HUNDREDS of people once again showed their support for the Boxing Day hunts in Malpas and Tarporley with prosecutions for flouting the ban on hold.
Since 2005, when the ban came into force, Boxing Day hunts have drawn record numbers to Malpas.
This week the law’s effectiveness is being questioned as the Crown Prosecution Service appeals to the High Court over the acquittal of a man convicted of hunting illegally with dogs.
The appeal allowed hunters such as Jane Windsor, treasurer of the Cheshire Hunt, to enjoy a meet without the threat of immediate legal action.
She joined scores of riders enjoying a stirrup cup outside The Swan, Tarporley as large crowds visited.
She said: “Young and old turned out and we covered a large amount of ground once we actually got going.
“It was all very peaceful and a nice atmosphere and the whole day was one marked by friendship.”
The Wynnstay Hunt pulled in Father Christmas to greet younger followers as the horses and ponies gathered outside The Crown in Malpas.
For the second year running there was no routine police presence at either meet and no protesters were spotted.
Simon Ashworth, of the Cheshire Hunt, said: “People love to come and see the horses and the riders, and indeed the hounds. It is a very popular spectacle and the law has not made much difference to that.”
The goodwill was appreciated by all as confrontations are still being recorded in the area.
Paul Timpson, of the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association, has posted footage on the campaign’s website which appears to show elderly monitors being threatened by Cheshire Forest Hunters near Tarporley in October.