National treasures call on National Trust to ban hunting on its land

National Treasures Bill Oddie OBE, Sir Tony Robinson, Paul O’Grady, Chris Packham and Peter Egan, are supporting the League Against Cruel Sports’ campaign to ban hunting on National Trust land, as its members get set to vote on a motion requesting the ban.

A group of National Trust members, supported by the League Against Cruel Sports, have successfully submitted a motion to ban trail hunting on National Trust land, which will be voted on at the Trust’s AGM on October 21, 2017. If passed, the proposed motion will prevent hunts from legally accessing large amounts of land across England and Wales.

Since the Hunting Act 2004 came into force, hunts have claimed they go ‘trail hunting’ - the activity the National Trust licences on its properties. The League Against Cruel Sports believes trail hunting is a false alibi for traditional hunting and is responsible for the death of countless animals.

Television presenter Paul O’Grady said: “The National Trust’s responsibility is to care for the precious wildlife that lives on its land and we all know there’s nothing caring about hunting.

“National Trust members don’t want to be walking in the countryside and come across a fox or a stag being chased to within an inch of its life.

“The AGM vote is a great opportunity for National Trust members who believe in protection for animals, to show the organisation that they won’t stand by and watch wildlife being persecuted in the name of fun.”

Chris Packham, naturalist and television presenter said: “Bottom line - does the National Trust want to be aligned with or complicit in illegal activities on its properties? Can it afford to disregard the wishes of its membership upon whom it depends? Or does it take this opportunity to modernise, refute an obsolete and outdated ‘tradition' and regain its position as a respected manager of our landscape? Hunting is a dying business so if the Trust has any sense it will get out of it now.”

Hunts claim ‘trail hunting’ is hunting by following a pre-laid trail, and is not intended to involve the chasing and killing of live animals, but evidence from hunt monitors collected over more than ten years, reports them only witnessing a genuine trail hunting event, rather than a fake one, on an average of around 0.04% of occasions.

Philippa King, acting CEO for the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“This could be a landmark moment. The National Trust is a treasured institution which does wonderful work, but it has allowed itself to be embarrassed by the hunting fraternity. The reasons hunts give to justify being on National Trust land have been shown time and time again to be mere excuses covering up illegal hunting.

“We believe National Trust members do not want animals being chased and killed on the land they love, so will give the National Trust a strong message at the AGM – if you truly are an organisation that cares about the UK’s flora and fauna, then hunting does not belong on your land.”

League supporters outside National Trust

The high-profile celebrity support for the motion to ban hunting on National Trust land also includes backing from conservationist and writer Bill Oddie OBE, actor and historian Sir Tony Robinson, and well-known actor and star of Downton Abbey, Peter Egan.

Conservationist, writer and President of the League Against Cruel Sports, Bill Oddie OBE, said: “If you visit a National Trust ‘mansion’ you will probably see paintings of red-coated horsemen encouraging hounds in pursuit of a fox or deer. The hunting and killing of animals still goes on in some areas despite being illegal.

“Do the National Trust really intend to allow this? As Victor Meldrew would say, “I don't believe it” Neither do I. And neither will thousands of Trust members.

“For many years The National Trust could justifiably claim to be custodians of Britain's past glories. Hunting is not glorious. It is cruel. It is a piece of history that belongs in the past and for the National Trust to allow it on their land - and thereby condone it - is retrogressive and highly regrettable.”

Many people have been shocked to learn that illegal hunting is taking place on National Trust land and Trust members now have the chance to voice their concern at the Trust’s AGM vote on Saturday 21 October 2017, potentially saving thousands of animals from being terrorised, chased and killed in the name of ‘sport’.

Commenting on trail hunting on National Trust land and the forthcoming vote to ban it, actor Peter Egan, said: “Preserving places of historic beauty is a wonderful imperative. Why destroy it by contributing to an activity which shames our heritage? All hunting shames us all, as well as our past.

“The National Trust should preserve beauty not promote cruelty. I really hope this upcoming vote stops hunts from hunting on National Trust land and we can move towards a more compassionate future, not remain in the cruelty of the past.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

  • National Trust members can vote to ban trail hunting on National Trust land in the upcoming AGM, which is being held at 10.30am on Saturday 21 October 2017, at the STEAM Museum in Swindon.

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