Calls for councillors to support an end to fox hunting in Somerset
Posted 17th February 2023
Friday, February 17, 2023
The charity has written to all 169 councillors representing both Somerset Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council, sharing a report outlining both the extent of the suspected illegal hunting, and the scale of the havoc hunts are wreaking on rural communities in the county.
It has asked for a meeting with council leaders to establish how best to end fox and deer hunting in the county.
Illegal hunting has recently been described as “prolific” by Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on foxhunting crime.
John Petrie, the League Against Cruel Sports regional campaign manager, said: “Somerset is sadly a hotspot for suspected illegal hunting and anti-social behaviour by fox and deer hunts despite the ban on hunting with dogs.
“It’s time for change and for the council to take a stand against this sordid activity by hunts which blights rural communities and the lives of local people, and brutally kills the wildlife that lives in the countryside.”
The national report entitled Hunt Havoc: the human cost of hunting with hounds shows Somerset had thesecond highest number of incidents in the UK when broken down by county.
These incidents included hunts marauding on private and public land, hunting dangerously on railway lines and busy roads, intimidating individuals and rural communities, and chasing and killing foxes, deer, livestock and people’s pets.
A recent incident in Somerset on January 14 saw the hounds from the Mendip Farmers’ Hunt rampaging through Chew Valley Animal Park, jumping into animal pens and terrifying camels and goats at this zoo in North East Somerset.
The League is proposing both councils ban so-called trail hunting – where hunts say their hounds are chasing pre-laid trails, but which is often used as a smokescreen by hunts to disguise old fashioned illegal hunting.
Polling commissioned by the League and conducted independently by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus showed three quarters of the Somerset electorate (75 per cent) were in favour of strengthening hunting laws.
Local residents are being urged to sign a petition calling on policy makers to do all in their power to end hunting in Somerset.
John Petrie added: “We urge Somerset council leaders to sit down and discuss how we can work together to end barbaric deer and fox hunting in the county for good.”
Notes to editors
Enclosed are photos of League Against Cruel Sports public affairs officer Jac Freeman (blue shirt in centre) and League campaigners handing in the letter and report at County Hall in Taunton today (Friday February 17).
They were sent to Councillor Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset Council; and Councillor Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for the Environment and Climate Change.
A letter and report has also been sent to Councillor Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council.
All 110 Somerset Council councillors and all 59 Bath and North East Somerset councillors were sent a letter and report.
A fox and deer hunting ban came into force in England and Wales in February 2005 with the introduction of the Hunting Act (2004).
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.
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