A county show committee has stood firm despite “increasing pressure” by saboteurs to remove hound parades from its timetable.
The West Midlands hunt saboteurs group and other activists had been lobbying Ashby Show (9 July) to ban the Atherstone Hunt, the North Warks Beagles and the Dove Valley Mink Hounds parades from its main ring, and from having trade stands at the event.
But after a meeting on the issue last night, the committee released a statement saying the hound parades will go ahead.
“As many of you will be aware, the Ashby Agricultural Society has faced increasing pressure from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs and their supporters to remove the Atherstone Hunt, North Warks Beagles and the Dove Valley Mink Hounds from the main ring schedule and also cancel their trade stands,” the statement read.
“As a society, we ensure that every event is fully compliant with UK law. Therefore, having carefully reviewed the situation, we see no reason to make any changes to our 2017 show and look forward to another successful event.”
The news has been welcomed by hunt supporters who had been concerned the ban would be the “thin end of the wedge” but praised the show committee for standing up to “keyboard warriors”.
“If they had gone ahead and banned the hunts, that would have been a disaster for the future of all country shows and events,” wrote one supporter on Facebook. “Well done to everyone for making a stand on this important issue. If the antis don’t like it, then tough. It’s the country people who make these shows what they are, and always has been, and always will be.”
Countryside Alliance head of hunting Polly Portwin said: “We are delighted that the show organisers have not bowed to bullying from anti-hunting activists and there will still be a hound parade at this year’s Ashby Show.
“The hunting community is an integral part of rural life and it’s vital that the presence of hunts at public events is not confined to the history books.
“Hound parades are incredibly popular at events throughout the summer season and most hunts parade a number of times at various events. They often present a great opportunity for hunts to explain to the general public and those that have little or no understanding about hunting, about how hunts operate legally within the confines of the Hunting Act and also encourage newcomers.”
Simon Green, joint-master of the North Warwickshire Beagles, said that in dealing with the issue, the pack had garnered support from nearly 2,500 people.
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“The greatest support has come from people that live in the local towns and villages who are not known to us but have contacted the show organisers to come out in favour of the hound parade,” he added.
“We want to thank everybody for their support, in particular the organisers of the show and the landowner, and we look forward to parading in front of a large crowd on 9 July.”
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