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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Hunt supporter's legal threat
Hunt generic
Mr Harris already has the support of about 7,000 hunt supporters
A Devon man is threatening legal action against organisations and individuals who accuse hunt supporters of being cruel.

Ian Harris, 66, who lives near Tiverton, is gathering support for the action by taking out an advertisement in Horse and Hound magazine.

About 7,000 pro-hunt supporters are already behind the move, which could cost hundreds of thousand of pounds.

Mr Harris said the target of the legal action would be public figures and organisations who called him and other pro-hunters cruel.

I am not a savage, I am a decent sort of chap - a God-fearing man
Ian Harris
"This is nothing to do with trying to save hunting or with the Countryside Alliance - it is about objecting to being called cruel," he said.

"We are sick and tired of people getting away with it and other people believing they are right," he said.

Mr Harris, who follows a pack of foxhounds in mid-Devon, said he had hunted all his life.

He said it gave him the opportunity to follow the hounds and ride across country where he would not normally be allowed to go.

"That is the top and bottom of hunting for the majority of people," he said.

"I have never done anything cruel in my life.

"It is nothing to do with hunting, it is about the fact that I go hunting, and I am described because of that as being cruel."

Mr Harris, who said he had already taken legal advice, added: "I object to having my reputation smeared like that.

"It is about time we started to exercise our right as citizens of this country to stop this slander and libel.

"I am not a savage, I am a decent sort of chap - a God-fearing man."

Mr Harris said that a strategy for the legal action was now being discussed.


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