Calls to end hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland

The animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports is calling on the public to back a ban on hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland next year – as the local hunts’ Boxing Day and New Year’s Day parades are disrupted by measures brought in to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

It follows moves by the Alliance Party to end the barbaric practice of hunting wild mammals with dogs in Northern Ireland.

Alliance Party MLA John Blair will be announcing plans to table a private members bill in the New Year which will outlaw hunts from pursuing and tearing apart foxes, hares and deer and will also prevent individuals setting terriers on wildlife.

Janice Watt, senior public affairs officer for the League Against Cruel Sports in Northern Ireland, said:

“We look forward to the public and political parties across the spectrum supporting the move by the Alliance Party to ban the cruel blood sport of hunting with dogs.

“We live in hope that 2020 is the last year that the brutal activity of hunting with dogs remains legal in this country and we look forward to this blood sport being consigned to the history books.”

An overwhelming majority of the public in Northern Ireland want hunting with dogs to be made illegal, according to polling commissioned by the League in October 2019.*

It showed 84 per cent of people want the blood sport made illegal compared to only 8 per cent who wanted it to remain legal with 8 per cent who did not know.

Northern Ireland is now the only country within the UK that has not introduced a complete ban on fox, stag, and hare hunting – hunting with dogs was banned through the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2005 under the Hunting Act.

Janice Watt, added:

“We are hopeful that Northern Ireland will develop legislation that is stronger than that which exists in England, Scotland and Wales and which omits the loopholes and exemptions being exploited by hunts there, to carry on chasing and killing animals.

“Northern Ireland has the chance to develop the most effective legislation found anywhere in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and which ends cruel blood sports in Northern Ireland once and for all.”


Notes to Editors

*The polling took place between September 16 and October 3 2019, with a sample size of 1,016 people aged over 18 living in Northern Ireland.

All percentages used in this release have been checked and verified by Survation.

Full details and tables available here.

Consultation here.

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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