Hunting supporters flocked to 12 mass meets around the country on Saturday and gave the government a warning of the numbers of people prepared to break the law if a ban on hunting with dogs is introduced.
Nearly 60,000 signed up to “declare [their] intention to disobey, peacefully, any law purporting to ban hunting”, with around 3,300 of the 7,000 people at the Melton Mowbray mass meet signing the declaration.
“Some of those attending had of course already signed the declaration,” explains Kay Chapman, the CA’s regional director in charge of organising the Melton event.
Not everyone could sign the declaration of course; children under 18 were asked not to, and MP’s, magistrates and members of the armed forces cannot commit themselves to lawlessness but they were there in support of those of us who did.
The Countryside Alliance’s deputy chief executive David Lowes spoke urging continued “faith in Parliament and the House of Lords” and for hunt supporters to “be proud of what we do”.
Edward Garnier, MP for Market Harborough stressed the importance of peaceful protests as both encouragement and a moral boost for those in Parliament and the House of Lords, and said: “discontent is growing in Parliament”.
No one involved in rural life can be in any doubt that a ban on foxhunting has far reaching consequences. “It’ll ruin us between August and April” said Mr Spence, a local farrier.