PRO-HUNT campaigners will not give up until this "bad law" is overturned that's the view of the South Dorset Hunt secretary after the Countryside Alliance lost its latest legal bid to overturn the Government's ban on hunting with dogs on Friday.

The alliance and other campaigners asked the Court of Appeal to rule that the ban in England and Wales breached the European Convention on Human Rights and infringed EU trading and employment laws.

But three appeal judges upheld a High Court ruling that it was lawful. Master of the Rolls Sir Anthony Clarke, Lord Justice Brooke and Lord Justice Buxton said imposing the ban was a "legitimate and proportionate" exercise of government powers.

They said the aim of the Hunting Act was to prevent or reduce unnecessary suffering to wild mammals and the ban was introduced on the basis that causing suffering for sport was "unethical."

The courts have already dismissed the constitutional challenge to the 2004 Hunting Act, which prohibits fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing with dogs in England and Wales.

The Alliance branded the legislation "a divisive sectarian measure" which could ruin the livelihoods of thousands who earn their living from hunting.

David Walsh, secretary for the South Dorset Hunt, which has continued to hunt within the law by setting pre-laid trails, said he was not surprised by the ruling, but that campaigners will not give up.

"No bad law can ever remain a law for very long," he said.

"Hunting is the least cruel way to deal with the fox population. As a result of this ban, we have had far more infirm, mangy, old foxes wandering around."