than white, but after over 20 years and substantially more than 500 matches attended, I can categorically tell Mr Lucas that watching a stag being chased across the road dripping in blood and then finally shot is entirely not the same as what happens at St James's Park on Saturday afternoons… Antony Moxey, Trelivan Close, Exmouth (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 11.2.05 HUNTING IS OUT-DATED IN A BETTER-EDUCATED SOCIETY - Tiverton Staghounds Master John Lucas said, over the killing of a stag, that hunt supporters are as passionate as football fans, Echo, February 9. Football fans respect animals, they don't slaughter them like the minority who sit on a horse's back, towering above people, believing themselves to be untouchable…. Ray Griffin, Dowell Street, Honiton (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 9.2.05 STAG KILLING PUTS FAMILY OFF DEVON - Devon has been struck off a family's list of holiday destinations after they unexpectedly saw huntsmen killing a deer. The incident happened last Saturday as Elle and Mick Antell, and their daughter Chanelle, arrived from their home in Staffordshire… Receptionist Mrs Antell, 29, said they had encountered a crowd - later identified as the Tiverton Staghounds - milling around in the road near South Molton…. Mr Antell continued: "We saw the deer running across the field covered in blood, on its face, back and legs, and people were yelling: 'Get it, get it'."… (story)

Leicester Mercury 11.2.05 HUNTS PLAN MEETINGS OVER WEEK - Hunts will meet as follows over the next week: Atherstone, Belvoir, Cottesmore, Fernie, Quorn (story)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 11.2.05 REGULATIONS: Farms could be dumping grounds - FARMERS fear new EU laws governing the disposal of livestock could lead to dead animals being dumped beside rural roads…. Farm owner Nigel Rome said unscrupulous farmers could be starting to dump dead animals following the recent introduction of new rules… The former chairman of the Peterborough NFU has about 250 sheep and has an agreement with the Fitzwilliam Hunt, which uses his dead animals to feed its hounds…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 11.2.05 'WE ARE ALL DELIGHTED' - Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles today received warm wishes from their friends in Leicestershire at the news the couple are to wed… Mr Clayton said: "I am very pleased for Camilla and Charles. I am delighted for them and I am sure they will be very happy. I used to know Charles when he hunted with the Quorn Hunt. He hunted a lot with them in the 70s and 80s…." (story)
Derby Evening Telegraph 11.2.05 I OFFERED CAMILLA TO HIM A FEW YEARS AGO - A new debate about the future of the monarchy was sparked yesterday, following the announcement by Clarence House that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles are to marry in April…. Tom said he had met Prince Charles on several occasions through the Meynell Hunt, which is held in South Derbyshire. The Prince was a regular participant in the event…. (story)

Manchester Evening News 11.2.05 Will this be the last cruel cup? - AS someone who is against cruel sports, may I remind Postbag readers that the Waterloo Cup takes place on February 14 and 16 at Great Altcar, near Southport?... We must all show our opposition to this gruesome three-day festival of cruelty. This could be the last Waterloo Cup. Jack Ogden, Manchester (letter)

Independent 11.2.05 Glorious hunting traditions: rudeness and broken hedges - It is hard to remember when I have read so much pretentious rubbish as that written by your correspondents from Chalfont St Giles and Canada about foxhunting (letters; 25 January, 1 February). My personal experience of foxhunting goes back to the early 1920s when my family relocated from a mixed farm in Worcestershire to an all-pasture dairy farm in the Vale of Aylesbury. At that time there were in our vicinity no less than three packs of fox hounds, a drag hunt and a stag hunt which pursued a stag carted in for the purpose. The stag was not hunted to death, but recaptured and carted away until required for the chase again. There were also harriers who hunted hares from horseback and beagles who hunted hares on foot. The whole ghastly collection were in the main the most ill-mannered, arrogant assembly of humans I have encountered in a long and diverse life… A J GRIFFITHS, Hunstanton, Norfolk (letter)
Independent 2.2.05 Traditions of the hunt - : Meredith Stranges from Ontario wishes to visit a "Merrie Olde Englande" theme park to pursue the love of ripping wild animals apart (letter, 1 February). I live in rural Devon and the hunt sickens me… NICK WARDMAN, Whimple, Devon
Meredith Stranges comes to Britain to hunt and bask in our historic splendour, reprimanding the British for failing to preserve our traditions, good or bad. I have no strong opinion of fox hunting and would consider myself a casual supporter of the right to hunt. I am however a strong opponent of patronising foreigners telling us to preserve our country in amber so that they can appreciate our quaint customs and depth of history… GERAINT HARRIES, Nottingham
Like your correspondent Meredith Stranges, I spent last Saturday enjoying the English countryside at its finest…. The idea that the ban on hunting will interfere with enjoyment of the countryside is nonsense. JANE KAY, Bristol
Twaddle such as "the ban [on hunting] is a smack in the face to the people who built the country, fought and died for it" presumably recycles comments by huntsmen who arrogantly regard themselves and their imagined aristocratic forebears as the real British nation… CHRISTOPHER CLAYTON , Waverton, Cheshire (letters)
Independent 1.2.05 Hunt ban tramples on a thousand years of English tradition - Sir: Thank you for publishing the letter from David Dear ("Hunt celebrates life", 25 January). He is absolutely right. Early in December, I had the opportunity to go out with the Fernie of Leicestershire… I've never seen ordinary people ride with such courage and skill. The hunt followers, both on foot and on horseback, were hugely welcoming and friendly. Even the threat of an impending ban on an activity so central to their livelihood did not take the smiles from their faces… On 19 February, I will think of the hunt staffs, followers and supporters, and be cheering for them. I urge them to fight honourably and hard in the war against the loss of their freedom. And I fully expect to return to England to hunt foxes again. MEREDITH STRANGES, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (letter)
Independent 17.1.05 Hunt celebrates life - : Simon Wilson (letter, 6 January) identifies the deep unconscious connections at the root of hunting. However his further analysis of the motivation for hunting is inadequate. There is no likelihood of a "spectacle of death" - when a kill is made it is rarely made within view of the majority of the followers… Fox-hunting is a bizarrely ritualised behavioural form for the management of foxes. But it is not about exterminating an entire pest population; it is about living in an accommodation with the creatures. The hunt is a celebration of life as much as death… DAVID DEAR, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 11.2.05 POLICE SHOULD NOT FIND IT TOO HARD TO STOP HUNTERS - I am surprised to read the comments made by certain law enforcement officers that it will be impossible to stop people hunting when it is banned. They always seem to find the police to protect hunters during meets against saboteurs. The police will not have a hard job. Certain groups have already made it clear they will continue to hunt so all they have to do is monitor those groups. On top of that may I suggest to Parliament that they implement a scheme whereby they also fine landowners for allowing hunts to illegally take place on their land - councils included…. Miss A Williams, East Budleigh (letter)

Yorkshire Post 11.2.05 Hunters' hit-list From: Ian Marlow, Sherburn-in-Elmet, Leeds. CAN I volunteer to be put on the hunt supporters' hit list of people who want to stop their perverse sport? It will be a change for them to take on an opponent of equal capabilities rather than the dumb animals they are used to…. (letter)

Lancaster Citizen 11.2.05 Oppose this bid for delay - Alan Kirby, Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA). (letter in archive)
West Briton 10.2.05 THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE? WHAT PEOPLE? Re: This is both outrageous and undemocratic, Have Your Say (Alan Kirby),… He witters on about democracy and the will of the people. What people? A handful of bigoted and prejudiced Labour back bench MPs cheered on by a similar number of animal rights fanatics… Is this Alan Kirby's brand of democracy which allows one minority group to impose its will over another? W T SWEET Gilly Gabben, Mawgan, Helston (letter)
West Briton 3.2.05 THIS IS BOTH OUTRAGEOUS AND UNDEMOCRATIC - ALAN KIRBY, Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA), 1 Churchtown Road, Phillack, Hayle (letter)
Western Morning News 1.2.05 Obliged to defend law - Alan Kirby, Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA), Hayle (letter)
Shropshire Star 1.2.05 Tell Blair to enforce hunting ban - The Countryside Alliance is challenging in court the validity of the Hunting Act…. Extraordinarily, the Government have said they will not oppose any such injunction. This is outrageous and undemocratic… We urge readers to contact their MP and Tony Blair (via www.number-10.gov.uk) to demand that any injunction to delay implementation of the Hunting Act is vigorously opposed. Alan Kirby, Protect Our Wild Animals (letter)

Plymouth Evening Herald 11.2.05 VETS ARE IN FAVOUR OF A HUNT BAN TOO - J Turner of Plympton (January 20: 'Vet's duty is to prevent suffering) need not worry. Vets4hunting, also known as 'Vets4wildlife management', have only managed to attract the declared support of around three per cent of the veterinary surgeons registered with the Royal College. This leads me to believe the majority do not support the views expressed in the veterinary surgeon's letter which prompted this response…. JOHN CAMPBELL BVSc MRCVS, (Veterinary Surgeon), Cardiff (letter)


Daily Post 10.2.05 Falling well short By Andrew Forgrave, Daily Post - FARMERS should forget about using biodigestors for dead animals and concentrate on tackling the growing fallen stock crisis in North Wales. Retired vet Eifion Evans, Welsh representative on the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSC), acknowledged there were huge problems but said it was in farmers' interests to make the system work… Llandegla farmer Billy Owen told last week's Clwyd NFU AGM that a neighbour was left distraught after a dead animal was eventually removed from his yard. "It was absolutely disgusting," he said.. "The collection lorry left pools of blood across the yard. The farmer had no option but to wash it away with a jet hose, and unfortunately it all ran into an adjacent stream. But what else could he do?"… Two collection sub-contractors have begun operating in North West Wales, said Mr Evans, but the refusal by hunts to join the scheme had left services threadbare…(story)

