HUNTING was the hot-to-trot topic on everyone's lips at the Thame and Oxfordshire County Show last Thursday.

Members of the Countryside Alliance set up a stand at the show in Kingsey Road, Thame, and rallied the show's thousands of visitors to support their pro-bloodsports cause.

John Howard-Jones, 73, of Cholsey Farm in Ibstone, was amongst the members rallying at the stand.

He said: "The right to hunt is a libertarian issue. My grandchildren are eight and five I want them to be able to make up their own minds about whether or not they want to take part in a family tradition."

Mr Howard-Jones and three other villagers from Ibstone were amongst those protesting in London a day before the show when the third reading of a Bill banning hunting with dogs was passed overwhelmingly by 339 votes to 155 despite the protests.

Mr Howard-Jones also joined the hundreds who interrupted Cherie Blair's 50th birthday at Chequers two weeks ago.

He insisted that both protests were peaceful.

He said: "It was a peaceful demonstration we just had to make it plain to the Prime Minister how angry we are."

Tracey Casstles, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, also expressed her anger.

She said: "I think most people here at the show are showing us their support.

"In the run up to the general election the MPs are just using hunting as a political football and are abusing their powers as politicians."

The animal rights charity Animal Aid talking to Midweek, however, described last week's London protest as violent.

Andrew Tyler, a spokesman for the charity, said: "The vote marks a victory for foxes and for their millions of advocates across the country..

"The violence evident in both the huntsmen's sport and this week's protest is in stark contrast to the tempered demonstrations of animal welfare campaigners.

"Yet, while animal rights activists are cast as thugs, the huntsmen have been described as gentle country-folk forced to break the law by an unjust Government."

However, Countryside Alliance member Mr Howard-Jones said: "Many people such as myself enjoy following the hounds on foot and by car. For me and other people my age, it's a winter recreation."