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EDITIONS
Friday, 1 November, 2002, 14:00 GMT
'Last' hunting season opens
hunting with hounds
The official hunting season opens with debate
Fox hunting started in England on Friday, in what could be the last season before legislation is introduced.

It is believed the government's programme to ban hunting will be outlined in the Queen's Speech on 13 November.

In northern England, foxhunters said on Friday they would continue to chase foxes into Scotland, despite its ban on hunting with dogs.

Three Northumberland hunts said they would carry shotguns and attempt to shoot foxes to comply with Scottish law.


If you came out with the Blankney Hunt you would not find a toff among us

Margaret Morris, hunt master

But they admitted their dogs might occasionally get ahead of the hunt and kill a fox.

Some campaigners say they will continue hunting south of the Scottish border even if a similar ban is imposed in England.

Mark Halford, who rides with the Quorn Hunt in Leicestershire, said: "Hopefully with the work that the Countryside Alliance has done and all the campaigning for hunting, they (government ministers) might actually listen."

'Not cruel'

He said he had signed a declaration among 1,000 other pro-hunters to continue riding with hounds even if a ban was imposed.

"I will continue to hunt and voice my opinions on fox hunting and put across my arguments."


This is a bloodsport and it needs to stop

Douglas Batchelor, League Against Cruel Sports
Margaret Morris, master of the Blankney Hunt in Lincolnshire said the view of hunting as being solely for the rich was outdated.

"If you came out with the Blankney Hunt you would not find a toff among us.

"It is a very broad section of people that go hunting," she said.

'Nonsense' arguments

This is an image the Countryside alliance is attempting to put across with a new advertising campaign aimed at dispelling the perception of hunting as outmoded.

However, Douglas Batchelor, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said hunting had no place in 21st Century.

"This is something that the vast majority of people and MPs believe should have been banned long since.

"The image that is being put about of a countryside beleaguered by a ban on hunting is complete and utter nonsense.

"This is a bloodsport and it needs to stop," he said.


Click here to go to Leicester

Click here to go to Lincolnshire
Background and analysis of one of the most contentious issues in British politics

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The Scottish ban

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See also:

01 Nov 02 | England
22 Sep 02 | England
27 Aug 02 | England
23 Aug 02 | England
01 Aug 02 | Scotland
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