Ministry of Defence licenses 225 days of hunting

A staggering 225 days of hunting are expected to take place on government land this year.

According to recent figures published by the Ministry of Defence, 18 so called ‘trail’ hunts have been granted licences to hunt this season. Together, the licences add up to a combined 225 hunting days on MoD land.

225 days of chaos.

225 opportunities for hunts to terrify wildlife.

225 risks of being chased and killed.

There is only one number of days of government sanctioned hunting that should take place: zero.

Hunts are currently allowed to operate on MoD land through a licence granted for ‘trail’ hunting. Despite the MoD’s claims of trail hunting being a lawful activity, it is in fact a smokescreen, used by foxhunts to get away with the chasing and killing of animals.

But perhaps it is no surprise given the Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace’s previous positions on hunting that it is taking place on MoD land.

As an Member of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Wallace drafted an amendment on a bill to ban hunting with dogs in Scotland which would have allowed hunting to continue in the country “on a licensed basis”. A piece of legislation which is now being reviewed and we hope will really band hunting with dogs in Scotland.

In 2015, as the MP for Wyre & Preston North, Wallace wrote to a constituent that “hunting is the by-product of a need to control a vermin species”, and that he would “support a Bill that repeals the Hunting Act if one comes forward”.

Given this, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that Mr Wallace is turning a blind eye to hunting. Recently the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance praised him for stepping in to save the lease for Larkhill Racecourse. Larkhill is a venue for point-to-point racing, which is a key fundraising activity for hunts across the UK. Not only is the MoD allowing hunting to take place on its land, it seems happy to help hunts raise money too.

It seems that the government is on the wrong side of history on this issue of hunting. Some of the UK’s largest and most prestigious landowners such as the National Trust, Lake District National Park and Natural Resources Wales have gone so far as to ban the activity. Yet the government has licensed 225 days of hunting on MoD land.

This government cannot go on condoning the chasing and killing of animals. Write to the secretary of state today and ask him to ban hunting on MoD land. The more who ask, the more he has to answer. We must hold this government to account for its position on hunting and say ‘It’s time for change'.

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