Hunt supporters out for post-Christmas meets

Hunt supporters were out in force today for the traditional post-Christmas meets and called on the Government to revisit the "farcical" hunting act.

Jill Grieve, from the Countryside Alliance, said the decision to continue the ban on hunting with dogs into next year, despite David Cameron's personal commitment to ending it, was understandable because of other matters facing the country due to the deficit, but said ministers needed to at least make clear what was legal or not under the existing act.

"We find that huntsmen do a great job and work very hard," she said, "and every time they go to work they are under threat of prosecution.

"The hunting act is so bad that they thought it had been banned but it is so unclear.

"The people going out on horseback and the people who are involved, who think they are acting within the law, are under fear of finding themselves locked up in a police cell and are under threat of prosecution every time they go to work.

"It's so unclear it's hard to say what is and what is not illegal."

Ms Grieve said hunt supporters were hopeful that the prime minister would fulfil his pledge to repeal the ban on hunting foxes.

She said: "When the coalition reached an agreement around the act there was a promise to go and revisit.

"It's an act of trust almost with us that they do just that and we hope they do.

"We need some clarification on this farcical situation we find ourselves in."

Around 300 hunts around the country were due to go out today, weather permitting, with some of the biggest including the Beaufort Hunt and the Quorn Hunt.

The popularity of the sport seems to have risen because of the hunting act, Ms Grieve said.

"We have certainly found that hunts have reported that subscriptions are on the up," she said.

"Because the law is so bad people are showing their support."

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