Boxing Day parades mask fox hunt brutality
Posted 26th December 2022
The figures, compiled by national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, show 303 reports of either suspected illegal hunting or hunt havoc in just five and a half weeks between November 1 and December 7, 2022.
They have been released to coincide with the Boxing Day fox hunt parades, the biggest day in the hunting calendar.
The League says the figures show the negative impact hunting has on wildlife, rural communities, people’s lives and their livelihoods.
Emma Judd, head of campaigns and communications at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “People will see the hunts out today and not know that behind the finery is a so-called sport that sees public lives endangered on roads and railways, livestock worried by out-of-control hounds, and in some cases domestic pets killed.
“Our figures released today evidence the negative impact hunting has on rural communities and show clearly that it is time for change. Only by strengthening the law on hunting can communities, wildlife and rural values be protected.”
The figures break down into 95 reports of suspected illegal hunting despite the fox hunting ban, 78 reports of foxes being visibly pursued, with eight kills reported and three suspected kills.
There were 208 incidences of hunt havoc with incidents including fox hunts marauding on roads and railways, worrying livestock and chasing people’s pets, intimidating people and causing the public mental distress.
- The reports related to 71 different foxhound packs in 37 counties
- The counties with the highest combined totals of suspected illegal hunting and hunt havoc were Dorset (39) Yorkshire (30), Somerset (22) Warwickshire (21) and Gloucestershire (19)
- The worst offenders were the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt based on the Somerset/Dorset border, the Warwickshire Hunt and the Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt in Gloucestershire.
Polling commissioned by the League and conducted independently by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus across Britain showed more than three quarters of the electorate (78%) were in favour of strengthening hunting laws and over half (55%) more likely to vote for a candidate who supported strengthening.
Rural voters across Britain were also in favour of strengthening the Hunting Act 2004 (76%) with 54% more likely to vote for a candidate who supported strengthening.
Emma added: “The bloodthirsty and shameful sport of fox hunting is massively unpopular with the British people who want to see hunting laws strengthened, and it’s time Government came on board with public opinion.”
Notes to editors
See attached pdf for the League Against Cruel Sports figures on suspected illegal fox hunting and hunt havoc across Britain between November 1 and December 7, 2022.
Full data tables are available on request.
Polling was conducted online by Find Out Now between June 11 and June 14 2022, and the total sample size was 5,187 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). MRP Analysis was conducted by Electoral Calculus. Both Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are members of the British Polling Council.
A fox hunting ban came into force in England and Wales in February 2005 with the introduction of the Hunting Act (20004).
For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 07496 496454 (24hrs) or email firstname.lastname@example.org