A STOURTON pub has come under fire from animal rights activists who have criticised the hosting of a celebratory event for a local hunt group.

A social media post by anti-hunt protestors Staffordshire Hunt Sabs saying the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt would be holding its end of season supper at The Fox Inn on Bridgnorth Road on March 21 sparked outrage on Facebook, prompting hundreds of comments.

Many posters have rushed to the popular pub’s defence – saying it would not put them off visiting, while others said they would be contacting The Fox to express their disappointment.

Pub bosses have so far remained silent about the furore on Facebook.

Fox hunting was outlawed in England, Scotland and Wales in 2004 and replaced with trail hunting which sees horseback riders and hounds pursuing an animal-based scent across a pre-planned route.

The activities of countryside hunt groups, however, have remained under the watchful eye of animal rights groups, with Staffordshire Hunt Sabs claiming its members are “still having to go out there week in and week out to protect wildlife”.

While the League Against Cruel Sports claims the law is being “ignored or exploited by hunts on a regular basis”.

The Albrighton and Woodland Hunt has stressed it only conducts lawful trail hunting and the group has hit out at anti-hunt protestors for putting a local pub in the crossfire for the hosting of an event.

Ali Lawton, honourary secretary of the Albrighton and Woodland Hunt, said: “It is disappointing that the bullying tactics of animal rights extremists have caused a rural business unnecessary administration and distress, pressurising them for hosting an event organised by a hunt which conducts lawful trail hunting activities.

“The Albrighton and Woodland Hunt supports local businesses, bringing them additional revenue through events like the one planned, yet the anti-hunting activists continue to make false allegations in order to pursue their own misleading agenda.”

Staffordshire Hunt Sabs had described the hunt group’s end of season supper as “a chance for the hunt to raise some cash and no doubt get together to talk about sabs and their love of destroying local wildlife”.

The group added on its Facebook page: “The Fox Inn have been contacted about this but have chosen, so far, to not respond.”

The News has reached out to The Fox Inn for comment but had not received a response at time of publication.