CAMPAIGNERS are planning to march in Dorchester as they want to see hunting laws tightened.

The march will take place from 1pm until 4pm on Saturday, April 13 - starting at the Town Pump - with protesters demanding 'an end to illegal hunting of all wildlife'.

Traditional fox hunting has been illegal in the UK since 2004.

Trail hunting is still practised by hunt groups as a legal way of mimicking traditional hunting by following a scent trail made by animal urine.

The British Hound Sports Association says many hunts have wanted to retain their infrastructure as well as their hounds, members and activities, so have been hunting within the law by changing their activities.

Earlier this year, the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt was suspended after video footage showed a fox being killed by dogs during once of its trail hunts.

The hunt was subsequently banned for three weeks from January 24.

Six men were interviewed by police under caution and were all released under investigation; no arrests have been made.

Two weeks after the ban came into effect, the BHSA announced that the hunt could resume hunting activities from Thursday, February 15.

John Woods, who is helping to organise the march, said: "Those taking part in the march will be a group of local people, some who live in the countryside, who are sick and tired of illegal hunting.

"They want to see the hunting bill strengthened and the existing loopholes closed which hunts exploit claiming they are trail hunting when they are clearly not; they are hunting foxes illegally.

He added: "We are against all hunting be it foxes, deer, hares, and other animals - it's barbaric and depraved.

"So on Saturday, April 13 we will be raising our voices for these hunted animals."

South West Farmer: Campaigners will be marching from the Town Pump in DorchesterCampaigners will be marching from the Town Pump in Dorchester (Image: Newsquest)

Polly Portwin, director of the Campaign for Hunting at the Countryside Alliance said: “More than 12,000 days of trail hunting take place each year in accordance with the Hunting Act 2004.

"Despite this fact, hunts are regularly subjected to spurious allegations being made about them, with many of the unsubstantiated and sensationalist claims being made on social media and on literature provided at demonstrations in order to mislead the public as part of a wider agenda.

"Trail-hunting is one of the activities that hunts carry out to comply with the law and it was originally accepted by the animal rights activists as an acceptable alternative to traditional quarry hunting.

"We would argue that putting trail hunting back on the political agenda is a long, long way from the priorities of rural England and Wales.”