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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 17:56 GMT
Children 'learn from hunt' claim
Prince William at the hunt
Prince William is an enthusiastic fox hunter
A spokeswoman has defended her group's decision to allow children as young as three to take part in a fox hunt.

Monday's "Children's Meet" at Chavenage, Gloucestershire, followed a series of meetings held over the Christmas holiday period.

News that children had been involved aroused anger among anti-hunt groups.

But Jo Aldridge, spokeswoman for the Beaufort Hunt, said: "I think it makes them have a completely natural and realistic view of wildlife."

'No-one pressurises them'

More than 100 children, some aged three and four, rode with the Beaufort Hunt, near Didmarton, as part of the meet.

Ms Aldridge added: "Most are farmers' children and know the lamb in the field will end up on their plate.

"Isn't it better that kids are in the fresh air? They all want to come out hunting, no-one pressurises them into it."

The decision to allow children to be present at the hunt, however, angered the League Against Cruel Sports.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said: "I am shocked that these people are exposing their children to an atmosphere of cruelty."

Royal Prince at Beaufort Hunt
03 Jan 05 |  Gloucestershire

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