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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK
Hunt's ban on 'flesh collection'
Beaufort Hunt
The Beaufort Hunt says it will no longer collect animal carcasses
Members of the Beaufort Hunt in Gloucestershire are stopping their service of collecting dead animals in protest against the proposed hunt ban.

A letter from the hunt's joint master, Captain Ian Farquhar, warned farmers it would no longer dispose of carcasses.

"As you will know, we are close to extinction at the hands of a government who has little or no understanding of rural life," it reads.

"This will cause the demise of the flesh collection service."

Captain Farquhar's note added that the protest measures were extreme.

'Worthwhile service'

"We bitterly regret being driven to take this action and hope that, with your support, we will be able to resume a normal service before long."

The letter said the hiatus in the service was not permanent and could start again.

"If someone from the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra) rang up and said you have made the point, and we take it on board and we have now told the government you are running a worthwhile service, we would start again."

The Beaufort Hunt, which covers parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, collects about nine tons of carcasses a week, nationally about 500,000 carcasses are collected.

Locally, Beaufort says one third of the nine tons of carcass is fed to hounds, with the rest being disposed of.

Since May 2003 farmers bore the responsibility for disposal of dead animals on their land.

A Defra spokesman said: "Farmers can speak to their local animal health officers about establishments which are approved under the regulations for collecting fallen stock in their area."

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