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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 February, 2005, 12:30 GMT
West hunts will 'stay inside law'
Hunt members around the West gathered on Saturday in protest against the new law banning hunting with dogs.

Hunt leaders are calling it a day of defiance and are promising to continue the battle to have the ban overturned.

In Gloucestershire at the Beaufort meet around 2,000 people set off on horseback and on foot.

Riding with the hunt, the Rev Christopher Mulholland, Vicar of Tetbury said: "We will try to make the best of hunting within the law.

Class war

"My feeling is we will keep the horses going and the hounds and, most of all, the community life of hunting."

At the meet leaflets were being handed out urging people to support pro-hunting MPs, with seats targeted at Northavon, Swindon South, Stroud and Kingswood.

Jim Barrington of the Middle Way Group who was Executive Director of the League Against Cruel Sports for seven years, questioned whether the new law has animal welfare at its heart.

"The alternative methods to hunting will cause more suffering - there's no animal welfare gain in a ban but a lot of people who supported this (ban) have nothing to do with animal welfare; it's a class war," he said.

"This is a law of the land. Do British people want a law that's so spiteful and so class prejudiced under the guise of animal welfare?

"I don't think laws like that can be sustainable."

Among the hunts riding are the Berkeley, the Beaufort, the Mendip Farmers and Somerset Vale West, the Taunton Vale, West Somerset, Exmoor and Devon Hunts and the Somerset Stag Hounds.

Hunting ban facing first big test
19 Feb 05 |  Politics

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