New battle looms over ruling on hunting

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ANTI-FIELD sports campaigners are drawing up battle plans to reverse a decision by the National Trust which effectively condones hunting on its land.

Campaigners, led by Peter Jackson, a member of the trust's governing council, are planning to force an extraordinary general meeting of the conservation body to reconsider the issue.

Hunt supporters also received support from Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, over the weekend when he denounced hunt saboteurs and confirmed his intention to introduce legislation making them liable to fines of up to pounds 2,500 and three months' imprisonment.

Mr Howard's speech coincided with a vote of confidence by National Trust members in their executive body's decision to leave 'the ethical and moral issues (of hunting) to be determined by Parliament'.

The vote, which in effect allows hunting to continue on the trust's 580,000 acres of land, was won by 100,723 votes to 29,722 at the trust's annual meeting.

Mr Jackson, a former Labour MP, argues that the result does not reflect the views of the trust's full 2.2 million membership. He believes that he would easily gather the 1,200 signatures required to call an extraordinary meeting to reconsider the matter.

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