Hunting Bill January-June 2003

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Ananova 30.6.03 Blow for Blair as MPs back hunting ban - Tony Blair has suffered a damaging setback in the Commons as MPs again backed an outright ban on fox hunting with hounds.... (story)

BBC News Online 30.6.03 MPs back hunting ban - MPs have voted for an outright ban on hunting with dogs after five hours of intense Commons debate... (story)
BBC News Online 30.6.03 Analysis: Blair concedes defeat By Nick Assinder - BBC News Online political correspondent - Tony Blair probably bowed to the inevitable by allowing MPs to back a total ban on hunting with dogs... (story)
BBC News Online 30.6.03 Hunting: How did your MP vote? MPs have voted to ban hunting with dogs. Here is how they lined up in the division lobbies:.... (story) 30.6.03 Ministers given rough ride on hunting plans - Rural affairs minister Alun Michael has been given a rough ride by Labour MPs critical of plans for a partial ban on hunting with hounds… (story)

ITV 30.6.03 Hunting bill returns to Commons - MPs are set to discuss a controversial bill which will restrict but still permit hunting with dogs in England and Wales…. (story)

BBC News Online 30.6.03 New attempt to ban fox hunting - There'll be a fresh attempt to ban fox hunting for good later on Monday night. The controversial Hunting Bill will be put to the vote in the House of Commons…. (story)

BBC News Online 30.6.03 Fox hunting deal faces defeat - A fresh attempt to outlaw all fox hunting is expected to be made by Labour MPs in the House of Commons on Monday... Labour MP Kate Hoey urged anti-hunting MPs to listen to the arguments in favour of allowing hunting with dogs.... (story)

Guardian 30.6.03 MPs warned against 'wrecking' foxhunting bill - Nicholas Watt, political correspondent - Labour opponents of foxhunting were warned last night that they would "wreck" the chance to outlaw most hunts if they supported a total ban.... But Gerald Kaufman, a veteran Labour MP and opponent of foxhunting, said: "It is procedural blackmail to tell MPs that they either have to let the bill through or risk losing a ban. I am very fond of Margaret Beckett and I cannot believe she wants to do this."... Mr Michael cited John Bryant, founder member of Protect Our Wild Animals and former chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, who said that less than 100 foxes would be killed a year - compared with 80,000 today - if the bill were passed.... (story)

Independent 30.6.03 Government warns anti-hunting MPs not to scupper Bill By Andrew Grice, Political Editor - The Government made a last-minute appeal to Labour MPs yesterday not to support a ban on fox hunting in England and Wales in a critical vote in the Commons tonight... Last night, women and -children from the Countryside Alliance, which opposes a ban on hunting, began a vigil outside the House of Commons. The League Against Cruel Sports said of the vigil last night: "Hunting with dogs is a ritualised form of animal abuse for sport, thinly disguised as pest control. Most women will be disgusted by this blatantly sexist vigil in support of animal abuse for fun." (story)

Telegraph 30.6.03 Ministers urge ban supporters not to wreck hunting Bill By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent - Ministers appealed to anti-hunting MPs last night not to "wreck" legislation that would impose strict regulations on the sport and limit the areas where it will be allowed to continue.... Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, was pelted with women's knickers as part of a pro-hunting protest at the Royal Show in Warwickshire yesterday. It was one of several protests at the agriculture show, which included forcing Mr Michael to sit through a parade of foxhounds, staghounds and harriers. (story)

Times 30.6.03 Labour MPs are urged to spare hunt Bill BY VALERIE ELLIOTT AND DAVID CHARTER - MINISTERS made a last-minute plea to Labour MPs yesterday not to vote for a total ban on hunting with dogs because that could wreck the Government’s Hunting Bill... Mr Michael spoke out yesterday after being jeered by hunt supporters at the Royal Show, the country’s leading farming event, at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Countryside Alliance protesters threw women’s underwear at him as part of a “Pants to Prejudice” campaign.... About 1,000 women are expected to turn up at Parliament Square today to protest against the curbs. About 300 gathered for an all-night vigil yesterday... (story)

Express 30.6.03 Don't wreck hunting Bill, says minister ... Even if the amendment were to be adopted, it would hit problems once it reached the House of Lords. Peers, including Labour's Baroness Mallalieu, support hunting and would reject any Bill criminalising the sport. (story)

Scotsman 30.6.03 Beckett's plea for hunt bill - HAMISH MACDONELL - MARGARET Beckett, the Environment Secretary, appealed to anti-hunt MPs yesterday not to wreck a bill that would allow fox hunting to continue under a strict regulatory regime... (story)

Yorkshire Post 30.6.03 'Don't wreck hunt Bill' appeal to MPs - Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett yesterday appealed to anti-hunting MPs not to wreck a Bill that allows fox hunting to continue under a strict regulatory regime.... (story)

Oldham Chronicle 30.6.03 Meacher may back licensed hunts - OLDHAM’S MPs were split today over whether to back a total ban on fox hunting, under fierce pressure from Tony Blair to compromise…. Both Phil Woolas (Oldham East and Saddleworth) and David Heyes (Ashton-under-Lyne) immediately insisted that only a complete ban was acceptable… But Michael Meacher (Oldham West and Royton) said he had not yet decided how to vote, and hinted he would support the Government… (story in archive)

Western Mail 30.6.03 'Bias' claim as Hunting Bill struggles forward by Steve Dube, The Western Mail - THE controversial Hunting Bill receives its third reading in the House of Commons today alongside a warning that it could damage Welsh livestock farmers… NFU Cymru policy adviser Dafydd Jarrett said the Bill contained a number of anomalies including a blatant bias against applicants built into the proposed system of registration while welfare bodies are given an inside track… A new women's group Families 4 Hunting held a vigil in Parliament Square overnight… (story)

Manchester Evening News 30.6.03 Don't wreck foxhunt bid, MPs told - A COMMONS Bill to limit fox hunting could be wrecked by anti-hunting MPs, ministers claimed…. Hundreds of members of the Countryside Alliance were staging a vigil in the rain outside Parliament today, in protest at the threat to their livelihoods from a ban (story)

Edinburgh Evening News 30.6.03 Hunt Bill set for Commons - MPS were today due to debate a controversial new Bill which allows fox hunting to continue but under a strict regulatory regime… (story)

Swindon Evening News 30.6.03 MPs rebel to back total hunting ban - SWINDON'S Labour MPs have defied Tony Blair by backing an outright ban on fox hunting as a crucial Commons vote looms tonight… both Michael Wills, who represents North Swindon, and Julia Drown, for South Swindon, have insisted only a complete outlawing of the bloodsport is acceptable… James Gray, Tory MP for North Wiltshire and a strong supporter of hunting, said that the Labour arguments proved the Government was in a muddle… (story in archive)

Western Morning News 30.6.03 GOING IN FOR THE KILL The future of fox hunting in the Westcountry hangs in the balance today as MPs gather at Westminster to consider calls for an all-out ban on the controversial country pursuit… Taunton Tory MP Adrian Flook said that both the Government Bill and the banning amendment were based on the urban prejudice of Labour MPs (story)
Western Morning News 30.6.03 VITAL VOTE TONIGHT ON HUNT BAN As MPs prepare for today's crucial vote on hunting with dogs, London Editor Jason Groves examines the likelihood of an all-out ban becoming law and we give the arguments of some of those who are for and against… Labour peer Baroness Mallalieu, who is president of the Countryside Alliance, urged MPs to listen to the protest… Alex Thavenot, whose family all ride with the Dart Vale and Southpool Harriers in South Devon, was among those joining the protest last night… Ros Kent, of Bishop's Lydeard, near Taunton, will travel to London first thing this morning to join the vigil… For a Ban - Peter Anderson - South West spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports… Against a Ban Guy Morlock - Master and huntsman with the Dartmoor West and Spooners Hunt… For a Ban - Kevin Hill - of the Westcountry Deer Protection Group… Against a Ban - John Kent - a farrier working in Exford, on Exmoor… For a Ban - Paul Tillsley - manager of the League Against Cruel Sports sanctuary at Baronsdown on Exmoor… Against a Ban - Diana Scott - one of the joint masters of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds… (story)

Evening Standard A bohemian hunter - By Lucy Cavendish, Evening Standard - From the outside of Penny and John Mortimer's house situated down a dirt-track road, everything looks still and quiet…. Penny has, over the past few years, also become involved in some serious issues. Twelve years ago she set up the Leave Country Sports Alone pressure group… . Today, she's camping outside Parliament on a womanonly protest against the hunting bill. "There's going to be loads of us," she says. "Clarissa Dickson Wright is cooking breakfast. We're trying to show that it's not just men who enjoy country sports."…. The Families for Hunting vigil, organised by the Countryside Alliance, is outside Parliament today until 10.30pm (story)

Scotsman 30.6.03 Industry gets on message at Royal Show - FORDYCE MAXWELL RURAL AFFAIRS EDITOR - THE Royal Show opened on a Sunday for the first time yesterday, as agriculture set out to reconnect with the public with the message "let’s talk". But the reconnection answer for Alun Michael, minister for rural affairs, was that the government’s attempts to ban hunting still top the agenda for the rural establishment in England… Staghounds, foxhounds and horn-blowing huntsmen galloped several times round the main ring to applause as the commentator told the crowd: "If politics permit, we will see you enjoying your sport for many generations to come."….Michael later faced a hostile reaction from sections of the audience of several hundred at the "your countryside, your questions" conference on the showground at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire…. (story)

Derby Evening Telegraph 30.6.03 BECKETT'S HUNT CALL - South MP Margaret Beckett yesterday urged anti-hunting MPs not to delay or "wreck" a Bill which allowed fox hunting to continue under strict conditions… (story)

Times 30.6.03 Labour pledge on hunting with dogs FROM MR DAVID P. DAVIDSON - The promise in the Labour Party manifesto at the last election stated that it would “enable Parliament to reach a conclusion on (foxhunting).... The countryside community has shown itself time and again to be reasonable and eager for a fair resolution.... The Government is not committed by its manifesto to “a ban on hunting with dogs” (Gerald Kaufman’s Thunderer, June 27); it is committed to resolve the disagreement. Yours faithfully, DAVID P. DAVIDSON, The Old Rectory, Osgathorpe, Leicestershire LE12 9SY.
Hats off to Gerald Kaufman for his determination to eliminate a practice which most of the world looks down upon as an indication of complete moral depravity... BRUCE G. FRIEDRICH (European Director), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), PO Box 36668, London SE1 1WA. (letters)

Guardian 30.6.03 Seeing the anti-hunt bill recycled yet again (Blair warns of all or nothing vote, June 27) reminds me that as a vegetarian, I find much of the anti-hunt lobby deeply hypo- critical. They seem to say it's dreadfully cruel for men and dogs to chase occasional foxes, but acceptable to have animals serially killed to bloat their stomachs... Any meat-eater supporting the anti-hunt bill is a hypocrite. Dylan Harris, Thurlow, Suffolk (letter)

Telegraph 30.6.03 Hunting the truth - The huge increase in the suffering of foxes since the enactment of the Watson Bill by the Scottish Parliament is shameful... Anti-hunting MPs north and south of the border know this fact, yet ignore it. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly the true motive of MPs now seeking to ban hunting in England and Wales: to stop the enjoyment of others. From: David Wright, Walkhampton, Devon (letter)

Yorkshire Post 30.6.03 Fox used once again to placate Labour MPs - From: Tracy Holt, address supplied - I ask your readers to consider the following: Health spending on illness solely related to diet exceeds £8bn – debating time by MPs: zero. TB in cattle is reaching epidemic proportions – debating time by MPs: zero…. Common Agricultural Policy reform on a knife-edge with real potential for collapse of world trade talks – debating time by MPs: zero…. Only two per cent of the population say the Government should treat hunting as a priority and 59 per cent say hunting should be allowed to continue – debating time by MPs dedicated to banning hunting: over 85 hours in the past year plus two public inquiries…
From: SE Farmer, Crook Tree Farm, Hatfield, Doncaster. So the Government has seen fit to give priority time to a third reading of the bill to ban foxhunting. This when precisely two per cent of the population see this as an appropriate use of parliamentary time… (letters)


Observer 29.6.03 The nurse, the teacher, the social worker - and the hunt - As MPs vote on whether to outlaw foxhunting, Paul Harris talks to four young women embroiled in a debate that has bitterly divided the nation for more than a century - Sarah Bell and Jane Evans should have everything in common.... But Bell, 25, and Evans, 35, are enemies. For, when weekends come, Bell takes off her nurse's uniform and dons the russet-red coat of a foxhunter. Evans, as an organiser for the League Against Cruel Sports, is dedicated to stopping her.... Theresa McCurrich is a teacher. She works in a state school in the West Midlands, teaching 11- to 14-year-olds about the joys of geography.... She rides each week during the season with the Worcestershire Fox Hunt... Samantha Cornell, 28, is a youth counsellor in Norwich. Her day job is to deals with young offenders and children with drug and alcohol problems. She was also born into the anti-hunting movement.... (story)

Independent on Sunday 29.6.03 MPs set to reject compromise on hunting By Jo Dillon, Deputy Political Editor - Anti-hunting MPs will tomorrow reject what the Government hoped would be the decisive compromise on fox hunting, demanding instead a total ban on blood sports... Labour MPs are furious, however,that Mr Michaelhas refused to confirm that he would force the ban into law by using the Parliament Act (story)

Sunday Times 29.6.03 Labour MPs to kill deal on hunts - EBEN BLACK, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT - LABOUR MPs are expected to derail a carefully negotiated government compromise on foxhunting tomorrow by backing an amendment to the hunting bill which calls for an outright ban... (story)

Telegraph 29.6.03 Hunting Bill hearing - The Bill proposing the licensing of foxhunting will come before the Commons tomorrow, probably for the last time.... (story)


Telegraph 28.6.03 Blair may oppose ban on all hunting By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent - Tony Blair is expected to attend the Commons on Monday to vote against a proposal to ban all hunting. His appearance in the division lobbies could damage Tony Banks's chances of amending the Hunting Bill to outlaw all forms of the sport…. Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said: "The whole situation has now become farcical. The Bill is already in disarray and it looks like it's heading into even greater trouble." Tomorrow members of the Countryside Alliance will hold a pro-hunting vigil outside Parliament. (story)

