OVER 6,000 people turned out to support hare-coursing for the Waterloo Cup, at Altcar, near Southport, the most important event in the sports calendar.
The crowd was in defiant mood and refused to accept a government proposal to ban the activity. In a show of solidarity, the Countryside Alliance also organised a parade of hunting dogs.
Sam Butler, chairman of the alliances Campaign for Hunting, warned the Government that it would face civil disobedience if it went ahead with a coursing ban.
Alun Michael, the Rural Affairs Minister, condemned hare-coursing and called on the pro-hunt lobby "to move on".
RSPCA inspectors monitoring the coursing said that at least nine hares were killed in 43 races and the time taken for the dogs to break the necks of the hares was between 11 and 27 seconds.