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WILDLIFE CRIMEWATCH LINE 01483 361 108

Hunters desert Town Centre meets amid claims FMD safety precautions are unworkable

21 December 2001

THE LEAGUE AGAINST CRUEL SPORTS today accused hunts that are abandoning their traditional Boxing Day meets of "running scared."

Maldon High Street in Essex is usually a mecca for hunters on Boxing Day, but this year there will be no horses, hounds or red jackets in sight. The Essex Farmers Union Hunt has announced it will not be meeting in the town centre because enforcing FMD safety measures would be impossible. Hunt Masters are now frantically searching for an alternative venue on private land REMOVING THEMSELVES FROM THE SCRUTINY OF THE PUBLIC.

League anti-hunt protesters preparing to take part in the annual demonstration held in Maldon, say they will still meet in the High Street regardless, to mark the occasion and call for a total hunt ban. Among the campaigners will be Frank Fitch and his pet fox, Angela Smith MP, and executive committee members of the League.

The Bicester and Whaddon chase, which usually meets in two places on Boxing Day, will not assemble in Bicester town centre as usual, opting instead, along with the Sussex Hunt, to meet on private land, WHERE THEIR ACTIVITIES WILL NOT BE OPEN TO THE EYES OF THE PUBLIC.

The League Against Cruel Sports is to hold protests at hunts nationwide, including a sizeable one at Winslow, Bucks - where the other half of the Bicester and Whaddon chase are set to meet in Market Square. (contact Judy Gilbert 01494 483242 for details).

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of The League Against Cruel Sports said " The hunters are running scared. Their withdrawal from town centres comes after many hunts have been accused of failing to comply with DEFRA safety guidelines. The only way to permanently prevent any FMD risks is to go along with the wishes of the majority of Britons and ban hunting with dogs."