Telegraph 28.6.03 Anti-hunt fanatics - After six years in office, Tony Blair's Government has not yet managed to stop foxhunting, much to the distress of most Labour backbenchers…. Predictably, Labour's most ardent anti-hunting MPs (who seek also to ban hare coursing, stag hunting and mink hunting) describe this situation as "disgraceful". But what is truly disgraceful is the fanaticism that pursues this subject relentlessly in defiance of the evidence, and ignores the far more important subjects for legislation with which Parliament should be concerned. (story)

Argus 28.6.03 MPs gamble over hunting ban by James Slack - Shortly after his election as a councillor in 1980, David Lepper voted to ban fox hunting on all land belonging to Brighton and Hove Council. The policy was approved without fuss and the pursuit was outlawed. Today, 23 years later, he will vote to extend that ban to the rest of England and Wales.... "I get many letters from people who lived in the Sussex countryside before moving to Brighton and have seen the cruelty of hunting."... Lewes Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker may vote in favour of the Bill, rather than an outright ban, in the hope it may get through the Lords without the Act being needed.... (story in archive)

Lincolnshire Echo 28.6.03 MPS CLASH IN ROW OVER FOX HUNTING - Lincoln Mp Gillian Merron has pledged to fight for an end to fox hunting just days before the controversial issue makes its way back to Parliament. But the remarks prompted a counter promise by fellow member Douglas Hogg - who said banning the sport would be an "absolute disgrace"... Today Lincolnshire anti-hunt campaigner Jean Battersby said she was fully behind Ms Merron's stance. Mrs Battersby, founder of the Lincoln Animal Rights group, said: "I've met Gillian Merron many times and I know how she feels about hunting... But the county's Families for Hunting spokeswoman, Anne Jepson, said she will be demonstrating against the ban.... (story)

Western Mail 28.6.03 MPs warned over foxhunt ban - MPs have been warned that trying to force a total ban on foxhunting may allow the blood sport to continue unchecked.... (story)

Western Morning News 28.6.03 HUNT BILL HAS TURNED INTO 'FARCE', SAYS GROUP - Pro-hunt campaigners claimed yesterday that the Government's plans to license foxhunting have descended into "farce". The criticism from the Countryside Alliance came as MPs were preparing to debate the final report and third reading stages of the controversial Hunting Bill in the Commons on Monday... Tom Yandle, the chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds and also of the Masters of Deer Hounds Association, said the political manoeuvring surrounding the Hunting Bill was confusing... (story)

North West Evening Mail 28.6.03 BLAIR WARNS ON BILL - TONY Blair has warned Labour MPs the controversial Hunting Bill will be delayed yet again if they vote for an outright ban... (story)

Guardian 26.6.03 Hunt for better PR - The Countryside Alliance may think that promoting a foxhunting NHS nurse is good PR for them, but in fact it's just awful PR for nurses (Kill and cure, G2, June 25). Penny Little, Great Haseley, Oxon
If hunting was truly a pastime of "ordinary people", it would have been abolished decades ago... David Reggiori, London (letters)

Western Daily Press 28.6.03 MORAL STRENGTH IS ON THE INSIDE - As parading their women naked on horseback through London did nothing to persuade the general public to support hunting wild mammals with dogs, how is the Countryside Alliance's new poster going to help them?... Janet Hall Cirencester (letter)

27.6.03 27.6.03 Hain sparks hunt fury - The government angered backbenchers yesterday when it warned that there could be a further delay in the Hunting Bill… (story)

Guardian 27.6.03 Blair warns of 'all or nothing' hunt vote - Nicholas Watt and Michael White - Tony Blair has delivered a blunt warning to Labour opponents of fox hunting that they risk losing a historic chance to outlaw the vast majority of hunts if they vote for an outright ban next week. At a private meeting with Labour MPs, the prime minister said he was prepared to make a rare appearance in the Commons divisions lobby on Monday night to vote against the "ultra" amendment by the former minister Tony Banks... (story)

Independent 27.6.03 Anti-hunt MPs attack Hain By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - Labour MPs reacted furiously yesterday to attempts to bounce them into abandoning a campaign for a ban on fox-hunting. Peter Hain, the Leader of the Commons, drew cries of "disgraceful" from backbenchers when he hinted that a backbench amendment to the Hunting Bill, to ban fox-hunting outright, could create "technical errors" that would delay the legislation.... Martin Salter, Labour MP for Reading West, said the Government would be "stark staring mad to try to find technical excuses to stop Parliament banning hunting". (story)

Times 27.6.03 Delay to Hunting Bill infuriates Labour loyalists BY PHILIP WEBSTER, POLITICAL EDITOR - FURIOUS Labour MPs accused the Government of sharp practice yesterday after they were told that there could be yet another long delay before foxhunting is banned... (story)
Times 27.6.03 Hain’s check may leave backbenchers outfoxed - POLITICAL BRIEFING BY PETER RIDDELL - PARLIAMENTARY procedure works in mysterious ways, but sometimes produces desirable results. The aim of a majority of Labour MPs to ban hunting with dogs is both wrong on libertarian grounds and is politically misconceived... Any sensible Government would avoid such legislation. But, thanks to a combination of the anti-hunting views of most Labour MPs and tactical errors, the Government has gone along with demands for legislation while seeking a compromise.... the likely delay means that the Lords may run out of time to consider the Bill properly, given the amount of other legislation.... despite having Gerald Kaufman on the warpath, the Government could be saved a lot of trouble if a final decision on a hunting ban is put off yet again. (story)
Times 27.6.03 Thunderer - I'll hound ministers until they keep their hunt pledge BY GERALD KAUFMAN ... Last week saw the 33rd anniversary of my election to Parliament. In all that time I have never voted against the Labour Whip. But, there can come a time when, as Cole Porter put it, something’s got to give. For me, that time has arrived.... If this Bill is not in a fit state to go to the House of Lords in time for the scheduled second reading on July 17, I shall regard my Government, a Government I have supported in every vicissitude and on every issue, of having acted in bad faith. In those circumstances, it will need to find someone else to help it out with foundation hospitals and other controversial legislation...

Western Mail 27.6.03 Hain warns on hunt ban Bill by Duncan Higgitt, The Western Mail - A BACKBENCH bid to force an outright ban on hunting could herald major delays to the long-awaited legislation, Commons Leader Peter Hain has warned ahead of Monday's clash with Labour MPs... (story)

Western Daily Press 27.6.03 NOW IT'S THE THRILL OF THE SHORTER CHASE - Changes to the Government's Hunting Bill will lead to a dramatically shorter chase during fox hunting, it was revealed yesterday... Meanwhile, a blonde NHS nurse became the surprise pin-up of the pro-hunting lobby yesterday in an attempt to show two different sides of the sport... (story)

Western Morning News 27.6.03 'TOTAL BAN' CALL COULD WRECK HUNT BILL - The row over the future of hunting with dogs took a new twist yesterday when MPs were warned that attempts to bring in a total ban could get bogged down in Parliament for months or even years... (story)

Shropshire Star 27.6.03 Foxhunt ban hopes are dashed By John Hipwood - Plans to outlaw foxhunting this summer appeared dead in the water today after MPs learned that there could be another long delay in the Government's legislation…. (story)

York Evening Press 27.6.03 Blair warning over Hunting Bill vote by James Slack - TONY BLAIR has warned Labour MPs the controversial Hunting Bill will be delayed yet again if they vote for an outright ban…. (story in archive)

BBC News Online 27.6.03 Hunting bill may be held up - A bill to ban hunting with dogs could be delayed if calls for an outright ban are agreed, Commons Leader Peter Hain has warned.... Labour's Kevin Hughes also warned that changes to the bill would slow it down. "There will be enormous difficulties if substantial amendments, such as a total ban are to be agreed... " The changes to the bill include ensuring the actual chase in fox hunts is kept as short as possible and dogs in all registered hunting are kept under close control to guarantee humane killing. All registered hunters will have to carry proof of registration during hunting and be able to show this on request... (story)

Telegraph 27.6.03 Backbench farce - The Government has given way to pressure from its back-bench MPs to bring the Hunting Bill back for them to savage in the Commons.... Why is this happening? A senior minister has said (off the record, we always get the truth "off the record"): "We are in trouble with our backbenchers on all sorts of issues and have to throw them some red meat."... John Jackson, Chairman, Countryside Alliance, London SE11 (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 27.6.03 ONLY A TOTAL BAN WILL DO - PHYLLIS CAMPBELL-McRAE, Director, IFAW UK (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 27.6.03 ONLY A TOTAL BAN WILL DO - PHYLLIS CAMPBELL-McRAE, Director, IFAW UK (letter)
Yorkshire Evening Post 27.6.03 Hunting vote - PHYLLIS CAMPBELL-McRAE, Director, IFAW UK (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 26.6.03 WE URGE READERS TO PUSH FOR A TOTAL HUNTING BAN - The Government has announced that the final reading on the Hunting Bill will take place on Monday. The Bill, as it stands, bans deer hunting, hare coursing and hare hunting. Crucially, however, it does not ban fox hunting…. We urge your readers to contact their local MPs and press them to vote for a total ban on hunting… Phyllis Campbell-McRae, Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London (letter)
Northampton Chronicle/Evening Telegraph 25.6.03 Time to lobby MPs over hunting - Phyllis Campbell-McRae, Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Albert Embankment, London (letter)

Kingston Borough Guardian 27.6.03 Total hunting ban is the only way forward - The Government has announced the report stage of the hunting bill will take place on Monday, June 30… At the moment, the bill bans deer and hare hunting and hare coursing. It does not go so far as to ban fox hunting…. Contact your MP at or send a letter to your MP. Urge them to support a total ban on fox hunting and ask them to resist any amendments to weaken the Bill… NOEL LYNCH Green Party Member of the London Assembly City Hall London (letter)

Gloucester Citizen 27.6.03 ALL HUNTING SHOULD BE BANNED AJAYE CURRY, Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge Kent (letter)
Kingston Borough Guardian 27.6.03 Compromise will not help foxes and mink - The fate of hundreds of foxes and mink will be decided on Monday, June 30. This is the day the hunting bill reaches the report stage in the House of Commons…. If readers want to encourage MPs to support an outright ban on hunting, there are two key things they can do. First, call or email MPs and ask them to support the ban. Second is to attend the mass protest on Monday organised by the National Anti-Hunt Campaign…. AJAYE CURRY Campaigns officer Animal Aid Bradford Street Tonbridge Kent (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 27.6.03 BILL IS A MESSY COMPROMISE - Ajaye Curry Animal Aid campaigns officer Bradford Street Tonbridge (letter)

Kent/Sussex Courier 27.6.03 NO JUSTIFICATION FOR HUNTING BAN - Is it not strange that at a time when TB in cattle is reaching epidemic proportions, funding for the regeneration of dying villages has been suspended and the Prime Minister's Rural Advocate reporting that government departments are harming rural development through neglect, that no parliamentary time has been found to address these vital issues, but the hunting ban has taken up more than 85 hours of debating time?... Colin Clark, Chichester Road, Tonbridge (letter)

26.6.03 26.6.03 Blair 'won't block fox hunting ban' - The prime minister has signalled that he will not block an attempt by Labour MPs to secure a ban on all forms of fox hunting… (story)

BBC News Online 26.6.03 Hunting ban 'in sight' - The government has signalled the end of hunting with dogs just for sport. Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael says hunting should only be allowed for the specific purpose of pest control - and only after this is proved necessary and the least cruel means of doing it... (story)

Evening Standard 26.6.03 Hunting Bill shelved over 'technical errors' By Ben Leapman, Evening Standard - Ministers today signalled a further delay in Labour's long-running attempt to ban foxhunting. The Hunting Bill, which was set to become law next year, may be put back until 2005 due to " technical errors" in the way it is drafted. News of the setback provoked anger among Labour MPs. As it was announced by Commons Leader Peter Hain, Gerald Kaufman interrupted him with a cry of "disgraceful"…. (story)

Ananova 26.6.03 New Hunting Bill may be delayed MPs have been warned there could be a further delay to the consideration of the controversial Hunting Bill. Leader of the House Peter Hain said it was doubtful that the Hunting Bill would reach the Lords before the summer recess…. (story)

Independent 26.6.03 Blair will not block ban on fox hunting By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - Tony Blair told Labour MPs yesterday that he would not block a ban on fox hunting, but only on condition that MPs did not ruin the Government's legislative programme.... Yesterday, Alun Michael, the Environment minister responsible for steering the Bill through the Commons, faced a rough ride in the weekly meeting of Labour MPs. A string of MPs told him they wanted a ban and would not settle for a "compromise", making clear the Government's Bill was unacceptable... (story)

Telegraph 26.6.03 New move to ban all hunting - Anti-foxhunting MPs stepped up their campaign to have the sport outlawed yesterday by tabling an amendment to the Hunting Bill that would make all hunting with hounds illegal.... (story)

Western Morning News 26.6.03 COMPROMISE BILL ON HUNTING 'BLOWN APART' The Government's carefully-worded compromise Bill on the future of hunting with dogs was blown apart by anti-hunt MPs last night when they tabled amendments turning it into a total ban… East Devon Tory MP Hugo Swire,… who has hunted with the Mid Devon Hunt, said: "Now we see the prejudice of those who want to see a ban on hunting…" (story)

Cambridge News 26.6.03 Plans to restrict length of hunts - THE Government has unveiled plans to restrict the length of fox hunts ahead of next week's crucial vote on the controversial Hunting Bill…. (story in archive)

Worcester Evening News 26.6.03 Foster talks to PM on hunting - WORCESTER MP Mike Foster has held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair ahead of next week's crucial vote on the Hunting Bill… Mr Foster said the Prime Minister wanted an informal chat to give his reasons why MPs should back the latest legislation, which will receive its Third Reading on Monday. The Labour MP said he was satisfied the Bill would achieve his goal - banning lowland hunting in Worcestershire… (story in archive)


