Landmark council decision to ban trail hunting
Posted 9th December 2020
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Councillors in Peterborough took a landmark decision tonight [Wednesday, 9th December] and voted to ban ‘trail’ hunting on public land.
The vote for a ban by Peterborough City Council is the first since the launch of a police investigation into explosive comments made by senior hunt officials during two training webinars.
In them they seemed to admit that trail hunting is a “smokescreen” to cover up the chasing and killing of foxes.
The League Against Cruel Sports, which campaigns to end hunting for good, welcomed the decision.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:
“This is a landmark moment in the campaign we are running to end hunting for good. Peterborough City Council should be commended for denying hunts the land they need to carry out their barbaric blood ‘sport’.
“With Peterborough being the first council to ban trail hunting since the Hunting Office’s webinars were released, we look forward to other councils across the country following suit.”
The motion was submitted by Labour and Cooperative member for North ward, Cllr Ansar Ali.
It stated: “Peterborough City Council notes that fox hunting, deer hunting and hare hunting with dogs is illegal under the terms of the Hunting Act 2004, except where an exemption applies.
“Most registered hunts claim to now be trail hunting, an activity invented after the ban which allows hunts to claim that any chase of a wild mammal is an accident rather than intentional.
“This council resolves to do everything within its legal powers to prevent trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land.”
Next up, councillors at Cheshire West and Chester Council are debating a motion on Thursday evening calling on the council leadership to develop a policy that reflects the damage and dangers of trail hunting.
Chris Luffingham, added:
“The smokescreen confessions by the hunts and the police investigation into them are a game changer. No longer can the hunts hide behind their trail laying excuses.
“It’s time now for councillors across the country to get behind our campaign and ban trail hunting and any other form of hunting activity from their land – fox hunting is a cruel blood sport which should be consigned to the history books.”
Six major landowners have suspended trail hunting on their land since the webinars were released. This follows a League campaign that saw supporters send more than 120,000 emails to major landowners in England and Wales to ban trail hunting on their land.
The landowners that have suspended licences are Forestry England, the National Trust United Utilities, Lake District National Park, Natural Resources Wales, and the Church of England.
The League is now calling on the Ministry of Defence, Duchy of Cornwall and Crown Estates to follow their example.
It is also calling for the bans on trail hunting to be made permanent.
The League issued a set of startling figures late last week showing there were 300 reported incidents of suspected illegal fox cub hunting across England and Wales, despite the fox hunting ban. Fox cub hunting takes place between the middle of August and the end of October, and involves the hounds being trained to kill, in the run-up to the fox hunting season which begins in November.