Hunters out on final day

FOX hunters in Suffolk were due to gather today on the last legal day of hunting with dogs.Both the Essex and Suffolk Hunt and the Suffolk Hunt have vowed to continue their campaign against the hunting ban.

FOX hunters in Suffolk were due to gather today on the last legal day of hunting with dogs.

Both the Essex and Suffolk Hunt and the Suffolk Hunt have vowed to continue their campaign against the hunting ban.

The Essex and Suffolk hunt, based in Lower Layham, was due to hunt at Tendering Park in Stoke by Nayland.

James Buckle, master of the hunt, said: "We are trying to make this like any other day and we will be out again on Saturday and Monday when things are bound to be different.


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"Today's hunt is symbolic in some ways - we are meeting where we were first kenneled 200 and something years ago.

"I would think we will have about 60 people out on horses today."

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Mr Buckle said the hounds would be out again on Saturday in Stutton Park.

He added: "We are going to be hunting within the law and are going to take our hounds on a ride round the countryside.

"We will try trail hunting a bit and see how it goes but it's only while we try to fight this ridiculous ban.

"We think animals will suffer more now. On a Saturday we can go out and flush a fox out and shoot it then put it on the end of a string and chase it when it's dead. It dies anyway."

The Suffolk Hunt, based near Bury St Edmunds, was also expecting to use alternative methods at the weekend and was meeting at Howstead Place near Bury today.

James Aldous, master of the Suffolk hunt, said: "We are going to be line hunting on Saturday and are going to drag the smell of the fox.

"This won't involve shooting the fox on the day - we shoot it a day or two before. It's very complicated and we don't know if it's going to work but we think it will.

"It involves getting a stew and putting it in a small thing like a sock."

A last ditch effort to overturn the Hunting Bill on the grounds that it was invalid was rejected at the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Three appeal judges refused the Countryside Alliance's application for a "stay', which would have blocked any potential criminal proceedings while the pro-hunt group petitions the law lords for a hearing.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General ruled out a "blanket policy' of not enforcing the Government's hunting ban until law lords have considered its legality.

But Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "I have no doubt things will go wrong.

"People are going to be trying to persuade dogs to comply with an Act of Parliament and that is not going to work.'

He said it would be "nigh on impossible' for the police to distinguish between lawful and unlawful hunts.

"They are going to look and sound very similar to the way they look and sound now.'

The Essex and Suffolk hunt has vowed to continue fundraising efforts to support the Countryside Alliance in a series of legal challenges to the Act.

The Alliance is taking its fight over the Act to the House of Lords despite being refused permission by the Court of Appeal.

Do you agree with the fox hunting ban? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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