Guardian 25.6.03 Kill and cure - Nurse Sarah Bell, the new face of the pro-hunting lobby, tells Libby Brooks why it's not just Hooray Henrys who love the thrill of the chase… Sarah Bell, the Warwickshire children's nurse who also rides regularly with her local hunt, was yesterday confounded by the flurry of interest that greeted her debut as the new face of the pro-hunting lobby. "It has all come as a bit of a shock," she notes during a break between the photographers who are queuing to picture her in her alternate uniforms. "But shocking people is what we set out to do, and the response has been fantastic."… (story)
Coventry Evening Telegraph 25.6.03 Nurse Sarah hunts critics - A Warwickshire nurse has become the pin-up of the pro-hunting lobby to show two different sides of the controversial sport…. (story)
Western Daily Press 25.6.03 YOU HATE HER, BUT THEN AGAIN, YOU ADORE HER! A Blonde NHS nurse yesterday become the unexpected pin-up of the pro-hunting lobby. In an attempt to show two different sides of the controversial sport, Sarah Bell has been chosen as the new face of the Countryside Alliance's poster campaign… (story)
Western Morning News 25.6.03 NURSE IS NEW FACE OF HUNT CAMPAIGN …Sarah Bell, from Warwickshire, is the new face of the latest Countryside Alliance poster campaign… Beneath both photos it reads "59 per cent say keep hunting", a figure taken from a recent survey commissioned by the Countryside Alliance last December… Peter Anderson, a spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said: "It really makes no difference who takes part in hunting, it is cruel and unnecessary…" (story)
Worcester Evening News 25.6.03 Nurse on pro-hunt posters - A CHILDREN'S nurse who rides with the Worcestershire hunt has been chosen as the face of the latest Countryside Alliance poster campaign… (story in archive)
Times 24.6.03 Hunting nurse goes for love-hate relationship BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - A CHILDREN’S nurse has been selected to be the new face of the pro-hunting lobby. Sarah Bell, 25, who rides with the Worcestershire hunt, is to appear in advertisements being launched this week by the Countryside Alliance... She also hopes to find time to attend the vigil by 1,000 women hunters outside Parliament next Sunday. This event with the slogan “Pants to Prejudice” will include some women brandishing their underwear in disgust at the threat to hunting.... (story)
Birmingham Post/Mail 24.6.03 Nurse stars on pro-hunt ad - A Warwickshire NHS nurse has become the pin-up of the pro-hunting lobby in an attempt to show two different sides of the controversial sport, she said today. Sarah Bell is the face of the latest Countryside Alliance poster campaign…. She now rides for the Worcestershire hunt and in the poster is shown wearing her full hunting garb, with a slogan beneath reading: "Now they hate her?" In an adjacent photograph, she is dressed in her NHS nursing uniform, with a slogan saying: "Now they don't?"… (story)
BBC News Online 24.6.03 Nurse fronts pro-hunt campaign - An NHS nurse has become the new face of pro-hunting lobby the Countryside Alliance in an attempt to show the human side of the controversial sport… Miss Bell has been a qualified children's nurse for more than three years but has ridden since the age of 12. She now rides with the Worcestershire hunt… (story)


Western Daily Press 21.6.03 LORDS SADDLE UP FOR HUNTING CLASH - The Commons and the Lords are preparing for a summer showdown over the future of foxhunting, it was revealed yesterday. The clash will start in the House of Lords in early July, after it was announced that the controversial Hunting Bill would complete its passage through the Commons on June 30... (story)

Lincolnshire Echo 21.6.03 HERE WE GO AGAIN - The hunting horns will be sounding once again in a week's time as Labour MPs win the battle to get the fox hunting Bill back into the Commons... (story)

Telegraph 21.6.03 Fudges and foxes - To judge from past House of Commons votes, most Labour MPs would like an outright ban on foxhunting.... It would be a public service if, when this Bill finally comes before them, the House of Lords exposed the humbug that lies behind it. (story)


Telegraph 20.6.03 Hain warns peers not to block anti-hunting Bill - Peter Hain, the new Leader of the Commons, a long-standing opponent of hunting, warned the House of Lords yesterday not to block legislation which bans most forms of hunting with dogs.... (story)

Western Morning News 20.6.03 DELAYS THREATEN HUNT BILL - MP - A senior Westcountry MP last night warned that the Government's controversial Hunting Bill could be lost because of delays in bringing it back to Parliament. Paul Tyler, Lib-Dem MP for North Cornwall, said fierce opposition to the Bill in the House of Lords could mean that it would not get through before the end of the Parliamentary session in the autumn… "My suspicion is that ministers want it to get stuck in the Lords so that they can put it in the next manifesto, continue to tantalise their backbenchers with it and blame the Lords."… the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance is planning a fresh round of protests and advertising campaigns to coincide with the Commons debate and vote on June 30…. (story)

Western Daily Press 20.5.03 CONCENTRATE ON THE NHS - Helen Weeks is wrong to say this Government must find time for the Hunting Bill. The Government should concentrate on the Health Service and education and crime, three areas that need immediate help… H Wood Minety Malmesbury Wiltshire (letter)


Western Daily Press 19.6.03 HUNTING POLL - The Government is being urged to drop its Hunting Bill and end its "discrimination against a decent, responsible minority". The call comes from the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, which today publishes an NOP poll showing that just two per cent of those questioned believed hunting should be a political priority…. (story)
Guardian 17.6.03 Hunting 'not key issue' - Patrick Wintour, chief political correspondent - Pressure on Tony Blair not to use Commons time for legislation banning fox hunting grew yesterday when a poll said only 2% of the public think the issue is the most important facing the government. The NOP poll, commissioned by the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, suggests that Downing Street would not pay a high political price if it dropped the bill.... Advocates of a ban are frustrated at the apparent unwillingness of Downing Street to put the bill before MPs again, fearing that ministers do not want to risk a confrontation with rural interests.... (story) 19.6.03 Hunting Bill (G) - The death-knell was sounded on fox-hunting when the government announced it will make time for a ban on fox-hunting. Margaret Beckett, the "anti-hunt" minister responsible for the bill, is expected to steer the legislation through the Commons where an outright ban is expected to receive the backing of an overwhelming majority of MPs… (story)

BBC News Online 19.6.03 Hunting battle to resume - The government has named the day for House of Commons debate on the final stages of its controversial hunting bill. New Commons leader Peter Hain announced the bill's return for its report and third reading stage on 30 June.... Shadow Commons leader Eric Forth criticised the decision to have just one day's debate for the final stages of the bill.... (story)

Guardian 19.6.03 No 10 to allow vote on outright ban on hunting - Patrick Wintour - Downing Street has succumbed to backbench Labour pressure and agreed that MPs will vote soon on whether to reinstate an outright ban in the government's fox hunting legislation.... (story)

Telegraph 19.6.03 Hunting Bill going back to Commons By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - The Hunting Bill, which bans hare coursing and stag hunting and effectively bans lowland foxhunting, is to return to the Commons on June 30 after a gap which began before the war with Iraq. Its reappearance late in the Parliamentary session raises the possibility that it will not complete its passage through the Lords - where a majority of peers are opposed to the Bill in its present form - before the end of the Parliamentary session…. (story)

Western Morning News 19.6.03 JUNE DATE FOR PARLIAMENT - Plans to ban hunting with dogs could be brought back to Parliament before the end of this month, the WMN has learned…. The move, which will reopen the row over the future of hunting, comes as a new opinion poll yesterday found that just two per cent of the public believed hunting should be a political priority…. But Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said many MPs wanted to see an outright ban… Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, condemned the proposed deal… Mr Swire, who rides with the East Devon Hunt, said: "These are matters that should properly have been debated at the committee stage of the Bill…." (story)

Argus 19.6.03 Red tape 'will tie up fox hunts' by James Slack - The Government is to force hunts to apply for a licence every 28 days in a desperate attempt to save its controversial Hunting Bill. But hunt supporters say the 28-day licensing rule would tie huntsmen in red tape and effectively kill the pursuit. To obtain the licence, hunts must prove a fox is causing a nuisance and there is no less cruel method of killing the animal. This alone would make hunting in Sussex almost impossible, as shooting is considered less cruel… (story in archive)

York Evening Press 19.6.03 28-day licence legislation to tie hunts in red tape by Evening Press reporter - THE Government is to force hunts to apply for a licence every 28 days in an attempt to save its Hunting Bill. But the legislation may be scrapped altogether if anti-hunt MPs refuse to support the move and push for an outright ban… Mr Michael hopes the licensing clause will buy their support in the crucial vote on the legislation's Third Reading. He is privately warning Labour MPs they could lose the Bill altogether if they table their "wrecking" amendment…. Frank Houghton-Brown, joint master of Ryedale's Middleton Hunt, said the 28-day licence system seemed a red tape nightmare… Richard Morley, from the Derwent Hunt, agreed that a 28-day licensing system would render the Bill unworkable… (story in archive)

Worcester Evening News 19.6.03 Hunt licence plan is `desperate attempt' to save Bill - THE Government is to force hunts to apply for a licence every 28 days in a desperate attempt to save its controversial Hunting Bill. The rule is designed to tie hunts in red tape and effectively kill the pursuit and they will try to force it through by the end of June… Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff said: "The Government now has evidence that banning hunting would be bad for animal welfare and the public does not want it. They should drop the Bill." (story)

Glasgow Herald 19.6.03 Fresh fox hunting bill launched - DEBORAH SUMMERS - MINISTERS today will renew attempts to ban fox-hunting in England and Wales with fresh legislation aimed at fulfilling a manifesto promise.... However, the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance yesterday published an NOP poll showing just 2% of those questioned believed hunting should be a political priority.... (story)


BBC News Online 18.6.03 MPs prepare anti-hunting push - A group of MPs are preparing to table an amendment to the government's controversial hunting bill in a bid to ban the activity. It is understood Commons leader Peter Hain will on Thursday announce the bill's return to the House Commons for its final report and third reading stage on 30 June.... Meanwhile, an NOP poll, commissioned by the Countryside Alliance, suggested that only 2% of people questioned believed hunting should be a political priority.... (story)


Telegraph 16.6.03 Labour gives in to RSPCA on hunting By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - The Government has secretly capitulated to all the demands of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in an attempt to save the Hunting Bill from being wrecked by its own backbenchers, according to a leaked letter. The letter from Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, warns him that the Bill faces collapse because MPs are planning to amend it to a complete ban on all forms of hunting with dogs when it comes to the report stage in the Commons... (story)


Observer 15.6.03 Anti-hunt lobby fears ban will be shelved - Gaby Hinsliff, chief political correspondent - A ban on hunting could be shelved again unless the Government acts by the end of the month, senior MPs warned last night. Veteran backbencher Gerald Kaufman said Ministers had 'procrastinated long enough' over the fate of foxes and time was running out... 'This Government has an uncanny knack with Bills on hunting of seeing them run out of time,' said Phyllis Campbell McCrae of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.... (story)


Times 13.6.03 Closed season planned to end autumn fox cub hunts BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - MINISTERS plan to introduce a closed season for fox hunting, from August to November, and intend to amend the Hunting Bill when it returns to the Commons. The proposal, which has outraged hunt campaigners, is contained in a leaked letter from Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, to John Prescott... Simon Hart, chief executive designate of the Countryside Alliance, said: “This has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. It is utterly ridiculous to say that one form of pest control cannot be used during those months while others can.” He said it was “another example of Alun Michael showing blatant discrimination against foxhunting”.... (story)


Lincolnshire Echo 9.6.03 FOXHUNTING UNDER MORE PRESSURE FROM MPS - Foxhunting is under pressure again from a number of MPs across the country. A total of 150 Labour MPs have recently signed an amendment to the Hunting Bill, which would make it illegal to hunt with dogs anywhere in England and Wales… (story)


Western Morning News 7.6.03 MPS STEP UP CALLS FOR COMPLETE HUNTING BAN - MARK CLOUGH - The drive to ban hunting is likely to be stepped up in Parliament by Labour backbenchers who are pushing for an outright ban.... Peter Anderson, the regional spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said they had known for some time that Tony Banks was rallying support from backbenchers opposed to hunting... Alison Hawes, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We know the voting records of the MPs and those who have said they are against hunting will no doubt continue with their opposition. We are waiting for work on the Hunting Bill to resume." Jim Barrington, a consultant to the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, said the backbenchers' move to back the amendment was not surprising.... (story)

Western Morning News 7.6.03 BILL'S SLOW PROGRESS - The progress of the Hunting Bill through Parliament has ground to a halt. Much of this is due to external pressures, not least of which was the war in Iraq... Jim Barrington, the consultant for the All Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, pointed out that the Government's legislative timetable was getting congested. He said: "When the Bill might come back we just don't know. It has certainly been put on the back burner..." (story)


Independent 6.6.03 Ministers face pressure from back bench to outlaw hunting By Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent - Labour backbenchers are poised to push through an outright ban on fox hunting after attempts by ministers to talk them out of it failed. A total of 150 Labour MPs have signed an amendment to the Hunting Bill, which would make it illegal to hunt with dogs anywhere in England and Wales. Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs minister in charge of steering the Bill through Parliament, has been in frantic talks with MPs over the past few weeks to try to convince them to change their minds… (story)


Yorkshire Post 30.5.03 In the grand tradition, the show must go on - The figurehead of the direct-action campaign against the Hunting Bill and threat to rural life has called a temporary truce. Tomorrow, he has a country show to run. John Woodcock reports from Sledmere…. Edward Duke, former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, is now the public face of Real Countryside Action, the secretive direct-action group…. He describes tomorrow's event, in the deer park at Sledmere House, as "a celebration of the countryside and the horse"…. There is also showjumping and pony races – in their own way more loud statements on behalf of a cause, as is the fact that one of the event's beneficiaries will be the funds of the Middleton Hunt… (story)


Western Morning News 26.5.03 BLAIR RUNS FOR COVER IN HUNTING DEBATE ...We have not heard too much about foxes of late, but neither they, nor the Bill, have gone away... to use the Parliament Act to deliver to the statute book a Bill whose policy is the precise opposite of what the Government had proposed on Third Reading would be grotesque... Yet not to do so would be to deprive his party's bankers, his MPs and his die-hard supporters of a piece of legislation which, having nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with class-based bile, they have absolutely set their hearts on. What price constitutional propriety when that conflicts with the interests of New Labour? We shall soon know. (story)


