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Biggest ever meets

Record crowds of over 275,000 people attended 350 hunt meets across the country in a huge show of support and solidarity for hunting.

Hunts up and down the country extended an open invitation for everyone to join them at their Boxing Day meets. Early indications suggested attendances up on last year despite wet weather in many areas.

The record attendances mirror an increase in the number of new followers, particularly young people, who have been hunting this year. Over 3000 people started hunting during 'National Newcomers’ Week' - a special week of promotional activity in October.

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance said: "The unprecedented crowds at Boxing Day fixtures are a clear indication that hunting has a place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people, from town and country alike.It is a proper reflection of solidarity and resolve, not only from the hunting community but also from the many thousands of people who support the freedom to hunt.

These massive crowds, coupled with the poll figures, suggest that hunting is in good spirits and prepared for whatever challenges may lie ahead."