Hunts expect to see big crowds on Boxing Day

TRADITIONAL Boxing Day hunts across Oxfordshire are once again expected to draw thousands of spectators.

Organisers say dozens of riders and hounds will meet across the county for the biggest annual event in their calendar.

This is despite a ban on fox hunting being introduced seven years ago, meaning Oxfordshire’s hunts will have to stay within the law by following artificially-laid trails.

Pressure group the Countryside Alliance said it expects to see around 250 hunts drawing around 250,000 spectators across the UK on Boxing Day, and has called on the Government to repeal the ban.

Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hound Club will meet at 11am in the field opposite Winslow Hall, east of Bicester.

Patrick Martin, huntsman for the hound club which has its kennels in Stratton Audley, near Bicester, said around 70 riders and more than 1,000 spectators turned out last year, and he is hoping to see increased numbers this year.

He said: “The good thing about Boxing Day is people turn up who we don’t see during the rest of the year, because they see it as a tradition of the British countryside.

“The general support of the public is what makes this hunt special. They can almost make it a form of protest by turning up and saying ‘we don’t want to see this tradition lost’.”

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Hunts met in Bicester’s Market Square on Boxing Day until 2001, when it was moved to avoid a £1,000 bill from Thames Valley Police and Cherwell District Council to put up safety barriers.

Honorary secretary for the Heythrop Hunt Greg Avis said members will once again meet in Chipping Norton’s Market Place, outside the Fox Hotel, at 10.45am on Boxing Day.

He said: “We’re hoping for a good turnout. It seems to have gone up since the ban.”

Comments (3)

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11:23am Tue 24 Dec 13

indiebirder says...

Interesting that numbers of spectators have risen since the ban, and interesting that the Countryside Alliance see this as a protest against the ban. Maybe some people are happier to come out and support the hunt now that foxes aren't being needless killed. Just a thought.
Interesting that numbers of spectators have risen since the ban, and interesting that the Countryside Alliance see this as a protest against the ban. Maybe some people are happier to come out and support the hunt now that foxes aren't being needless killed. Just a thought. indiebirder

11:26am Tue 24 Dec 13

Gary Hills says...

Really, well some 47386500 people in the UK support keeping the hunting ban. That's 76% of the population, yet as ever the so called free press panderers to those who enjoy deliberate animal cruelty. The number of pro hunters is tiny and is frankly unimportant. The voice of blood sport junkies has no place in a decent society.

There is nothing the blood sport lobby can say to make out they are important to the vast bulk of the population. Sickening animal cruelty dressed up in endless excuses all disproved is a throwback to the dark ages of savages and has but one place and that is the history books.

Fox hunters are not freedom fighters, they are not victims of persecution or deliberate attacks on people's rights. Hunters have no rights to kill for fun and they chose to make themselves criminals. Regardless of their dictatorship in ignoring societies laws and values their views do not count. They have placed themselves out side of humanity in their desire for animal cruelty and its hardly surprising that the rest of society finds their demands and actions sickening.

The hunting ban is not going to be repealed no matter how much the Countryside Alliance and David Cameron and his Tory MPs want. It is here to stay and that is 100% right. If hunters are so desperate to continue as a hunt then they should switch to real drag hunting not faux trail hunting. If not then they can disband because the public is sick of their constant winging that they are unable to kill a fox, deer, hare or mink and it's spoiled their fun!

Time for reality to kick in, blood sport is doomed in the UK, its unwanted, not respected and is a sick activity for cruel people. Yet the law is no longer there to protect such vile activities and those who seek it and break the law deserve the criminal record that goes with it.
Really, well some 47386500 people in the UK support keeping the hunting ban. That's 76% of the population, yet as ever the so called free press panderers to those who enjoy deliberate animal cruelty. The number of pro hunters is tiny and is frankly unimportant. The voice of blood sport junkies has no place in a decent society. There is nothing the blood sport lobby can say to make out they are important to the vast bulk of the population. Sickening animal cruelty dressed up in endless excuses all disproved is a throwback to the dark ages of savages and has but one place and that is the history books. Fox hunters are not freedom fighters, they are not victims of persecution or deliberate attacks on people's rights. Hunters have no rights to kill for fun and they chose to make themselves criminals. Regardless of their dictatorship in ignoring societies laws and values their views do not count. They have placed themselves out side of humanity in their desire for animal cruelty and its hardly surprising that the rest of society finds their demands and actions sickening. The hunting ban is not going to be repealed no matter how much the Countryside Alliance and David Cameron and his Tory MPs want. It is here to stay and that is 100% right. If hunters are so desperate to continue as a hunt then they should switch to real drag hunting not faux trail hunting. If not then they can disband because the public is sick of their constant winging that they are unable to kill a fox, deer, hare or mink and it's spoiled their fun! Time for reality to kick in, blood sport is doomed in the UK, its unwanted, not respected and is a sick activity for cruel people. Yet the law is no longer there to protect such vile activities and those who seek it and break the law deserve the criminal record that goes with it. Gary Hills

9:16am Wed 25 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

Where do you get the 76% statistic?. 90% of the population couldn't care less either way, which just leaves the Hunters and the usual anti everything suspects, to make up the numbers.
Where do you get the 76% statistic?. 90% of the population couldn't care less either way, which just leaves the Hunters and the usual anti everything suspects, to make up the numbers. East Oxford Web Watcher

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