League urges the Conservatives to strengthen the Hunting Act

National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports is disappointed that the Conservative manifesto has not included a pledge to strengthen the Hunting Act.

The Hunting Act remains an extremely popular piece of legislation, however after nearly 20 years it is clear that it is no longer enough to protect animals from being chased and killed. Strengthening the law on hunting enjoys strong cross party support with polling conducted by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus in April and May 2024 showing that 67 per cent Conservative voters support strengthening the law on hunting with dogs.

The public, and the police are all too aware of the exploitation of the Hunting Act by hunts. Chief Inspector Matt Longman, the National Police Chief’s Councils lead on fox hunting crime recently said “Quite simply, the hunting community is using loopholes in the law to get away with hunting. We all know it's happening. While it's not my job to change the law, it is my job in my role as the national lead on foxhunting to be clear about the problems.”

Chris Luffingham, Acting Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sport said:

“When most people are now discussing the need to strengthen the Hunting Act, it is disappointing that the Conservatives have buried their heads in the sand on the issue by failing to commit to strengthen the law on fox hunting.

“The Conservative party recognise there is no appetite to return to unchecked, legal fox hunting however it is now time for change, the Hunting Act is not working and must be strengthened”

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 General Election the animal welfare vote is sure to have its say. We urge all parties to make a statement of intent by committing to strengthening the Hunting Act.”


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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