Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crowds Flock to the Hunt Meets; Hundreds Turn out to Show Support

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crowds Flock to the Hunt Meets; Hundreds Turn out to Show Support

Article excerpt

Byline: By Brian Daniel

CROWDS flocked to traditional Boxing Day hunts yesterday, showing their support for efforts to have the ban on the sport lifted.

A total of six meets were staged across the region for the biggest day in the sport's calendar and all drew 100 or more supporters.

People living in rural areas came out to show their backing for a pursuit which was outlawed by the Hunting Act 2004.

Since then, two attempts to overturn the ban have failed, although the case is now being taken to the European Court of Human Rights.

While the ban is challenged, hunts continue to operate by using the drag hunting method, using the scent of a fox to lay a trail for the hounds to overcome the outlawing of the traditional chase and kill.

Support for the activity and its legal fight was particularly strong at Newton on the Moor, near Alnwick, Northumberland, yesterday morning where the Percy Hunt meet pulled in 60 riders on horseback, a further 20 on quad bikes and between 200 and 300 supporters.

Chairman of the hunt Charles Bucknall, of Fowberry, near Wooler, described the support as "tremendous".

He said: "The interesting thing about the support on foot is that it really shows the support in the countryside generally for our traditions and culture.

"There is a considerable feeling that an act that was brought in for animal welfare purposes singularly fails to achieve that at all today.

"The fox is the loser as a result of that act. And the sooner it is repealed, which it will be, the better.

"Our support generally has gone up consistently since the ban came in. And I think that reflects what is happening on a nationwide basis."

Former rider Diane Blackshaw, of nearby Lesbury, was part of three generations of the same family involved in or supporting the hunt. …

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