Kentish Express 10.2.05 Hunt vows to meet again after ban - THE East Kent Hunt is to defy the ban on fox hunting and meet 35 hours after the sport is outlawed. Members are due to gather at Crundale House, Crundale, on Saturday, February 19. But they insist the gathering will be legal and that they will hunt within the law…. Nick Onslow, a hunt campaigner, said: "We urge everyone who values freedom and abhors the state-sponsored persecution of a minority to come along on the 19th…" (story)

North Devon Journal 10.2.05 LANDLORD'S INVITATION TO HUNT - A time HONOURED tradition is due to be reinstated in Kings Nympton. The Eggesford Hunt is due to have what is likely to be its last legal meet - as a result of the hunting ban -outside the Grove Inn in the village after an invitation from landlord Robert Smallbone… (story)

Shepton Mallet Journal 11.2.05 HORSE ACCIDENT SURING HUNT - A 27-year-old young woman was airlifted to Bath Royal United Hospital on Saturday after falling from a horse while out hunting just outside Shepton Mallet. Emma Brown, who works at the Old Mendip Inn and lives at Midsomer Norton, was riding with the Mendip Farmer's Hunt…. (story)

Western Daily Press 10.2.05 WEST HUNT FAITHFUL ARE TOLD TO STAY WITHIN LAW - Hunt leaders last night appealed for supporters to stay within the law once the sport is banned, after widespread calls for open and defiant law-breaking. At the first of a series of meetings in the West before next Friday's hunt ban, the biggest cheer from a packed crowd of supporters was for a campaign of direct action… At the end of the meeting in Sherborne, Dorset, Alliance leaders conceded that the hunt ban should be treated like a speed camera. Drivers should slow down for the camera but afterwards "speeds may increase"…. One man, who declined to be named, received the biggest round of applause for criticising the Alliance…. "You should be handing out free eggs to youngsters for whenever aMinister sticks his head out of his door." Richard de Pelet, chairman of the Blackmoor and Sparkford Vale Hunt, said: "On the 19th, I shall make a public declaration that I intend to hunt within the law to protect my farmers and landowners. But I take the point we will be into guerrilla warfare."… (story)

Western Morning News 10.2.05 HUNTS: POLICE SILENT ON BAN - With just a week to go before the hunting ban comes into effect, Devon and Cornwall Police are still not saying how they are going to enforce it. But official papers published on a police website suggest the force is not going to make policing illegal hunts a top priority…. (story)
Western Morning News 10.2.05 SIXTEEN HUNTING QUESTIONS: ONE REPLY, 15 NO RESPONSES - Question 1: The Hunting Act 2004 was passed into legislation in November last year. with the hunting ban due to come into effect on February 18, how are Devon and Cornwall Police proposing to enforce the act? ANSWER: "At this stage, we believe it is too early to comment as to how the new law would work in practice, or indeed how we might be expected to police the legislation. We will need to consider the potential operational policing implications, taking into account the new legislation and will comment on this shortly."… (story)
Western Morning News 10.2.05 HUNT POLICING STILL A MYSTERY - In eight days' time, barring any unexpected legal ruling from the Court of Appeal, hunting with hounds in England and Wales becomes a criminal offence… It is the responsibility of the police to enforce this new law and in Devon and Cornwall, with 33 hunts in operation and feelings against the ban running extremely high, there is widespread and understandable public interest in precisely how they plan to do it. Yet all the public has heard - officially and on the record - about the way our police force plan to enforce this controversial law is one long and deafening silence. With the hours now ticking away to the introduction of the ban, that is not good enough… Now, of course, it falls to the poor old police to enforce it and - as their prevarication over precisely how they plan to act demonstrates - they remain unsure about quite how to go about it and are worried about its impact…. But that doesn't excuse this prolonged and embarrassing silence from the police. They must tell the public - and soon - how they plan to police this dangerous and damaging piece of legislation. (story)

Torquay Herald Express 10.2.05 NEW LEGAL MOVE IN HUNT BATTLE - Pro-hunt campaigners have formally launched their second legal challenge to the ban on hunting with hounds in England and Wales. Members of the Countryside Alliance lodged papers with the High Court in London seeking a judicial review on human rights grounds… (story)

Melton Times 10.2.05 FOXHUNTING PARADE THROUGH TOWN PLANNED - HUNTS around Melton are planning a large-scale parade the day after foxhunting becomes illegal in the UK. About 350 riders, 80 hounds and a few hundred supporters on foot will march in the town centre on Saturday, February 19. Michael Clayton, chairman of the East Midlands branch of the Countryside Alliance, said the Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir hunts will take part…. After the parade, the Belvoir, Quorn and Cottesmore will disperse to the countryside to hunt within the law through drag and trail hunting… (story)
Rutland & Stamford Mercury 10.2.05 Defiant hunt plans its moves once ban comes in - THE Cottesmore Hunt are facing up to the reality of the ban on hunting from midnight next Thursday…. The Cottesmore has a number of high profile activities planned in the next few days including a parade with three other hunts through the centre of Melton Mowbray on the morning of Saturday, February 19, an appearance on BBC TV's Country File programme and a 'Defiance' party at the rugby club in Oakham. Its last fixture of 'normal' hunting will take place at Owston village on Thursday…. (story)

Country Life 10.2.05 Middle Way Calls for Hunting Rethink - The Middle Way Group today called for a fresh look at the animal welfare issues surrounding the Hunting Act, and presented a list of examples of how it considers the legislation to be unclear. By Holly Kirkwood … With the date for a ban fast approaching, the MWG said that their original academic study into shooting foxes has now been peer reviewed, and is to be published in the Journal of Animal Welfare in May…. (story)

Worcester Evening News 10.2.05 Join point-to-point race fun as ban draws near - HUNT organisers, remaining buoyant despite the looming ban, are encouraging the public to join them at their annual point-to-point race meetings. The Harkaway Point-to-Point at Chaddesley Corbett, in north Worcestershire, will be held on Sunday… (story in archive)

Nottingham Evening Post 10.2.05 PREPARING FORPOINT-TO-POINT - Plans are being made to stage this year's Grove and Rufford Hunt point to point races at Welbeck. The Grove and Rufford Hunt is again indebted to Lady Anne Bentinck for allowing them to hold the meeting on March 6. Once again, the committee is asking for help in running what is proving to be a most prestigious event…. (story)

Daily Post 10.2.05 Llamas could prove guardian angels after hunt ban - LLAMAS and alpacas are no longer regarded a novelty livestock in the Welsh countryside. Increasing numbers of smallholders are buying llamas for use as companion animals and alpacas for their fine wool. And with a ban on hunting with hounds just a few days away, some sheep farmers are expected to employ llamas as guard animals to keep foxes and stray dogs away from vulnerable flocks…. (story)

Formby Times 10.2.05 Protesters set for final Waterloo Cup battle - By Gillian Stratton, Formby Times - A DEMONSTRATION against the last Waterloo Cup at Altcar will take place on Monday, February 14. Former actress Glenda Jackson MP has backed the campaign against the Waterloo Cup and proposed televising the three-day event so people can see the barbaric nature of the sport… Tony Moore, chairman of Fight against Animal Cruelty in Europe, said: "It could be a recipe for disaster considering the high passions that are running on both sides."…(story)

Irish Independent 10.2.05 TD Gregory on the trail of 'cruel' deer hunters - FARMED, tamed, domesticated deer are being hunted under licences issued by the Department of the Environment which are in breach of the Wildlife Acts, it was claimed in the Dail yesterday. Independent TD, Tony Gregory, who asked about the status of the deer hunted by the Ward Union Hunt, pointed out that the Protection of Animals Act 1911 "expressly forbids the terrorising or causing unnecessary suffering to any domesticated animal"…. (story)

North Devon Journal 10.2.05 BULL-BAITERS FOUGHT THE BAN, BUT IN THE END SENSE PREVAILED - In 1835 an Act of Parliament was passed to ban bull-baiting. This sport consisted of driving a bull into the River Witham at Stamford, and from there onto the water meadows. Dogs were then released to attack the bull…. in 1839 the stakes were raised even higher. The 5th Dragoon Guards were called together with a number of London policeman and gentleman on horseback. This time they faced a stone-throwing mob of 4,000. However the bull was saved from a barbaric death and escorted to safety… Is there not a lesson to be learned here? All the bluster and huffing and puffing of the pro-hunting lobby will be of little avail in the end. Hunting with dogs will cease sooner or later. SHEELAGH DARLING, Lee House, Marwood. (letter)

West Briton 10.2.05 TIME TO THINK ABOUT HUMANS - I am getting tired of reading nearly every day about hunting with dogs. The time has come to be more concerned about humans. In Britain today over 500 pregnancies will be deliberately ended. That's around six million since abortion was legalised in 1967… M HOWLETT, St Agnes (letter)

West Briton 10.2.05 SURPRISED BY ATTACK ON MP Re: Hunting ban will do nothing for the disabled, Have Your Say (Tess Nash), January 13 MY WIFE and I were surprised and disturbed by this attack on Candy Atherton MP. While we sympathise with Tess Nash's on the shortage of parking for the disabled, it is unfair to lay the blame on our MP…. Lastly, to equate the problems of the disabled with the hunting ban is an absolute non sequitur. The ban on hunting is a reflection of the public will, through Parliament. This is called democracy. Our MP has worked hard to promote this Bill. We find that people who deplore cruelty to animals also care about humanitarian values, including problems caused by disability…. DENIS THORPE, 30 Melvill Court, Sea View Road, Falmouth (letter)

