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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 12:27 GMT
Minister runs pro-hunt gauntlet
Alun Michael
The minister has been targeted by hunt supporters
Countryside minister Alun Michael had to run the gauntlet of pro-hunt supporters when he arrived at a conference in Cumbria on Friday.

The event, in Kendal, discussed ways of improving services in rural areas, and launched a 855,000 programme providing grants for local projects.

On arrival, Mr Michael was greeted by about 40 demonstrators, protesting at the government ban.

Spokesman James Bates said: "We made our presence felt."

'Divisive issue'

Mr Bates, from the Countryside Alliance in Cumbria said: "We really wanted to speak him to find out why he had made the decision to get rid of the only effective way of combating the fox population in upland areas.

"This meeting is all about regeneration, but the ban is going to have a huge impact on the economy, and will directly or indirectly lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs."

However, Mr Michael said: "I've put in an enormous amount of time to listening to the views of everybody on the subject of hunting - that most divisive of issues.

"People do feel passionately on both sides of it, and I've tried to broker some sort of way through that was less divisive than a straightforward ban.

"It's most peculiar that they continue with this activity."




SEE ALSO:
Rural minister visits Cumbria
09 Jun 03 |  Cumbria
Minister meets hunting protesters
22 Sep 04 |  Politics


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