National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has slammed a hunting group after its hounds were killed on a mainline railway.

The League received reports about the incident from both a passenger and a railway worker, who said up to 30 hounds were loose on the main line at Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, on Saturday, and saw some struck by a train and killed.

Hunting animals with dogs is illegal in Great Britain, but hunts still go out and claim to lay animal-based scent ‘trails’ for hounds to follow.

The hounds belonged to the Beaufort Hunt which was involved in a similar incident in 2010. The hunt has apologised but questions have been raised by the League about why the hounds were there in the first place.

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

“The concept of trail hunting was invented by fox hunts after the ban to cover up the fact their hounds are still being urged on to chase and kill wildlife.

“It would be absurd to lay a trail on a major railway line, so it would be fair to infer that these hunts are still engaged in illegal fox hunting, which potentially ends up with the poor creature being torn apart by hounds.”

The incident resulted in disruption to train services on the line with trains delayed by up to an hour.

It’s the third incident of its kind since the start of the year.

Hounds from the Warwickshire Hunt strayed onto a railway line on New Year’s Day, sparking a police investigation and causing delays.

British Transport Police said they were called after a report that a hound had been struck by a train on the line.

Footage has also been posted online of the Grove and Rufford Hunt on a railway line near Sturton Le Steeple in Nottinghamshire on January 4.

The incidents come nearly 15 years after hunting with dogs was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force on February 18, 2005.

The public can report cases of suspected illegal hunting to the League’s Animal Crimewatch service which can be contacted on [email protected] or 01483 361108.

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).