COMPARED to years ago there are far fewer fox hunts these days but according to the Countryside Alliance there is "huge public support for hunting."

In a press release to the Weekly News the pressure group said that a quarter of million people turned out to support the hunts on Boxing Day.

There were no fox hunts in Highbridge and district but there was a drag hunt with the Weston and Banwell Harriers in nearby Axbridge with a a big turn out in the town Square on Boxing Day. Drag hunts follow a scent trail laid down in advance. Those opposed to hunts say that drag hunts sometimes allow their hounds to attack wild animals who get in the way although the hunt disputes this.

The Countryside Alliance said: "This annual spectacle is an opportunity for hunts to thank all those who support them, from the farmers and landowners over whose land they ride, to their subscribers and the public, whose enthusiasm for hunting shows no signs of waning, despite more than a decade of the Hunting Act."

Despite the new laws on hunting the alliance say that 45,000 people regularly follow hunts on horseback with 289 registered packs of hunting dogs in England and Wales and 10 in Scotland, plus another 22 packs of draghounds and bloodhounds that were set up pre-ban purely to hunt a trail or runner such as the one in this area.

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