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Last Updated: Monday, 27 December, 2004, 10:23 GMT
Hundreds turn out at annual hunts
Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt
The League Against Cruel Sports has denounced delaying the ban
Hunts in the South East met on Monday for the annual Boxing Day event - potentially the last of its kind.

Hundreds of dogs, riders and supporters turned out across Kent and Sussex for the traditional hunt.

A ban on fox hunting is due to come into force on 18 February but could be delayed while the Countryside Alliance prepares a legal challenge.

Organisers of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt said 1,000 people were expected to turn up.

'Come together strongly'

The East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt, which met in Battle, was also expecting hundreds of people at its event.

James Hallett, from the hunt, said: "We are expecting in Battle well over 100 people on horses and probably hundreds of people on foot and in cars to follow us.

"The fact that there has been enormous amount of interest and activity in Parliament over the past few months and the potential for a ban on hunting in the form that we know coming into play means that people have really come together very strongly."

The government has said it would not oppose the Countryside Alliance if it seeks an injunction delaying the ban on hunting.

The League Against Cruel Sports has denounced the government's decision to allow a delay on the ban.

The hunts were held on Bank Holiday Monday because Boxing Day fell on a Sunday.

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