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 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 16:26 GMT
Historic hunt avoids protesters
Hounds of the Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hunt
The Bicester Hunt has more than 100 hounds
One of the country's oldest hunts has been forced to move its traditional Boxing Day meeting.

The Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hunt have met for years at Market Square in Bicester, Oxfordshire.

But this year hounds and riders gathered at a nearby farm instead, to escape possible clashes with anti-hunting protesters.

League Against Cruel Sports had planned to demonstrate in the square against the hunt.

'Understandable move'

The league also invited members to picket the Whaddon Chase Fox Hounds in nearby Winslow, Buckinghamshire.

Countryside Alliance spokesman Tim Bonner said demonstrators could never stop people hunting.

He said: "Protesters don't have a great effect, but Bicester have made a decision to move their hunt, which is entirely understandable."

The Bicester Hunt was founded in 1778 and merged with the Whaddon Chase in 1987.

It has about 200 members and hunts over 175 square miles, from Daventry in Northampton, to Banbury, Oxford, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Buckingham and Brackley.


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