Coursing supporters from across the country and workers whose jobs are threatened from a possible ban on hunting have taken part in a round-the-clock vigil outside the Houses of Parliament and handed in a petition at 10 Downing Street.
The vigil is part of the Countryside Alliance's 'Summer of Discontent' leading up to the massive Liberty and Livelihood March on 22nd September. The pro-hunting vigil began on 15th May and will continue 'until rural people feel that they have been fairly listened to by politicians'.
The vigil is part of the Countryside Alliance's 'Summer of Discontent' campaign, which precedes the 'Liberty and Livelihood' march on 22nd September. Sally Merrison, Chairman of the National Coursing Club, said: The aim of the vigil and the petition is to get our message across to politicians that a ban on hunting and coursing will have a negative impact upon animal welfare and will also hurt ordinary rural people.
A ban on hunting would cost kennels, farriers, feed merchants and saddlers a huge percentage of their trade and jobs would be lost in those industries as well. Supporters and rural workers from up and down the country will be taking part on a 24-hour long shift basis and today it was our turn. We went to London to defend our way of life and the 14,000 rural jobs dependent upon hunting and coursing - and we will be going back on 22nd September with hundreds of thousands of others.
We want members of the public to realise how important hunting is to rural communities and how much the rural economy would be hit by making us into criminals. The Government's own inquiry into hunting found that there is no justification for criminalising us and we are prepared to stay camped outside the Houses of Parliament, and March time and time again, until politicians start to treat us fairly".