Hunters defiant at New Year meet

By Patrick Lowman HUNT followers sent another message of defiance to the Government and protesters as they gathered for a New Year's Day meet.About 40 riders and as many followers gathered at Manor Farm in Horseheath, near Haverhill, yestetday to take part in the annual New Year's Day event organised by the Thurlow Hunt.

By Patrick Lowman

HUNT followers sent another message of defiance to the Government and protesters as they gathered for a New Year's Day meet.

About 40 riders and as many followers gathered at Manor Farm in Horseheath, near Haverhill, yestetday to take part in the annual New Year's Day event organised by the Thurlow Hunt.

As they rode off across the fields, the hunters underlined their determination to keep the countryside tradition alive, despite the continued threat of a Government-inspired ban.


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Campaigners fighting to ban the sport said the majority of people were against hunting, but there was not a single protester at yesterday's meeting, which co-master of the hunt, Robin Vestey, said mirrored the true public feeling.

"You can see by the number of people who are here today that we are as determined as ever to keep this countryside tradition alive," he added.

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"I am quite sure the majority of the people in this country do not want to see hunting banned, one only has to look at Boxing Day when the protesters where outnumbered by around 800 to one.

"There are so many more important issues the Government should be concentrating on. If the ban is achieved, all the Government would have done is to impose legislation on a small group of people who will not except it, using up valuable Parliamentary time in the process.

"We will continue to fight any moves to outlaw this pursuit. Hunters are not law-breakers, but we will fight any unjust law by any means we have available."

The buoyant mood of the Thurlow Hunt followed on from a number of hunts that were held across East Anglia on Boxing Day, which pro-hunters claimed proves the sport was as strong as ever.

Liz Mort, eastern region director of the Countryside Alliance, said: "We have recently commissioned a poll and only 2% of people said hunting should be priority for the Government, that says everything.

"It has spent a lot of time and effort on hunting and it should be concentrating on things more important to the constituents."

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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