Claims that hunts support reinforces need for repeal

The 'West Percy Hunt parading in the ring at Glanton Show 2014.

The 'West Percy Hunt parading in the ring at Glanton Show 2014.

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Support for Boxing Day meets reinforces the need for a repeal of the Hunting Act, the Countryside Alliance has claimed.

Nationally, around 250,000 people are expected to turn out on December 26 this year for the Boxing Day meets of the 300-plus UK hunts.

Every year at least a quarter-of-a-million people turn out to show their support for hunting on this traditional day in the country sports year.

In the north Northumberland area, there are a number of hunts including West Percy, College Valley and North Northumberland, Border Hunt (which covers the west and into the Coquet Valley) and Morpeth, although most don’t publicise the details of when their hunts are taking place.

Speaking ahead of the annual Boxing Day spectacle, Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “Ten years after the Hunting Act was passed in England and Wales, more than 300 hunts are still here and still hunting.

“Support for hunting is a strong as ever because people are determined not to bow to this prejudice.

“The Hunting Act does not protect foxes or other quarry species and has achieved nothing other than to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money and thousands of hours of police time.

“The next Government, of whatever political colour, needs to accept that the Hunting Act is not working and repeal or replace the Act.”

In October this year, three members of the College Valley and North Northumberland Hunt were found guilty of illegally hunting a fox and convicted of hunting a wild mammal with dogs, contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004, following a two-day trial.

Our report sparked a heated debate on our Facebook page demonstrating that in north Northumberland there is a split between those who support fox hunting and those who back the ban.