Calls for blanket ban on hunts during horse flu crisis

The League Against Cruel Sports is urging over 200 hunts to stop hunting immediately to prevent the spread of horse flu among both its horses and hounds and beyond. Many horses involved in racing also take part in hunting and this virulent disease spreads easily in horses and it can even jump across to the hunting hounds.

The horse flu crisis is suspected to have started after three horses were taken ill at trainer Donald McCain’s Backhouse stables in Cheshire, in an area that the local hunt frequents.

Cheshire has been in the headlines recently with seven fox kills by hunts reported in only the last six weeks. This has led to increasing scrutiny of the hunts, pressure on the police for better enforcement and questions being raised by local MPs in parliament.

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

“There is a serious risk of horse flu spreading among both horses and hounds if they continue meeting up

“It would be grossly irresponsible of the hunts to ignore the precedent being set by the horse racing authorities.”

During the foot and mouth crisis in 2007, hunts were confined to stables and kennels.

There are currently 209 mounted hunts operating the UK – with 199 targeting foxes, ten targeting hares, three targeting red deer and two targeting roe deer.

Chris Luffingham said:

“It would be shameful and irresponsible if the hunts were to be out in the countryside this weekend given the risks.

“They should be putting the welfare of their horses and hounds before their cruel pleasure in chasing British wildlife for ‘sport’.” 



Notes to Editors

Video footage is available on request.

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