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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 12:52 GMT
Protestors vow to break hunt ban
A fox hunt
Hunt supporters say they will defy the ban
Hundreds of hunt supporters gathered on Newbury Showground in Berkshire to show that they were prepared to break the impending ban on hunting with dogs.

They were there to sign the Hunting Declaration, which commits them to not co-operating with any ban on hunting which might be passed.

It was one of 12 similar rallies held across the country on Saturday by the Countryside Alliance and the Council of Hunting Associations.

Hunt supporters at the Berkshire event cheered when they heard that more than 20,000 declarations had been signed across the UK.

'Staggering' turnout

Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart told the crowd: "Our common bond is a simple message. The message is 'No to unjust law'."

He urged them to pledge their disobedience to any law on hunting but to do it peacefully.

He said the turnout of at least 3,000 adults and children at the showground, some 750 of whom were on horseback for the rally, was "staggering".

But a League Against Cruel Sports spokesman said: "Hunting is going to be banned.

"If you break the law you will face the consequences."

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