HUNT supporters gathered to show their defiance to the anti-hunting law which came into effect at midnight on Friday.

Riders and hounds from the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt were joined by people with banners and badges displaying their opposition to the ban.

The group then formed a procession which paraded through Thame, where they were applauded by shoppers although an occasional boo could be heard from the crowd.

John Gardener, chairman of the Vale of Aylesbury with Garth and South Berks Hunt, said: "There is a great turnout today of people from the town and country and there will be 300 meets up and down the country showing their support for hunting."

The dogs were then taken on an exercise.

Thame resident Gareth Evans said: "I don't agree with hunting but there are more important things to worry about really. I think they should be left to get on with it."

Mr Gardener said he was not surprised at the lack of any kind of anti-hunt demonstration.

He said: "I don't expect any protest because there are very few active protesters, and there are thousands here today who strongly feel this law is wrong and must be repealed."

The new legislation makes the hunting and killing of foxes with dogs illegal. The Vale of Aylesbury Hunt says it intends to keep to the new laws.

Mr Gardener said: "We will be hunting within the law. We can continue to control foxes with the use of two hounds and that's what we will do. We will keep our infrastructure going, we will keep our activities going, because we are not going to go away."

He added: "I'm expecting a legal challenge that will go all the way to the European courts. This is bad law because it doesn't have the consent of hundreds of thousands of people, and bad laws do not stand the test of time."

Annie South, of the Vale of Aylesbury Hunt, said: "There is a great feeling in the countryside that this law is unjust."

"The law has been written by people who don't know what they are talking about.

"The Act says foxes can only be killed if they are pursued by two dogs and then shot.

"It doesn't say what should be done if the fox is only injured by the gun and runs off. This is a more inhumane way of killing foxes."