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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 10:38 GMT
Hunters gather in Blair's village
A hunt
The ban on chasing foxes comes in on Friday
An historic fox hunt is to take place legally for the last time in Tony Blair's constituency ahead of a ban.

The South Durham Hunt has been held since 1872, and hundreds are expected at the meeting in Sedgefield, County Durham, before the sport is outlawed.

Master of the Hunt Mark Shotton vowed that the sport would go on after Wednesday's last hunt, but that the dogs would no longer chase foxes.

Instead false scents would be laid down to fool dogs after Friday's ban.

Mr Shotton said: "Today is our last legal meeting and we intend to meet again on Saturday and hunt within the law which means laying a false scent for the dogs.

False trails

"The new ban states we can no longer chase wild animals with a dog and we intend carry on hunting to the best of out ability within the law."

Phyllis Campbell-McRae, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, welcomed the attitude of South Durham hunters to the ban.

She said: "This sounds very sensible and I am very pleased this attitude is being adopted.

"There is no ban on riding and using false trails is a good alternative.

"But for those who do decide to break the ban, I do have every faith that the police will enforce the law with the help of local communities."

A spokesman for Durham Police said it would be difficult to enforce the new law, but that officers always investigated evidence of a crime.


SEE ALSO:
Hunters arrive on Blair's doorstep
27 Dec 04 |  Politics
Police arrest 15 in hunt clashes
16 Sep 04 |  Politics


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