Pro­test­ers pleased with turnout as an­nual hunt gets un­der way

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page - By Gerry War­ren gwar­ren@thek­m­ @Ger­ry_war­ren

Pro­test­ers de­scended on a vil­lage square on Tues­day to con­front the an­nual Box­ing Day Hunt.

As in pre­vi­ous years, dozens ar­rived to demon­strate at the fes­tive meet­ing of the East Kent with West Street Hunt at El­ham.

The gath­er­ing in the vil­lage square dates back more than 100 years.

De­spite the in­tro­duc­tion of the Hunt­ing Act in 2005, the an­ti­hunt­ing lobby con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor its ac­tiv­i­ties to en­sure the law is be­ing com­plied with.

The Act pro­hibits hunt­ing wild an­i­mals with dogs.

The hunt says it now lays a scent trail for the hounds to fol­low, but pro­test­ers have long­claimed foxes are still be­ing cru­elly killed all over the coun­try and al­leges po­lice are not en­forc­ing the law.

In 2015, five mem­bers of the East Kent Hunt were ac­cused of hunt­ing with hounds but the charges were later dropped by the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice, which said there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence.

East Kent Hunt with West Street spokesman Nick Onslow says ob­jec­tors at the Box­ing Day Hunt are still sig­nif­i­cantly out­num­bered by its sup­port­ers.

“They have ev­ery right to protest and af­ter so many years we have come to ex­pect it to be pretty rowdy,” he said.

“But there are al­ways many more of our own sup­port­ers. We are cam­paign­ing for the re­peal of the Hunt­ing Act be­cause we be­lieve it is a far more hu­mane way of deal­ing with the fox pop­u­la­tion than shoot­ing which can leave an an­i­mal maimed.”

But Grant Till­man, of the East Kent Hunt Sabo­teurs, claims sup­port for the hunt in the square has de­clined over the years.

“I was very pleased with our turnout,” he said. “We are not go­ing away and will con­tinue to do the job the po­lice should be do­ing in mon­i­tor­ing the hunt’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The Prime Minister has said the Hunt­ing Act will not be re­pealed but the only way to stop foxes be­ing killed is to ban trail hunt­ing.”

Pic­ture: The Gather Pho­tog­ra­phy

Pro­test­ers at the Box­ing Day meet

Pic­ture: The Gather Pho­tog­ra­phy

The hunts­men and women at the meet

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