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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 November 2005, 14:38 GMT
Is the fox hunting ban working?
Huntsman holds up fox after it was shot in the South Durham Hunt, near Sedgefield, earlier this year
The first fox hunting season has begun since a ban on using dogs in England and Wales was introduced, but campaigners claim the laws are being flouted.

Thousands of people are expected to participate in around 200 hunts across the country to hunt within the law.

Anti-hunt campaigners will also be out. The League Against Cruel Sports says 40% of hunts have broken the law, although the Countryside Alliance dismissed its report and said public support for the ban is falling.

Is the fox hunting ban working? Have you been out to hunt or to protest? Send us your comments and experiences.


The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

The law still makes my blood boil, it really does. Utterly unenforceable, badly worded, and another example of this government's nanny state liberty-taking policies. A whole rural industry (and more people than just toffs on horses are affected) is destroyed for what? No foxes will be saved and many will die more inhumane deaths as a result of poor shooting?
Ben, Edinburgh, Scotland

It was a law designed to win votes from those who really do not care for any type of freedom, heritage, tradition or liberties. New Labour is, and always will be, a by-word for "if its old and traditional - ban it or regulate it." Why should people who live in the cities dictate to those who live in the country?
Chris, Norfolk

I think fox hunting is disgusting but the ban is more political than anything else
Mike, Neath
I think fox hunting is disgusting but the ban is more political than anything else. Labour just want to ban everything - from fox hunting to off-road driving and even kiteboarding. Not to mention smoking and everything else. Instead of tackling crime they seem to think more laws are the answer - they introduced over 3,000 last year alone - surely common sense would be more important.
Mike, Neath

What on earth gives people the impression that they have the God-given right to terrorise animals in the name of "tradition" (but mostly some visceral thrill)? If foxes have to be killed, kill them humanely. Being chased over miles then ripped limb from limb wouldn't be tolerated in food production - why should these arrogant law-breakers flaunt it on the most spurious grounds?
Michael Nash, Chelmsford, England

Unfortunately, it is the 'antis' that seem to have little knowledge of nature and its conservation. Hunting with dogs, or not, is just part of the bigger picture. Conservation is necessary, and next time you do-gooders strike a ball on your golf course, spare a thought for the creatures that suffered as a result of a lost habitat... now that's awareness.
Tim, Cheshire

If it was boys on council estates setting their dogs on furry animals it would be banned without any fuss. Why is this any different? To all those who support it "because it's been going on for hundreds of years" - what about hanging, or burning at the stake? They went on for thousands of years. Should we bring those laws back too?
Charles, Sussex

The law has too many cruel loop holes. If there is a ban it should be enforced in the law courts. I am against hunting in any form if it is not for vital food. Hunting isn't a sport, it's a cruel way to cull animals from the land we have taken from them. Shooting animals only leads to mishaps and accidents. How would humans feel being hunted by noise and large animals ready to tear them to shreds?
Anne, Canada

From my understanding of the new law there was no direct ban, just extensive chaotic legislation blocking the civil liberties of rural people, forced onto the statute books by a hypocritical government. Now we face further unproven claims of hunt cruelty. Will Tony be banning cars next? Look at the roads, you'll see far more foxes smeared across them, or maimed and horrifically wounded by drivers than by all the hunts before or after the ban.
Ian, Ex-pat, Washington D.C.

Laws are being flagrantly disregarded and other law breakers would have charges pressed against them. The government and police need to work together to stamp this out. Whether I agree with hunting or not - it's illegal, and I would expect anyone breaking the law to be punished. This has gone beyond a moral argument and has become a select few breaking the law to protest it. This is not an "erosion of freedom" this is a protection of an animals rights. And hunting can continue without being a blood sport - I've been on many drag hunts and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Just because something is tradition doesn't mean it is right.
Jodie, Warrington, UK

I suspect the seeming shift towards public acceptance of hunting is just a result of people in the "Don't make a lovely day out of hunting down and killing an animal" camp are just happy that the government seems to be on their side, whilst those who enjoy this heartless pageantry are carping louder than ever. I thank the government for trying to eradicate this barbaric sport, and hope that they manage to strengthen the laws to make it clear this kind of thing is unacceptable in a civilised society.
Dan Norcott, Loughborough

