Dozens turn out at Derbyshire anti-hunting "day of action"
Dozens of protestors gathered to protest against a “disgraced hunt” near Chesterfield.
About 80 people gathered for the day of action in Cutthorpe – although the hunt, known as Barlow Hounds, said they were outnumbered by supporters and the hunt enjoyed a “thrilling day”.
The protest came after hunt saboteurs filmed hounds from the hunt tearing the body of a fox apart last month, an incident police are investigating.
Hunt saboteurs were also sprayed with muck while monitoring the hunt’s activities at a meet in November.
One protester said: “You could barely hear the hunt master’s welcoming speech above the jeers of protesters as the hunt departed to a barrage of chanting.”
However, a Barlow Hounds spokesman said: “Once again on New Year’s Day, more than 200 people turned out to show their support for the Barlow Hounds.
“The handful of demonstrators did not adversely impact on their enjoyment of this traditional spectacle of horses and hounds.
“The riders subsequently enjoyed a thrilling day in the beautiful Cordwell Valley.”
The protester also said complaints had also been made over the actions of Derbyshire Police on the day, saying officers “refused to take action when the hounds and horses were fouling on public highways”.
A force spokeswoman said: “Due to the number of people expected to attend, increased tensions between the parties involved and the geographical challenges posed by the location, it was necessary to deploy a number of police resources to ensure the safety of everyone attending and that of the general public in the area.
“The operation passed safely and no criminal allegations or reports of injury resulting from the incident have been formally received to date.
“Where evidence exists of criminal activity committed by any party, whether against a person or wildlife, enforcement action is taken where appropriate.”
Fox-hunting was outlawed in 2004, although trail hunting, which the Barlow Hounds takes part in, is permitted. It sees a scent laid for a pack of hounds to follow, to simulate hunting.