Tamworth Herald 10.2.05 HUNTING LOBBY'S 'OWN GOAL' - After reading Clare Rowson's Herald letter regarding the 'Internet pro-hunting protest', I went to the Countryside Alliance website, and on there is a form inviting those in favour of hunting to read a declaration containing three statements, and if in agreement tick the appropriate boxes…. Every act of Parliament infringes the liberty of people to carry out certain activities, for the very good reason that the elected government of the day, has decided that the particular activity was not in the best interests of the people, and once passed becomes the law of the land. They call it democracy. It's just fair play. W Plater, Tamworth (Via email). >(letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 10.2.05 CORRESPONDENT SHOULD MAKE BETTER USE OF TIME - Once again, I read a letter from John Phelps concerning the hunting issue, Points of view, February 7. I suggest that Mr Phelps puts more of his time towards raising money for the numerous good causes in the area. I was a police officer for 30 years. I have always been primarily interested in conservation, shooting and fishing. I have never hunted. During this period, together with friends who are hunting people, we have raised thousands of pounds for charities such as Force, CLIC, Hospiscare, children with cerebral palsy, Devon Air Ambulance and many more. Is it not about time that Mr Phelps and his friends did something worthwhile, instead of trying to run other people's lives?... Peter Gould, Clyst St Mary, near Exeter (letter)


Coventry Evening Telegraph 9.2.05 Hunt vows: Hounds will be running By Liz Hazleton - Just days before the highly controversial hunting ban comes into force, Warwick-shire Hunt has vowed to keep the tradition alive. More than 250 people attended a meeting to debate how the group could legally continue once the new laws come in on February 18… Warwickshire Hunt supporters, who attended Sunday's meeting, agreed to continue riding and exercising the hounds without chasing any foxes until the end of the season… (letter)

Carmarthen Journal 9.2.05 HUNT BAN WILL BRING A 'BLOODY SPRING' - Farmers could face a "bloody springtime on the farm" if the hunting ban is implemented ahead of the main lambing season, it has been claimed. The Farmers' Union of Wales is backing the Countryside Alliance in its bid to have the ban overturned…. (story)

Carmarthen Journal 9.2.05 MINISTER'S PLEDGE OVER PAYMENTS - Farmers have been told not to expect unnecessary delay in their new farm payment. National Assembly Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones gave a commitment during a meeting with Farmers' Union of Wales leaders in Aberystwyth…. Mr Vaughan also highlighted that the new Hunting Act was due to be implemented immediately prior to the main lambing season. "This will be of grave concern to sheep owners," he added. (story)

Telegraph 9.2.05 Foxhunting ruling 'next week' - The Court of Appeal is expected to rule next week on whether the legislation banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales is a valid Act of Parliament…. (story)
Guardian 9.2.05 Pro-hunters go to appeal court - Clare Dyer, legal correspondent - Pro-hunt campaigners yesterday took their challenge to the imminent ban on hunting with dogs to the court of appeal in a last-ditch attempt to stop the ban coming into force on February 19…. The alliance was appealing against a high court ruling last month in which Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Collins said it was clear that the 1949 act was valid…. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 9.2.05 CHALLENGE ON HUNTING BAN - Supporters of hunting with dogs have launched an appeal in an attempt to overturn the hunting ban. The Countryside Alliance is now challenging the ban in the Court of Appeal after losing its case in the High Court…. (story)
Western Morning News 9.2.05 ALLIANCE MUST WAIT FOR RULING ON APPEAL - Supporters of hunting with dogs took their case to overturn the ban on hunting to the Court of Appeal yesterday, saying the Act of Parliament used to outlaw their sport was "not worth the paper it was printed on"…. (story)
Western Daily Press 9.2.05 FINAL BID FOR JUDGES TO KILL THE HUNT BAN - Britain's top judges were yesterday urged to quash the ban on hunting, or strip the House of Lords of its last remaining power. The Countryside Alliance presented the stark choice to Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, at the Court of Appeal yesterday…. (story)
Exeter Express & Echo 9.2.05 PRO-HUNTERS' CITY MEET ON BAN MOVE - Verdict is expected on legal challenge on Friday - Thousands of pro-hunt demonstrators are expected to gather near Exeter on Friday as the Appeal Court rules on their latest legal move to beat the hunting ban…. The appeal decision is expected on Friday, after which Alliance leader Simon Hart will speak at Exeter Racecourse, on Haldon Hill…. (story)
Hull Daily Mail 9.2.05 PRO-HUNT GROUPS WAIT FOR RULING - Pro-hunt campaigners were today hoping a court bid to overturn a ban on the pursuit will be successful. The Countryside Alliance challenged the validity of the 1949 Parliament Act, which MPs used to introduce the Hunting Act…. (story)

Cumberland News & Star 9.2.05 Police firm on pledge to enforce hunt ban By Nick Griffiths - CUMBRIA police chiefs today confirmed their determination to enforce the impending ban on foxhunting – but they don’t expect hunts to break the law. Senior officers spoke out ahead of the ban, which comes into force on Friday, February 18. Cumbrian hunt supporters last year signed a declaration at a meeting in the county, pledging to take part in acts of “civil disobedience” should a ban be imposed. But Superintendent Steve Turnbull said: “Our understanding is that there is no illegal hunting planned once the legislation comes into force…. he added. “They’ve been very constructive…." (story)

Western Daily Press 9.2.05 FURY AT DAWN-TO-DUSK MARATHON FINALE - Animal lovers were furious yesterday after a dawn-to-dusk marathon fox hunt was organised for the eve of next week's ban. The Quorn Hunt will start at nine next Thursday and continue until dark to give hunters the maximum opportunity to enjoy their sport on the last day it will be legal in Britain…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 9.2.05 HUNT SUPPORTERS SADDLE UP FOR THEIR FINAL MEETS - Hunters gathered at Stanway House for one of the last legal hunts. The Hunting Act means it will be illegal to hunt with hounds after February 18. But members of the North Cotswold Hunt turned out in their hundreds at the weekend to show their support… The Vale of the White Horse hunt, based in Meysey Hampton, near Cirencester, will stage one of the last legal hunts when it meets at Common Farm in Highworth, Wiltshire, on February 17. The Cotswold Hunt, based at Andoversford, will meet for the last time legally at Harn Hill Farm in Whittington at 10.45am on February 17. Ledbury Hunt will meet on February 17 at Corse Lawn at 10.30am. They say they will continue to hunt within the law after that date. The Beaufort Hunt, based in Badminton, will meet on February 17 but have not decided where yet…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 9.2.05 HUNT FIGHT GOES TO BALLOT BOX - Marginal seats of region's MPs who support ban are targeted - William Green - HUNT supporters have begun targeting a "hit list" of Yorkshire MPs who want to ban their sport, in a campaign to overturn their majorities months before an expected General Election. Dozens of activists have already started to help pro-hunt parliamentary candidates by targeting MPs with slender majorities in advance of the General Election campaign – and many more are predicted to take to the streets to persuade voters to oust those who oppose hunting… (story)

South Wales Evening Post 9.2.05 WAITING LISTS WILL BE THE TOP PRIORITY - We can expect the usual crowd of protesters to be active outside the Labour Party's Wales conference in Swansea next month… Labour Party officials should not delude themselves into thinking the ban on hunting or the Iraqi war are the crucial issues. The Welsh electorate is more worried about long waiting lists… (story)

Argus 9.2.05 Letter: No bloodlust - Gloria Wheatcroft has difficulty keeping the foxhunting issue in perspective. Like many opponents of hunting, she argues the countryside will never be overrun by foxes. Is she aware the Burns Report estimated 400,000 foxes die each year and deliberate culling is a substantial factor in this mortality?... As to the blood lust of hunters, it is rare for a kill to be seen by hunt followers and no one seriously suggests those who hunt within the rules derive sadistic pleasure from hunting. I dare say many vegetarians would argue that meat-eaters have a bloodlust too. -Dominic Webber, Heathfield (letter in archive)
Argus 9.2.05 Letter: Domestic killers - What on earth is Gloria Wheatcroft of the "Inner-city wildlife concern" going on about?... Does she not know domestic cats torture and kill about 250 million songbirds in our country every year? -Bob Baldwin, Woodingdean (letter in archive)
Argus 2.2.05 Letter: Foxes are just a natural part of the countryside - I read with interest "Fox's Blood Lust" (Letters, January 21), sent by Mr John Reeves, and I felt he needed educating in the ways of the countryside and its wildlife. Foxes do not kill for "no reason whatsoever" and they do not kill for fun - they do it to survive…. -Name and address supplied (letter in archive)
Argus 1.2.05 Letter: Animals must not be used to satiate this blood lust - I am writing in response to the article entitled Hunts Will Keep Going (The Argus, January 21). It was like reading the Stone Age Daily, bemoaning the plight of the troglodytes… -David Hammond, Hassocks (letter in archive)
Argus 1.2.05 Letter: Our countryside will never be over-run by foxes - John Reeves says he saw a fox destroy a birds nest to satisfy its natural blood lust…. Sad as this was for him to see - I would have been upset to see this, too - we must realise the fox is a wild animal and finds its food where it can… when the Southdown and Eridge hunt say they will continue to hunt to help the farmers despite the ban due to be enforced, they can only be doing it to satisfy "their blood lust" which, unlike the fox's, is unnatural…. -Gloria Wheatcroft, co-ordinator, Brighton and Hove Area, Inner City Wildlife Concern (letter in archive)
Argus 25.1.05 Letter: It's only natural - I fail to see John Reeves' point where he talks of the natural blood lust of foxes… , he should just come out and tell us he supports the right of humans to satisfy their own blood lust by ripping animals to shreds for the sake of sport… -D Brown, Hove (letter in archive)
Argus 21.1.05 Letter: Fox's blood lust - I have just witnessed a fox systematically tear apart a nest of some half-a-dozen baby birds for no reason whatsoever except to satisfy its natural blood lust…. -John Reeves, Eastbourne (letter in archive)

