Today marks the third anniversary of the Hunting Act. Since 18 February 2005, just three hunts have been convicted of any offence — out of more than 300 hunts hunting over 50,000 days.

Chief executive of the Countryside Alliance Simon Hart points to this tiny number of convictions as evidence that the Act is a waste of time for police and those trying to hunt within “such a bad law”.

“The Act has failed to deliver anything for anyone,” said Mr Hart. “It has not improved the welfare of the quarry species, nor the lives of those in the countryside who rely economically and socially on hunting. Neither has it delivered for those who promoted it.

“They wanted to see the end of the traditional hunts, which have as much support as ever. Most of all it has failed to give the police of courts anything except additional cost, wasted time and warped priorities.”

Furthermore, the number of protesters has fallen by around 60% — despite their claims that hunts are routinely breaking the law. Meanwhile, hunts themselves have enjoyed record numbers of people taking part.

The number of members in the League Against Cruel Sports has fallen from 18,000 in the 1990s, to between five and 10,000 today. There are 68,000 followers hunting under the Hunting Act.