Independent 20.5.03 Blair discusses how to force through Hunting Bill By Marie Woolf, Chief Political Correspondent - Tony Blair has secretly discussed with MPs using the Parliament Act to push the controversial Hunting Bill through the House of Lords... At a private meeting with MPs on the hunting committee last week, the Prime Minister talked through the details of how to make use of the Parliament Act, which allows the House of Commons to over-rule the House of Lords... (story)


Cumberland News & Star 15.5.03 HUNTING BILL ON COURSE, INSISTS ERIC - COUNTRYSIDE campaigners' hopes that the controversial hunting bill could be deliberately scuppered by Tony Blair as revenge against Labour's anti-war rebels have been branded "inconceivable" by a Cumbrian MP…. But Carlisle MP Eric Martlew said it was unimaginable to think Number 10 would sink the bill… (story)

Telegraph 15.5.03 Yesterday in Parliament By Michael Kallenbach, Parliamentary Correspondent …Civil servants in the Environment Department who want to attend hunt meets have been given the all-clear by the Government - provided they are not involved in work on the Hunting Bill. Lord Whitty, a junior minister, said most were not prevented from attending in their private capacity… (story)


Times 14.5.03 Supporters of hunt ban fear more delays BY ROSEMARY BENNETT, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR AND VALERIE ELLIOTT COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR LABOUR opponents of hunting are furiously lobbying ministers to press ahead with a Bill banning the sport, amid fears that Tony Blair is preparing to defer it once again.... Meanwhile, the appointment of a new chief executive of the Countryside Alliance appears to signal a defiant mood from the organisation as it campaigns to save hunting with dogs.... (story)


Western Daily Press 13.5.03 WAR REBELS WILL NOT BE MADE BLAIR'S QUARRY IN HUNTING VOTE - Reports that Tony Blair will take revenge on Labour MPs who rebelled over the Iraq war by ditching a hunting ban were dismissed yesterday. Leading Labour backbencher Roger Berry said the Government had given a cast-iron promise to allow a free vote on bloodsports, and he believed there would be a total ban… (story)


Telegraph 9.5.03 Hunting Bill may be delayed till autumn By George Jones, Political Editor - Legislation to impose strict licensing conditions on fox hunting could be squeezed out of the current parliamentary session, it emerged last night. John Reid, the Leader of the Commons, failed to give an assurance that the Government would find time to bring its Hunting Bill back to the floor of the House in time for it to reach the Statute Book this session…. (story)

Guardian 9.5.03 MPs told to back hunt bill or lose it - Labour opponents of hunting with dogs are being warned that if they vote to turn the government's careful compromise into a total ban on fox hunting, the cabinet may withdraw the backing essential to the bill's success. MPs have been alarmed that Alun Michael - the countryside minister in charge of finding a formula that could keep some hunting alive, under strict licence - has privately told them not to push too hard to close what anti-hunters regard as Blairite loopholes.... (story)

Yorkshire Post 9.5.03 Hunting Bill may run out of time - The Government may not find time to bring its Hunting Bill back to the Commons this session, Leader of the House John Reid hinted yesterday... (story)

Western Daily Press 9.5.03 HUNTING BILL FACES DELAY - The Government may not find time to bring its Hunting Bill back to the Commons this session, Leader of the House Dr John Reid hinted yesterday… (story)

Western Morning News 9.5.03 TIME RUNS OUT FOR HUNT BILL - Commons Leader John Reid last night sparked speculation that new laws to ban hunting with dogs could be squeezed out because of the legislative logjam following the war against Iraq… Suzanne Newton, whipper-in with South Devon's Modbury Harriers, and wife of Harriers huntsman Richard Newton, said: "We are delighted at the delay…" Tom Yandle, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, said: "I think that people will realise that there are more important things to debate at length than banning hunting."… Ben Sparrow, master of the Western Hunt in North Cornwall, said: "We may have won a skirmish but we haven't won the war…" Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said she remained confident that the Bill would go ahead… (story)


BBC News Online Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK - Question mark over hunting bill - A bill to ban foxhunting could fall victim to pressures on parliamentary time, John Reid has hinted. The Commons' leader stressed the "crowded" nature of the timetable at Westminster when asked whether the government was to live up to its commitment to ban hunting… (story)


Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 9.4.03 Future of hunting safe for now - thanks to the war by Simon Crump - THE Iraqi war has resulted in a temporary cease fire in the battle over fox hunting's future… The Cotswold Support Group for the Abolition of Hunting says it will continue fighting to get the sport banned. The group's Jill Purser said: "It's understandable that there are more important issues for us all to concentrate on at the moment …" Charles Mann, joint master of the Vale of the White Horse Hunt, said the hunting community was happy the bill had been postponed but still expected to have to fight for the sport's survival… (story in archive)


Telegraph 5.4.03 Farmers with pitchforks ... it's a rural fairytale, Liz By Anne Robinson ... what remains is our big worry, the future of hunting. The long-dreaded Bill to ban it was due to reach its final stage in the Commons next week. But it has now been shelved because it is deemed too trivial an issue to debate while lives are being lost. Ironic that it has taken a war to show how the Government's determination to outlaw a traditional country pursuit was badly chosen, short-sighted and petty in the extreme.... (story)


Worcester Evening News 4.4.03 Anti-hunting MP calls off the dogs - for now - THE Government's controversial Hunting Bill has been delayed - on the advice of Worcester's passionate anti-hunt MP Mike Foster…. Government business managers have ruled that MPs should not discuss issues such as hunting while military action is taking place in Iraq. Mr Foster, who tried to ban hunting with a Private Member's Bill in the last Parliament, said he was one of the MPs who had suggested the delay…. (story in archive)


Western Morning News 3.4.03 IRAQ WAR PUTS HUNT BAN BILL ON HOLD The Hunting Bill and other domestic legislation has temporarily been put on hold during the war on Iraq. Ministers have been directed to suspend the legislation for the time being until it is felt it would be all right to return to party political debate in the House of Commons… (story)


Lakeland Echo 20.3.03 Lampers are humane way ahead to deal with foxes - AS the Hunting Bill approaches its Report and vital debate stages (allowing for any developments in the Iraq crisis), surely it is time to question whether the fell foxhound packs have a really effective or justified role in the rural economy... it would make sense to retrain the fell hounds to trailing races or drag hunting and leave the services of pest control to the skilled lampers who can make the right impact on any excess fox population. Miss Katherine Watson Rushton Drive Bramhall Stockport, Cheshire (letter)


Daily Post 12.3.03 Women's all-night vigil against hunt ban -FARMERS' wives from North Wales are due to join a 24-hour pro-hunting vigil outside the Houses of Parliament. The women-only vigil will start the day before the third reading of the Hunting Bill and continue until MPs vote…. Last Friday 25 women representing F4H occupied the offices of Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George who agreed to spend a day with a family threatened by a hunt ban… The Flint and Denbigh Hunt held its last meet at the weekend. Amid torrid weather, the hunt recorded one fox kill, bringing its season's tally to 61. (story)


Independent on Sunday 9.3.03 Labour MPs to rebel on hunting By Jo Dillon, Deputy Political Editor - Fox-hunting will be banned under a Labour backbench amendment which challenges the Government's preference to license the blood sport. This week, a majority of the Labour MPs on the committee considering the Hunting Bill – 12 in total – intend to put down a formal amendment to the legislation. Its effect would be a total ban on fox-hunting. While paying lip service to proposed licensing tribunals, the amendment, added to changes already made to the Bill to outlaw deer-hunting and hare-coursing, would render them irrelevant. The move is likely to win the support of a majority in the Commons…. (story)

Independent on Sunday 9.3.03 Blair's other war … Andy McSmith, Jo Dillon and Michael Williams report on the domestic problems piling up in ministers' in-trays, some of which could produce huge Commons rebellions, making them ? in effect ? Tony Blair's second front.... Hunting - What's the problem? - It's an emotive issue that Labour, before the 1997 general election, promised to tackle… Political damage potential: 3... (story)


Western Morning News 6.3.03 STAG HUNTING STUDY TO EXAMINE EXMOOR CASE - A study is being proposed to assess the economic impact of a ban on stag hunting on Exmoor if the controversial Hunting Bill goes through. The study is also set to examine the environmental and social implications of such a ban. Exmoor National Park Authority, West Somerset District Council and North Devon District Council have been lobbying Alun Michael, the Minister for Rural Affairs, over the likely impact of a ban…. (story)


Argus 5.3.03 Tory MP turns Commons air blue by James Slack - Colourful MP Nicholas Soames made Parliamentary history when he interrupted an opponent with the word "b******s"…. The exchange, recorded for posterity on the vellum pages of Parliamentary journal Hansard, came during a heated committee debate on the Government's controversial Bill to ban hunting… Mr Soames, a passionate supporter of hunting, was angered by an amendment to the Bill put forward by Labour MP Mike Foster to ban the use of terriers in hunting. In a somewhat long-winded application the MP, who gained notoriety among countryside supporters for trying to ban hunting with dogs in the last Parliament, said Tories were failing to recognise the vicious battles which take place underground between Jack Russell dogs and foxes. At this point, Mr Soames stepped in with his one-word response, a little more hushed than his usual boom but still clearly audible… (story in archive)


Yorkshire Post 2.3.03 Countryside rebel with a cause - For a pro-hunting activist, Edward Duke is a very mild man… Today he hunts twice a week with the Middleton, still shoots, and is unrelentingly passionate about the rights of his peers to do the same, repelling and fighting the ambitions of Labour back benchers who are intent on turning Alun Michael's Bill for licensed hunting into virtually a total ban…. (story)


Guardian 28.2.03 Anti-hunting MPs give bill new teeth - Anne Perkins, political correspondent - The hunting bill - which is expected to lead to an effective ban on fox and hare hunting in most parts of England and Wales - crossed another hurdle yesterday when MPs ended their detailed consideration. But when it returns to the Commons, in about a fortnight's time, MPs seeking a total ban will almost certainly seek to amend it so that it outlaws all hunting with dogs. Tony Banks, one of the leaders of the anti-hunting lobby, said yesterday: "The bill has been toughened up quite a lot in committee, but it is likely to be toughened up even more."... (story)


North West Evening Mail 27.2.03 BLOW FOR PRO-HUNT CAMPAIGN - THE controversial hunting bill has been toughened up. Chairman of the Middle Way Group, Peter Luff, was furious an amendment banning the use of terriers was supported by rural affairs minister Alun Michael… Mr Luff said: "This is nothing short of a betrayal. I just wish Alun Michael had had the intellectual courage to stand up and say he wanted an outright ban in the first place."… (story)

Cumberland News & Star 27.2.03 HUNTING GROUP'S FURY AT DOG BAN THE Government has been accused of "betrayal" after the controversial Hunting Bill was toughened up to virtually ban the controversial pursuit. Peter Luff, chairman of the cross-party Middle Way Group, told the News & Star he was furious that an amendment banning the use of terriers was supported by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael… (story)

Reading Chronicle 27.2.03 Anti-hunting MP risks angling - SAYING 'I told you so' is, I know, not considered right and proper. However, since it concerns Martin Salter I am going to give way to temptation and say, 'I told you so'. This relates to the report in the Chronicle (February 13) that the MP is risking a ban on angling because of his support for the anti-hunting bill…. Martin Salter attempted to bolster his case by quoting the University of Wyoming zoologist's report that fish do not feel pain…. Wyoming is a state noted for its hunting and fishing. If the hunting fraternity in this country arranged for a University in a strongly pro-hunting area to produce a report supporting hunting, would Salter rush to accept it? I think not…. R G SEYS, Lower Earley (letter)
Reading Chronicle 13.2.03 Salter accused of shooting himself in foot By James Osborne - READING West MP Martin Salter has been accused of risking a ban on fishing after throwing his weight behind tightening up the Government's hunting bill… In turn Mr Salter accuses the Countryside Alliance of scaremongering and trying to "hoodwink" the nation's anglers… But Charles Jardine, the Alliance's angling campaign director, said Mr Salter's tougher stance contradicts his vow in December to get rid of the bill's utility and cruelty test… Mr Salter said: "The fox hunters are deliberately missing the point. The bill has been tightened up so that the utility and cruelty tests can only be applied to methods of pest control. Fish are not pests…" (story)


Worcester Evening News 26.2.03 Virtual hunting ban is `betrayal' - THE Government was today accused of "betrayal" after the controversial Hunting Bill was toughened to a virtual ban. Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff was furious that an amendment banning the use of terriers was supported by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael. The amendment, which was tabled by Worcester MP Mike Foster, removes the incentive for farmers to allow their land to be used for fox hunting…. (story in archive)

Telegraph 26.2.03 Gamekeepers facing terrier ban By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - The future of game shooting in its present form was in doubt last night after MPs voted to ban the use of terriers by gamekeepers to flush foxes to guns or to kill them underground. MPs on the standing committee of the Hunting Bill voted by 19-5 to support an amendment by Michael Foster, the anti-hunting MP, banning the use of dogs underground…. (story)

Times 26.2.03 Shooting in jeopardy after MPs vote to ban terriers BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - THE future of the £1 billion-a-year game shooting industry is under threat after MPs voted yesterday to ban the practice of sending terriers underground to find foxes. The ban will prevent gamekeepers from protecting gamebirds from their main predator, the fox, and could severely damage shooting estates.... Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance Campaign for Hunting, said: “This is a betrayal of principle, a betrayal of the evidence, a betrayal of the minister’s and his party’s manifesto commitment to shooting.” (story)


Worcester Evening News 25.2.03 Hunt ban bid by `back door - CITY MP Mike Foster was today set to deal a hammer blow to pro-hunting campaigners by winning a ban on "terrier work". The Labour MP's amendment to the controversial Hunting Bill was immediately attacked as an attempt to secure an outright ban through the "back door"…. Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, who sits on the committee considering the Bill with Mr Foster, said: "This is a wrecking amendment designed to ban hunting. Terrier work is essential if fox hunting is to be a form of pest control…" (story in archive)

