Protesters pleased with turnout as annual hunt gets under way
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“The Prime Minister has said the Hunting Act will not be repealed but the only way to stop foxes being killed is to ban trail hunting.”
Protesters at the Boxing Day meet
The huntsmen and women at the meet