Calls for National Trust to pull Portman Hunt’s licence after fox killed

Hunting hounds under the control of the Portman Hunt chased the fox across the Dorset countryside near Fifehead St Quintin on Wednesday, 2 January, before literally tearing it apart. The killing of the fox was witnessed by local campaigners from North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs who also retrieved the corpse of the disembowelled animal.

The League Against Cruel Sports has responded to the killing of the fox by renewing calls for National Trust Kingston Lacy to end its relationship with the Portman Hunt and revoke its license to hunt on its land. Hundreds of people have taken to the estate’s social media pages to demand the same.

Portman Hunt dead fox pixelated

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

“A fox has been chased and killed by hounds under the control of the Portman Hunt, which is licensed by the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate to hunt on its land. This brutal incident, in which a wild animal has lost its life after being torn apart by a pack of dogs, not only reflects on the hunt itself – but on anybody who allows them to continue operating.”

The incident isn’t the first case of the Portman Hunt targeting wild animals, the League adds. It was filmed chasing another fox with a pack of baying hounds across the Kingston Lacy estate in March 2017. Terrier men – people on quadbikes whose purpose is to dig out foxes which have taken refuge underground – were also documented during a hunt on the estate in November, in breach of National Trust policy.

Portman Hunt dead fox pixelated

Chris Luffingham adds:

“There is no doubt that, when hunts show no regard for wildlife, landowners or the spirit of the law, the correct thing for the National Trust to do is to scrap its hunting licences immediately. We urge management of the Kingston Lacy Estate to now do the right thing by banning hunting on its land – the public expects nothing less.”

National Trust estates in Hertfordshire, Shropshire and Surrey have responded to pressure from the League by cancelling their hunting arrangements and the Kingston Lacy Estate is under pressure to follow suit.

The National Trust allows ‘trail hunting’ on its land, on the assumption that trail hunting is a legal activity. The League Against Cruel Sports and other organisations have produced large amounts of evidence to show that animals are still being chased and killed by hunts under the ‘guise’ of trail hunting.

- ENDS –

Notes to editors

? Print quality photographs of the fox killed by the Portman Hunt (pixelated and unpixellated) are attached for republication with full permissions granted, provided a credit is given to ‘North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs’.

? For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email

? 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. 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 sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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