Western Daily Press 25.2.03 HELP PREVENT HUNT LICENCES Neil Hansen National Anti-Hunt Campaign Gloucester Street London (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 24.2.03 HUNTING BILL DOES NOT APPEASE EITHER SIDE Niel Hansen, The National Anti-Hunt Campaign. (letter)
Bucks Free Press 21.2.03 Hunts' end is nigh Niel Hansen National Anti-Hunt Campaign (letter)
Exeter Express & Echo 21.2.03 PRESS YOUR MP NOW TO FORCE THROUGH HUNT BAN Niel Hansen The National Anti-Hunt Campaign Old Gloucester Street, London (letter)
Western Morning News 20.2.03 ANTI-HUNT BILL IS NOT ENOUGH Niel Hansen National Anti-Hunt Campaign London (letter)
Yorkshire Post 20.1.03 Fight goes on against Hunting Bill From: Niel Hansen, The National Anti-Hunt Campaign, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London. (letter)
Worcester Evening News 19.2.03 Nothing but a total ban will do - NIEL HANSEN, The National Anti-Hunt Campaign (letter in archive)
Manchester Evening News 17.2.03 Lobby them - THE government has introduced the Hunting Bill which, far from banning fox hunting, as promised, proposes that it continues under licence… We appeal to readers who wish to see an end to this cruelty to let their MPs know that they will be satisfied by nothing short of a complete ban…. N Hansen, National Anti-Hunt Campaign (letter)
North West Evening Mail 17.2.03 TOTAL BAN ON HUNTING IS NEEDED - MANY of your readers may be aware that, after years of delay and procrastination on the issue, the government has introduced the Hunting Bill which, far from banning fox hunting as promised, proposes that it continues under licence…. NIEL HANSEN The National Anti-Hunt Campaign 27, Old Gloucester Street LOndon WC1N 3XX (letter)


Sunday Sun 23.2.03 Hands off my Angel By The Sunday Sun - Sculptor Antony Gormley has blasted pro-hunt campaigners who last week used the Angel of the North to stage a protest. The angry artist criticised the stunt and said he did not want his creation to become a "flagpole for political propaganda"…. (story)
Sunday Telegraph 16.2.03 Into battle at dawn with the Real CA By Daniel Foggo - For a man who runs an extremist pro-hunting group which, he boasts, is "modelled on the IRA", Edward Duke's home is something of a giveaway as to his beliefs. It is a shrine to every aspect of the pursuit of foxes… Mr Duke was promising more last week as he proudly outlined the night's mission: to hang a red "hunting coat" made of stitched cotton bedsheet material - complete with the words "Love Hunting" and "Join Our War" - from the 65ft-high Angel of the North sculpture in Gateshead…. Most were from Yorkshire and had links to the Middleton Hunt…. "This kind of stunt lets the Government know how unhappy we are in a light-hearted way. It will help discount some of the hard things that will have to happen in the future." (story)
Newcastle Journal 14.2.03 The angel of the hunt By Alison Dargie, The Journal - Pro-hunt campaigners hijacked the region's most striking artwork yesterday to send a rallying call to supporters. Dawn broke over the Angel of the North to see it dressed in a scarlet hunting jacket. It was covered by a 40m banner with the words "Love Hunting" spelt out in five metre high letters with the additional message: "Join Our War"…. Simon Robinson, huntsman from the Braes of Derwent Hunt, joined the demonstration with six of his hounds…. (story)
Yorkshire Post 14.2.03 Hunt supporters climb Angel in rallying call - Pro-hunting campaigners unveiled a huge banner from Britain's largest sculpture yesterday as an early Valentine's message to their sport…. Mr Duke said that the organisers took police advice and agreed to take the banner down to avoid any possible criminal charges…. (story)
Northern Echo 14.2.03 Hunt supporters target Angel to spread message - HUNT supporters from across the region used one of the North-East's best known landmarks for a pro-hunting publicity stunt yesterday. Members of the Real Countryside Alliance draped a banner over the Angel of the North with the message Love Hunting - Join Our War… The banner was assembled in a village hall in North Yorkshire. The main groups involved were the Braes of Derwent, the Tynedale, the Middleton and the Sinnington hunts… (story in archive)
Hexham Courant 14.2.03 LOCAL HUNTSMEN IN ANGEL PROTEST - Huntsmen and hounds from Tynedale turned out to represent the countryside at a demonstration at the Angel of the North early yesterday morning… Among those representing the countryside was Simon Robinson, a huntsman from the Braes of Derwent. (story)
Scotsman 13.2.03 Hunt Supporters Climb Angel Sculpture in Valentine’s Rallying Call By Tom Wilkinson, PA News - Pro-hunting campaigners unveiled a huge banner from Britain’s largest sculpture today, as an early Valentine’s message to their sport. Around 100 members of the Real CA, radical pro-hunt supporters linked to the Countryside Alliance, were gathering since 4.30am around the Angel of the North in Gateshead…. (story)
BBC News Online Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 11:09 GMT Pro-hunters in Angel rallying call - A huge banner has been draped from one of Britain's largest sculptures by pro-hunt campaigners in an attempt to rally support for their cause. About 100 members of the Real CA hung their message over the wings of the Angel of the North, in Gateshead, on Thursday… Edward Duke, one of the organisers, said the protest was to show opposition to proposed amendments to the hunting Bill currently going through Parliament…. The banner was put up by two professional riggers from the music industry who offered their services for free… (story)
Newcastle Journal 13.2.03 Hunt supporters climb sculpture in Valentine's call - Pro-hunting campaigners have unveiled a banner from Britain's largest sculpture, as an early Valentine's message to their sport… A spokesman for the campaigners said: "We will fight any attempt to put in place unreasonable restrictions on hunting." (story)
Northern Echo 13.3.02 Pro-hunt supporters run banner across Angel of the North - Pro-hunting campaigners unveiled a huge banner from Britain's largest sculpture today, as an early Valentine's message to their sport… Huntsman Simon Robinson, from Whittonstall, Northumberland, brought six foxhounds on leads to the foot of the statue to the cheers of the hundred or so campaigners… The final pieces of the banner came down just after 8am and the two riggers, Rory Ferguson, of Battersea, and Ned Baring, of Notting Hill Gate, both London, came safely back to earth… Event spokesman Edward Duke, who is a member of the Middleton Hunt in North Yorkshire and lives near the village of Stillington, near York, today told PA News: ``It is absolutely fantastic."… (story in archive)
Ananova 13.2.03 Hunt supporters climb sculpture in Valentine's call - Pro-hunting campaigners have unveiled a banner from Britain's largest sculpture, as an early Valentine's message to their sport… (story)


Worcester Evening News 21.2.03 Just look at the pictures... H Ray attacks Alun Michael (You Say, Saturday, February 1) for claiming that deer hunting and coursing are cruel than not producing evidence. It's perhaps unfortunate for Mr Ray that, in the Country News section of the same edition, there's a report of the recent Countryside Alliance meeting… I would urge anyone who has not done so to study two of the photos that illustrated the report. I would suggest that anyone fair-minded person would be hard put not to conclude that deer hunting and coursing are cruel…. A REECE, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 8.2.03 Fails to understand countryside - FROM his correspondence (You Say, January 24) Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael was obviously hoping to persuade us that the present Hunting Bill will not affect farming. Not only is he wrong on this point, he also fails to understand just how interwoven the fabric of the countryside is… C TOLLEY, Alfrick, Worcestershire. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 7.2.03 Shooting is next on the hit-list - I READ with disbelief the Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael's letter (You Say, Saturday, January 25). He claims the Government has no intention of meddling in any shooting sport. This is false, as there are already legislative changes being quietly pushed through affecting age limits for the use of airguns… Mr Michael will be faced with a countryside prepared to stand and fight for freedom and truth. J WOOD, Rushwick, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 5.2.03 Dishing it out... politics, propaganda and principles - RURAL Affairs Minister Alun Michael's attempts to reassure people that fishing, shooting and horse racing (You Say, Friday, January 24) wouldn't be jeopardised by the Hunting Bill could be seen as a blatant lie… the Minister has now conveniently excluded all economic, wildlife management and social benefits and still fails to produce the incontrovertible evidence he claims exist that hunting is cruel… G HARTWRIGHT, Worcester (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 1.2.03 Where's evidence? - ALUN Michael MP (Evening News, Friday, January 24) assured us all that, when the Government's Hunting Bill is passed, everything will be well in the countryside and horse racing and shooting will be safe. How can we trust this man when he informs everyone that deer hunting and coursing must be banned because he has incontrovertible proof that they are cruel? Asked time and time again to produce this proof, he delivers nothing… H RAY, Worcester. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 24.1.03 Racing threat tales are scare stories spread by opponents of change - TO suggest that the Hunting Bill will "eventually lead to a ban on the Grand National (Evening News, Monday, January 13 ) is complete nonsense… The Bill will eradicate cruelty associated with hunting with dogs… The tests of cruelty and utility in the Bill do not apply to horse racing, nor indeed - as Mike Foster MP points out in your story - to shooting or fishing… ALUN MICHAEL MP Rural Affairs Minister, House of Commons. (letter in archive)
Worcester Evening News 13.1.03 Bill threat to sporting event - TORY MP Peter Luff has warned that the Government's Hunting Bill could eventually lead to a ban on the Grand National. The controversial legislation would outlaw hunting with dogs for sport, using tests of "cruelty" and "utility"…. He believes it would be seized on by animal rights activists who would then press for angling, shooting, greyhound racing and, eventually, horse racing to be banned. None of these pursuits serve a practical purpose which would qualify under the Government's "utility" test, but are enjoyed by millions… (story)


Western Gazette 20.2.03 LESS THAN A TOTAL HUNT BAN IS BETRAYAL - How absurd of Will Templer of the bloodsports organisation, the so-called Countryside Alliance, to claim that they have been betrayed by DEFRA minister Alan Michael over the Hunting Bill (Western Gazette, 9 February).... Helen Weeks, Coker Hill, West Coker. (letter)
News Post Leader 20.2.03 MINISTER GIVES US DIVISIVE BILL RICHARD DODD Regional Director for the Northeast, Countryside Alliance, Ponteland. (letter)
York Evening Press 17.2.03 Fair hunting solution - Mr Haigh says rural affairs minister Alun Michael stated his intention to find an honourable and fair solution to hunting with hounds… You, Mr Haigh, and the rest of your animal tormentors are out of date, out of touch and will soon be outlawed. And not before time. D Fillingham, The Crossway, Muncaster, York. (letter in archive)
Chester Chronicle 14.2.03 WHEN DEFRA Minister Alun Michael announced six months of consultation on the issue of hunting with hounds the Countryside Alliance made every effort to cooperate… TOM FELL Regional director for the North West, Countryside Alliance (letter)
Yorkshire Post 14.2.03 Hunting solution 'betrayal' - John Haigh, regional director for Yorkshire Countryside Alliance, Front Street, Thirsk, North Yorkshire (letter)
Morpeth Herald 13.2.03 BILL WILL BE RESISTED BY RIGHT-MINDED RURAL PEOPLE - RICHARD DODD, Regional Director for the Northeast Countryside Alliance Ponteland Northumberland (letter)
Gloucester Citizen 11.2.03 MINISTER BETRAYING TRUST - J. ALDRIDGE, Sherston (letter)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 10.2.03 Stop complaining and wait for hunting vote WHAT a load of jargon and hot air from Kay Chapman of the Countryside Alliance in her letter in the Chron of February 3…. The majority of rural dwellers are opposed to the cruelty of hunting, marching only for improved facilities, schools, transport, shops, etc. I wonder how many would have taken the trouble to march for hunting alone. How could she defend the sickening practice of coursing, which satisfies the bloodlust of a tiny ignorant minority?... Shirley Wills, Cotswold Avenue, Duston, Northampton (letter)
Worcester Evening News 8.2.03 Minister prepared to betray Alliance trust - CLARE ROWSON, Countryside Alliance. (letter in archive)
Hexham Courant 7.2.03 FAIR LEGISLATION IS ACCEPTABLE - RICHARD DODD, Regional Director for the North-East Countryside Alliance, Ponteland (letter)
York Evening Press 7.2.03 Hunters betrayed - John Haigh, Regional director for Yorkshire, Countryside Alliance, Thirsk. (letter in archive)
Lakeland Echo 7.2.03 Hunting bill is not the fair middle ground promised - Tom Fell Regional director for Cumbria Countryside Alliance Grange-over-Sands Cumbria (letter)
Western Gazette 6.2.03 TONY BLAIR HAS BETRAYED TRUST Will Templer, Wessex Regional Director, Countryside Alliance, address supplied. (letter)
Manchester Evening News 6.2.03 So divisive - WHEN Minister Alun Michael announced six months of consultation on the issue of hunting with hounds, the Countryside Alliance made every effort to co-operate…. Tom Fell, Countryside Alliance Regional Director for the North-West (letter)
Ilkley Gazette 6.2.03 Sly DEFRA - - When DEFRA Minister Alun Michael announced six months of consultation on the issue of hunting with hounds the Countryside Alliance made every effort to co-operate…. John Haigh Regional Director, Yorkshire Countryside Alliance, Thirsk, North Yorkshire (letter in archive)
Northampton Chronicle & Echo 3.2.03 Broken promises, unworkable laws - When Defra Minister Alun Michael announced six months of consultation on the issue of hunting with hounds, the Countryside Alliance made every effort to co-operate…. Kay Chapman, Regional Director for East Midlands, Countryside Alliance, Bakewell, Derbyshire (letter)
The Shields Gazette 31.1.03 Plea from hunters - WHEN Minister Alun Michael announced six months of consultation on the issue of hunting with hounds the Countryside Alliance made every effort to co-operate… Sadly it is now clear that the Minister is prepared to betray that trust… The Minister has chosen to ban deer hunting and competitive coursing out of hand, without giving the opportunity to make their case to the regulator… The hunting community has made clear that it would accept fair regulation. Instead the minister has produced a divisive, confrontational Bill which will be resisted ever more resolutely by right-minded rural people - Richard Dodd,Regional Director for the Northeast,Countryside Alliance,Ponteland,Northumberland.(letter)


