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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Job fears for hunt workers
Daniel Moggs
Daniel says he will lose his house and his job
Each day at 5am, Daniel Moggs begins his work in the stables of the Warwickshire hunt.

He prepares the horses for their ride before embarking on a gruelling 13-hour schedule which ranges from mucking out to polishing the dozens of saddles used by his employers.

Yet the career which he has enjoyed for 15 years is now under a very real threat - by the laws which seek to ban hunting with dogs.

The plight of the estimated 2,000 people who work directly for hunts across England and Wales has been thrown into sharp focus by the debate.

And many who work in the sector have real fears for what the future may hold.

As a stud groom in the Little Kineton-based hunt, Mr Moggs is provided with a house and a salary - he describes as "half what a lorry driver earns".

The 28-year-old said: "I am not upper class, I don't have any savings, I have debts, I am a normal person, I don't live in a big house with open fires and drive a Volvo," he told BBC News Online.

"I could get another job with horses but there would be about 12,000 more people in that position, there won't be enough jobs to go around.

"And I won't be able to afford to buy a house."

Warwickshire Hunt
Workers at Warwickshire Hunt
112 hounds, 13 horses
On average 200 to 240 foxes killed a year
7 full time staff
400-500 members
100,000 income from subscribers

"I've been working with horses full-time since I was 15," he said.

"It is not an easy job, we start at 5 o'clock and finish at 6 o'clock at night, we work six days a week.

"In the winter it is pitch black and cold, wet and muddy but I have to go to work.

"But why should I change my life and do something else?

"There is no interest in what will happen when hunting is finished, they don't care about people like us or even the horses or hounds."

Huntsman William Deakin, 46, has worked in hunting for 30 years.

"I have two teenage girls, the hunt gives me a house and a job, I don't think that will worry this government.

"I am worried, I've never done anything else, I will have nothing to do.

"I will probably emigrate, I don't want to live in a country that has taken our freedoms away, I will go somewhere people can be free."

Julie Marles
I will be out of a job along with my two full-time staff, I don't know what I will do
Julie Marles, livery yard owner

The Warwickshire Hunt, one of the biggest in the country with up to 500 members, also supports other businesses.

Antony Spencer, 31, master of the hunt, said: "Feed companies would be hit very, very hard, farriers would be hugely affected, the saddlers and even the pubs and bed and breakfast."

Julie Marles, a livery yard owner from nearby Idlicote, said she was devastated her 17-year career could be under threat.

"I will be out of a job along with my two full-time staff, I don't know what I will do," she said.

"Half of my income will be gone, I also have point-to-point horses but that is also very closely linked to hunting and will never be the same."

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