Leading animal welfare organisations back calls for a stronger hunting laws

The chilling sound of hounds in cry having picked up a fox scent was played across central London today as campaigners from the UK’s most influential animal welfare organisations converged on Westminster.

The Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting, which is led by the League Against Cruel Sports, is calling on the next government to tighten hunting laws.

Specially equipped vans toured Whitehall playing a film showing how hunting with hounds carries on despite it being banned nearly 20 years ago, while campaigners gathered outside parliament to demand the law be changed as a priority.

a group of people standing outside the houses of parliament

The Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting is calling for stronger anti-hunting laws

Chris Luffingham, acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Today, Downing Street heard the sickening sound of a baying fox pack closing in the for the kill, something which can still be heard in the countryside despite the ban – and that’s why the next government must act with urgency to strengthen the Hunting Act. It’s time for change.”

Despite the fox hunting ban coming into force in 2005, League Against Cruel Sports compiles figures showing hunts are still chasing and killing foxes and wreaking havoc on rural communities.

The most recent report covering the last hunting season between November 2023 and March 2024 showed nearly 1,400 eyewitness sightings of activity related to suspected illegal fox hunting across England and Wales.

Chris added: “The figures show hunts being in places where they simply wouldn’t be if they were really following a trail, and to properly stop the law being broken the next government needs to ban trail hunting, close legal loopholes being exploited by hunts and introduce custodial sentences for those caught illegally hunting.”

The Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting includes some of the country’s largest animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA and Battersea.

Trail hunting, where hunters claim they are following a pre-laid animal-based scent, has been described by T/Assistant Chief Constable Matt Longman, the most senior police officer in Wales and England with responsibility for fox hunting crime, as a “smokescreen for illegal fox hunting”. He also said the government should close the loopholes which allow the hunting community to continue killing foxes with apparent immunity.

The League fox stands outside parliament

The League fox says it's time for change

The Scottish Government strengthened its fox hunting laws last year and banned so called trail hunting.

Polling data released late last month shows that, despite being banned nearly 20 years ago, voters want hunting laws strengthened by the next government.

The polling was commissioned the League but carried out independently by FindOutNow with further analysis by Electoral Calculus in March and April this year.

Chris added: “Voters, the police and animal welfare campaigners all have the same message – consign fox hunting to the history books by strengthening the law.

“The harrowing sight and sound of foxes being torn apart must be ended once and for all.”


Notes to editors

Photo one: The League’s fox outside parliament (wide)

Photo two: The League’s fox outside parliament (upright)

Photo three: Members of the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting outside parliament calling on the next government to strengthen weak hunting laws

Find Out Now interviewed 5,379 GB adults online from 26 March-2 April 2024. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults by gender, age, social grade, other demographics and past voting patterns.

Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are both members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules.

A full breakdown of the data is available here: https://electoralcalculus.co.uk/blogs/DataTables_LACS_Jun2024.xlsx

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

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 2004, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, the strengthened fox hunting laws of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023 and a ban on the use of snares created by the Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023.

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 wildlife reserves. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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