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Oakham Town Council can't act on hunt meets

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Oakham Town Council will not act on a request from an animal charity opposed to hunting that it no longer host Boxing Day Hunts in the town.

In a letter addressed to Oakham Town Council earlier this year, the League Against Cruel Sports had asked the council to ban Cottesmore Hunt meetings in the town after the group alleged that a fox had been killed by the hunt’s

The Cottesmore Hunt in Oakham on December 26 Photo: Lee Hellwing (6209542)
The Cottesmore Hunt in Oakham on December 26 Photo: Lee Hellwing (6209542)

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, claimed the Cottesmore Hunt was allowed “to hold one of its most prestigious meets in the town” by Oakham 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 said the matter would be discussed at the town council meeting on January 30.

In a letter following the meeting, mayor Lowe wrote: “The town council have now considered your communication.

“The town council identified that the hunt meet lawfully on private land which the council do not own and as such have no jurisdiction.

“The town council have not been made aware of any incidents mentioned in your email and the matter is now resolved with no further action or comment.”

In response, Chris said they welcomed the fact that the council had debated the issue.

“We hope to continue a constructive engagement with the relevant local authorities, to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent the chasing and killing of foxes with packs of hounds in the area,” he said.

Cottesmore Hunt secretary Clare Bell has previously 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.”

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