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The BBC's Jon Braine
"Celebrities have posted and faxed their letters to 10 Downing Street"
 real 28k

Carla Lane
"The problem here is one of money and power"
 real 28k

Sunday, 26 December, 1999, 11:21 GMT
Stars press for hunt ban

The stars want to consign hunting to "the history books"

Celebrities including Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher and stargazer Patrick Moore have written to the prime minister calling for hunting with dogs to be banned.

Fox hunting
Others supporting the ban include Gallagher's wife Meg Matthews and TV scriptwriter Carla Lane.

They urged Tony Blair to support a parliamentary bill being introduced by Labour mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone.

A spokesman for the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals (CPHA) said the letters stressed the importance to Mr Blair of providing enough time and backing for the anti-hunting bill to become law.

He said the celebrities had sent their letters to Mr Blair to arrive on the eve of one of the busiest days in the hunting calendar.

Some 300 traditional Boxing Day hunts are taking place a day later than normal this year as they do not meet on Sundays.

Noel Gallagher: Thanked Mr Blair for supporting the ban
In a joint letter to Mr Blair, Noel Gallagher and his wife wrote: "We want to thank you for pledging to ban this cruel and unnecessary sport.

"At the dawn of the new millennium outdated and barbaric activities such as hunting should be consigned to the history books and we urge you to support the Wild Animals (Hunting with Dogs) Bill."

A CPHA spokesman said other celebrity supporters of the campaign included Sir Paul and Stella McCartney, Sir John Gielgud, Dame Judi Dench, Richard Wilson, Jenny Seagrove, Angus Deayton, Jo Brand, Tracey Shaw and Jayne Middlemiss.

Writer Carla Lane adds her support
Television scriptwriter and animal rights campaigner Carla Lane said those campaigning against hunting found it hard to mobilise the same support as the pro-hunting lobby.

"The problem here is one of money and power.

"They [hunt supporters] are big landowners, most of them, and they have a lot of money, whereas those of us who are ordinary people, so to speak, we just don't have the money or the business acumen to hold the kind of rallies they organise."

Douglas Batchelor, the campaign's chairman, said: "The support of these celebrities reflects the strength of public opinion calling for a ban.

Ken Livingstone: "Unnecessary cruelty" of hunting with hounds
"It would be a fitting memorial to the 20th Century if a bill launched in its final year could finally bury a sport that deserves to be consigned to history as dog fighting and bull baiting have been."

Mr Livingstone announced his intention to take up a bill to ban hunting on 15 December, after being drawn eighth in the Private Member's Bill ballot.

His bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on 7 April.

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See also:
16 Sep 99 |  Fox hunting
Celebrities take sides
16 Sep 99 |  Fox hunting
Three centuries of hunting foxes
16 Sep 99 |  Fox hunting
Fox hunting: Cut to the chase
15 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Livingstone hunt ban bill rides out
11 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hunt ban moves closer
04 Feb 99 |  UK Politics
Stars back hunt ban campaign
19 Nov 98 |  UK Politics
Final push for fox hunt ban
28 Oct 98 |  UK Politics
Fresh hunting protest at Westminster
03 Jul 98 |  UK Politics
Hunting Bill goes to the dogs

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