Peterborough Evening Telegraph 9.2.05 One hound short of a pack - Following the splendid rout of the Countryside Alliance bid in the High Court challenging the now legal ban on hunting with dogs, I am amazed that you have given column space to the latest frustrated pledge from Jane Thorp-Codman (ET, January 29). I fear the bump on the head that she sustained in Parliament Square last September has left her one hound short of a pack…. Derek Jarvis, Helpston, near Peterborough (letter)


Ananova 8.2.05 Act 'not worth its paper' - Supporters of hunting with dogs tried to convince three of the country's top judges that the Act of Parliament used to outlaw their sport was "not worth the paper it was printed on"…. Lord Woolf asked Sir Sydney whether he was asking the court to rule that the 1949 Act was "not worth the paper it was printed on". Lord Woolf: "You are asking us to put aside what Parliament has accepted for a great deal of time?" "With the greatest respect," said Sir Sydney, "it is a function of your lordships to do what is sometimes a difficult thing to do."… The judges reserved their decision to a later date but Lord Woolf promised the ruling would be given "as soon as possible" (story)
BBC News Online 8.2.05 Campaigners appeal over hunt ban - A bid to overturn the law banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales has begun in the Court of Appeal. Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, representing hunt supporters, said the legislation was unlawful as the 1949 Parliament Act used to pass it was itself invalid….(story)
BBC News Online 8.2.05 Campaigners appeal over hunt ban - Campaigners trying to overturn the law banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales are set to take their case to the Court of Appeal. Last month, the High Court rejected the Countryside Alliance's argument the law was unsound as the 1949 Parliament Act used to pass it was itself invalid. The alliance may ask for an injunction delaying the ban from starting on 18 February, pending the appeal decision…. (story)
Scotsman 8.2.05 Top Judges Hear Appeal to Overturn Hunting Ban By John Aston, PA - Three of the country’s most senior judges are being asked today by hunt supporters to overturn the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales. The Countryside Alliance is challenging the validity of the 1949 Parliament Act, which MPs used in the House of Commons to introduce the Hunting Act because of opposition from the House of Lords…. Today’s appeal is being brought in the names of John Jackson, chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Patrick Martin, huntsman of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hunt in Oxfordshire, and Mair Hughes, 46, from Gilfach Goch, Mid Glamorgan, wife of the Master of the Llangeinor Hunt, who is also a farrier…. (story)
Cambridge Evening News 8.2.05 Judges set to rule on hunts - THREE of the country's most senior judges have been asked by hunt supporters to overturn the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales. The Countryside Alliance has been challenging the validity of the 1949 Parliament Act, which MPs used in the House of Commons to introduce the Hunting Act because of opposition from the House of Lords…. (story)
Manchester Evening News 8.2.05 Hunt supporters challenge ban - SUPPORTERS of hunting with dogs today began a bid to convince three of the country's top judges that the Act of Parliament which will outlaw their sport is not valid…. (story)
Reuters 8.2.05 Court to rule on fox hunting ban - Foxhunters fighting to overturn the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales have taken their case to the Court of Appeal…. (story)

BBC News Online 8.2.05 Hunt ban not top police priority - Enforcing the hunting ban will not be a priority for Devon and Cornwall police, according to official papers. Documents obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act say it will be of low importance compared with other activities like violent crime…. (story)

South Wales Evening Post 8.2.05 ASSEMBLY ACCUSED IN WOODS FOX-HUNT ROW - BEN EVANS - Campaigners against fox hunting with hounds have warned the Assembly could be breaking the law if it allows hunting to continue on its land. The Forestry Commission, which looks after land owned by the Assembly around Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire, could issue hunts with licences to help control fox numbers. But the League Against Cruel Sports has accused it of acting illegally under the new Hunting Act…. (story)
Western Mail 7.2.05 Assembly 'breaking hunting law' - Martin Shipton, Western Mail - THE Welsh Assembly Government has been accused of breaking the law by continuing to allow hunting on its land. The UK's biggest anti-hunt organisation has warned Environment Minister Carwyn Jones that plans to issue licences for fox control on Forestry Commission land could prove illegal under the new Hunting Act. Douglas Batchelor, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said, "Fox control is unnecessary on Forestry Commission land… (story)
Western Mail 7.2.05 Forestry districts issue licences - THE Forestry Commission divides Wales into four districts. In the north east, known as Coed y Gororau, 17 licences were issued late last year, of which nine are currently still in force. Six more are due to expire before February 18…. (story)
South Wales Evening Post 2.2.05 MINISTER WARNED - Welsh Environment Minister Carwyn Jones has been warned his plans for fox control licences could breach the new Hunting Act…. (story)

Dorset Daily Echo 8.2.05 Hunting ban will end 900-year-old tradition by Bob Jolliffe - HUNTING in the New Forest will end after more than 900 years when the Hunting Act comes into force next Friday (February 18). Members of New Forest Hounds will continue to pursue foxes with hounds to the bitter end with meets today at Bolton's Bench, Lyndhurst; on Saturday at Belle Vue Farm, Frogham and next Tuesday at the Fleur de Lys pub at Boldre… Mr Ferris said: "From February 18 onwards we will be exercising the hounds and the horses on the forest as we normally do in the close season." (story in archive)

Guardian 8.2.05 Act of sabotage? - The ban on foxhunting, which takes effect this month, raises questions not only of human rights and cruelty to animals, but also of how laws are made. Lyndsey Turner offers a topical lesson - 'This is war," we were told by animal rights campaigners after the Hunting Act was passed last November. Although the campaign to prevent a ban on hunting with dogs was well organised and highly visible, the battle was lost. Now - just days away from the ban taking effect (February 18) - it seems that, by invoking the rarely used Parliament Act and, in effect, ignoring the will of the House of Lords, the government has left the door open for many more months of debate and unrest as the legitimacy of the legislation comes under increased scrutiny…. (story)

Western Mail 8.2.05 - HUNTERS in Snowdonia have agreed to supply police with a timetable of their drag hunts once hunting with hounds becomes illegal. The agreement follows a meeting between the Eryri Hunt and North Wales Police brokered by North Wales Conservative AM Brynle Williams to discuss concerns that the ban could lead to conflict between the police and rural communities…. "We hope that this will reduce the level of wasted police resources used in response to any falsely reported hunt activity." (story)

Worcester Evening News 8.2.05 Farmer's death will leave gap in countryside - BARRIE Heath, who died when a tractor slipped into a slurry pit at Hanbury, had been a popular figure in Worcestershire's farming and hunting communities for more than half a century. During the 1980s, he was a joint master of the Worcestershire Hunt for six seasons and, together with his wife Anne, was well known for helping generations of young riders through the Pony Club…. (story in archive)

Lincolnshire Echo 8.2.05 SHOWERS SPOIL SCENT FOR HUNT - A Succession of wintry showers did not augur well for the scent when the Burton Hunt met at the Mere, Stow and, more over, foxes were hard to find…. February 1930 (story)

Daily Record 8.2.05 NICKY'S IN A KNOT - AGAIN - RADIO presenter Nicky Campbell had to run for cover yesterday after using a four-letter word in a chat about hunting - for the second time. The Radio Five breakfast host stumbled over his words as he discussed what listeners would remember in 500 years…. The Scots presenter had first been caught out by the phrase 'West Kent Hunt' during an interview with a huntswoman in September. Campbell, 43, introduced her with the words: 'Out hunting, Georgie Wordsley is master of the Old Surrey and Burstow and West c**t ... er, hunt!'… (story)
Sun 8.2.05 The curse of Five Live - RADIO’S Nicky Campbell swore on air for a second time yesterday — as he got his tongue in a twist over the word Kent AGAIN. The BBC Radio Five Live host accidentally said the C-word as he read a text message about foxhunting from a listener. Amazingly he stumbled over the same phrase that landed him in hot water five months ago — West Kent Hunt…. (story)

Western Mail 8.2.05 Deadstock collection took weeks - Steve Dube, Western Mail - FARMERS in Wales are having to wait weeks for their dead animals to be collected and disposed of under new regulations meant reduce the risk of infection. Both the Farmers Union of Wales and NFU Cymru say they have been inundated with complaints as their members struggle to deal with casualties during the peak lambing season. In one of the worst cases a Gwynedd farmer, who asked to remain anonymous, had to wait nearly three weeks for a dead ewe to be collected, despite repeated phone calls….. The problems follow a bungled start to the scheme. First, the Government rubber-stamped new EU regulations banning on-farm burial of fallen stock from May, 2003, without putting in place any alternative means of disposal…. (story)
Western Mail 8.2.05 Fallen stock scheme under pressure - Steve Dube, Western Mail - THE National Fallen Stock Scheme has been fraught with problems from the start. The Government was too quick to sign up to EU regulations banning farmers from burying their dead farm animals. The regulations aim to prevent environmental pollution and reduce potential health hazards. But farmers found their traditional practice banned at the same time as the alternative disposal method - to hunt kennels - is also threatened by a hunting ban…. (story)

Western Morning News 8.2.05 ACT IS CLEAR AND IT IS ENFORCEABLE - Your article "No Record For Hunt Crimes" (January 31) was misleading. I assume that the comments of the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesman have been taken out of context or misreported. Any person convicted of a criminal offence has, by definition, a criminal record… Every person holding public office has a duty to support the law. With this in mind, is it not time for the Queen and the Prince of Wales to show leadership in this matter? Is it not appropriate for the Prince to actively promote drag hunting as an alternative to activities banned by an Act of Parliament, signed by his mother? Or is this in truth a divisive class issue, in which the elite believes the law only applies to other people? Peter Edwards, Plymouth
The ACPO comments most certainly were not "taken out of context or misquoted" Mr Edwards. Even after the Lord Chancellor was interviewed on Breakfast With Frost, ACPO reiterated its position. It is clear, from our reading of the situation, that the Government and the Police are at odds on this issue - Editor. (letter)