Telegraph 18.2.03 Hunting Bill's 'utility' test threatens sheepdog trials, say farmers By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Sheepdog trials in England and Wales could be banned as a result of the Government's Hunting Bill, a farming organisation has claimed. The reason is that dog trials risk putting up hares or foxes and are in danger of failing the Government's test of "utility" because they are unnecessary. "The strict definition of the proposed new law could mean that since the sole purpose of sheepdog trials is competition it could be construed in some quarters as failing the Bill's utility test," said Rhian Nowell-Phillips, the senior policy officer of the Farmers' Union of Wales… "Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, has already indicated that handlers competing in field trails - in which gun dogs are judged on their performance and ability under shooting conditions - will have to be registered under the new law if the animals flush out hares during the competitions…" Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "This is another example of the unintended consequences of this Bill…." (story)

Telegraph 18.2.03 Countryside Alliance leaders to step down By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - The leaders of the Countryside Alliance are to step down next year, just as most forms of hunting are likely to be banned, in a move that is likely to provoke fury among supporters of hunting. John Jackson, the chairman, a member of the Fabian Society, has let it be known that he cannot serve beyond June next year and Richard Burge, the chief executive, a Labour voter, has said he does not want to serve any other chairman…. Next year the campaigning function of the alliance is to be split from the side that champions better provision of rural services such as post offices, which is to become a charity, so it is thought this is seen by Mr Burge as a suitable point to depart. Richard Ovenstone will take over as the head of the new body, known as the Rural Regeneration Unit, which will be based in the West Midlands…. (story)
Times 18.2.03 Country Alliance chiefs to quit BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - THE chairman and the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance are to quit their posts. John Jackson, chairman and managing partner of the law firm Mishcon de Reya, is to leave the alliance board by spring next year and Richard Burge, chief executive, has said that he wishes to leave the organisation at the same time…. Despite months of negotiation by both men to persuade the Government to adopt licensed hunting, ministers decided to ban deerhunting and harecoursing. The proposal for registered foxhunting looks increasingly likely to be ambushed during the report stage of the Commons hunting Bill when MPs are expected to attempt an outright ban. … (story)


Daily Post 17.2.03 MPs back new bid to ban hunting By Tariq Tahir And Hugo Duncan, Daily Post - NORTH Wales Labour MPs are backing a fresh bid for a total ban on fox-hunting. All but one is understood to support the ban… An amendment is to be tabled in the spring to the Government's Hunting Bill adding a ban on fox-hunting to that of hare coursing and stag hunting… North Wales Countryside Alliance spokesman Barry Henderson said: "It is quite incredible - only 43pc of the country support a ban. That means 57pc do not but MPs seem to go on their own personal beliefs, not those of their constituents."… (story)

Worcester Evening News 17.2.03 Minister and issue of hunting - AS no hunting with dogs takes place in the Worcester City constituency of Michael Foster MP, the proposed Hunting Bill should have no effect there.... One clause in the Bill will give large sums of public money to various animal rights organisations to contest any or all applications for a hunting licence.... Gamekeepers, farmers or huntsman will receive no funding applying for or attempting to retain a licence. The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the League Against Cruel Sports have funded Labour Party coffers to the tune of more than £1.1m. These groups are set to receive massive sums of taxpayers' money to fight licence applications and continue their campaigns…. JON BURGESS, Malvern. (letter in archive)

Derby Evening Telegraph 17.2.03 TOO MUCH CRUELTY ON ANIMALS - Re Kay Chapman's letter (Opinion, February 5), I am no animal rights fanatic, but there is far too much worldwide cruelty of animals… I'm fed up reading about killing foxes in the name of sport… Even fishing is dangerous to other wildlife. Anglers don't clear up. They leave hooks, lines, nets, rubbish for other animals to be injured or killed… Mr B. Flood, Barden Drive, Allestree (letter)
Derby Evening Telegraph 5.2.03 BILL MAY NOT SPARE THE ROD! - Every week I read, with interest, the letters page and the "anti" brigade's lack of understanding of the Hunting Bill in its present form and the repercussions for all other field sports… If angling was tested against the "least suffering" and "utility" definition in the Hunting Bill, most forms would fail, and there are increasingly real threats to fishing from animal rights activists… Animal rights fanatics will not stop at hunting. They already have angling in their sights. Kay Chapman, East Midlands regional director, Countryside Alliance. (letter)


Western Morning News 15.2.03 HARE HUNTING TO BE BANNED IN NEW BILL - NATHAN PYNN Mps could vote to ban the ancient tradition of hare hunting after an amendment was made to the controversial Hunting Bill…. One hunt which is under threat is Taw Vale Beagles in Witheridge, near Tiverton in North Devon. Kennelsman Harry Higgs said: "It's not just my livelihood that'll go but my home as well because I live on site. I've been hunting hares for more than 30 years and I know that it is necessary as part of pest control. I do not like these politicians telling us how to run our countryside when they know nothing about it."… (story)

Telegraph 15.2.03 Peterborough Edited by Charlie Methven - The Friends of Alun - More on the hectic social life of Alun Michael, the Labour minister dealing so impartially with the Government's anti-hunting Bill… On Thursday night in the Commons, Michael met John Rolls, the RSPCA's director of communications, Phyllis Campbell-McRae, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Doug Batchelor, head of the League Against Cruel Sports…. (story)
Telegraph 13.2.03 Peterborough Edited by Charlie Methven - Hunting Bill minister wines and dines RSPCA … Peterborough was intrigued this week to spot Alun Michael enjoying dinner at Shepherd's, one of Westminster's swankier restaurants, with the RSPCA's controversial chief executive, Jackie Ballard…. Defra, I learn, actually footed the bill for the dinner, which was also attended by Richard Ryder, the chairman of the RSPCA's council. "This is bizarre," says shadow countryside minister James Gray. "The notion of the taxpayer paying for Jackie Ballard to stuff her face at Shepherd's is disgraceful. Of course, the Labour Party received £1 million from animal rights groups, so perhaps they're owed a few good meals."… (story)


Telegraph 14.2.03 MPs vote to outlaw hare hunting By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - MPs voted last night to ban the ancient sport of hare hunting with hounds… in an amendment to the Government's Hunting Bill. In a vote which led to allegations that the Government had "lost control", Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, declined to vote in defence of his Bill…
Around dawn, about 100 members of the Real CA, radical pro-hunt supporters linked to the Countryside Alliance, gathered around the Angel of the North. Two riggers climbed the 65ft sculpture while supporters held guide ropes to unveil a 130ft long and 30ft high red banner which reads "Love hunting. Join our war". (story)
Times 14.2.03 MPs agree to ban hare hunting BY VALERIE ELLIOTT THE ancient sport of hare hunting, favoured by leading public schools and the military, is to be banned after a vote yesterday by MPs… Hunting supporters were angry that Mr Michael had not argued against the inclusion of hare hunting, when in his original Bill he believed that it could be subject to registration… (story)


Western Morning News 11.2.03 Third chance - I DON'T believe it either, J H Perriam… The fox has a third "chance" and that is to be left alone to live his entitled existence to the full and not be hounded to his death by a bunch of hooligans on horseback. J Pope Plymouth (letter)
Western Morning News 4.2.03 No comparison - I DON'T believe it. How can Richard Wilson and his friends (WMN, January 21), equate fox hunting with bear baiting, cock fighting, badger baiting and dog fighting?... Perhaps these people would rather the fox was trapped, poisoned, or shot at, and so suffer the lingering death that these methods induce. J H Perriam Otterton, Salterton (letter)
Manchester Evening News 23.1.03 Hunting call - Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Andrew Sachs, Chris Packham, Mark Radcliffe, Suzanne Dando, Clare Francis (letter)
Western Morning News 21.1.03 CRUEL SPORT OUGHT TO BE BANISHED TO HISTORY BOOKS - Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Andrew Sachs, Chris Packham, Mark Radcliffe (Radio 1), Suzanne Dando, Claire Francis (letter)
South Wales Evening Post 18.1.03 WRITE TO MPS TO BAN HUNTS - Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Andrew Sachs, Chris Packham, Mark Radcliffe (Radio 1), Suzanne Dando, Clare Francis (letter)
Bolton Evening News 17.1.03 Follow Scots over hunting - Richard Wilson, Annette Crosbie, Andrew Sachs, Chris Packham, Mark Radcliffe (Radio One), Suzanne Dando, Clare Francis. (letter in archive)
The Sentinel (Stoke on Trent) 14.1.03 BADGER YOUR MPS TO BAN HUNTING - MPs are currently debating the new Hunting Bill in Parliament. The Bill does not ban fox hunting but merely licenses it. We are opposed to this cruel sport and would like to see it consigned to the history books…. please write to your MP… RICHARD WILSON AND ANNETTE CROSBIE (letter)


Telegraph 8.2.03 Hunting Bill 'threatens the sport of shooting' By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Shooting and gamekeeping bodies and pro-shooting MPs warned yesterday that their sport was at risk from proposed amendments to the Hunting Bill to be debated next week. The amendments, brought by Michael Foster, Labour MP for Worcester and sponsor of a previous anti-hunting Bill, would ban the use of terriers below ground by gamekeepers and any use of dogs between March 1 and Nov 30…. Mr Foster is also seeking to bring about a ban on all forms of hunting below 500 metres above sea level - effectively a ban on all lowland and much upland hunting as foxes are often killed lower down than they are found…. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation said it had yet to receive clarification from Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, on a number of matters - including the number of dogs that could be used in the beating line… Charles Nodder, of the National Gamekeepers' Organisation, said preventing registered gamekeepers from controlling foxes with dogs from March 1 to Nov 30 would cause problems in the breeding season for all ground-nesting birds… (story)

Western Morning News 8.2.03 'LET DEER HUNTING PUT ITS CASE TO A TRIBUNAL' A demand that deer hunting should be allowed to put its case to a tribunal in the same way that is proposed for other forms of hunting has been made by Exmoor and District Deer Management Society. The demand was unanimously supported at a packed meeting of the Deer Management Society held in South Molton Assembly Rooms this week… Alison Hawes, of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We have known of the strength of feeling on this issue all along…" (story)
Western Morning News 7.2.03 A DISAPPEARING SIGHT? - This magnificent sight of an Exmoor red deer stag is an image in danger of disappearing, a meeting heard last night. Around 200 people with an interest in protecting the future of the deer herds on Exmoor and the Quantocks, and near Tiverton, heard a ban on hunting could put the deer in peril. … (story)
Western Morning News 7.2.03 HUNT BAN MAY SPELL END FOR DEER HERD - MARK CLOUGH - Red deer numbers in their Westcountry stronghold could plummet as a result of a ban on hunting, it was claimed last night… an extraordinary meeting of the Exmoor and District Deer Management Society was warned last night that a ban could see numbers drop by ten per cent a year…. Society chairman Hugh Thomas said if that if deer numbers in the Exmoor area were to be controlled by shooting alone, it was clear that ??? at least in the first few years of a ban ??? more deer would be injured by wounding than were currently accounted for by hunting in the Exmoor and Tiverton hunting countries… Last night's meeting was addressed by a number of people, including the president of the Countryside Alliance, Baroness Mallalieu… Robin Venner, chairman of the Tiverton Staghounds, said it was important that the campaign against the Hunting Bill continued… Edmund Marriage, of British Wildlife Management, said after the meeting that a scientific appraisal showed hunting was more humane that other culling methods…. (story)


