End hunting in Northern Ireland

Only a quarter of people in Northern Ireland know that hunting wild animals with dogs is still legal here. Foxes, deer, and hare are chased down by hounds and killed just for ‘sport’.

So it must come as a surprise to them to know that there is currently a consultation underway on whether it’s a good idea for Northern Ireland to follow the rest of the UK in banning this cruel sport. The consultation is a really important part of the process, so we’re urging all our supporters in NI to take part, share it with friends, family and on social media, and to sign up for our updates on this vital campaign.

You can do both here and directly shape the law to protect wild animals. The consultation closes in February, and then it should become the basis of a Private Members Bill being brought by John Blair, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), supported by the League, to finally outlaw hunting with dogs.

There is a real opportunity here for Northern Ireland not only to catch up with the rest of the UK, but also set the standard of what good anti-hunting legislation should look like. It is vital that Northern Ireland leads the way with a full and comprehensive ban on hunting with dogs, and does not duplicate the exemptions and loopholes which have allowed animals to continue to be chased and killed in the rest of the UK.

A hunting ban in Northern Ireland must prevent ‘trail’ hunting from being used as a cover for illegal hunting. ‘Trail’ hunting was invented by hunts after hunting was banned in England and Wales and purports to mimic traditional hunting by following an animal-based scent trail laid in areas where foxes or hares are likely to be. When an animal is killed by the hounds it is common for hunts to claim it was an ‘accident’, preventing prosecution.

Exemptions in the legislation in England, Wales and Scotland have enabled hunting to continue under guises including so-called scientific research, flushing to guns and flushing with dogs to be hunted by a bird of prey. Such exemptions are widely abused, making potential prosecution difficult, and cannot be justified.

But to achieve this change we need your help. Please take part in the consultation and sign up for our updates on the campaign – together we can end hunting in Northern Ireland for good.

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