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Hundreds witness return of Waveney Harriers for Boxing Day meet

PUBLISHED: 15:45 26 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:59 26 December 2019

The Waveney Harriers at the Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

The Waveney Harriers at the Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

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Crowds lined the streets of Bungay for the return of the traditional Boxing Day hunt.

The Waveney Harriers at the Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew AtterwillThe Waveney Harriers at the Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

Hundreds came out to welcome the Waveney Harriers for their annual parade through the town centre.

Having set off from Annis Hill, the Harriers galloped past the crowds on Earsham Street, with some spectators watching from widows above.

Hunt leader Chris McDaniel said: "We met in the town centre for a very successful morning.

"We didn't hunt any trails today because the ground was so wet from the bad weather lately, but it was good to see the people of Bungay really enjoying us coming to put on a show."

Anti-hunt protesters at the Waveney Harriers' Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew AtterwillAnti-hunt protesters at the Waveney Harriers' Boxing Day hunt in Bungay, over a thousand people attended to watch the horses and hounds leave Earsham Street. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

The Bungay hunt were also met by around a dozen peaceful protesters from the Norfolk and Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs.

Protester Rachel Cropley said: "We are here to voice our concerns about the fact that a lot of people think trail hunting is okay, but it still affects wildlife.

"We have no doubt they lay trails but there is collateral damage that comes as a result of this. It is not going to be beneficial for wildlife in the area."

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Mr McDaniel said: "They are entitled to their opinion, but we hunt within the law all the time so it is quite sad how they keep protesting against us.

"We work hard to keep our hounds going and the tradition alive as well as we can.

"Our hounds are very precious to us. They are a rare breed.

"There were a lot more supporters there than protesters who came to see us."

The Bungay meet was one of dozens of packs meeting up and down the country today, as campaigners called for tougher laws to keep foxes safe.

Fox hunting was banned in England and Wales following the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004 - which came into force a year later.

However, trail hunting - where hounds are trained to follow an artificial scent -is permitted under the legislation.

Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports said it will continue to lobby MPs to strengthen the Hunting Act and "remove loopholes" which it claims allow hunts to still get away with killing foxes.

The charity said it had received 184 reports of suspected illegal fox hunting since the season began in late October.

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