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Access to beauty spots hit in the name of hunting

20 December 2004

The League Against Cruel Sports today condemned action taken by the Badgworthy Land Company in terminating permissive action arrangements and restricting rights of way on some of Exmoor's most famous beauty spots, in protest at the ban on hunting with dogs (1). BLC owns about 7,000 acres in Exmoor National Park, making it the largest private landowner, as well as the sporting rights. Yesterday they admitted that "local people are affected by the decision", and called their plight minor compared to those whose livelihood, they claim is threatened by the ban.

Shares in the BLC, a strongly pro hunting organisation, are owned by the Badgworthy Trust for the Preservation of Exmoor, a charitable organisation. Tom Yandle, chairman of the BLC and also of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds admitted that local people would lose money, but that felt that a point had to be made.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive, League Against Cruel Sports said,

"It is completely unacceptable for the pro hunters to prevent access to a renowned beauty spot. How can the Badgworthy Land Company claim to be concerned about the local economy, when this action clearly will affect tourists wishing to visit the area and hence harm local businesses? This is little more than blackmail by a company which is really just a front for the hunters."