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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 05:50 GMT 06:50 UK
Hunt crisis blamed on in-fighting
Hunt
The committee and members of the hunt will meet on Friday night
A "clash of personalities" and internal arguments are being blamed for a membership crisis that could bring about the end of a 150-year-old hunt.

The committee and remaining members of the Carmarthenshire Hunt will meet on Friday night to discuss its future.

It says membership has fallen to single figures with some people leaving to join other rides.

Acting chairman Bill Wade said the organisation was in "dire straits" and without new members it would fold.

Mr Wade said: "What I shall be asking members for is permission, if we continue to see no light at the end of the tunnel, to wind it up because we are in very dire straits.

When people leave you have others who follow
Bill Wade, Carmarthenshire Hunt

"Yes - there have been arguments - there always are between some members. You always have personality clashes."

He would not expand on the cause but added: "When people leave you have others who follow.

"The members and the committee will meet on Friday night and it is not for me to say what will happen."

He said annual running costs, which included the hunt's kennels at Travellers Rest and its pack of 65 dogs, were in excess of 20,000 a year.

Governing body

The hunt was started by the Powell family of Maesgwynne in the 19th Century and passed to the Buckley brewing family before a committee took charge after World War II.

At its peak it would hold twice weekly meets through the winter months with the largest on New Year's Day. That would start at Carmarthen's court house and attract large crowds.

Mr Wade said the Hunting Act which came into force in February 2005 had contributed to its problems.

Under the act, packs of dogs are no longer allowed to be used to chase down wild foxes and many hunts have been forced to switch to drag and trail hunts, using fake scents.

But the Countryside Alliance said hunting in Wales was better supported than before the ban.

South Wales regional director Adrian Simpson said: "Each and every hunt in Wales has experienced an increase in membership, especially the hunts adjacent to Carmarthenshire which have experienced a higher than average increase.

"It is probably due to the internal problems that exist at the Carmarthenshire Hunt which the governing body of hunting is aware of."




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