Just because hunting has been done for hundreds of years it doesn't mean it is right. Slavery was done for thousands of years and that isn't right. The hunters should find something better to do!
Kesh, UK

Nice to see that the ban is totally in force and totally respected where it was first thought up. In the inner cities. However in the real world people just go about their business as usual I know here in South Wales the hunts have continued as usual.
James Clarke, UK

This law is the same as the one on using mobile phones when driving - totally unenforceable
Keith, Yeovil
This law is the same as the one on using mobile phones when driving, totally unenforceable! Unless we give the law enforcers enough manpower the only people who can monitor these events are vigilantes who are not viewing hunts from a impartial and balanced point of view. Conflicts are inevitable and will not help either side in the long run.
Keith, Yeovil

I have just seen a hunt out in the fields. I was just standing and watching when two huntsmen rode up to try and intimidate me. They are a disgrace - if they were wearing hoodies the police would be on them like a ton of bricks.
Mat, Wales

Of course motorcycling and rock climbing won't be banned; they don't sicken people. And please, this 'you don't understand our country ways' argument is now so cliched to become laughable.
Steve, UK

I think the ban on hunting should be enforced. People are not obeying the laws and the government doesn't seem to be doing anything about this. I don't understand how killing a defenceless animal can be entertaining? Why are hunters so desperate to disobey the law just to go out and kill an animal, haven't you got anything better to do with your lives? Fox hunting is a blood sport just like bear dancing and bull fighting, how would the fox hunters like it if the tables were turned and they were being chased across fields followed by a crowd of bloodthirsty hounds and people with shot guns?
Amy, Manchester

Every policeman or woman diverted to police this vindictive and mean-spirited ban is one less policeman on the streets able to protect citizens against the real crimes of murder, rape, theft and muggings that plague the nation.
Max, Stratford upon Avon

It just goes to show what a colossal waste of parliamentary time and abuse of the Parliament act the ban on hunting was. Several other important pieces of legislation were delayed just so the government could push through a bill allowing foxes to be killed by hawks or by guns? That rates as one of the most poorly written laws ever.
Peter, Aberdeen.

People are being killed in many cruel ways on the streets today. Why waste police resources on enforcing the law on an animal when it could be better spent on fighting crime on the streets? Every police officer that is away helping a fox is a less officer on the streets that could have prevented a murder.
Alvin, Manchester, UK

No, Long live Britain's real heritage and long live the hunts.
Martin, Bath, UK

The ban should be reversed and be made legal. Otherwise, it makes a mockery of our law system and our politicians, wasting their time on protecting foxes who can be killed anyway.
Dave Levinson, Durham

Just a few weeks after the ban on hunting, we spotted a deer in one of our back fields and when we got closer we saw it was wounded badly. So we called the hunt immediately, two men from the kennels came up and took one clean shot at it. They said they felt very sickened to see a animal suffering like that, because some lunatic had been taking pot shots at it with a gun! They explained that the animal would have lived a few more months but would have died a painful death with a wound infested with maggots. So for all the anti-hunters there, that's an example of what you call welfare. Without a overturned hunting act this will continue. Well done to all you people who think you doing the best for animal welfare because you're not - you are interfering in something you don't understand
Tom, Devon

The ban isn't being respected around here in Blisland, Cornwall. They are out with their yapping dogs, and the hunt followers are clogging-up the lanes the same as ever with their four by fours. So much for respecting the law.
F Hodges, Blisland Cornwall

It's a very bad law and there's something about the do-gooder grasses that really winds me up. I didn't care about hunting one way or another before the ban came in, now my support lies with the side that are just trying to continue doing something that they've done for hundreds of years, rather than the side that the government didn't have the guts to tell them to go back to their suburbs and stop whingeing. Now people are snitching and seem to have nothing better to do. is there anything lower?
Jim, Exeter, Devon

It should be enforced. These people and their way of life should be banned. Hunting? How sad are they to terrorize a small helpless animal? These people know nothing about nature.
Jaclyn, Keynsham, England

What will be banned after hunting? Motorcycling? Rock climbing? Where will this erosion of our freedoms end?
Martyn, Evesham, UK




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See the birds of prey some hunts use to get around the ban



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