Country folk rally to defence of their rural traditions

Steve Boggan hears the marchers' point of view
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The Independent Online
Paddy Sweeney, 77, from North Yorkshire

"I am not afraid to speak up for hunting despite the fact that all my life my job [as a vet] has been to treat and cure animals. If hunting were banned, I believe foxes would be extinct within 100 years. At least the hunts have an interest in trying to preserve them and their environment."

Lucy McMillan-Scott, 24, from London

"I am not pro-hunting but I believe in people's freedom to choose what they do.

"It seems to me that this is about a bunch of city people telling country people what they should and should not do. That doesn't seem fair to me."

Maureen Burgess, of Childrey, Oxfordshire

"People don't think of the effects of a hunting ban. My daughter runs a small feed company of five people. If there is no more hunt, they would go out of business. Five more unemployed people in a small community can have a serious impact."

John Biron, 40, farmer from East Sussex

"I used to be a beef farmer but I had to switch to sheep because of the BSE fiasco. Now I'm even worried about that. I hunt and feel that Michael Foster's Bill would be disastrous for the countryside. Fox-hunting is the most sustainable way of limiting their numbers."

"Surely this is all about personal liberty and freedom of choice. I do not hunt but I would defend the rights of people who do want to.

Nigel Murch, 48, from Ramsbury, Wiltshire

"I voted Labour at the election and now I'm beginning to wonder whether that was a mistake."

Margaret Tabor, 78, farmer from Essex

"Our farm as been in my late husband's family for over 400 years. During the whole time, there has been hunting as a way of life - and part of that is a way of conserving the countryside. I fear that if hunting goes, shooting will go next, and then the countryside will be without its sports."