Election result offers a huge opportunity to finally end illegal fox hunting, charity says

National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has hailed the general election result as a huge step forward in its fight to see fox hunting properly banned. 

The charity’s figures show that illegal hunting is still rife across England and Wales – a position echoed by the top police officer responsible for stamping it out for good.  

Emma Judd, the League’s head of campaigns, said: “We’re delighted to see a new government in power that has pledged to protect animals and should have the wherewithal to deliver on its promises.  

“What we will do now is work with them to ensure such protections are as robust as possible and delivered without delay. We are looking forward to seeing all the loopholes in the Hunting Act closed and so-called trail hunting banned, as well as custodial sentences introduced for those who insist on chasing and killing animals purely for fun. 

“It’s time for change – nearly 20 years after the ban we have a second chance to end fox hunting, and this time for good, by strengthening hunting laws.” 

The Hunting Act came into force in February 2005 but the League’s figures released last month showed a huge number of suspected illegal hunting incidents during the last fox hunting season. 

Nearly 1,400 incidents, comprising 526 reports relating to suspected illegal hunting and 870 reports of hunts wreaking havoc on rural communities, were recorded in the League’s end of season report covering November 2023 to March 2024.  

And public support for a proper ban is also high. 

Polling released by the League during the general election campaign showed nearly eight out of 10 (76 percent) voters were in favour of strengthening the Hunting Act. 

The polling was commissioned by the League but carried out independently by Find Out Now with further analysis by Electoral Calculus in March and April this year.  

Trail hunting has been described by Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, the most senior police officer in England with responsibility for fox hunting crime, as a “smokescreen for illegal fox hunting”. He also described illegal hunting as “prolific”

Trail hunting was banned in Scotland in 2023 when the Scottish Parliament strengthened its own fox hunting laws. 

And the campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 and ban trail hunting is backed by the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting representing 34 animal welfare and environmental organisations. 

Emma added: “The new government, backed by both the public and MPs across parliament, has the opportunity to prioritise an end to barbaric fox hunting once and for all. 

“It needs to act quickly to ensure that the next fox hunting season, set to start in November, does not take place and that this brutal activity is consigned to the history books.” 


Notes to editors 

The full sets of data for the 2023/2024 fox hunting season are available on request. 

Find Out Now interviewed 5,379 GB adults online from 26 March-2 April 2024. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults by gender, age, social grade, other demographics and past voting patterns.  

Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are both members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules. 

A full breakdown of the data is available here: https://electoralcalculus.co.uk/blogs/DataTables_LACS_Jun2024.xlsx 

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports press office on 01483 524250 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 2004, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021, the strengthened fox hunting laws of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023 and a ban on the use of snares created by the Agriculture (Wales) Act 2023. 

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 wildlife reserves. 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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