The future of “tens of thousands” of working hounds would be under threat ifthe government’s Hunting Bill becomes law, says the Council of Hunting Associations.

The council stated that 14,000 Foxhounds, 500 Harriers, 2,700 Beagles, 350 Bassets, 200 deerhounds and 720 minkhounds would be affected if the Bill becomeslaw, in a statement released at the South of England Hound Show.

The Bill would also ban hunting by thousands of Greyhounds, Lurchers, Salukis, Whippets, terriers and other sporting dogs.

The association believes that this “major injustice threatens the lives and the future of these hounds.”

The Hon Nicholas Soames MP, president of the hound show, said this year’s fixture could be one of the last, because if the Bill went ahead there would be no use for “these magnificent and remarkable hounds”.

“The government bill has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare, and everything to do with an attempt to control human behaviour. It is a void and damnable affair and, as amended in committee, it would make huntingwith hounds impossible,” he said.

Capt Ian Farquhar, joint-master of the Duke of Beaufort’s, emphasised the extent of the loss to Britain’s heritage caused by extinguishing the working hound packs. The Beaufort hounds could be traced back 54 generations to 1743, which probably made them the most chronicled animals kept by man.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (12 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.