New figures show scale of fox deaths ahead of the start of the cub hunting season

Fox hunts go cub hunting, also called autumn hunting, to train young hunting hounds how to recognise a fox scent and, ultimately, to kill.

During the last cub hunting season, from August until October last year, the League received reports of 192 suspected illegal cub hunting incidents, which took place across 44 counties in England and Wales.

Three of these incidents resulted in a fox dying.

Hunts claim that the hounds follow pre-laid trails when cub hunting, just like they claim for ‘trail’ hunting. Both fox and cub hunting were outlawed under the Hunting Act 2004.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League, said: “Cub hunting is practised by hunts with the purpose of training young hounds to kill, and the only reason for that is so they learn to chase and kill adult foxes during the main hunting season.

“So if cub hunting or trail hunting are real, as the hunts claim, then why are fox cubs still being killed?”

During illegal cub hunting, hunt riders will surround woodlands and farming fields to trap fox cubs while the hounds are sent in to kill them. The riders stand stationary around the woodland or field to scare any cubs that try to escape back into the path of the waiting hounds.

Alongside cub hunting, the League also received reports of hunts causing havoc including 11 reports of interference with badger setts, 15 counts of hunts trespassing, 10 instances of causing chaos on roads and three counts of livestock worrying.

Chris said: “Much like in the main ‘trail’ hunting season, fox hunts that are cub hunting continue to illegally chase and kill foxes, creating havoc as they do so.

“If the hounds were following a pre-laid trail this havoc simply wouldn’t happen.

“Hunts are endangering both wildlife and the public and the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened to properly outlaw this activity.”

The National Trust licenses trail hunting on its estates. A motion has been lodged by more than 200 National Trust members with the hope that the issue of hunt licensing will be debated at the trust’s annual meeting next year. 

Help the League to end trail hunting on National Trust land here:

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