Thirty-seven packs of hounds from across the Westcountry attended the West of England Hound Show at Honiton on Thursday last week, demonstrating that, despite the ban on hunting live quarry, drag hunting is as popular as ever. The packs on show included all three packs of staghounds from Somerset and Devon. Hound Show chairman Ian Pugsley said: "The great thing about this show, next to the Honiton Show, is that it allows the public to see what hunting is all about, and there are people at the show explaining what is going on and what the judges are looking for in the make-up of the hounds." The campaign to lift the ban on hunting live quarry is continuing. Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to put the issue to the vote but so far nothing has happened.
Wild bird strips do work
Planting strips of land at farm field margins to provide cover and food for wild birds is proving successful according to the environmental group, Campaign for the Farmed Environment. Recent research, published in Farmers Weekly, reveals breeding pairs of 87 species have gone from 214 in 2009 to 389 in 2010 and 457 in 2011 in an experimental area where wild bird strips have been created. At Rawcliffe Bridge, near Goole in East Yorkshire, the Hinchliffe family's 140ha farm has seen tree sparrow numbers up from five to 59 pairs; corn buntings numbering three times the lowland average; yellow wagtails 47 times higher; grey partridge six times higher; meadow pipits two-and-a-half times higher; and 25 skylark territories are twice the lowland average.