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Monday, 23 September, 2002, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Farmer's diary: Marching for our future
Adam Quinney
Adam Quinney, a Warwickshire livestock farmer who recorded a diary for News Online during the foot-and-mouth crisis, gives his account of the Liberty and Livelihood march.

Before dawn on Sunday we were busy waking not only the children, but also the young calves who needed to be fed before we left for the march in London.

There was no time to be lost before dashing to the Royal Show ground at Stoneleigh to meet farmers from Warwickshire.

Three coaches packed with farmers and placards set off on time to Hyde Park.

Everyone in our party was amazed at the number of people at the start of the march.

Great enthusiasm

Scottish, Welsh, and Irish contingents were assembled as we began to march - well, shuffle would be closer to the mark.

Because of the many thousands of people, it took us more than an hour to reach the start; our speed could be compared to that of a snail with a limp.

Liberty and Livelihood march
About 400,000 people turned out for the march
The children, equipped with whistles, took on the task of protesting with great enthusiasm.

As we made our way towards Trafalgar Square, there was no doubt hunting was the main theme of the day.

Talking to fellow marchers, many were like us, people who did not regularly hunt but were involved in other field sports such as shooting or fishing.

There was no doubt among the people I spoke to that shooting would be next if hunting were banned.

As a farmer, I spend most of my working time by myself.

And at times it feels as if nobody cares about the future of the countryside.

But on Sunday we walked as a family with hundreds of thousands of people fed up with this and previous governments' attitude towards the countryside.

Finishing line

Walking slowly is not something I am used to - or, for that matter, the rest of the family.

And a whole new set of muscles not normally employed started to kick up a fuss after a couple of hours.

Fox costume at Liberty and Livelihood march
Fox hunting was the main issue of the day
So a quick lunch break on the green outside parliament was called for.

Being away from the whistles and horns gave me a chance to contact other friends via the mobile.

Some had crossed the finishing line ahead of us.

While others were just crossing the start line three hours behind us.

All through the route people were friendly and patient, laughing and making jokes with the policemen dotted along the pavement - their yellow jackets providing some contrast against the sea of green.


The finish line passed, it was time to become a sardine in the Tube train.

Then it was in the coach to crawl through the traffic home to Warwickshire.

The talk on the coach was now that 400,000 people had marched through central London, would the government listen to people who live and work in the countryside and shape policies that could make rural Britain buoyant?

Home just before 10pm with tired children, we fed the calves their rather late supper, then had our own.

After Sunday, as someone who is involved in farm lobbying, I feel more determined than ever to work to bring rural issues to the attention of policy-makers - to ensure our children's future in rural Britain.

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