League calls for Liberal Democrats to back stronger fox hunting laws

National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports is calling upon the Liberal Democrat party to commit to strengthening the law to end so-called trail hunting following the launch of their manifesto today, which made no mention of fox hunting.

Public opinion is clear with polling conducted by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus in April and May 2024 showing that 78 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters support strengthening the law on hunting with dogs.

Awareness among the public, and the police of the continuation of illegal hunting despite the Hunting Act 2004 is high with Chief Inspector Matt Longman, the National Police Chief’s Councils lead on fox hunting crime recently saying, “The Hunting Act is not working effectively, and illegal hunting is still common practice. I know it. You know it. The public know it and the hunts know it

The League is urging all political parties to recognise its time for change, the Hunting Act is not working and laws must be strengthened to protect animals.

Chris Luffingham, Acting Chief Executive for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “It’s disappointing that the Liberal Democrats have not yet made any commitment to close loopholes in the Hunting Act or ban trail hunting.

“It’s time for change and to end hunting. Even senior police officers recognise the law isn’t working and rural communities are left dealing with the havoc hunts leave in their wake. The law must be strengthened to bring an end to the brutal practice of fox hunting once and for all”

Strengthening the law on hunting with dogs is a popular policy right across the country. 76 per cent of British people support tougher measures to protect animals, including 70 per cent of rural people.

Chris added: “This election could be the most important in a generation for animals but the Liberal Democrats risk being left behind until they commit to strengthening the Hunting Act. We urge the Liberal Democrats to back our proposals to ban trail hunting and close loopholes that allow hunts to break the law and continue to chase and kill animals.”


Notes to editors

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

Trail hunting was recently 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.

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.

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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