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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 08:22 GMT
Government could bail out hunt
huntsmen
Huntsmen say the Exmoor economy relies on hunting
Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has hinted at possible financial help for Exmoor following any ban on deer hunting.

Fox hunting is to be permitted on licence in some cases, but deer hunting and hare coursing will be banned under government proposals.

Mr Michael said: "There are other ways to control deer numbers.

"But I do recognise the strong beliefs of people on Exmoor and the fact that we have to engage with that.


Hunting is desperately important for Exmoor

Hunt chairman Tom Yandle

"I have said that we need to spend time to try to deal with knock-on effects."

Tom Yandle, chairman of Devon and Cornwall Staghounds, said many people on Exmoor relied on hunting for their livelihood.

He said: "Hunting is desperately important for Exmoor and it's particularly important for the herd of red deer which is second to none in England.

"There will be a huge battle ahead if the government tries to impose this without any other form of deer management."

'It's cruel'

Bob Fawsitt, who runs the Doone House Stores in Dulverton on Exmoor, estimates the economic cost of a ban will cost him 15% in trade.

He said: "We could be in a foot-and-mouth situation where we have a decrease in business, which would be very concerning.

"We employ people and if things got bad again, we might have to look at cutting our costs."

Anti-hunt groups are happy that a ban on hunting some animals is to be introduced, but also say they will not stop until all hunting is stopped.

Paul Tillsley from the South West branch of the League Against Cruel Sports said: "We're happy in this area that stag hunting is going to go, that's for certain."

"We're not happy that fox hunting may hang around. We want hunting with dogs banned because it's all cruel."

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 ON THIS STORY
Alun Michael, Rural Affairs Minister
"The method that involves the least suffering should be used to deal with any particular issue"

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03 Dec 02 | Politics
12 Nov 02 | England
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