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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 13:55 GMT
School hunting promotion blocked
Hunting dogs in kennel
The Countryside Alliance takes dogs to events to promote hunting
Plans to take hunting dogs to an event for schoolchildren in Hampshire have been blocked by the county council.

The Countryside Alliance often takes hounds to rural events so it can teach children about country sports.

The alliance is due to attend the Countryside Live roadshow in Havant, Hampshire, on 17 March.

Councillors say it would be "wholly inappropriate" for any organisation to promote hunting with dogs after a ban came into force on Friday.

The roadshow, at county council-owned Staunton Country Park, is being organised by the government-backed Countryside Agency.

Some children, from urban backgrounds, have never seen a hound
Sara Rutherford, Countryside Alliance

The Countryside Alliance will be one of a number of organisations due to attend the event, along with the Environment Agency, the Soil Association and the National Farmers' Union.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: "There have been reports that hunting dogs might be brought along to the event to help explain country sports to schoolchildren.

"By 17 March when this event takes place, the act which will make hunting with dogs illegal will have come into force.

"For this reason, the county council deems it wholly inappropriate for any organisation to promote this activity at Countryside Live."

Sara Rutherford, southern regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said she could not understand why the council was taking such action.

"I don't understand when [hunting] is a legal activity," she said.

Urban backgrounds

"It is still an important way of life and has a huge part to play in the countryside.

"We are certainly attending other events and promoting country sports to children.

"Some children, from urban backgrounds, have never seen a hound.

"We try to educate them in all country sports, not just hunting."

Fox hunting with dogs became illegal on Friday.

But it will still be within the law for hunts to "flush out" foxes, as long as they chase them and shoot them, rather than set dogs on them.

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