Clear majority of MPs back the fox hunting ban

Hunting will soon be history, says leading national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, with most MPs now in parliament declaring themselves anti-hunting.

Despite legislation being in place to stop animals being hunted in the name of ‘sport’, continuous efforts have been made in Westminster to get the Hunting Act 2004 overturned.

The charity has been canvassing MPs’ views during the general election period and the anti-hunt majority indicates that the debate over securing the fox hunting ban has been won in all the major British political parties.

However, the League will continue its campaign to lobby MPs to strengthen the Hunting Act – to remove loopholes that still allow hunts to get away with killing foxes for no other reason than for fun, which is against the spirit of the 2004 act.

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

“As they parade today in their gaudy finery, fox hunts will be facing the fact that, with their political support gone, hunting is history. Their 14-year campaign to repeal the fox hunting ban hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of success.

“There has been a sea change in the way the fox hunting debate is being framed and with the ban now secure, our emphasis has shifted towards the strengthening of the Hunting Act.”

The League has received 184 reports of suspected illegal fox hunting since the season began in late October.

It follows a year in which six fox hunts were convicted under the Hunting Act and Animal Welfare Act.

In November, two men associated with the disgraced Kimblewick Hunt were convicted of animal cruelty offences after dragging out a fox trapped in an artificial earth and releasing it in front of the hunt’s hounds to provide ‘sport’ for the hunt. They received 12-week suspended prison sentences.

Shortly afterwards two men from the discredited Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt were convicted of offences under the Hunting Act  after being caught on camera by League investigators. They were filmed taking part in the barbaric practice of cub hunting in which a hunt’s hounds are trained to kill fox cubs in the months leading up to the start of the main fox hunting season. They received paltry fines of £350 each.

Chris Luffingham added:

“To end fox hunting for good, the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened by removing the loopholes and exemptions being exploited by the fox hunts to cover up their brutal activities.

“The introduction of prison sentences for those convicted of fox hunting would help ensure there is a strong deterrent to prevent the deliberate and widespread chasing and killing of foxes.”

 

Ends

Notes to editors

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

The League is calling on the Hunting Act to be strengthened and is calling for three key changes to hunting laws:

  • The introduction of prison sentences for people who are convicted of illegal hunting
  • The introduction of a recklessness clause, to prevent the use of ‘trail’ hunting as an excuse when foxes are killed by hunts
  • The removal of the exemptions contained within the Hunting Act so they cannot be abused and used as excuses to continue to hunt with hounds

More information about our calls to strengthen the Hunting Act is available here.

Recent YouGov polling commissioned by the League revealed 74 per cent of respondents who expressed a view support prison sentences for illegal hunting. The results also showed 79 per cent of respondents who expressed a view think the Hunting Act should be amended to ensure foxes are not killed by hunts claiming to be trail hunting. Total sample size was 1,639 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 30th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

The link to the full tables is here.

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).