A Brief History of the League
For as long as hunting wild animals with dogs has existed, people have been opposed to it. The League Against Cruel Sports was founded in 1924 (first AGM pictured below right) by members of the RSPCA who were frustrated at its lack of action on the hunting issue. The League’s aims were to ban fox hunting, stag hunting, otter hunting, hare hunting and hare coursing in the UK.
Campaigning was difficult because of a wealthy and powerful minority who enjoyed and protected bloodsports. But in the late 1950s the League began to build momentum by investigating hunts and gathering evidence of the cruelty involved. It also purchased woods and fields in the West Country as sanctuaries for hunted animals.
In the 1970s the League stepped up its political campaigning and soon secured strong cross party political support. In 1978 a vigorous campaign helped to give otters full legal protection from hunting.
In the 1980s the League began undercover work with investigators posing as hunters to film and photograph the cruelty inflicted on animals during hunts, previously hidden from public view. The League also carried out undercover investigations into dog fighting and badger abuse. Although already illegal, these activities were gaining ground, and the League worked closely with like minded organisations and the media to help stop them. After a landmark League prosecution of badger abusers in the early 1990s, the law was changed to strengthen the law on badger protection.
In 2000 the League played a prominent role in assisting the Lord Burns Hunting Inquiry and informing the parliament of the brutal nature of bloodsports. This culminated in the Hunting Act 2004 and the ban on hunting with dogs. Since the Act came into effect the League has played a leading role in liaising with the police to help enforce the law, in investigating hunting activities and in taking private prosecutions of hunts where necessary.
Today the League’s campaigns also include dog fighting, shooting, snaring, bullfighting, greyhound racing and trophy hunting.
The League has always used lawful means to expose and end cruelty to animals in sport and opinion polls repeatedly show that our work is supported by the majority of the public. As a charity the continued success of the League is only possible thanks to the kind help of our supporters.