The battle lines have been drawn for the annual Bungay Boxing Day Hunt with anti-hunt campaigners saying they will protest against it.

December 26's tradition sees thousands of people flock either side of St Marys Street and Earsham Street to watch the hunters on their horses and their dogs parade through the town.

But in past years the event has been attended by animal rights protestors who are vehemently campaigning against it and calling for it to be made illegal.

The anti-hunt group Action Against Animal Cruelty has confirmed it will be at this year's parade too.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Protesters held placards and signs Protesters held placards and signs (Image: Sonya Duncan)Beccles & Bungay Journal: Protesters jeered as the dogs passedProtesters jeered as the dogs passed (Image: Sonya Duncan)

READ MORE: Boxing Day hunt parade 2022 attended by crowds of protesters

An Action Against Animal Cruelty spokesman said: "Anti-hunt protesters have been in attendance for most parades over at least the last 30 years, both during "legal" foxhunting and since the ban back in 2004.  

"We plan to make our presence known to educate the public that continues to support the Waveney and Norfolk Harriers that trail hunting does indeed harm wildlife and isn't the innocent following of a trail as claimed.

"Trail hunting was invented to carry on hunting following the ban and still allows wildlife, namely hares and foxes to be killed "by accident"."

Beccles & Bungay Journal: The Waveney Harriers was met with a mixture of cheers and boos in 2022The Waveney Harriers was met with a mixture of cheers and boos in 2022 (Image: Sonya Duncan)Beccles & Bungay Journal:

The protest group has continued the same petition it used last year calling for a ban on the hunt but changed the year in the title, at the time of writing it had 43,000 signatures.

On Boxing Day 2022 the petition had just over 42,000 signatures.

READ MORE: Quiet Norfolk village could have homes built behind its recently closed pub

A town council meeting last night (Thursday, November 16) heard that the council suggested to the Waveney and Norfolk Harriers, the group which organised the parade, that it apply for a road closure from Suffolk Police.

However, the group declined the council's suggestion. At the meeting, Bungay Town Council agreed to request Suffolk Police be in attendance to ensure safety on the day.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Police were present to keep peace in Bungay 2022Police were present to keep peace in Bungay 2022 (Image: Sonya Duncan)Beccles & Bungay Journal: Thousands took to the streets for the annual Boxing Day parade in 2022Thousands took to the streets for the annual Boxing Day parade in 2022 (Image: Sonya Duncan)

The harriers joint master, Chris McDaniel, confirmed the group will be parading but not stopping because of health and safety concerns and will have other dogs with them.

READ MORE: Shocking photos reveal why RAT INFESTED kebab shop got ZERO star food hygiene rating

He said: "We will be parading through Bungay on Boxing Day.

"However, because of health and safety, we will not be stopping. 

"We have amalgamated with the North Norfolk Harriers, and are now called the Waveney and Norfolk Harriers.

"The North Norfolk have West Country Harriers which are predominantly white and slightly larger than the Stud Book Harriers which the Waveney have.

"On Boxing Day we will bring both packs through the town separately, then join up and hunt trails as one pack."