In 2005 the UK parliament banned the hunting of foxes by hounds. And so the death knell was tolled for one of our oldest sporting traditions. Or was it?
Today was Boxing Day, the day which was most associated with hunting. And today more than a quarter of a million people turned out to participate in, or support the 300 hunts which took place throughout the country.
The authorities have so far made no real effort to enforce the new law, and as a result hunting is now supported more than at any time in the past.
Richard Dodd of the Countryside Alliance, supporters of hunting, said today that the ban was a ‘dog’s dinner dreamt up by people who know nothing about the countryside’. He is optimistic that in time this law will be scrapped. Indeed it is very difficult to find anyone in favour of the ban outside our large towns and cities.
On the other side, Mike Hobday of the League Against Cruel Sports said today that he does not believe that hunting is undergoing a revival, and doubted that the Alliance would succeed in getting the ban overturned.
The nearest hunt to me is a few miles away in the town of Battle, and if the scenes there today were anything to go by, I’d say that hunting is here to stay.