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New Year's Day Cottesmore Hunt takes place in Uppingham

Protestors joined supporters in Uppingham’s Market Place for the centuries-old Cottesmore Hunt on New Year’s Day.

Around 55 riders on horseback were joined by between 400 and 500 people - a mix of cheering supporters and jeering protestors from the Hunt Saboteurs Association.

Photos: Lee Hellwing

The event has been running for more than 350 years and followed last week’s Boxing Day Hunt.

“It was good, we had a good morning,” said Clare Bell, secretary of the hunt.

“There was a great turnout from the people of Uppingham and Rutland.

“We had a really good day and hunted within the law using birds of prey.

“I don’t mind protests at all.

“People tend to forget that foxes are vermin.

“Farmers don’t want them and it’s about maintaining a healthy fox population.

“Foxes will be killed anyway.

“They are beautiful creatures but I don’t want to see one that has been shot by a shot gun.”

Robin Jones, a hunt observer, was one of around 40 protestors at the hunt and said the use of birds of prey was a loophole in the Hunting Act 2004.

He said: “I’m very keen on an animal rights and carrying out peaceful protests to ban fox hunting.

“They (the hunt members) say it’s about pest control but if you kill a fox, within five or six days, another fox will move into the


“There were more people protesting this year and I think that was down to social media.

“We had quite a few people come down, saying this was the first time they had been on a protest.

“They just want to show their support for wildlife and nature and believe that it should be left alone.”

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