ANTI-field sports activists are pressing the Government to tighten up the laws banning foxhunting after a huge turnout by pro-hunt supporters on Boxing Day - despite that fact that most hounds were chasing scented drags rather than foxes.
Some 250 hunts celebrated the traditional Boxing Day meets for the first time since hunting with dogs was made illegal, attracting an estimated 25, 000 riders and some 300,000 foot followers - 50,000 more than attended last year when the sport was still legal.
This was seen by the Countryside Alliance as a growing sense of rebellion against "nanny-state" interference against personal freedoms.
But it was received with deep offence by the League Against Cruel Sports, who are demanding that new provisions should be introduced allowing the police to go onto private land without permission- at present, an act of trespass - to collect evidence.
Under present legislation, hounds can kill a fox if it judged to have come their way by accident. But as one hunt supporter told Daelnet: "If they try to change this law to prove that dogs know the difference between intent and accident, the country will have even more rich lawyers - and the courts millions more in costs."