Llantwit Major Gem 7.2.03 RSPCA calling for a total ban on hunting with dogs - Kate Jones, Brecon (RSPCA Manager for Wales) (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 14.1.03 RSPCA is turncoat on hunting issue - The RSPCA used to support the practice of fox hunting and indeed, hunts used to collect a "cap" for the society at their meets years ago. Now it seems the society has turned from being an animal welfare organisation to a political lobby group as it urges people to write to their MPs (Star, December 27) to call for a ban on hunting…. I would suggest that the RSPCA might not be in its present financial difficulties if, instead of spending millions on campaigns against hunting, it had concentrated on the relief of animals more deserving of their funds WF Kerswell Church Stretton (letter in archive)
Barry Gem 10.1.03 RSPCA calling for a total ban on hunting with dogs - Kate Jones, Brecon (RSPCA Manager for Wales) (letter)
Leicester Mercury 10.1.03 MANIPULATED BY EXTREMISTS Two recent letters from officers of the RSPCA asked for support for their petitions to get the current Hunting With Dogs Bill changed by MPs from a partial ban to a complete ban… There is no evidence to suggest that hunting with dogs is any more cruel than any other legal method of control…. Perhaps there should be an inquiry into whether the RSPCA should lose its status as a charity on the grounds that it is has become a political lobbying organisation. Ian Kilgour, Thurcaston (letter)
Bucks Free Press 10.1.03 Compromising a fox's welfare MR Hancock of the RSPCA in Leicester (December 28 letter) claims I think he feels, decisively that there can be no compromise on cruelty….The matter is, of course, complicated (the Burns Report ran to 223 pages) but the above extracts do, I think, give a good indication that the "cruelty" issue is not, in fact, as straightforward as Mr Hancock suggested. M Wilson Sprigs Holly Lane Radnage (letter)
Kent/Sussex Courier 10.1.03 PUSHING FOR BAN ON FOX-HUNTING Richard McCrow RSPCA South East regional manager (letter)
The Citizen (Preston) 9.1.03 Urge MPs to ban hunting Kay Brandist, RSPCA North West regional manager, Oldham (letter in archive)
The Citizen (Preston) 3.1.03 Urge MPs to ban hunting Kay Brandist, RSPCA North West regional manager, Oldham (letter in archive)
Richmond & Twickenham Times 31.12.02 Tally ho foxes! I see that we have another outbreak of fox worshipping in the letters page of the Richmond And Twickenham Times (December 20th). We have Roy Leason of the RSPCA telling us the evils of fox hunting, but conveniently forgetting to mention that if fox hunting is banned, foxes will still be killed by some other method… England must be a country singularly free of cruelty towards animals, since it seems that the RSPCA has nothing better to do with its time than persecute an eccentric minority following an arcane country sport and killing an animal that is going to be killed anyway… Then we have Arthur Smith waxing lyrical about the joys of feeding foxes, as if the little horrors weren't capable of feeding themselves… If they started a hunt in Richmond I'd join it tomorrow except I don't have a horse… Louise O'Connor, Vancouver Road, Ham. (letter)
Lewisham News Shopper 30.12.02 Get your MPs to vote for ban on all hunting RICHARD McCROW RSPCA south east regional manager (letter)
Argus 28.12.02 Future history - Richard McCrow, South East Regional Manager, RSPCA (letter in archive)
Derby Evening Telegraph 28.12.02 RSPCA IN PLEA FOR BAN VOTES - John Hancock, RSPCA regional manager, Leicester (letter)
Western Gazette 27.12.02 RSPCA SEEKS HELP TO GET HUNTING BANNED - Rob Dazely, RSPCA regional manager, PO Box 6047, Basingstoke. (letter)
Bolton Evening News 27.12.02 Total ban is the target Kay Brandist RSPSC North West Regional Manager Oldham (letter in archive)
Shropshire Star 27.12.02 RSPCA in hunt ban help call - Stephen Mulholland, Regional Manager RSPCA (letter in archive)
Chester Chronicle 27.12.02 THE Government has introduced a new Hunting Bill. As it stands, this Bill will outlaw some forms of hunting with dogs - such as hare coursing and deer hunting - but foxhunting is likely to continue… STEPHEN MULHOLLAND Regional manager, RSPCA (letter)
Wiltshire Gazette & Herald 24.12.02 Time for hunt ban Rob Dazely Regional manager, RSPCA (letter in archive)
Leicester Mercury 24.12.02 TIME TO CONSIGN CRUEL SPORT TO HISTORY BOOKS - John Hancock RSPCA manager (letter)
Worcester Evening News 24.12.02 MPs must amend Bill - STEPHEN MULHOLLAND, Regional Manager, RSPCA (letter in archive)
Leicester Mercury 21.12.02 LOBBY MPS FOR HUNT BAN Stephen Mulholland, RSPCA regional manager (letter)
Sutton/Croydon Advertiser 20.12.02 Write for a complete ban ROY LEASON RSPCA London Regional Manager (letter)
Wiltshire Times 20.12.02 Who should we protect ROB DAZELY, RSPCA Regional Manager (letter in archive)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 20.12.02 Time to consign hunting to history Rob Dazely regional manager, RSPCA (letter in archive)
York Evening Press 18.12.02 Help ban hunting Alan Wolinski, RSPCA Regional Manager Yorkshire and North East, Leeds… (letter in archive)
Cumberland News & Star 17.12.02 THE CASE FOR A BLANKET BAN - KAY BRANDIST, RSPCA North West Regional Manager, Oldham (letter)
North West Evening Mail 17.12.02 DO NOT COMPROMISE ON CRUELTY - KAY BRANDIST RSPCA North West Regional Manager, Oldham (letter)
Hartlepool Mail 16.12.02 Press for a total ban on hunting - Alan Wolinski, RSPCA regional manager, Yorkshire and the North East (letter)
South Cheshire Chronicles 16.12.02 THE Government has introduced a new Hunting Bill… KAY BRANDIST RSPCA North West Regional Manager, Oldham (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 16.12.02 WRITE FOR TOTAL BAN The Government has introduced a new Hunting Bill… Jonathan Silk, RSPCA South West (letter)
Western Daily Press 14.12.02 HUNTING BILL SHOULD OUTLAW FOX-HUNTING - The government has introduced a new hunting bill… The RSPCA believes this will allow thousands of animals to continue to suffer and is pushing for a total ban on all hunting with dogs… Please write to your MP today… Jonathan Silk, regional manager, RSPCA South West (letter)
Northern Echo 14.12.02 FOX HUNTING: THE Government has introduced a new Hunting Bill… Alan Wolinski, Regional Manager, RSPCA, North Yorkshire and the North-East (letter in archive)
Chingford Guardian 13.12.02 Let's have a total ban on hunting THE Government has introduced a new Hunting Bill. As it stands, this Bill will outlaw some forms of hunting with dogs… but fox hunting is likely to continue in certain areas. The RSPCA… is pushing for a total ban on all hunting with dogs. To achieve this, MPs must vote to amend the Bill and we need your help…. ROY LEASON, RSPCA London Regional Manager. (letter)

Bradford Telegraph & Argus 7.2.03 SIR - Should the members of the House of Lords, in the extremity of their patrician dotage, see fit to reject the Bill to ban fox-hunting, I suppose the unspeakable will remain free to pursue the uneatable in the name of "sport" and countryside cleansing… Derek Mozley, Moorhead Terrace, Shipley. (letter in archive)


Western Morning News 5.2.03 DISMAY AT MINK HUNTING 'U-TURN' - NATHAN PYNN - Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has indicated that while he intends to ban fox and stag hunting, chasing and killing mink with dogs could be allowed to continue. A study submitted by Mr Michael during the committee stage of the Government's Hunting Bill, argued that there was a strong case for allowing mink hunting to continue as a form of pest control… Ivor Annetts, spokesman for the League, said trapping mink was the most desirable form of controlling them… Thelma Baker, secretary of the Culmstock Minkhounds, one of only two operating in the Westcountry, said hunting minks was a "proven way of effective pest control"…. Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, who is against any ban and sits on the committee, said: "If mink hunting is going to be allowed to continue along the lines of it being humane and the only feasible way of controlling the mink population then we can argue that stag hunting on Exmoor should be allowed to continue because the only other alternative is to shoot them…" (story)
Telegraph 3.2.03 Hounds may be the only way to deal with mink By Charles Clover, Environment Editor - Mink hounds could be the only way of eradicating mink from places where they are threatening birds or water voles with extinction, a study has found… The study was conducted last autumn in the Outer Hebrides, where introduced American mink have become a serious predator of ground-nesting birds. Nine hounds from the Border Counties mink hounds were used in the experiment, in an area of south Uist, Benbecula and North Uist… (story)


Western Mail 4.2.03 Vigil against hunt reform - THE wives and families of rural workers whose livelihoods depend on hunting will stage a 48-hour vigil as the Hunting Bill receives its Third Reading in the House of Commons in early March. Families for Hunting has been formed by women furious that MPs have ignored the effect the legislation would have on their homes and families. Spokeswoman, Lindsay Hill said, "In its present form the Hunting Bill is a ban in all but name…" (story)


Chester Chronicle 31.1.03 RICHARD Burge, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, is saying he will fight the Government Bill on hunting(Chronicle, January 17, 'Alliance chief tofight all the way to save hunting'). I do find it interesting that he is not willing to fight for better transport and a lot more in rural areas… ANTHONY DACKO Address supplied (letter)
Chester Chronicle 17.1.03 Alliance chief to fight all the way to save hunting By David Holmes, Chester Chronicle - THE leader of a campaign group which champions the rural way of life told members he would fight the Government's Bill on hunting every inch of the way. Richard Burge, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, was addressing a 400-strong gathering at Chester Racecourse comprising people from Cheshire, Lancashire, North Wales, Merseyside and Greater Manchester…. Mr Burge, a Labour Party member, said the Bill as currently worded would be fought tooth and nail. He claimed public opinion polls had swung dramatically to show those in favour of a hunting ban were now in a clear minority…. (story)


Western Morning News 30.1.03 ANTI-HUNT GROUPS MAY GET GOVERNMENT CASH - NATHAN PYNN …The Countryside Alliance is claiming that Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has paved the way for anti-hunt groups such as the RSPCA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the League Against Cruel Sports to be paid to oppose applications under the proposed registration system outlined in the Hunting Bill… Mal Treharne political spokesman for the Countryside Alliance in the South West, said: "It is outrageous that organisations which have long argued against hunting with dogs could end up receiving thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money to carry on their campaign…" Peter Anderson, South West spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, accused the Countryside Alliance of "diverting the argument"…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 31.1.03 Point-to-point in danger of disastrous fall - The racecard for the point-to-point meeting at Kilvington, near Thirsk, takes some beating as a snapshot of the British Empire as at April 1, 1911…This year, however, probably marks their end, at least in the present format. Whatever the Hunting with Dogs Bill finally looks like after its bumpy ride through Parliament, it's expected to reduce drastically the number of foxhunts. That, in turn, will leave point-to-points as another casualty because they exist as a means of raising funds for the hunts which organise them, and most are held on land whose owners support hunting and have no other incentive… Without the Sinnington, Derwent, West of Yore, Holderness, Middleton, Bedale, Cleveland, Staintondale, Badsworth & Bramham Moor, Bilsdale, York & Ainsty, Zetland, and the rest to sustain them, the future looks bleak for one of the foundation stones of racing… (story)


Western Daily Press 29.1.03 RIDDLE OF £1M DONATION TO LABOUR 'FOR HUNT BAN' - Tony Blair was last night urged to come clean on claims he was given £1million in return for a promise to ban hunting. Senior West Tory James Gray said Downing Street must provide answers on the political donation from the Political Animal Lobby (PAL) in 1997. The North Wiltshire MP, who is shadow minister for the countryside, acted after getting a letter from former Tory Euro-MP Stanley Johnson… Mr Johnson a well-known environmentalist, is an adviser to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) which has led the campaign against hunting…. (story)

Telegraph 29.1.03 Hunting Bill 'would offer £1m refund' By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent - Animal rights activists who donated £1 million to the Labour Party could receive state funding under the Hunting Bill, the Conservatives claimed yesterday. James Gray, the shadow rural affairs minister, said that an "extraordinarily sleazy" clause in the Bill would allow the Government to "repay" a donation made before the 1997 election… He claimed that the Political Animal Lobby was a subsidiary of International Fund for Animal Welfare and that it made its £1 million donation to Labour in return for a promise that the party would do something about hunting… "Not only is the minister now giving them what they have asked for, but by this extraordinarily sleazy clause in the Bill, he's undertaking to repay money to the people who have given them this money," he said…. (story)

Times 29.1.03 Labour accused of sleaze over anti-hunt money BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR - THE Government was accused yesterday of sleaze over a plan to give taxpayers’ money to animal welfare groups. James Gray, Conservative Rural Affairs spokesman, suggested that powers in the Hunting Bill to give money to anti-hunt groups to challenge hunt applications were “payback time” for a £1 million donation received by Labour before its 1997 election victory… The Conservative Party and the Countryside Alliance are angered by powers in the Hunting Bill for the Government to give unspecified cash sums to animal welfare organisations to mount objections to the proposed Hunt Registrar about any hunt or hunts supporter applying to continue the activity in their area… Mr Gray, using the protection of parliamentary privilege, named Peter Mandelson, Labour MP and former Cabinet Minister, and Jonathan Powell, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, of doing a deal for the donation in return for the inclusion of hunting in Labour’s 1997 election manifesto… He raised the issue after receiving a letter from Stanley Johnson, a former Tory MEP and environmentalist. Mr Johnson, father of the Tory MP Boris Johnson, is also an adviser to IFAW and in his letter discloses that he was told about the £1 million donation and the involvement of Mr Mandelson and Mr Powell in a call from an IFAW official…. (story)

Ryedale Gazette & Herald 29.1.03 Protest plans - THE Countryside Alliance and the Council of Hunting Associations have announced "upscaled" protest plans, including national advertising campaigns. It's a response to the outcome of the hunting bill's key committee stage last week. The two groups accused rural affairs minister Alun Michael of "surrendering to expediency"…. (story in archive)


Gloucester Citizen or Gloucestershire Echo 25.1.03 'BETRAYAL' BLAST AT MINISTER ON NEW HUNT LAWS - Pro-hunting campaigners are plotting a series of renewed protests against Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael's controversial Hunting Bill. The Countryside Alliance, which has several thousand members in Gloucestershire, has announced it is planning a series of further demonstrations and activities, claiming Mr Michael has "betrayed" them with his new legislation… The Alliance says it is developing plans for: n An advertising campaign in broadcast and print media putting the case for hunting. n "Exposing" Government mishandling of its hunting consultation period…. Mr Jackson added: "We are urging all who support fairness and social justice to make clear their own disgust at the way that the Minister and the House of Commons are riding roughshod over a decent rural minority…. (story)

Telegraph 25.1.03 Hunting broken promises - Parliamentary proceedings on the hunting Bill have gone far enough to show that Labour MPs who have determined from the start to make foxhunting virtually impossible are getting their way…. abour MPs have persuaded the minister to accept amendments in standing committee that virtually restrict hunting to purposes of pest control. So much for the undertakings given by Alun Michael, the minister in charge of the Bill, in the protracted negotiations that preceded its drafting. They turn out to have been a ritual dance, and valueless….Kate Hoey, the pro-hunting Labour MP, declares that the Government is deliberately misleading the public about the future of those sports. In the light of what is happening to the hunting Bill, that rings true (story)


