Cold snap sabotages fox-hunters' big day

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Sub-zero temperatures and hunt saboteurs hampered many traditional Boxing Day hunts on the biggest day in the fox-hunting calendar. Hard ground meant many chases were called off, while police reported that the freezing conditions had kept incidents with animal protesters to a minimum.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association said its members and those of the League Against Cruel Sports disrupted up to 120 hunts. "A fox killed today is the same as one killed any other day. The Boxing Day meeting just serves to make it look like a traditional postcard scene - we see it as a publicity thing for the hunts."

Meanwhile, a bitter verbal feud erupted between pro- and anti-hunt groups as the League Against Cruel Sports launched a campaign featuring a dying foxhound called Berry, struck by a train during a hunt. Anti-hunt campaigners say it is just one of hundreds of similar incidents caused when out-of- control packs are let loose.

The British Field Sports Society said Berry was filmed by a hunt saboteur who had been blowing a hunting horn to try to lure the hound away from the huntsmen's control.