Western Morning News 8.2.05 FOX IS AN ASSET TO THE COUNTRYSIDE - I was interested to read Trevor Beer's column about the proliferation of litter leading to an increase in rat population. I have been told that foxes are excellent ratters… It seems very cruel that hunting, shooting and snaring is allowed during the breeding season… Jan Fox Ledger, Totnes (letter)

Western Morning News 8.2.05 DEATH-RATE OF FOXES LIKELY TO DOUBLE - I wonder if your correspondent F Cleaves will still be amused in a year or so's time when he reads that twice as many foxes have been killed by guns, traps, poison or gas as died while hunting with hounds was legal. This has been the case in Scotland since their regulations come into force, and there is no reason to expect much difference in England and Wales. In fact he probably will still be gloating and sticking up two fingers at the supposed toffs he imagines he will have annoyed… J Ward-Hayne, Modbury (letter)

Western Morning News 8.2.05 Where are the supporters? YES, J Ward-Hayne, 300,000 attended the Boxing Day hunt meets (WMN, February 1), but many of those will have been idly curious townies and those out to witness and celebrate the end of a shameful era… Where are all the "millions of supporters" the foxhunting brigade are always claiming that they have? Truth is they don't exist. There is no popular support for foxhunting.(That is why they had to hijack the Countryside March, which was about a whole raft of issues affecting the countryside.Though the hunting brigade tried to make out it was all about hunting!)… J Nicholls, St Austell (letter)

Western Morning News 8.2.05 Cruel end is now in store - IT now seems likely that the "farcical" Hunting Act (WMN, January 31) will become operative on February 18. Those in favour of the ban need to think through its consequences for animal welfare… Dr Christopher Maycock, Crediton (letter)


Northampton Chronicle & Echo 7.2.05 Hunts set for a final tally-ho! before ban - HUNT supporters around the county are preparing for the last official outing of their centuries-old pursuit before the Government bans hunting with dogs this month… Members of the Grafton Hunt will be holding their final day of bloodsport 24 hours prior to the act becoming law while the Pytchley Hunt will have its final meet on February 16… (story)

Basingstoke Gazette 7.2.05 Call to support Hampshire Hunt - I write regarding the Hunting Act that comes into force at midnight on February 17. I feel it is a useless and worthless piece of legislation. It will not improve the lives of hard-working families in this country and it will not improve animal welfare… Please come to the Hampshire Hunt meet on February 19, at 11am, at Moundsmere Manor, Preston Candover, to support freedom and tolerance and oppose unnecessary political interference in the lives of ordinary people. -Luke Axel-Berg, Farringdon. (letter in archive)

Yorkshire Post 7.2.05 Stock exchange From: Ros Maxwell, Park Farm, Brandesburton, Driffield. DOES the left hand of this Labour Government know what the right hand is doing? On receiving our membership forms for 'The National Fallen Stock Company' (NFSCO) which the Government set up, I note that I must contact the Middleton Hunt Kennels… Is this not the same Middleton Hunt that Labour have voted to ban on February 18, and which we hunt supporters are fighting to save? (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 7.2.05 HARE COURSING BROUGHT FORWARD TO AVOID BAN - Recent correspondence and protests from the Countryside Alliance as it tries to defend the indefensible, once again reminds us that, sadly, there are individuals among us who would cry 'unjust' at a law which rightly prevents them from tormenting and killing another living being. Yet another barbaric practice will take place in a few weeks' time. My heart goes out to the hares which will be made to endure immense suffering when they are made to run for their lives during the Waterloo Cup at Great Altcar, north of Liverpool…. Mrs Frances Wicks, Alphington Road, St Thomas, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 7.2.05 CONSIDER WHAT MIGHT BE COST OF PROTECTING HUNTS - Colin Richey, Points of view, February 3, may attach little importance to a few foxes and stags being hunted and killed for sport, but his view is not shared by most people. He is also wrong to believe that the ban on hunting will prove to be too costly and impossible to police. During the past few years, those opposed to killing animals for sport have been very restrained and law-abiding…. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

Western Daily Press 7.2.05 ROYALS IN PURSUIT OF A DARKER AGE - Princess Anne continuing to ride to hounds with the Beaufort Hunt proves once again that the Royal Family will not change until forced to do so…. Rev H W Jones Wroughton Swindon (letter)


Western Daily Press 5.2.05 FAKE SIGNS THREATEN ROUGH JUSTICE - An investigation has been launched after bogus signs appeared across Exmoor warning dog owners to keep their animals off the moor. In what seems to have been some kind of protest over the impending hunt ban, the A4-sized signs were posted across the national park bearing the authority's distinctive logos… The boards say that Government legislation will make it an offence for owners of dogs to allow them to chase anything other than rats or rabbits….(story)

Western Daily Press 5.2.05 WHY MUST WE WAIT? HUNTS WILL RALLY SUPPORTERS WITH DEFIANT MESSAGE - Hunts across the West revealed last night their plans for the first day's sport after the ban, as the countdown went on to the big day… As hunts themselves planned huge meets on Saturday, February 19, the Countryside Alliance announced three large public meetings in venues across the West to explain their strategy to supporters…., the final one at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester - in the heart of the Cotswold hunt country - which will be held just 48 hours before the ban comes into force…. (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 5.2.05 HUNT LAWS 'CONFUSING' - People caught hunting in Lincolnshire will not get criminal records when the ban comes into force later this month… Master of the county-based Burton hunt, John Lockwood, said: "I think there will be a lot of people testing this to see how far they can push it. The whole law is very confusing."… (story)

Telegraph 5.2.05 Hunting: where do we go from here? - As the legal wrangles continue over the ban by Parliament, horse-and-hound diehards are increasingly looking abroad for places to pursue their passion. Mark Hughes-Morgan gives chase… "The majority of our members are not rich enough to leave their jobs behind, let alone find the money to buy a house," says Charles Gundry, Master of the Middleton, in Yorkshire. Even so, a few enterprising sorts have already shown the way for those who can. The obvious choice is Ireland, but the locals have not exactly been encouraging incomers lately. "We really don't have the capacity," says Tom Burns, Master of the Kilkenny…. For those who want a more formal taste of old-fashioned riding etiquette, the most enchanting option is surely the Ootacamund hunt in the old Raj hill station in Tamil Nadu, India… (story)

Western Daily Press 5.2.05 IT'S AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY ITSELF - Delly Everard, Regional Director for Wessex Countryside Alliance (letter)
Tamworth Herald 3.2.05 JOIN OUR INTERNET PRO-HUNTING PROTEST - Clare Rowson, West Midlands regional director, Countryside Alliance (via email). (letter)
Llanelli Star 27.1.05 PROTEST AT HUNT BILL - he Countryside Alliance Cyber Protest is an online demonstration designed by thousands of people to show their opposition to the state's unwarranted interference into the lives of ordinary people…. Adrian Simpson, Welsh director, Countryside Alliance, Carmarthen (letter)
Lancashire Evening Post 25.1.05 Join in our hunt cyber protest - THE Countryside Alliance Cyber Protest is an online demonstration designed to enable many thousands of people across the world to show their opposition to the state's unwarranted interference in the lives of ordinary people… To show your support for a society free from prejudice and discrimination and your opposition to the 'nanny state,' go to the dedicated website , www.fightprejudice.org , and encourage friends, family and colleagues to do likewise. TOM FELL, North West Regional Director, Countryside Alliance -- via email. (letter in archive)

The Sentinel 5.2.05 TORY SLIPS SHOWING - The suicidal tendencies of the once sure-footed 'one-nation' Conservative Party continue to grow….Our own local Tory candidate is well-placed to gain the political 'Lemming of the Year' award for not only placing himself in the vanguard of fox-hunters when a clear majority of constituents oppose him on the issue but, as you report, he has crossed swords with our impressive Chief Superintendent of the North Staffs Police Division… Derek Tatton Grove Terrace Leek (letter)

York Evening Press 5.2.05 Free to choose - I AM a fox. I do not know the words cruelty and compassion. I am a wild animal and only know about instinct and survival…. The foxhunter has been taught that cruelty is a sin and compassion is a virtue, and is free to choose. Doris Fewster, Lesley Avenue, York. (letter in archive)


Daily Post 4.2.05 Show Waterloo Cup on TV - to reveal the horror By Robert Merrick, Daily Post - TELEVISION companies were urged last night to broadcast the last Waterloo Cup to capture the full "horror" of hare-coursing before it is banned. The National Coursing Club (NCC) has brought forward the annual event by one week to February 14, to evade the outlawing of the practice just four days later. Yesterday, Lancashire West MP Colin Pickthall condemned the "arrogance and insensitivity" of that decision, in a Parliamentary motion signed by 15 MPs… (story)

Northampton Chronicle & Echo 4.2.05 Hunt to test new law - HUNTSMEN plan to test the law the day after their sport is banned. The Hunting Act comes into force on Friday, February 18, banning hunting with dogs. On Saturday, February 19 the Pytchley Hunt, along with the Northamptonshire Mink Hounds and the Pipewell Beagles, will meet at Rockingham Castle…. (story)

Ledbury Reporter 4.2.05 Hunt set to make changes - The Ledbury Hunt has called an extraordinary general meeting to enable it to change its constitution to meet the requirements of the new Hunting Act. The move will allow the hunt to continue to operate within the law…. (story in archive)

