ABERGAVENNY was brought to a standstill earlier today as hundreds of protestors and supporters of the annual Boxing Day hunt lined the streets of the town.

Police officers were brought in to ensure tempers did not boil over, with protestors and supporters of the hunt being separated outside The Angel Hotel - the traditional meeting point for the hunt.

Guests at the hotel watched on from their windows as the riders and hounds entered Cross Street just before 11am, greeted with a mix of jeers and applause from either side of the road.

Riders of all ages - including young children on ponies being led by their parents - waited outside the hotel for the hunt to begin, and trays of mulled wine and hot food were shared around.


The protestors, who were outnumbered by the hunt supporters, attempted to block to way on to the A40 as the bugle was sounded, but were moved away by the police.

Joint master of the hunt Mike Fitzpatrick said: "We've been trail hunting since 2004 and we will continue to trail hunt.

"We've laid trails this morning and will continue to do so throughout the day.

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Mike Fitzpatrick joint master of the Abergavenny Hunt. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

"We have a lot of children who take part. All this bad language [from the protestors] is something we don't need.

"They [the protestors] have just come to cause disruption. It's a complete waste of police time."

Mr Fitzpatrick also praised the support the hunt had received from people in the town.

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Riders and hounds arrive for the Abergavenny Boxing Day hunt. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

One supporter of the hunt from Abergavenny, who didn't want to be named, said: "We come here every year to show our support. The protestors will take over if we don't come.

"Most of them come from towns and cities and don't know the damage a fox can do if they get in a chicken coop or to livestock."

Another supporter, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "It's nice to see the support. It's a tradition that has been going for a long time and will continue to be going for a long time."

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A young rider is led along Cross Street for the annual Boxing Day hunt in Abergavenny. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Monmouth MP David Davies was also present, showing his support for the hunt.

"It's a Boxing Day tradition," he said. "It has been a tradition for hundreds of years.

"It's disappointing it was slightly disrupted by people with some rather obscene posters.

"I don't think the protestors conducted themselves very well. It's a free country and everybody has the right to protest but I don't think that's the way to go about it."

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Protesters at the Abergavenny Boxing Day hunt. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Protestors began arriving outside The Angel Hotel around 10am, around an hour before the hunt set off, and barriers were put up on either side of the road to prevent any repetition of the scenes from last year's Tredegar Farmers' Boxing Day hunt.

One group travelled from Swansea to protest the hunt.

One member of the Swansea Animal Save group, who didn't want to be named, said: "Innocent animals are being killed every weekend during hunt season. It's supposed to be illegal, but they disguise it by calling it trail hunting.

"Why would you put a little girl on a pony and subject her to this?

"It's not humane."

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Protesters at the Abergavenny Boxing Day hunt. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Another member of the group said: "Us humans have no right to go in to someone else's home and drag them out for us to hunt.

"I've had grown men and women shouting and screaming at me today, and I'm only 14."

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Police officers were on hand to separate protesters and supporters of the hunt. Picture: christinsleyphotography.co.uk

"It's barbaric," said a protester from Abertillery. "What's wrong with just having a hack through the countryside.

"There's no way to stop those hounds going for a fox out in the countryside.

"They are still living in medieval times. It's almost 2020 - the laws should be updated."

  • A full gallery of pictures from the event will be published on the Argus website tomorrow, Friday.