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Call for council to ban Oakham hunts

An animal charity opposed to hunting has asked Oakham Town Council to no longer host Boxing Day hunt meets in the town.

In a letter to the council, the League Against Cruel Sports alleges that two foxes had been chased “to exhaustion” by hounds under control of the Cottesmore Hunt during two hunting meetings this season.

The Cottesmore Hunt in Oakham on December 26 Photo: Lee Hellwing (6458212)
The Cottesmore Hunt in Oakham on December 26 Photo: Lee Hellwing (6458212)

The League alleged that one of the animals was killed by the hunt’s dogs.

It further claimed that large groups of riders and hounds meeting created “a health and safety hazard” to the general public.

Approximately 87 riders took part in the traditional Boxing Day hunt, while Market Place and High Street in Oakham were full of people who came out to watch the riders and dogs set off.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “A fox has been chased and killed by hounds under the control of the Cottesmore Hunt, which is permitted by Oakham Town Council to hold one of its most prestigious meets in the town.

“With 85 per cent of the public opposing fox hunting, there is clear support for Oakham Town Council to follow these examples and instead allow only cruelty-free entertainment,” he said.

Oakham mayor Adam Lowe confirmed he had received a letter from the League.

“I have replied acknowledging receipt and said the matter will be discussed at the next town council meeting on January 30,” he said.

“However, the town council does not own the land in Market Place so it’s not really our decision to make.”

Cottesmore Hunt secretary Clare Bell said the Boxing Day meet had significant benefits for “the community of Rutland”.

“Hundreds of people turn out for it and businesses in the town benefit while we raised nearly £1,200 for the charity, For Rutland,” she said.

“The Cottesmore hounds hunt within the law and we are not doing anything wrong.”

Clare said she had not heard of a fox being killed, but that if it had happened, it would have been done “within the parameters of the law”.

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