Post & Times 4.2.05 COURT RULING ON HUNTING WELCOMED - A Warm welcome for the High Court's decision to throw out a Countryside Alliance challenge to the ban on hunting with hounds came this week from Uttoxeter MP Janet Dean and animal welfare campaigners…. Her views were echoed by the RSPCA and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which has a base in Uttoxeter… No officers of the Meynell Hunt were available for comment at the time of going to press (story)

Western Morning News 4.2.05 SUPPORTERS PLAN TO WEATHER FRESH THREAT TO HUNTING - Formed at the outbreak of the Second World War, Torrington Farmers' Hunt began life with the aim of keeping hunting going during wartime. Because of their vital role in food production, farmers could not leave the land and were determined that hunting in the Torrington area would be maintained. Now the hunt is facing a fresh threat, but those involved with the hunt in the present day are just as determined to weather the storm… (story)

Cumberland News 4.2.05 Hunt to meet two days after ban By Ross Brewster - A CUMBRIAN hunt plans to defy the forthcoming introduction of a ban by meeting at the ancestral home of its founder near Threlkeld just two days after it is due to come into force. The Blencathra Foxhounds will meet at The Riddings, the one-time home of Squire Crozier who founded the pack with two hounds from the disbanded John Peel pack after the death of the famous Caldbeck huntsman…. (story)

Westmorland Gazette 4.2.05 Hunt supporters lose first court battle - HUNT supporters have lost their High Court challenge against a law that will ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales… (story)

Craven Herald 4.2.05 Pro-hunting lobby vows to overthrow Labour MP - PRO-HUNTING campaigners want to de-seat Pendle's Labour MP Gordon Prentice in the forthcoming general election. Mr Prentice has been named in a top 10 hit list of MPs they want to defeat in marginal constituencies. According to the Sunday Telegraph, husband and wife Charles and Chipps Mann have unleashed a political crusade, infuriated by the hunting ban which is due to come into force at midnight on February 17…. (story in archive)

Horse & Hound 4.2.05 The Quorn unveils post-ban plans - The Quorn is planning a marathon "three-horse day" on 17 February with hunting until dark for those who wish to make the most of the day - The Quorn hunt, founded in 1753 by Hugo Meynell, the “Father of Foxhunting”, has revealed its plan of action in response to the expected hunting ban from 18 February. A marathon “three-horse day” is planned for 17 February; and trail lines will be hunted for the rest of the season. It is founding a Heritage Fund to help ensure its future…. After 17 seasons at the helm, current Heythrop huntsman Anthony Adams will be hanging up his green coat after 17 February… The Brecon and Talybont master Richard Evans-Bevan says: "We're meeting on 19 February. We finish very soon after that anyway because of lambing… Irfon and Tywi master Ken Johns says: "We'll do something constructive — probably laying a trail, I should think."… (story)

Harrogate Advertiser 4.2.05 Hunters set for Appeal Court - HUNTERS across the area have vowed to carry on their battle despite losing their first attempt to prevent a ban…. (story)

Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 4.2.05 CAMPAIGNER HAD BULLETS - Hunt protester David Redvers admitted breaking a condition of his firearms certificate. Police found rounds of .22 ammunition on a window sill and in a bowl at Redvers' home at Corsend Farm in Hartpury… Telling Redvers, 34, that the bench would not accept a careless attitude to live ammunition, magistrates fined him £350 and ordered him to pay costs of £55. (story)
Gloucester Citizen 2.2.05 HUNT PROTEST FARMER FINED OVER AMMO - A County hunt supporter who protested at the House of Commons along with others has appeared before city magistrates on a firearms offence. Hartpury farmer, 34-year-old David Redvers, pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to comply with a condition of his firearms certificate… "Police officers executed a search at the defendant's home at Corsend Farm, Corsend Road, Hartpury and they found the property to be unoccupied. They found four rounds of .22 ammunition on a windowsill and more live rounds in a bowl in one of the bedrooms…." Magistrates made no order for the confiscation of the defendant's firearms or ammunition, but they decided to leave that matter in the hands of the police. (story)

Times 4.2.05 Hunt for a bargain BY CAROLINE BRANNIGAN OF THE TIMES - Developers scent they may soon be able to make a killing …Aldbrough St John is so commutable and close to good schools that many people want to live there. Around the corner looms a high, red-brick building, unusual in the North Yorkshire landscape of grey stone, with the date 1912 in large numbers at the top. This is the grand home of a pack of hunting hounds and is just the kind of site that developers would be straining at the leash to buy, given half a chance. The ban on hunting with hounds could result in just that, maybe not… Kennels with staff cottages that stand on their own site, such as the one run for the Zetland Hunt, are the most likely candidates to be sold… (story)

Western Morning News 4.2.05 BAN ON HUNTING 'COULD AFFECT EXMOOR HOUSE PRICES' - A strong overall demand for rural properties in the Westcountry means values will not suffer from a possible ban on hunting - although it could reduce the amount of interest in specific areas. Agents across the region believe a ban will make no difference to the demand for properties in the South West, but could affect demand on Exmoor, where hunting is an important contributor to the local economy…. (story)

Western Daily Press 4.2.05 CAN WE AFFORD ROYAL FAMILY? - When are we going to get our priorities right? On one hand we have Prince Andrew costing us £1,000 per day in travelling expenses, and on the other hand, Bristol City Council cutting lifeline services to the disabled, care and meals on wheels… Do we pay the other members of the Royal Family when they go fox hunting and partying or wearing Nazi uniform, no doubt escorted by dozens of police for which we also pay?... SR Grimes Berkeley Gloucestershire (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.2.05 HUNTING BILL ILLUSTRATES OUR LACK OF DEMOCRACY - Ben Bradshaw, writing about Iraq, My point of view, February 2, ends his column by saying: "A flame of democracy has been lit in the Middle East." hold the MP for Exeter in high regard, but I am disturbed by his failure to recognise or acknowledge that we do not have a democratic parliamentary system in England and Wales. During the past seven years, members of Parliament have voted several times to ban hunting with dogs for sport. But the Bills have been delayed or frustrated by unelected aristocrats and bishops in the House of Lords…. John Phelps, Argyll Road, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.2.05 PARLIAMENT AND POLICE ARE THERE TO SERVE US …. Those who believe they have power over us need to realise that they are there to serve us, not the other way around. For example, Parliament is meant to have passed a law to ban hunting with hounds - to make it a criminal offence….. I demand that the chief constable - who we, the taxpayers, pay for - puts on record that the police will vigorously enforce the law when it comes into force later this month…. Mr T A Griffin, Salmon Pool Lane, St Leonard's, Exeter (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 4.2.05 WHY SHOULD LAW-BREAKER BE SO CONGRATULATED? - How can J Denny, Points of view, January 26, want to congratulate someone for assaulting our MP? He or she is congratulating someone for breaking the law. Can we all go around assaulting people we disagree with, or is it just MPs who can be attacked? Catherine Dawson, Church Terrace, Exeter (letter)

South Wales Evening Post 4.2.05 HORSE PLAY FROM BLAIR - I Was amazed to read a letter in the Post approving the Government's new scheme for horse passports…. In relation to dogs (not horses this time), do readers know that after February 18 you will commit a criminal offence under the Hunting Act if you allow your pet dog to chase a mouse? If he chases a rat that's okay, but if you let him pursue a mouse you can be fined up to £5,000!... Clive Rees, Talycopa Farm Llansamlet, Swansea (letter)

Henley Standard 4.2.05 ‘In pursuit of uneatable’ - I write in response to the lady stating that foxes are admired by hunters. To say that those who hunt all have one thing in common and that they love the countryside, is absurd…. S. Scott, Nettlebed. (letter may be in archive)


Somerset County Gazette 3.2.05 Hunt challenge fails - HUNT supporters' efforts to overturn a Government ban had their hopes dashed this week… (story in archive)

Leicester Mercury 3.2.05 PRO-HUNT DEMO - 10:30 - 03 February 2005 Pro-hunt campaigners are planning to lobby the Labour Party spring conference next week. Hundreds of people from the county's hunts, plus their supporters, are expected to join the mass demo…. (story)

Leicester Mercury 3.2.05 HUNTS TO PARADE IN BAN PROTEST BY NICK RENNIE - A parade by more than 300 mounted huntsmen and women and around 400 foot followers is planned the day after a ban on hunting is expected to come into force. Members of the Quorn, Cottesmore and Belvoir Hunts, plus the Oakley Foot Beagles, will pass through the streets of Melton on February 19. It will be part of a nationwide exercise involving 250 packs, throughout the country, objecting to the bill…. (story)

North Devon Journal 3.2.05 'WE WON'T BREAK THE LAW AFTER BAN' VOWS HUNT MASTER - Hunt supporters have lost their High Court challenge to overturn the ban on hunting with dogs. The Countryside Alliance launched the bid after hunting with dogs in England and Wales was outlawed last November… Devon and Somerset Staghounds joint master George Witheridge said: "There is some doubt whether the Hunting Act will work and the Government will probably need to revisit it."… (story)

Wolverhampton Express & Star 3.2.05 Hunting ban is unworkable - claim - Members of the Albrighton Woodland Hunt are poised to challenge new Government legislation which comes into effect later this month. Hunt master Peter Swann said members are set to meet on February 19 to demonstrate that the law banning hunting with dogs is unworkable…. (story)

