Campaigners in Leamington Spa call for an end to fox hunting on National Trust land

Campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports took to the streets of Leamington Spa today to call on the National Trust to stop licensing ‘trail’ hunting on its land.

Volunteers and staff from the leading national animal welfare charity, including one in a fox costume, gathered outside the town hall to urge the public to take action and sign up to its National Trust campaign.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It has been a really positive day in Leamington Spa today, with lots of people stopping by to talk to us about what we’re asking National Trust members to do – to vote in the trust’s upcoming annual meeting to ask it to ban so-called ‘trail’ hunting on its land.

“The people we met were friendly and welcoming, and keen to find out more…and to have their picture taken with Vinny, our fox.”

Voting in the National Trust’s AGM opened today, and will take place on October 30 in Harrogate. The League’s action today in Leamington Spa is one of a number of activities the charity has been running this summer as part of its campaign.

Nick added: “It is evident that tragically fox hunting is still taking place across England and Wales despite the ban, and that’s why we’re calling on the National Trust to stop licensing ‘trail’ hunts on its land once and for all, and asking its members to help us do that.”

Fox hunts have come under the spotlight recently after senior figures within the hunting lobby were caught seeming to admit that ‘trail’ hunting, one of the excuses they use, is a ‘smokescreen’ for the chasing and killing of animals.

The National Trust to its credit paused the licensing of trail hunting after this, but it is now time to have the ban made permanent, the League says.

A fox hunting ban outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales in 2005 but in the 2019/20 season, the League Against Cruel Sports compiled figures revealing 485 separate eye-witness accounts of suspected illegal hunting.

Through much of 2020, hunting activities were disrupted by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. However the League still gathered figures showing 300 suspected cases of suspected illegal hunting during the cub hunting season in the autumn, although this is not something that is licensed by the National Trust.

Nick said: “The overwhelming majority of the public oppose fox hunting and it’s time to consign this barbaric activity to the history books for good.”

Ends

Notes to editors

See here to find out more about trail hunting.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

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 www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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