Eastern Daily Press 23.1.03 Hunt demo charges dropped - Charges were dropped yesterday against a Norfolk farming student who was arrested after an angry demonstration in London over the controversial Hunting Bill. George Todhunter Bramley, 20, from Gillingham, near Beccles, said last night he was "extremely relieved" to learn that no further action would be taken against him…. the Crown Prosecution Service in London confirmed: "Mr Bramley's case has been discontinued because it would not be in the public's interest to continue it."… Suffolk vet David Dugdale, from Freckenham, near Mildenhall, is charged with using threatening words and behaviour. His case is due to be heard at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on February 21 (story)
Melton Times 16.1.03 PRO-HUNT MAN'S PROTEST ORDEAL …Marcus Wright (28), a salesman of 7 Fernie Avenue, Melton, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during a demonstration outside Westminster on December 16 last year as MPs debated the controversial Hunting Bill. His charge was later reduced to obstructing a police officer and he was fined £50 at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London on Monday… Mr Wright, who attended four other demonstrations last year and saw no sign of trouble, said despite his arrest the protest was peaceful and his alleged assault was a misunderstanding…. He added: "It was only a push I was charged with. In my mind it was unnecessary for what we have gone through…." Mr Wright joined the protest with two colleagues from the Derbyshire Beagles… He said there was a party atmosphere among the 3,000- strong crowd and said even when the crowds broke through the barriers as people strained to see the MPs arrive, there was no trouble between the protesters and police. But, he said, when back-up officers arrived the police started pushing the crowd back behind the barriers. It was then when Mr Wright was alleged to have pushed one of the officers… (story in archive) (photo)
Western Morning News 14.1.03 HUNT SUPPORTER ADMITS OFFENCE …Salesman Marcus Wright, 28, of Fernie Avenue, Melton, charged with assaulting a police officer… The charge was replaced with a lesser offence of obstructing a police officer, which he admitted yesterday at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London… The joint-huntsman with the Derbyshire Beagles said: "I was told I could go to jail for a month." (story)
Yorkshire Post 7.1.03 No penalty for hunt protester … David Sherwood, 46, from Whittonstall, Northumberland, was "verbally hostile and aggressive" during last month's protest over the Government's controversial hunting bill, Bow Street magistrates in London were told…. Sherwood pleaded guilty. Representing himself, he said from the dock: "I'm sorry." Magistrates imposed no penalty and conditionally discharged him for 12 months…. (story)
Newcastle Journal 7.1.03 Drunken pro-hunt supporter says sorry - A drunken kennel worker who swore and shouted at police officers during a demonstration outside of the Houses of Parliament escaped a penalty yesterday after he apologised in court. David Sherwood, 46, from Whittonstall, Northumberland, was conditionally discharged without penalty… Alan Chapman, master of the hunt at the Braes of Derwent where David Sherwood works, said yesterday: "No one condones taking the law into their own hands, but a lot of people, not just David, have said the police were a bit heavy handed that day…." (story)
Times 24.12.02 Pro-hunt protesters are granted bail BY STEVE BIRD - TWO pro-hunting protesters appeared before magistrates yesterday in connection with violent scenes during demonstrations in London… David Dugdale, 41, a veterinary surgeon from Freckenham, Suffolk, pleaded not guilty at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court to using threatening words and behaviour. Marcus Wright, 28, a salesman from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, is charged with assaulting a police officer and obstructing the highway… (story)
Telegraph 24.12.02 Hunt supporter could not afford fare to court By Richard Alleyne … David Sherwood, a 46-year-old kennelman from Whittonstall, Northumberland, was charged with being drunk and disorderly. He failed to appear in court but had written to the clerk explaining that he was unable to afford the travel costs. Christopher Pratt, the district judge, accepted the reason and bailed Sherwood to re-appear on Jan 6… Three other men charged during the disturbance last Monday were also granted unconditional bail at the hearing at Bow Street magistrates' court in central London…. (story)
Western Daily Press 24.12.02 FOUR WIN BAIL OVER HUNTING PROTEST - Four men charged after a demonstration outside Parliament over the Hunting Bill were bailed yesterday… (story)
Cambridge News 24.12.02 Vet's demo court date - A VET has denied using threatening words and behaviour during a demonstration in London against the Government's Hunting Bill. David Dugdale, of North Street, Freckenham, near Newmarket, is one of four men facing charges arising from the protest outside Parliament earlier this month… >(story)


Telegraph 22.1.03 New deal increases threat to hunting By Benedict Brogan, Political Correspondent - The Government was accused of letting political expediency decide the fate of the Hunting Bill last night after MPs backed a deal that could take the sport a step closer to extinction. Ministers accepted a proposal to tighten further the definition of the kind of hunting that would be allowed to continue under a new system of regulation being debated by the Commons…. in a compromise agreed behind the scenes by Alun Michael, the minister responsible for the Bill, the scheme was approved only after he accepted an amendment from anti-hunt MPs that restricts hunting solely to pest control purposes…. John Jackson, the chairman of the Countryside Alliance, will announce a toughening of the group's strategy today, in response to the Government's concession to the anti-hunt lobby. (story)


Daily Post 21.1.03 AMs 'should control hunting' - MPs will today be asked to give the Welsh Assembly control over fox hunting. A Bill to allow hunting to continue under licence is in its committee stage in the House of Commons. Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams, who sits on the committee, has proposed an amendment to the Bill which would see Cardiff Bay oversee the licensing system… He claimed the experience of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, showed Cardiff was more in tune with rural Wales than the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London…. (story)


Daily Post 20.1.03 Pressure put on MPs voting on hunting bill - HUNT supporters are to lobby Welsh MPs who are presiding over the Government's Bill to regulate the sport. The Countryside Alliance (CA) has published a list of Welsh politicians who are sitting on the committee overseeing the Hunting Bill… (story)


Guardian 17.1.03 Bill would ban fox hunting for sport - Patrick Wintour - The government's hunting bill was significantly toughened by Labour MPs yesterday when they voted that hunts will only be allowed if they are needed to control pests. A further amendment, expected to be passed on Tuesday by the standing committee scrutinising the bill, would only permit hunts to go ahead if it can be shown there is no less cruel form of pest control available… (story)

Grimsby Telegraph 17.1.03 'SPORT' IS NOT 'NORMAL' - Simon Hart, director of the Campaign for Hunting, raises several issues in his letter which need to be addressed… His assertion that hunting, or more to the point, killing for pleasure, is a "normal activity" when all the evidence points to the fact that it is practised by the few, to the abhorrence of the many, discounts his theory… Pat Wickham, North Street, Caistor (story)
The Shields Gazette 8.1.03 A cruel tradition - I HOPE Simon Hart, director for the Campaign for Hunting, enjoyed his Boxing Day tradition of running down with horse and hounds poor defenceless animals, as hopefully it will be his last… Mr J. Connolly, Devon Road, Hebburn (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 6.1.03 WHAT ABOUT OTHER PESTS? So, Mr Hart thinks that hunting is normal (Viewpoint, December 31)…. It's no wonder we are seeing more foxes in towns. Are we going to see the blood-thirsty hunting fraternity galloping down our streets next?... L Storey, Grimsby. (Full address supplied). (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 6.1.03 HUNTING IS NOT A NORMAL HOBBY - In his letter ("Banning hunting is not the answer", Open Lines, December 30), Simon Hart states that hunting is a "normal activity." It is certainly not for millions of people, who believe chasing animals to a violent death just for pleasure is inhumane…. L Blake, Southmead Road, Filton (letter)
Worcester Evening News 3.1.03 Bill is not the answer - SIMON HART, Director, Campaign for Hunting (letter in archive)
Northern Echo 3.1.03 FOXHUNTING - IN reply to Simon Hart (HAS, Dec 24) I say that the vast majority of people in Britain do not regard hunting with dogs as a normal activity…. R White, South Bank (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Evening Post 3.1.03 Regarding your letter from pro-huntsman, Simon Hart (YEP Dec 24) – may I say that in reply to his last paragraph hoping for a just and reasonable conclusion, I would hope he includes my namesake, the fox, in this. R FOX, Yeadon, Leeds 19 (letter)
The Shields Gazette 31.12.02 Boxing Day tradition Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting. (letter)
Grimsby Telegraph 31.12.02 NORMAL ACTIVITY - Simon Hart Director, Campaign for Hunting. (letter)
Bristol Evening Post 30.12.02 BANNING HUNTING IS NOT THE ANSWER - Onboxing Day this year several hundred thousand people will have gone along and seen their local hunt…. Hunting is a normal activity engaged in by several hundred thousand ordinary men and women. Making it a criminal offence is not the answer to this long-running saga and would benefit no one…. Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting. (letter)
Edinburgh Evening News 26.12.02 Let's not shoot down tradition - Simon Hart Director, Campaign for Hunting (letter)
Swindon Evening Advertiser 26.12.02 Making it criminal is not the answer - Simon Hart Director Campaign for Hunting (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Post 26.12.02 Traditional scene threatened by ban From: Simon Hart, director, Campaign for Hunting, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London (letter)
Northern Echo 24.12.02 FOXHUNTING - Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting. (letter in archive)
Yorkshire Evening Post 24.12.02 Fox hunters prepare for a worrying time - Simon Hart, Director, Campaign for Hunting (letter)
Western Daily Press 23.12.02 LET'S FIND A SOLUTION TO BATTLE OVER HUNTING - On Boxing Day this year, several hundred thousand people will go along and see their local hunt. As ever, it will be a traditional scene involving ordinary people enjoying some Christmas spirit with their friends… Hunting is a normal activity engaged in by several hundred thousand ordinary men and women. Making it a criminal offence is not the answer to this long-running saga and would benefit no-one….Simon Hart Director Campaign For Hunting (letter)


North West Evening Mail 11.1.03 BOFFIN SAYS BILL WILL HIT FARMERS - AN eminent academic has claimed the government's controversial Hunting Bill could also ban farming to produce meat, eggs and fish. In a paper sent to MPs considering the legislation, highly-respected Dr Douglas Wise criticised the government's twin tests of utility and cruelty…. (story)

Yorkshire Post 11.1.03 Debate war, not foxhunting - Martin Wilcock, Meersbrook Road, Sheffield - Please could someone explain to me why is it that the Government can seem to find a considerable amount of time in both Chambers to debate the perceived evils of foxhunting, yet not an even greater evil of war with Iraq… (letter)


Telegraph 10.1.03 Hunt Bill's tests 'could ban meat from farms' By Charles Clover and Andrew Sparrow - Farming to produce meat, poultry, fish or eggs in addition to fishing and shooting would have to be banned if the tests enshrined in the Government's Hunting Bill were applied to other activities, a leading vet has told MPs. In a paper sent to MPs and peers for the second day of the Hunting Bill's committee stage yesterday, Dr Douglas Wise, a lecturer from Cambridge University, criticised the Bill's tests of "utility" and "least suffering" as likely to create legal precedents for other activities…. (story)

Exeter Express & Echo 10.1.03 MP'S FEARS OVER HUNTING BILL AMENDMENTS BY JOHN FLETCHER …Hugo Swire, Tory MP for East Devon, who supports hunting, is a member of a parliamentary commission working on the details of the Bill. He said he feared amendments put forward to make changes were likely to fail. He said the Devon economy stood to lose millions of pounds if the proposed ban on hare coursing and stag hunting became law. Fox hunting will be allowed only if hunts can justify it and satisfy a cruelty test…. (story)


Western Morning News 8.1.03 MPS PUT FINAL TOUCHES ON CRUCIAL HUNTING BILL - NATHAN PYNN - The Hunting Bill entered the latest stage of its passage onto the statute books when MPs met yesterday to discuss it in finer detail… Four of the Westcountry's MPs are sitting on the committee. Adrian Flook, Conservative MP for Taunton, Candy Atherton, Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, Andrew George, Lib-Dem MP for St Ives and Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon… Peter Anderson, South West spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports, said they were continuing to lobby MPs… "We took a Mori poll of people who attended the Liberty and Livelihood march in September and the vast majority of them were not there to support hunting…" (story)

Western Daily Press 8.1.03 ANTI-HUNTING VET BACKS BILL - A veterinary surgeon and staunch anti-hunting campaigner has unexpectedly backed the Government's compromise Bill. Bill Swann, the RSPCA's former chief vet, has written a letter to a specialist rural affairs committee…. (story)

Western Mail 8.1.03 Bill `unworkable' - GOVERNMENT plans to regulate fox hunting would be "bureaucratic and unworkable," a Conservative MP warned yesterday. James Gray, who sits for North Wiltshire, was speaking on the first day of the committee stage in the Commons… (story)

North Wales Pioneer 8.1.03 HUNT BILL BACKING EXPLAINED - ANTI-hunting MP, Betty Williams, has backed the latest version of the hunting bill in the House of Commons - despite not agreeing with its measures…. (story in archive)


Guardian 7.1.03 Fox hunting bill backed by RSPCA's former chief vet - A veterinary surgeon who has been a longstanding opponent of fox hunting has unexpectedly endorsed the government's compromise of limiting a ban to those hunts that are deemed cruel or to have no utility. The endorsement of the government's bill by Bill Swann, former chief vet to the RSPCA, comes in a letter to Paddy Tipping, a member of the Commons rural affairs select committee… Mr Swann states: "The cruelty and utility tests appear to be very high hurdles, and the fact that at every stage animal welfare bodies will be entitled to contest the hunts' evidence and when necessary exercise their open right of appeal make them very substantial." (story)

Worcester Evening News 7.1.03 MPs lock horns over hunting - WORCESTERSHIRE MPs on both sides of the hunting debate were preparing to lock horns in Westminster this morning… the legislation has received an unexpected endorsement from Bill Swann, former RSPCA vet…. (story in archive)
Cumberland News & Star 7.1.03 HUNTING BILL MPS MEET - A COMMITTEE of MPs will today meet for the first time to begin shaping the Government's controversial hunting bill. Anti-hunting campaigner and Carlisle MP Eric Martlew is sitting on the 32-strong committee which will help decide future proposals to severely restrict hunting with dogs… (story)


Cumberland News & Star 4.1.03 MP MARTLEW TO HELP SHAPE ANTI-HUNT BILL - CARLISLE MP Eric Martlew is heading for angry clashes with pro-hunt politicians after being selected to play a key role in shaping the Government's controversial Hunting Bill… Mr Martlew said the Ullswater, Melbreak and Blencathra hunts created "artificial earths" - places for foxes to live…. (story)


Newark Advertiser 3.1.03 Wrong priority - The leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council has chosen to influence MPs on the matter of fox-hunting. The primary function of the council is to concentrate on local concerns. For example, lobbying the Government on the under-funding of police and education in Nottinghamshire, congestion on our roads and the dismantling of our rural communities. It is the place of constituents to lobby our MPs, who listen to us, and not the council, which does not… M. J. TINSLEY, Hargon Lane, Winthorpe (letter may be on website for only a week)
Newark Advertiser 20.12.02 Council wants hunt ban By PATRICK HILL …Members of Newark and Sherwood District Council were given a free vote on a fox hunting debate on Tuesday. Councillors voted 25 to 19 in favour of asking the MP for Newark, Mr Patrick Mercer, and the MP for Sherwood, Mr Paddy Tipping, to vote for a ban on hunting when Parliament debates the issue. Six members abstained… Mr Andy Freeman (Lab) who proposed the motion, said there was no moral justification for fox hunting…. Mrs Nora Armstrong (Con) said 188 jobs would be lost in the Newark and Sherwood district if Parliament voted to ban hunting… She was supported by Mr Bruce Laughton (Con). He said, as a former member of the Grove and Rufford Hunt, he was in favour of fox hunting… (story may only be on website for a week)