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Foxhunting in the Lake District

 

Whatever the ethics or politics of the matter there had been a long tradition of foxhunting in the Lakes. But unlike the southern gentry style of hunting the Lakeland packs are not an upper crust social event. The packs hunted on foot and many of the participants are local fell farmers who resent what they see as the depradation of their spring lambs by foxes.Black comb beagles with huntsman Stan Ellwood
One Wasdale farmer lost 50 lambs and although some losses would have been sickly examples, the farmers are quick to get the fell packs out to trace the scent of any offending foxes.
In 2002 the UK Parliament banned foxhuting...but the difficulty of enforcing the ban is shown by the case in September 2009 when Gerald Chalk, sitting in Penrith Magistrates Court, today threw out the case against John Harrison, 48 of Grassthwaite Howe, Glenridding, because he felt there was no evidence of there being a fox involved in either incident. Mr Harrison had denied the charge.The prosecution had claimed that on two occasions terrier men involved in the hunt had dug foxes out of holes in the ground and that Mr Harrison had a pack of hounds waiting to pursue them. But Mr Chalk said that the prosecution had not established there had been any foxes present.

The most famous huntsman of course being John Peel from Caldbeck. The song D'ye Ken John Peel is almost the Cumbrian national anthem.(Follow this link to a web page featuring the song..complete with MP3 version) Peel was born in 1776 at Caldbeck and typical of the day he was one of 13 children. He eloped to marry his true love at Gretna Green. He became somewhat obsessed with hunting, forming his own pack He became so famous for the number of kills and the success of his pack that 3,000 turned out for his funeral. The song became the adopted anthem of the Border Regiment.
The Cumbrian packs are:
Blencathra (Threlkeld) Tel. 01768779219 / Coniston Tel. 015394 33635 / Eskdale and Ennerdale Tel. 01946 723295 / Melbreak Tel. 01900 85233 / Ullswater Tel. 01768 482230.
Also hunting the southern fells are the Lunesdale foxhounds, kennelled in Sedbergh, Cumbria and are Full members of the CCFP .
A UK ban on hunting of foxes and other wildlife with dogs went onto statute book in January 2005. Ironically government whips were not used on the free vote (House of Commons whips originates from huntings whippers-in)' The legislation moved closer in March 2002 when the Commonds voted In the end MPs voted by 386 to 175 for a ban - a majority of 211.
The bill to abolish fox hunting in Scotland was signed by the Queen in March 2002.

Earlier in December 2000 as the House of Commons overwhelmingly approved the first reading of a bill offering three options, ranging from voluntary regulation to an outright ban. MPs voted by 373 to 158 to send the hunting Bill for a second reading, after an impassioned debate lasting until nearly midnight. The hunting issue rouses huge emotion in Britain, pitching a traditionalist countryside lobby against principally urban animal rights campaigners. The bill, on which MPs will not be required to vote along party lines, offers a choice between voluntary regulation, statutory regulation, and an almost total ban.
The Commons then fully approved the bill for a complete ban, but the House of Lords then halted the bill, pending the new Parliament.... Showing his disapproval of the whole trend towards a ban in January Prince Charles on a visit to Cumbria, went out hunting with the Blencathra pack. They caught a fox and the Prince was no doubt happy to signal his indifference to what the Commons had voted. In October 2003 the House of Lords kicked the Hunting Bill into the long grass, but the Commons may push the legislation through under the Parliament Act in 2004.
LINDA Porter, from the Eskdale pack organised an appeal that raised more than £33,000 to help Cumbrian foxhound packs survives the ravages of foot and mouth.
Linda, joint master of the Eskdale and Ennerdale Foxhounds, started the appeal exactly a year ago. Linda is secretary of the fell packs central committee.
An SOS went out countrywide and donations flooded in from all over the UK. There were also some from Kenya, the United States, Germany, Ireland and Canada. More than 320 individuals and groups made donations. One person gave £6,000 in instalments and a similar amount was raised by the Warwickshire Hunt.
The nine packs of fell foxhounds hunting in and around the fringes of Cumbria will benefit from the £33,000 proceeds.

The Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), the governing body for foxhunting in the UK, has itself launched its new website on www.mfha.co.uk

 




 
Bloodcurdling!
If you want to see the anti-hunting lobby in action try either the Anti-Blood Sports web site or this web site (complete with dripping blood!)


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