Hunt where protestor was killed to close

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The Independent Online
A FOX HUNT at which a 15-year-old saboteur was killed in April after being crushed under the wheels of a horsebox lorry is to close, writes Jason Bennetto.

The hunt committee of the 200-year-old Cambridgeshire Hunt will recommend the group disbands and members are almost certain to give their support at the annual general meeting next month.

The decision was brought forward by the resignation of the group's professional huntsman, Tony Ball, who was the driver of the horse box that collided with the saboteur. Thomas Worby, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, who died, was attending his first hunt protest. It emerged last week that the Crown Prosecution Service has decided that Mr Ball should not be prosecuted.

David Fox, of Cambridgeshire Hunt Saboteurs, said: 'The hunt has been losing money as their income and support shrinks. Public opinion is going increasingly against hunting and we believe this will be the first of many closures. The death of the boy was obviously a catalyst but the hunt has admitted it was planning to close next year regardless of whether their huntsman resigned.'

Hunt supporters blame the closure on urbanisation. Gurney Sheppard, one of Cambridgeshire Hunt's five hunt masters, said: 'The closure is a practical reason, it's nothing to do with public opinion.' The hunt plans to set up a club and share the hounds and facilities of neighbouring hunts.