Tensions are rising in Britain over the new ban on fox hunting, with reports of protestors clashing this weekend with hunters. The pro-hunt Countryside Alliance has filed papers in the High Court calling for a judicial review of the new law, and the use of the 1949 Parliament Act to force it through.
One of the alliance’s leaders spoke outside the court: “There is a line beyond which people are not prepared to be pushed at the hands of one or two politicians who have been extremely volatile and extremely provocative and in many cases extremely offensive about perfectly reasonable, law abiding citizens.” As police voice concerns about how they will enforce the ban, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has admitted it will be an issue ahead of elections expected to be held next year. “There are people who feel passionately that hunting is integral to their way of life, there are people who feel equally passionately that it’s barbaric and cruel,” said Blair. The Police Federation has already warned that widespread public disorder could put a massive strain on rural forces. The ban is due to come into force in February, but many hunting groups are vowing to do all they can to protect their way of life – even if that means acting on the wrong side of the law.