[JURIST] The Court of Appeal in London Wednesday rejected a legal challenge from the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance arguing that the Hunting Act 2004 [official text] was invalid because the Parliament Act 1949 used to force it through the House of Lords last year was invalid. The ban on fox hunting with dogs has been the subject of much debate in the UK, with pro-hunting groups protesting the outlawing of a way of life, and animal rights groups arguing that fox hunting was cruel and should be left behind. The Court of Appeal also refused leave to send appeal to the House of Lords [official website], the highest appellate court in the UK. The Countryside Alliance has stated its intent to file an independent appeal to the House of Lords on the issue, but the rejection by the Appeal Court means that the hunting ban will take effect Friday. Read the Countryside Alliance press release on the ruling, which includes a note indicating that "Hunts will be meeting as normal to hunt within the law across England and Wales this Saturday 19th February", after the start of the ban. BBC News has local coverage.