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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Hunt groups ready for major demo
Hunting with dogs
Pro-hunt groups say a ban would be just the beginning
Pro-hunting groups are preparing for a major rally of Parliament as MPs debate a bill to ban fox-hunting.

Wednesday's debate is likely to be followed by MPs voting for a ban, and the government has said opposition in the Lords will be overridden.

The Countryside Alliance hopes as many as 10,000 pro-hunt supporters will attend its rally in Parliament Square.

But those against hunting with dogs are confident of a ban and will instead be getting ready to celebrate.

The Countryside Alliance lit 12 beacons spelling out the words "No Ban" across England and Wales on Monday.

And they have promised that a ban, or even a ban with a two-year delay as speculated on in the media, will do nothing to stop their lobbying, demonstrations and even civil disobedience.

Challenge

Spokesman Tim Bonner told BBC News Online: "Hunts will continue. We will keep the infrastructure going. A lot of people have the intention to breach this legislation."

He said there would be a challenge if the government used the Parliament Act to overcome opposition in the Lords, as a bill needs to be identical to the version presented previously.

And there will be a challenge using the Human Rights Act, he said.

On Tuesday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) showed its support for a ban with a publicity stunt on the Thames.

A giant fox, hare and stag used a barge for their rendition of Culture Club's Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.

But IFAW and the League Against Cruel Sports are not planning any events for the day of the debate, confident that the result will go their way, and even optimistic there will be no delay to legislation.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Tom Heap
"Polite behaviour is already a casualty of this protest"



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