You and I both know how sorely we need a ban on hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland.

In this day and age, it’s shocking to think that it can still be legal to chase down and tear apart a wild animal with a pack of dogs. Perhaps that’s why only 26 per cent of people in Northern Ireland realise that it’s not already banned.

As you will know all too well, hunting with dogs involves hunts riding out on horseback or following on foot with a pack of hounds to track, chase, attack and kill animals such as foxes, hare and deer. It can also include terribly cruel acts such as terrier work – where individuals send terriers underground to corner or force a wild animal to flee before it is killed.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland agree that fox hunting should be banned – an overwhelming 76 percent of the public. The results of this nationally representative and independently conducted polling could hardly be clearer.

That’s why we’ve been delighted to unveil our new charter – a pledge from organisations from across the animal welfare sector in Northern Ireland to back a ban on hunting with dogs. In signing the charter, we are all calling for the same thing: not only to protect animals that are cruelly persecuted in the name of ‘sport’, but also to ensure the new legislation is robust and free of the loopholes that allow hunts in England, Wales and Scotland to continue to hunt animals with dogs.

Read the charter

As the signatories to the charter have joined together to say, hunting wild mammals with dogs is a cruel, unnecessary and outdated practice which should be consigned to the history books once and for all. Northern Ireland has the opportunity to lead the way with a full, comprehensive and enforceable ban on hunting with dogs, free from loopholes and exemptions.

We are hopeful that a Private Members Bill – legislation proposed by a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) – will be published soon. This follows a consultation by John Blair MLA, which showed huge public support for a ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs. Now more than ever, it’s important to that all those in Northern Ireland who support animal welfare and want to see an end to the cruelty of hunting with dogs join together to make their voices heard. We can’t allow this opportunity to protect animals persecuted in the name of ‘sport’ to simply pass us by.

You can join us in speaking out today, by signing the petition for a ban on hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland. Together, we can end the cruelty for good. Thank you for your support.

Sign the petition