Government minister Ben Bradshaw has been hit in the face by animal innards at a protest against the hunting ban.

About 70 demonstrators shouted abuse at Mr Bradshaw who was attending a fisheries meeting in his Exeter constituency.

The minister said he was surprised at the violent protest, while the ban is being contested in the courts.

The Countryside Alliance condemned the incident but said otherwise the protest had gone off peacefully.

Spokesperson Alison Hawes said: “There was one small piece of meat which was thrown at him out of 70 or 80 people.

“Everybody stayed behind the barriers and everyone co-operated with the police and he was allowed in to the conference, which is what we had agreed.”

One demonstrator said people were frustrated because they were not being listened to.

He added: “Some people may have become over-excited perhaps, but they don’t listen to us and we’ve got to get their attention somehow.”

Film footage

The Countryside Alliance is bringing a legal challenge to the hunting ban which takes effect next month.

Devon and Cornwall Police filmed the attack and are examining footage to identify who threw the hollowed-out apple filled with what is believed to have been animal offal, which struck Mr Bradshaw below his right eye.

Mr Bradshaw said: “I’m not sure that throwing offal bombs into people’s faces does the hunt cause very much good.

“I’m slightly surprised these violent protests are continuing when the hunting alliance is taking its case through the court.

“It’s also a shame because it detracts from a very important conference we’re having today on the future of the fishing industry in the South West.”

Mr Bradshaw will be asked by police if he wants to make a formal complaint.

Source: BBC News

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