Hunt supporters plan protest

CAMPAIGNERS from across East Anglia are to deliver a stark warning to the Government about any plans by politicians to ban hunting.Supporters from the region will visit Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) offices in Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford next Friday armed with letters for Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael demanding a "fair and tolerant" solution for the future of hunting.

CAMPAIGNERS from across East Anglia are to deliver a stark warning to the Government about any plans by politicians to ban hunting.

Supporters from the region will visit Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) offices in Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford next Friday armed with letters for Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael demanding a "fair and tolerant" solution for the future of hunting.

At the same time delegations from rural communities nationwide, organised by the Countryside Alliance, will visit other Defra offices to present letters.

The presentations kick-off a "summer of discontent" in the countryside as the Alliance unveiled plans to mount demonstrations and events highlighting the anger and unrest of some people over the Government's handling of the hunting issue.


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However supporters of the abolition of hunting urged the government to speed up the moves.

Lawrie Payne, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: "The Government has not gone on and banned hunting, this so-called six month period of negotiations is a waste of time. We've had all the talk and the Burns Inquiry, which has cost the country enough money, they should be protesting that their sport has been banned."

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Officials at the Countryside Alliance have said their protests will culminate in a massive march through central London which is expected to attract up to 500,000 protesters.

They are also threatening to stage protests at meetings attended by ministers and prominent anti-hunting MPs.

Liz Mort, Countryside Alliance eastern region director, said: "We are using the offices as 'symbolic post office' to the minister. We are sending a strong message to Alun Michael and not having a go at local offices."

The government has started six months of consultation before introducing a bill to resolve the dispute over whether to ban hunting with dogs.

A huge majority of MPs have backed an outright ban, but deadlock continues with the House of Lords, which voted in favour of allowing hunting to continue under new licences.

The letters call on Mr Michael to ensure the consultation period is open, public, transparent and accountable and will also point out how a hunting ban would damage rural communities, as well as having a substantial negative effect upon animal welfare.

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