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Last Updated: Thursday February 17 2005 19:07 GMT

Hunts underway before ban begins

Fox hunt
Hunts are taking place in England and Wales to mark the last day that hunting with dogs is legal.

The ban begins at midnight and people who think hunting is a cruel sport are pleased it is ending.

But people who enjoy hunting continue to try and get the ban overturned, and many of them say they will carry on hunting even when it is illegal.

Most of them say they will work within the new law but some are planning to hunt in the same way as they do now.

Among the hunts out on Thursday was the East Kent hunt, where about 50 horses and 100 local supporters gathered on farmland near Ashford.

Several people had tears in their eyes as the hunt leader, or master of foxhounds, made a speech about "the end of an era."

The Countryside Alliance, who want hunting to continue, said the ban could not be enforced by police.

Campaigners against hunting are happy about the ban
Campaigners against hunting are happy about the ban
The alliance has said about 50,000 people are prepared to break the ban and continue hunting "in the full knowledge they will be arrested".

The League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA are planning to help the police to ensure people who hunt illegally are punished.

The Countryside Alliance is still hoping to use the courts to argue that the way the law was introduced by the government was not legal.

What do you think about the hunting ban?

Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.

Your comments

The ban is a really stupid idea, my next door neighbours are the local hunt and they will have to leave. I live on a farm and it is an important way of the countryside to control the foxes. These stupid "Townies" have never been to the country so they don't understand our way of life. If they lived here they would.
Caroline, 11, Plymouth

I love horse riding, and lots of people I know hunt, but I think it's a disgusting "sport" and should certainly be banned. We've had chickens and guinea-pigs killed and maimed by the fox hounds they keep next door, and so I think that banning the hunt is brilliant! Sometimes you find fox remains ripped to shreds on footpaths after a hunt, it's disgusting.
Cathy, 14, Ross-on-Wye

I live in Scotland and this has already been banned and I think it is horrible banning part of the culture around here. I don't do riding but a lot of people I know do! They are really upset! If a farmer was to see an injured fox he can't put it out of it's misery! Around here there was a hunt nearly every day and now it is really common to see a fox - they're everywhere!!!
Steff, 14, Jedburg

Fox hunts are not as bad as many other traditions in Portugal and Spain involving bulls - why should our traditions be taken away when their's are not?
Antony, 13, London

I think the ban is great. What's the point of killing foxes?
Mohammed, 13, London

I think that it's good that fox hunting has been banned because it's cruel and unnecessary.
Jonathan, 13, Croydon

I think the ban is a good idea because they are living creatures.
Andrew, 9, Glasgow

I think fox hunting shouldn't be banned. It's one of the things that is a tradition, it wouldn't seem right if they banned it. Plus people are still going to hunt after hunting is banned.
Marlee, 13, Marske By The Sea

I think that it is good, as foxes deserve to be free, and live a normal life like humans
Hannan, 12, Nechells

I am best friends with a hunter, but foxes are my favourite animals. In a way I think the ban is good for the foxes, but in another way my friend's family have been hunting for years.
Amanda, 14, Crowborough

I'm glad that the foxes won't be hurt, but I don't know what will happen to all the hounds!
Clare, 12, Ealing

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