BOXING Day hunts will go ahead on COVID-secure trails without spectators this Christmas, countryside campaigners have said.
The Countryside Alliance has said traditional Boxing Day meets, where hunters and spectators gather before trail hunting, have been canceled due to the pandemic.
Instead of gathering in town squares, organisers are planning to move to rural locations to gather alone ahead of hunting, subject to further guidance from the Government.
Registered hunts have been given strict protocols to follow for hunting days, including conducting risk assessments, maintaining social distancing, and storing participant details for track and trace.
The Countryside Alliance’s head of hunting, Polly Portwin, said, ‘With over a quarter of a million people supporting Boxing Day meets each year, it’s a great shame that trail hunting, like so many other outdoor activities also operating in accordance with the COVID legislation, is taking place behind closed doors rather than welcoming large crowds again this Christmas.
‘We want to let all the people who usually turn out from towns and cities across the country to enjoy the spectacle know that hounds won’t be in the usual public places this year on Boxing Day, but that we look forward to returning in 2021 when hopefully the country will have recovered from the terrible effects of this pandemic, which has had such a devastating impact.’