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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 12:08 GMT
Pro-hunt protestors burn 'bill'
hunting with dogs
The bonfire is being followed by a hunt
Hunters have burned an oversized copy of the Hunting Bill on a bonfire in a "symbolic act of defiance" against the proposed legislation.

The protest at Melton Airfield in Leicestershire coincided with the start of the hunting season.

The bonfire was lit by the professional huntsmen from five local packs at 1100 GMT on Friday.

Effigies of Prime Minister Tony Blair and Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael were also placed on the fire.

'Unjust bill'

Local MP Alan Duncan spoke at the rally, which was followed by a meet of the Quorn hunt.

About 500 people from across the East Midlands attended the Countryside Alliance event, including representatives from the National Farmers' Union, Country Land and Business Group and National Gamekeepers' Organisation.

Our bonfire is a warning to the government of the fury it will bring upon itself if it persists
Michael Clayton
Countryside Alliance

Countryside Alliance chairman Michael Clayton said: "Hunting people in the East Midlands... are increasingly angry at the prejudice and spite being shown by the Government's backbenches in pushing for a hunting ban, not out of concern for animal welfare, but out of a perceived class war.

"There is overwhelming support for a licensing Bill in the Lords.

"The hunting community is ready to accept fair regulation and the government has said it supports compromise proposals.

"Our bonfire is a warning to the government of the fury it will bring upon itself if it persists in enacting this anti-libertarian, totally unjust banning bill."

Hunt protest held at MP's office
29 Oct 04  |  Bradford
Should hunting with dogs be banned?
29 Oct 04  |  Have Your Say

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