Hunters plan legal challenge to ban

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Indy Politics

MORE THAN 18,000 fox-hunting supporters marched through Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday to protest at the Government's threat to ban hunting.

MORE THAN 18,000 fox-hunting supporters marched through Newcastle upon Tyne yesterday to protest at the Government's threat to ban hunting.

Members of the pro-hunting lobby are expected to launch a test case in the Scottish courts within weeks in an attempt to demonstrate that the Government will be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights if hunt workers are not compensated before the activity is banned.

The case is being brought in Scotland as a private member's Bill in the Edinburgh parliament stands a chance of outlawing hunting with dogs north of the border years before the government in Westminster could hope to do the same in England.

If the action by Scottish field sports campaigners is successful it would severely hamper any prospect of a hunt ban in any part of the UK, because the European convention applies throughout the British Isles. The Countryside Alliance, the pro-hunting group, claims as many as 23,000 jobs would be affected by a ban on hunting.

Yesterday's march, organised by the alliance, is believed to have been one of the biggest demonstrations seen in Newcastle for years. Charles Renwick, chairman of the March North organising committee, said: "Country people are fed up with the prejudice, ignorance and hypocrisy that threatens the fabric of rural life. The Government refuses to listen to our plea for livelihoods and liberty." More marches are planned for Norwich, Exeter and Cardiff.

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