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Town council bans Cottesmore Hunt from Uppingham Market Place on New Year's Day

Uppingham Town Council has banned the Cottesmore Hunt from gathering in the town centre.

The hunt visits Uppingham's Market Place during its New Year's Day meet.

A motion was proposed at a meeting of the town council on Wednesday (November 5) by Coun Christine Edwards.

The Cottesmore Hunt in Rutland
The Cottesmore Hunt in Rutland

She said: "Over my many years on the council I have always voted with my conscience which is what I have done this time."

At the meeting it was suggested that the council should consult the community first but this motion was rejected, resulting in a third of the council abstaining from the final vote.

Coun Ron Simpson was among the members of the council who refused to vote.

He said: "It is part of the heritage of Rutland and rural life.

"I abstained as I thought we should consult the community."

The topic of the hunt cannot be re-discussed at the town council for at least six months.

Clare Bell, secretary for the Cottesmore Hunt said they are due to meet in Melton Mowbray rather than Uppingham this coming New Year's Day, which they do every three years.

However, she said the group hoped townspeople would help to change the decision of the council before their next New Year's Day meet in Uppingham.

"It's a tradition and it's good for business," said Clare. "We had 500 people at the meet in Uppingham last year; it's really important for the local community.

"There is always a little contingent of people who are anti-hunt, but everyone is entitled to their views.

"Many of those who are anti-hunting say we hunt illegally, but nothing could be further from the truth. We lay hunting trails for the hounds to follow."

One legal method of 'hunting' with hounds involves a fox-scented trail being laid by a horse rider, who has the scent on a rag at the end of a whip.

The hounds, which have been bred for generations to follow a scented trail, will follow this through the countryside.

Clare said this is the preferred method of hunting used by Cottesmore Hunt, although it is also legal to use hounds to 'flush out' a fox in areas where they need controlling, and then a golden eagle is used to complete the hunt. Cottesmore Hunt does have a golden eagle.

"The really important thing to stress is that this is not an illegal activity," said Clare. "We do not hunt foxes any more."

What do you think? Have your say in our poll.

Clare Bell welcomes anyone wishing to support the Cottesmore Hunt to contact her on 07854 587366.

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