The fox hunting season has begun amid concerns that thousands of foxes are still being chased and killed every year despite a hunting ban coming into force 13 years ago.

Evidence obtained by the League Against Cruel Sports showed that illegal hunting with hounds was rife last season with hundreds of calls into its Animal Crimewatch service.

It has prompted calls for a strengthening of the Hunting Act to close down any loopholes being exploited by the hunts and to strengthen sentencing for those convicted of illegal hunting.

A League petition calling for an end to the killing of animals by hunts in the UK has attracted over 100,000 signatures.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“The hunts are still targeting, chasing and killing foxes with packs of hounds which literally tear their quarry to pieces.

“The hunts are behaving as they did before the fox hunting ban was introduced, killing thousands of foxes and sadly getting away with their brutal and barbaric ‘sport’.”

The hunts invented ‘trail’ hunting when the hunting ban came in to cover up their illegal activities. They falsely claim to lay and follow trails but all the evidence compiled by people monitoring their activities is that this is simply a deception to fool the public while they indiscriminately target and kill foxes.

The League Against Cruel Sports received over 400 reports of illegal fox hunting activity during the last hunting season.

The first reports of hunting taking place this season are starting to trickle into the League’s Intelligence Team.

Chris Luffingham, said:

“We need to strengthen the Hunting Act to ensure that fox hunting no longer takes place in the British Countryside and is consigned to the history books where it belongs.

“We are also calling on landowners across the UK to prevent the hunts from entering their land and killing British wildlife.”

The League has raised concerns with National Trust estates around the country which have issued licences for trail hunting to take place on their land.

The League has also campaigned for tighter control over the feeding of raw ‘fallen stock’ (dead cows and sheep) to hunting hounds. A report earlier this year highlighted that the potential threat of disease being spread from hounds to livestock was ‘overwhelming’.

The League’s petition calling for an end to the killing of animals by hunts across the UK is set to be handed into Downing Street in December.

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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).