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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Followers ready for Boxing Day hunts in Cumbria

Thousands are expected to follow the Boxing Day hunts in Cumbria as supporters turn out in force for one of the biggest days in the sport’s calendar.

Hunt photo
The Boxing Day tradition remains very strong

At least seven fell packs, three foxhound packs and three beagle packs are due to be out, with spectators expected to make for the countryside in their numbers to take in the traditional sights and sounds.

The League Against Cruel Sports has warned it will also have undercover investigators out monitoring hunts to see if there are any breaches of the law.

Bob Fell, secretary of the Blencathra Foxhounds, said the sport was still as popular following the ban on hunting with hounds, introduced in 2005. These days hounds follow a scent rather than chase a fox.

Mr Fell added: “We are out on Boxing Day. We’re meeting in the Market Square in Keswick at 10am and we go out onto Latrigg and the slopes of Skiddaw. It’s something we do every year.”

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said he believed there would be thousands out with the hunts, with many of those not registered with individual hunts running with the packs.

“From the county that gave us John Peel, England’s most celebrated huntsman, we’d expect nothing less,” he added.

Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said each year across the country thousands of wild animals were still “illegally chased and killed by hunts in the name of sport”.

“Those who continue to flout the law in Cumbria or in any other part of the country will be caught and brought to justice,” he added.

“Our £1 million strategy to tackle illegal wildlife crime will see the number of our undercover investigators out in the field on Boxing Day more than quadruple.”

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