Whitehaven News 3.2.05 HEWITT GETS MIXED RECEPTION ON CUMBRIA VISIT - SHE swept into Whitehaven Civic Hall an hour late, but 300 people were waiting patiently to hear what she had to say about economic hope for Copeland. Government minister Patricia Hewitt, who heads up the Strategic Forum charged with tackling the problems stemming from nuclear run-down, spoke of her commitment to the area…. ON her arrival Ms Hewitt was lobbied by hunting ban protesters who mounted a peaceful protest outside the Civic Hall. They brought dogs from the Cumberland Foxhounds and Black Combe Beagles packs. With them was Dr Ian Addison, of Ireby, adviser to the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management which feels hunting with hounds is the natural and most humane way of controlling the population of fox, mink, hare and red deer. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 2.2.05 Green light for new Cumbria university By Anna Burdett - FUNDING has already been earmarked for the creation of a University of Cumbria with campuses planned in Carlisle and West Cumbria. On a visit to Whitehaven yesterday, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said a University was essential to the development of Cumbria and she personally wanted to see it happen…. En-route to Whitehaven Miss Hewitt was delayed an hour by traffic and on reaching the Civic Hall was greeted by members of Cumberland Fox Hounds protesting against a hunt ban…. (story)
Cumberland News & Star 1.2.05 Hewitt backs West Cumbria - TRADE and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt promised commitment to West Cumbria on a visit to Whitehaven today. Traffic delayed her by an hour and she was met at the front door of Whitehaven Civic Hall by hunt supporters protesting against the ban…. (story)

(West Briton) 3.2.05 IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE - Ignorance is no excuse, but I don't think New Labour had any idea, when it decided to make a stand on hunting, just where that decision would lead… As for hunting, they thought of it as something archaic and cruel, a minority preserve of a few stuffy old toffs, which would go the way of cock-fighting and hare-coursing with hardly any fuss. But instead, as time has shown, they tapped on a fault-line between town and country, causing them to fall into two jagged parts. Instead of the hunters being isolated as a small grumbling coterie crying into their beer at agricultural shows, they have proved to be a locus of a larger, wider group with deep resources of power and influence… When on February 19 the bell tolls for fox-hunting, it will not sound for the end of a battle, but the beginning of a long, bitter, and probably dirty affray, which will still be poisoning our rural lives long after the next election. Ignorance really is no excuse (story)

Nottingham Evening Post 3.2.05 HUNT VOWS TO FIGHT ON - Pro-hunt campaigners have lost their challenge to the Hunting Bill but local supporters say they will carry on fighting…. "Firstly, I dispute the claim this is a failed challenge," said Grove and Rufford Hunt's Roderick Duncan. "If the court didn't think we had a case to make, we would not have been able to appeal."… (story)

Formby Times 3.2.05 Hunt ban judged legal by courts By Gillian Stratton, Formby Times - PRO-HUNT campaigners have lost their High Court challenge to the law banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales. Despite the Countryside Alliance being granted a leave to appeal, it looks certain this year's Waterloo Cup will be the last…. (story)

Evesham Journal 3.2.05 Hunting ban `unworkable' - VALE MP Peter Luff has branded anti-hunting legislation unworkable following a failed High Court challenge against the controversial ban… Wychavon district councillor and chairman of the Worcestershire county committee for the Countryside Alliance Audrey Steele said she would continue to hunt. Speaking for the Worcestershire Hunt, she said: "We will never give up. This is a bad law that has been thrust upon us and we will continue to appeal until we win our case."… (story in archive)

Warminster & Westbury Standard 3.2.05 HUNTS WILL GO ON SAY SUPPORTERS - Hunt supporters in Warminster and Westbury are determined to keep hunting despite attempts to ban it… (story)

Tamworth Herald 3.2.05 'WE WILL CARRY ON HUNTING' VOW GROUP - TRACY ROBBINS - Members of Atherstone's historic hunt are determined to continue hunting in spite of the Countryside Alliance's failure to overturn the outright ban on hunting…. (story)

Irish Independent 3.2.05 Hunt lobby group 'has 15,000 Irish member - THE Countryside Alliance which was set up in the UK to campaign for the protection of traditional rural pursuits such as hunting, fishing and shooting claim their growth in Ireland has been "phenomenal"…. The group recruited close to 300 new members at this week's National Coursing Championships in Clonmel, promising to lobby government to safeguard the sport's future in Ireland now that it is set to be banned in Britain along with all other forms of hunting later this month… (story)

Clonmel Nationalist 3.2.05 Huge crowds for coursing as Mayor condemns threats By Eamonn Wynne - Despite threats issued by a militant animal rights organisation, this week’s National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel passed off without incident, at least until the start of yesterday’s finals day at 11.30 yesterday (Wednesday) morning… The Mayor of Clonmel, Denis Dunne, has condemned the threats to the Meeting. He said he was totally opposed to any group that issued warnings to disrupt the event with incendiary devices. The Mayor visited Powerstown Park to mingle with the many visitors from all over Ireland, Britain and even further afield who flock to Clonmel each year in the first week of February…. (story)
Irish Independent 1.2.05 Hare apparent as anti-hunt protesters go to ground - DESPITE threats of disruption from anti-blood sports campaigners, the first day of the National Coursing Meeting passed off peacefully yesterday…. (story)
Irish Independent 31.1.05 Coursing meet on alert for protesters - A MAJOR security operation is expected at the three-day National Coursing Festival starting in Clonmel today… Threats were made last week by Animal Liberation Front protesters who warned they would sabotage the annual meet. Organisers nevertheless expect 25,000 people to attend the closed event at Clonmel Racecourse…. (story)
Clonmel Nationalist 27.1.05 Firebomb threat to coursing - security stepped up By Eamonn Wynne - ewynne@nationalist.ie - Gardai in Clonmel say that they have an operation in place to deal with the threats made by a militant animal rights organisation to disrupt next week’s national coursing meeting in the town. The Animal Liberation Front, a direct action group that has carried out attacks in Britain and the United States, is reported to be planning a series of firebomb attacks on hare coursing events and those who support the sport in Ireland… The Nationalist newspaper also received an e-mail, which claimed that nails and incendiary devices had been planted on the Powerstown Park course… (story)
Irish Examiner 24.1.05 Activists threaten to firebomb hare coursing events By John Breslin - MEMBERS of a militant animal rights organisation are reported to be planning a series of firebomb attacks on hare coursing events and those who support the sport here. The Animal Liberation Front, a direct action group that has carried out attacks in Britain and the US, said it has acquired incendiary devices and intends to use them against targets in Ireland… ALF's communications officer, London-based Robin Webb, confirmed there are "very strong indications" activists had acquired devices to use against property and people linked to bloodsports in Ireland…. (story)

Western Daily Press 3.2.05 NOT A MATTER OF HONOUR FOR TRUST - - I was delighted to read that the National Trust was still honouring the wishes of the late Mrs Engleheart when she bequeathed her cottage on the understanding that it could be rented out only to a practising Catholic. But wait a minute! Didn't Sir Richard Acland leave the Holnicote estate to the National Trust with the proviso that the local hunt would be able to continue its practice of controlling foxes on his land? Obviously, the National Trust changes agreements to suit itself… Mrs Bridget Hobhouse Woolavington Somerset (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 3.2.05 HUNTING BILL WILL DIVERT POLICE FROM REAL CRIME - So secretary of State Margaret Beckett, who was in Exeter to talk about climate change, felt the full blast of anger from huntsmen/women who are angry at this Government's Bill to end hunting - forced through Parliament - that over 80 police officers were sent out on the streets of Exeter to protect her… Come on, Tony, take heed of the wishes of those living in the countryside and let them continue to hunt if that is what they want… Colin Richey, Lazenby Road, Tiverton (letter)

The Sentinel 3.2.05 LESS ACCUSATIONS, MORE FACTS - Further to Joint Master of the Cheshire hunt Mr de Prez's pro-hunting letter (Sentinel, January 13) I note that he made no attempt to respond to the six questions in my original letter, but launched into another tirade of accusation and dodgy statistics/quotes…. JWB Baddeley Green (letter)

Barry Gem 3.2.05 Why fox hunting has to go on...’ MODERN farming methods that provide us with an abundance of food have a massive effect on the ecology of the country…. We will end up with a countryside full of foxes, rats, crows and seagulls, and not a lot else. Opportunist predators must be controlled, and if hunting with dogs is the best way (which it is!) then hunting must go on. Edward Lucas Llantwit Major (letter in archive)

Frome & Somerset Standard 3.2.05 LONG HISTORY OF BLOOD LUST - BRUCE COOMBES, Fairview, Mells (letter)
Somerset Guardian 3.2.05 BLOOD LUST - BRUCE COOMBES, Fairview, Mells (letter)
Warminster & Westbury Standard 3.2.05 LONG HISTORY OF BLOOD LUST BRUCE COOMBES Fairview, Mells (letter)

Llanelli Star 3.2.05 HUNTS FANS IN MINORITY - I Have to reply to a letter from the Countryside Alliance's Adrian Simpson (Llanelli Star, January 27). When will these people admit that the majority of the people don't want hunting with hounds?.... Tony Flatley, Llanelli (letter)


Ryedale Gazette & Herald 2.2.05 Hunt supporters defiant despite court bid failure by Nadia Jefferson-Brown - HUNT supporters who gathered in force for a traditional North Yorkshire meet remained optimistic about the future of their pursuit, despite the failure of their latest attempt to thwart a Government ban. The Middleton Hunt turned out on Saturday, just a day after the High Court rejected a bid by the Countryside Alliance to overturn the impending ban on the grounds that the Hunting Act 2004 was not a valid Act of Parliament…. Meanwhile, Stephen Rawlings, secretary of the Saltersgate Farmers' Hunt, said that members of his hunt and a number of other North Yorkshire hunts would travel to Newcastle this month to protest at the Labour Party Conference. Brian Marshall, a member of the Farndale Hunt, said: "I hadn't a lot of hope in the first place. They might have a bit more luck in the House of Lords because before it was the establishment trying to overturn the establishment. I still don't think there's a lot of hope."… (story in archive)

