Councils across Britain are being called on to ban fox hunting on public land in a major new campaign launched by the League Against Cruel Sports.

Hunting with dogs was banned 15 years ago but the League has compiled 677 reports of suspected illegal fox hunting witnessed by members of the public during the last fox hunting and cub hunting season alone.

Gloucestershire is the first county being targeted when the campaign launches on Monday, the county with the highest number of suspected illegal fox hunting incidents in Britain. 10 further counties will be added to the list as the campaign develops over the coming weeks.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Despite the fox hunting ban, 294 hunts are still operating in the British countryside, and yet sadly they are still chasing and brutally killing foxes which their hounds literally tear apart.

“We need to deny the hunts the land they need for their cruel blood sport so we’re calling on the public to contact their local councils and propose they take a stand and ban hunting on their land.”

Hunts use exemptions in the law and the excuse that they are following trails they have laid rather than foxes. Trail hunting was invented by the hunts after the hunting ban came into force in 2005, and it allows hunts to claim that chasing and killing foxes is just an ‘accident’.

The reality is that hunts chase and kill foxes routinely as they did before the ban. Hunts can also pose significant risks as they trespass across private property and residential areas, cause havoc on roads and railway lines and pose a threat to domestic and farm animals.

In a landmark decision made in early 2019, Nottinghamshire County Council banned trail hunting on its land.

Chris added:

“In the months since the Covid-19 outbreak began, many of us have been able to take comfort in getting in touch with nature and enjoyed the respite nature was getting from human interference. However, now that hunting season is upon us again, I am concerned about the damage it will do to the environment, people, wildlife and our relationship with nature. It’s time to ban hunting on public land.”

The fox hunting season runs from late October to early April but cub hunting, a barbaric practice in which hunt hounds are trained to kill by targeting young foxes, takes place between August and the end of October. Visit https://www.league.org.uk/contact-your-council to take the action.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to

animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).