Published: 00:00, 22 November 2001
FOX hunting enthusiasts say they are raring to go following Government proposals to lift the ban in Kent. The season was due to start on November 1 but, because of foot and mouth restrictions, the activity was suspended.
Now the Department for the Environment, Food and the Regions has indicated the ban could be lifted on December 17 - in time for the traditional Boxing Day hunts.
Master of the East Kent Hunt, David Potter, said: "We are waiting for the guidelines from DEFRA under which we can operate but we are raring to go. We have always maintained good relations with farmers and still need to consult with them.
"But the feedback we are getting is that the fox population is growing and they would welcome us back - particularly as the lambing season gets under way soon. It has been very frustrating because there a lot of jobs involved in the industry and horses stabled with nowhere to go."
Master of the West Street Tickham Hunt, Stuart Ross, added: "We have always co-operated with local farmers and withdrew hunting voluntarily on the outbreak of foot and mouth. But the farmers are now saying there has been an explosion in the fox population which is out of control."