The Union of Country Sports Workers is to be dissolved, following a decision taken at the organisation’s AGM on 10 May at Thorpe Mandeville, Northants.

The UCSW was established in 1997 as an independent organisation to fight for its members rights and against any threats to their jobs and homes. It was the only listed trade union dedicated to country sports employees.

The association’s members included those in many equestrian industries including farriers, grooms, livery yard workers, saddlers and members of hunt staff.

After the AGM, chairman Rob Lowe said: “Everyone associated with the UCSW can be proud of what has been achieved over the past 18 years. Formed when hunting was the main focus of attack, we brought together all those employed in country sports. All of us recognised that our way of life and the traditions of the countryside were under threat.

“Taking our rightful place alongside those who participate in country sports, we have made our voice heard loud and clear.

“The UCSW has gone on over the intervening years to represent our members in all manner of employment and housing issues or potential legislation that impacts upon our jobs and way of life.

“Up to the very end, UCSW has helped those in need, and I like to think fought against prejudice and for justice. There are still problems in the employment sphere and the permanent risk of bone-headed legislation that has not been properly thought through.

“Essentially run by volunteers, the time has sadly come to recognise that UCSW is no longer viable as a stand-alone organisation. However, I must stress that I do not believe that the threat to country sports or those who earn their living from them, has vanished. Everyone must remain vigilant.”

The UCSW had around 5,000 members based all over the UK, Europe and America.