Carrying placards which read “Stop Hunting on National Trust Land”, campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports, National Dis-Trust and HoundsOff were seen protesting outside the National Trust’s AGM in Swindon on Saturday – only a week before the hunting season opens. Their goal? To persuade the conservation body to stop licensing hunting on its land to prevent wild animals being chased and killed by hounds.

Horses, hounds and followers are being granted access to sections of properties maintained by the National Trust, some of which include nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), home to vulnerable fauna and flora. Monitoring by wildlife protection organisations, including the League, has revealed how hunts granted access to National Trust estates are pursuing fox, hare and deer under the guise of following a trail – 14 years after the cruel ‘sport’ was banned.

Although the National Trust does not directly license illegal hunting, it does offer licences for 'trail' hunting, a form of hunting with hounds that was invented after the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, which the League believes to be a cover for illegal hunting.

With at least 85% of the public opposing all forms of hunting wild animals with hounds, there is clear support for the National Trust to stop permitting hunting on its land, the League adds.

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

“Thousands of wild animals – including fox, hare and deer – are being targeted, chased and killed every year across the country, under the guise of following a trail. This is despite hunting with hounds being banned in England and Wales in 2004 and packs granted access to National Trust land, managed on behalf of the nation, being implicated in this objectionable ‘sport’.

With over 85% of the public opposing all forms of hunting wild animals with hounds – including a considerable number of National Trust members, visitors and employees – it is high time the conservation body provided protection to wildlife by stopping licensing hunting on its land.”

The League sends its gratitude to those who took a stand for persecuted wildlife by supporting the demonstration.

Want to get involved in the campaign?

  • Collect signatures on petition postcards - which urge the National Trust to drop hunting – in your city, town or village and from your friends, family and colleagues. The conservation body is under unprecedented pressure to stop issuing hunting licenses and you can make a difference.

  • Help set up a League local group in your area to build regional opposition to the National Trust allowing hunting on its land.