Hunts stronger than ever on anniversary

FOUR years ago this week, the Hunting Act came into force which banned the hunting of foxes with hounds.

But far from killing off the centuries-old hunts, it saved them and now they have grown even more popular.

Local hunts now take track scented trails and the sight of a hunt riding out across the Whitby countryside is now commonplace.

Goathland Hunt was on the verge of going out of existence before the ban came in.

Records of the hunt date back to 1650 and now it is as popular as ever.

Neil Salter, the outgoing secretary of Goathland Hunt, said: "We had no hounds before the ban came in but in a way it has helped us to keep going.

"There is still the social aspect to the hunt and we still do our fund-raising so we are still going strong."

Glaisdale Hunt has also come out the other side of the hunting ban a stronger outfit.

Hunt master Pat Featherstone said that they had close to 250 turning out for their Boxing Day hunt.

"When the act came in I don't think anyone knew what was going to happen," he said.

"We complied within the law and I think that now it is probably as, if not more, popular than it was.

"I still hope a new government might come in and repeal the act but we'll see."

The League Against Cruel Sports is marking the anniversary by urging people to contact their MP to ask they sign Early Day Motion 481, which calls for greater support for the police in the enforcement of the act.

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