Scuffles Break Out at Wiltshire Boxing Day Hunt - Video

© REUTERS / Luke MacGregorMembers of the New Forest Hunt arrive at Boltons Bench for the annual Boxing Day hunt in Lyndhurst, southern England December 26, 2016
Members of the New Forest Hunt arrive at Boltons Bench for the annual Boxing Day hunt in Lyndhurst, southern England December 26, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.12.2021
Fox hunting has been banned in England and Wales since 2005, but a legal form of it, so-called trail hunting is still in place and sees hounds follow an artificial, animal-based scent. Activists assert, however, that foxes can still be killed in the process.
Supporters and opponents of the annual Avon Vale Boxing Day Hunt clashed in southwestern England's Wiltshire County, videos shared on social media show.
In one piece of footage, activists are heard shouting "shame on you" to members of the hunt on horseback as others are seen being involved in a fight with supporters.

The video also shows protesters yelling "get them away" to a police officer who is heard replying: "Stop shouting. Don't you dare speak to me like that".

It was not immediately clear why the brawls in the village of Lacock broke out on 27 December, with a spokesman for Wiltshire Police saying in a statement on Monday that they were "aware of a planned local hunt in Lacock today (27/12)" and that "officers attended at around 11 a.m. when concerns were raised about tensions between those involved in the hunt and protesters".

"Officers remained on the scene to manage the two groups and they had dispersed by around 12:30 p.m. At this stage no arrests have been made but our enquiries are continuing", the spokesman added.

Lee Moon, a spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), in turn, argued that "fox hunters' backs are against the wall and they're increasingly resorting to violence as the pressure increases".

"Boxing Day is the most prestigious day in the hunting calendar with the mainstream media watching on and still these violent thugs can't behave themselves for a few hours", Moon stressed.

Avon Vale Hunt, for its part, made it clear that they don't know "the circumstances" of the 27 December incident and that they "do not condone violence even in the case of extreme provocation by anti-hunting protesters whose sole purpose is to antagonise those supporting a lawful activity".
The Boxing Day hunt meeting at Chiddingstone Castle, Kent, Britain - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.12.2014
Boxing Day Hunts Bring Calls for Return to Animal Cruelty
Despite fox hunting having been prohibited in England and Wales for sixteen years, it currently exists in a legal form known as "trail hunting". During the process, an artificial, animal-based scent is left somewhere for dogs to track it as hunters ride by the hounds' side on horseback.
Campaigners, however, insist that "trail hunting" results in foxes being mutilated and sometimes killed, something they say is illegal, as animals are being hurt for entertainment.
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