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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 16:05 GMT
Police 'not enforcing hunt law'
A pack of hunting dogs
Anti-hunt campaigners have been disappointed
Police are adopting a "pick and mix" attitude to the law on hunting and ignoring offences, anti-hunt campaigners say.

Marking two years since the introduction of a ban on hunting with dogs, protesters in Parliament Square called for better enforcement.

Activists, dressed as bank robbers and gangsters, said hunts were "openly breaking the law".

But the Countryside Alliance said no hunt had done anything illegal.

And the Association of Chief Police Officers said action would always be taken against those who broke the law.

Spokesman for the protesters John Curtin said: "It is very difficult to get evidence of it, but everyone in the countryside knows that hunting is going on. They are not even pretending to drag-hunt any more.

"There has been a fatal combination of hunts saying they are going to defy the ban and senior police officers saying that enforcing it will not be one of their priorities.

"Is there any other group in Britain who can just ignore the law?"

Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, said the group had always maintained that the law was unenforceable.

But he added: "There are over 300 registered hunts of many varieties. They have carried out in the region of 32,000 days of hunting in the two years since the ban came in.

"They are doing this openly, in public, there is 'monitoring' by animal rights people."

An Acpo spokeswoman said: "The police service remains committed to enforcing the ban on hunting and will take action against those who deliberately flout the law. Equally, we are committed to maintaining law and order in the countryside in general."

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