Campaigners on Reading’s streets call for an end to fox hunting on National Trust land

Campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports took to the streets of Reading 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 on Bond Street and outside the station 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 is evident that tragically fox hunting is still taking place across England and Wales despite the ban, so we are calling on the National Trust to stop licensing ‘trail’ hunts on its land once and for all.”

The day of action in Reading is one of a series of League actions taking place across the country this summer ahead of the National Trust’s AGM in October, when there will be a vote in which members will get the chance to call for a permanent ban on the licensing of trail hunting.

Nick added: “Our day in Reading involved staff and volunteers meeting hundreds of interested local residents who signed up to our campaign about the National Trust licensing hunting.

“Our cute and fluffy foxes waving their flags enthusiastically brought a smile to people’s faces and our advertising billboard outside the station highlighted our key message – ask the National Trust to stop hunting on its land and vote on the issue at an AGM in October.”

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.

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

Enclosed are links to four photos of the League Against Cruel Sports ‘fox’, members of the public staff, volunteers and staff on Broad Street and outside the station.

Photo one

Photo two

Photos three

Photo four

Enclosed is a link to our web page on the realities of what trail hunting really is.

Social distancing, masks and hand sanitisers were used at all times and staff took a Covid-19 lateral flow test in advance of the day of campaigning.

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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