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EDITIONS
Friday, 1 November, 2002, 16:50 GMT
Hunting debate reopens as season starts
First day of hunting
The first day of hunting on Exmoor
Hunt supporters in the South West insist they are confident the government will not introduce a bill to ban hunting.

But those opposed to hunting are equally sure it will be outlawed.

The pro and anti-hunt lobbies made their positions clear on the first day of the fox hunting season in the region.

The government is expected to announce a new Hunting Bill in the Queen's Speech later in the month.


I don't think they [the government] are going to allow hunch-based decisions from backbenchers to determine policy

Countryside Alliance
In Devon, the Dulverton West Foxhounds started their season in Exmoor.

The question they and all hunts across the region are asking is will there be another season quite the same?

Exactly what the government plans is not known, but hunt supporters are remaining optimistic.

Mal Treharne of the Countryside Alliance said: "I don't think they're going to let a bunch of backbenchers argue and determine Labour policy and Labour legislation in the future.

"This is a reforming government and I don't think they're going to allow non-intellectual, non-scientific and hunch-based decisions from backbenchers to determine their policy."


The overwhelming majority of the public support a ban

League Against Cruel Sports

A new survey by the Countryside Alliance suggests support for a hunting ban is decreasing.

But those opposed to hunting say most people still want to see it banned.

Peter Anderson of the League Against Cruel Sports said: "The league's absolutely confident this time. Things have reached a head.

"We know that the overwhelming majority of the public support a ban. Reputable opinion poll after opinion poll is demonstrating that.

"We know that feeling within Parliament has reached a pitch. We can't see there's any turning back over this issue."


Click here to go to BBC Cornwall

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

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01 Nov 02 | England
01 Nov 02 | England
22 Sep 02 | England
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