A quarter of a million people are expected to turn out today (26 December) to support hunts on their biggest day of the calendar — the Boxing Day meet.
More than 250 hunts across the UK will be holding the traditional festive meet, as rural disquiet over the Government’s failure to tackle the Hunting Act grows.
Support for hunting — now in its ninth season under the ban — is holding firm, with 250,000 people due to take part today, whether mounted, following on foot or quad bike, or simply turning out to enjoy a drink and take in the atmosphere.
Speaking ahead of the annual spectacle, Countryside Alliance executive chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner said:
“We have less than 18 months left in this Parliament but the Government is still to make good many of its promises to the countryside — not least the pledge of support to hunting.”
The Coalition Government agreement included a commitment to a vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act.
DEFRA has also said it will consider a proposal from farmers to amend the law to make it easier to flush and shoot foxes — a crucial amendment, they say, as the lambing season approaches.
Sir Barney added: “Tackling the failed Hunting Act is a matter of trust between David Cameron, the coalition Government and the countryside. In three and a half years, the Government has done nothing to address this illiberal, unjust and divisive law.
“The arguments for repeal or replacement of the ban are unarguable. Proposals to amend the ban backed by science have been brought forward and there is solid support in Parliament.
“Doing nothing is not an acceptable option.”