A "LIVID" Alcester hunt master has said country folk are gradually being ruined by "jealous" townsfolk who do not understand the countryside.

Joint master of the Croome and West Warwickshire Hunt, Pat Allen, said legislation brought in at the weekend to ban hunting with packs of dogs was an "absolute travesty" and an injustice to hardworking people.

She said: "I'm absolutely livid about the decision. I've seen grown men - stalwarts of the countryside - shed tears this week because they cannot believe what's happening to an age-old practice.

"This is not about class warfare - we're just ordinary working men and women trying to keep the traditions of our country alive."

Mrs Allen added: "I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg - farmers and the countryside are gradually being ruined because of decisions made by jealous people who don't understand.

"How would they like it if country folk came into the towns and told them how to live their lives?"

Mrs Allen, a regular at Alcester's New Year's Day hunt, said the ban would not alter the infrastructure of the hunt and foxes would still be hunted within the law.

She said: "There will still be the same amount of foxes being killed - all this means is that they will be killed in a different way - less cleanly and humanely."

But Ursula Bates, of Solihull Animal Aid, said she was absolutely thrilled by the change in legislation after decades of campaigns to stop animal cruelty.

She said: "We are so pleased to see the back of an unnecessarily cruel activity - one rogue fox doesn't constitute the need for numerous people on horses with packs of hounds."

She added: "Unfortunately hunting is still a very grey area and activity will need to be monitored closely, but we welcome the government's decision."