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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Duke 'would break law' over hunting
Hunt
The duke supports the licensing of hunting
The Duke of Devonshire has said he will allow fox hunting on his land even if it means breaking the law.

Andrew Cavendish told BBC News Online he would continue to permit huntsman to use his land if the sport became illegal.

The duke, who is the largest landowner in the Peak District running the 12,000-acre Chatsworth estate, said fox hunting is a great tradition.

Instead of a ban on the sport in England he hoped a compromise would be reached to license hunting with hounds.

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire outside Chatsworth House
Duke of Devonshire: Hunt ban would be 'shocking'
The duke said he would support a campaign of civil disobedience if a ban was passed.

"If local hunts requested to hunt on my land I will agree to it, even if means breaking the law," he said.

"Hunting is a great tradition of this country and it would be shocking to make it illegal."

Although MPs voted to ban hunting with dogs in March, the House of Lords blocked the proposals and instead called for licenses hunting with hounds.

The duke said that attempts to outlaw hunting were based on a misunderstanding of country life by those who lived in urban areas.

'Increase divide'

"The city and town dwellers simply do not understand the values of the countryside," he said.

"Hunting is very much a rural pursuit and an end to hunting will only increase the divide between town and country."

But he hoped the sport would be allowed to continue.

"New Labour is appeasing Old Labour which is opposed to hunting," he said.

"I think there will be a compromise and hunting will be licensed, which I would support."

The government agreed to a six-month consultation process in March before introducing any hunting legislation.


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05 Jul 02 | Scotland
22 May 02 | Politics
08 May 02 | England
27 Apr 02 | UK
21 Mar 02 | Politics
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