Taunton Times 2.2.05 BAN ON HUNTING: THE COURT BATTLE GOES ON - A hunt group says it will continue to fight a ban on hunting with dogs despite an appeal being thrown out by the High Court. Taunton Vale Foxhounds said it backed the Countryside Alliance's latest plans to take its case to the Court of Appeal after it failed to stop the ban…. (story)

(Western Gazette) 2.2.05 LAND MANAGER BLAMES HUNT FOR DAMAGE TO FOOTPATH - A Hunt has been fending off allegations of taking horses onto environmentally- sensitive land. The Seavington Hunt met for the first time in 12 years at Compton Dundon and spent a day in the nearby countryside. But Geoff Brunt, who manages land on Lollover Hill on behalf of the landowner, said huntsmen had strayed onto a "walkers only" footpath…. (story)
Western Gazette 27.1.05 HUNT ACCUSED OF CHURNING UP PATH - A Hunt has been fending off allegations of taking horses onto environmentally-sensitive land. The Seavington Hunt met for the first time in 12 years at Compton Dundon and spent a day in the nearby countryside. But Geoff Brunt, who manages land on Lollover Hill on behalf of the landowner, said huntsmen had strayed onto a "walkers only" footpath…. (story)
Western Gazette 20.1.05 HUNT ACCUSED OF CHURNING UP PATH - A Hunt that met for the first time in 12 years at Compton Dundon has been fending off allegations of taking horses onto sensitive land. The Seavington Hunt met at the Castlebrook Inn and spent a day in the countryside around the village. But Geoff Brunt of Compton Dundon, who manages land on Lollover Hill on behalf of the landowner, said huntsman had strayed onto a "walkers-only" footpath… Debbie Banwell, joint master of the hunt said she had been up to the site after receiving a call from Mr Brunt…"The worst thing that has happened is that some of the horses have gone down there and turned back. Someone might have got lost or gone in to fetch some hounds."… (story)

Western Morning News 2.2.05 EVERYONE LOSES IN HUNTING BAN - Everybody bar rural affairs minister Alun Michael appears to accept that the Hunting Act is a poorly drawn piece of legislation that will be nigh on impossible to enforce effectively. Yet with last week's defeat of the Countryside Alliance, which sought but failed to overturn the ban through a court appeal, its introduction draws ever closer. So it was a brave, timely and sensible move by Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Nigel Yeo to announce that the way the ban is enforced should be a matter for individual police forces, based on the impact the legislation will have on local communities… As this farcical story moves towards a finale it looks increasingly like everyone - pro and anti-hunter alike - is the loser. (story)

Salisbury Journal & Avon Advertiser 2.2.05 Breeding pigs for food is not wrong! - I AM having great difficulty working out whether Richard Grant (Postbag, last week) is an animal rights activist or just a vegetarian - either of which he has every right to be. If that is his choice, he also has every right to want to see the end of fox-hunting. But to pick on the Shepherd family and criticise them for breeding pigs for eating, whether this is meant to be related to fox-hunting or not, seems a bit extreme…. W B DAWSON, Hucklesbrook Cottage, South Gorley, Fordingbridge
NEVER before have I been moved to write to a newspaper but Richard Grant's letter of last week amused me so much, I felt I must! The New Forest was established as a Royal Hunting Forest in 1089, with the first actual records of foxhunting being in 1675 (deer being the more common quarry prior to this). If Mr Grant would like OUR Forest to return to what it was before hunting, he should maybe think again…. JANE HANN, Address supplied (letters in archive)
Salisbury Journal & Avon Advertiser 26.1.05 Plea on hunting - WITH regard to your story (Journal, December 30) of little Matilda Shepherd, who is only eight years old and who has written to the prime minster asking him not to bring in a ban on hunting, as she enjoys hunting because her farmer father says foxes eat his piglets - has anyone told Matilda that her father only breeds pigs for eating?... RICHARD GRANT, Bisterne Close, Burley (letter in archive)

Western Daily Press 2.2.05 SADISTIC NATURE OF THE HUNTERS - I sometimes wonder what sort of world we live in. The uncivilised way some human beings treat the animals of this world…. Let us not forget our country, the horrific fox hunt and the dreadful way in which pheasants are reared - when they are finally released, they are shot from the sky - and stag hunting…. Norah Pound Wroughton Wilts (letter)

The Sentinel 2.2.05 DON'T DELAY ON BANNING HUNTS - After the appalling invasion of a farm, and garden near Rocester, by the Meynell and South Staffordshire foxhounds and the interruption of Wrekin MP Peter Bradley's surgery in Albrighton by over 50 pro-hunt militants on January 7, can we take exception to the 'undemocratic' Hunting Act enforcing a ban on live animal hunting… KATHERINE WATSON HUNT Stockport (letter)


Exeter Express & Echo 1.2.05 WHAT DID THEY EXPECT? - Massive police presence for Margaret Beckett's trip to Exeter - Minister Margaret Beckett has defended Devon & Cornwall Police from accusations of heavy-handedness after around 100 officers spent yesterday protecting her from a small band of peaceful pro-hunting demonstrators…. Dartmoor Hunt follower Andrea Peacock, from Ivybridge, said: "Bradshaw had a handful of liver thrown at him. So what? It's nothing compared to what the Government are trying to force down our necks…." (story)
Western Morning News 1.2.05 MARGARET'S MINDERS ARE 'OVER THE TOP' - A huge police "guard" for Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett as she visited the Westcountry for only the third time was yesterday condemned as "over the top". A deep cordon of police officers kept protesters away from Mrs Beckett as she arrived in Exeter to attend a conference on climate change… Around 100 pro-hunt supporters staged a peaceful demonstration at the Lopes conference centre on Exeter's Sowton Industrial Estate. Later, a phalanx of around 40 police officers kept watch on four demonstrators waiting to greet Mrs Beckett for another meeting at County Hall…. Eleanor Pugh, who had travelled down with supporters of the Taunton Vale Foxhounds, said: "They have got everything out of proportion. If there were a burglary you'd be lucky to get one officer - but look at this, there are so many police it's laughable."… Later Mrs Beckett finally relented and agreed to see a delegation of two protesters. One of the representatives was the organiser of yesterday's event, Seavington Hunt Supporters' Club president Andrew Norton… (story)

Western Morning News 1.2.05 CONFUSION REIGNS ON HUNT BAN RECORDS - Ministers were accused of sowing further confusion over the hunting ban yesterday after police chiefs flatly contradicted the Lord Chancellor's claim that hunt offenders would get a criminal record… The police stance flatly contradicts that of the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who sought to end the row over the consequences of breaking the impending ban by telling a television audience that offenders would get "a criminal record"…. (story)

Manchester Evening News 1.2.05 Cheshie hunt vows to keep within law - HISTORIC Cheshire Hunt will still take to the field when the a ban on killing foxes with dogs comes into force. It says it will continue hunting within the law after February 18. But claims that hunstmen will be able to stop the hounds killing foxes is being challenged by anti-hunting groups… ir Watkin Williams-Wynn's Hunt, Cheshire, Staffordshire Moorland and the Holcombe packs will also go out as planned…. (letter)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 1.2.05 Scientists develop birth control pill for foxes by Alex Lloyd - A FOX birth control pill being developed by York scientists could be the key to preventing a rise in the fox population after hunting with hounds becomes illegal…. The York team, headed by Dr Piran White, is one of only two international groups to take part in a new Australasian Invasive Co-operative Research Centre… Dr White has advised the Government on the control of wildlife diseases and was involved in the recent Government inquiry into hunting with dogs…. (story in archive)

Western Morning News 1.2.05 CAMPAIGNING FOR COMFORT - Patrick Ellis defended the Countryside Alliance as a successful campaigning organisation. He also wrote: "It has become the voice of the countryside in many rural matters totally unconnected with hunting."… Fieldsports comprise nine pages of the handbook, farming a slimmer four pages and a critique of windfarms two pages. Yet rural poverty - which excludes and affects one in four in the countryside - merits a mere single page…. Theo Hopkins, Lifton (letter)

Exeter Express & Echo 1.2.05 VIOLENCE AGAINST HELPFUL MP CAN'T BE CONDONED - I was appalled to read J Denny's comment, Points of View, January 26. How can Mr Denny possibly condone such unnecessary violence that Ben Bradshaw, our MP suffered through this mindless act? What point does violence solve?... Philip Smith, Sidwell Street, Exeter (story)

The Sentinel 1.2.05 ACT HAS BEEN USED 7 TIMES - While I agree with G Lover that there are far more important issues to use the Parliament Act for than the foul sport of fox hunting, I believe he ought to check his facts. He states that the Act has not been used in over a century. If he had checked, he would have known that the Parliament Act has been in existence from 1911, and was amended to its present form in 1949. The Act has been used a total of seven times… KT Madeley (letter)

Mid Devon Gazette 1.2.05 EXAMPLES OF 'EXTREMIST VIOLENCE' - David Lowes (Letters, January 25) asks: "Where is the evidence for extremist violence?" Did Mr Lowes not see the scenes of disorder on the streets of Exeter when Alun Michael visited? Did he not see the recent evidence on TV news when Ben Bradshaw was assaulted by an offal-throwing hunt supporter?... Ivor Annetts, League Against Cruel Sports, Tiverton.
Differing views of 'cruelty' - I DO not have strong views, one way or the other, about hunting, and the recent huge natural disaster in south east Asia should prompt supporters and opponents of the sport alike to get the matter into some kind of proportion…. Hywel James, Spencer House, Coleford, Crediton (letters)