Scottish and Welsh politicians back calls for next UK Government to strengthen fox hunting laws

Politicians from both Wales and Scotland have backed calls by national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports for the next UK government to strengthen fox hunting laws.

MSs joined animal welfare campaigners at the Senedd today to express their support for a ban on so-called trail hunting and for loopholes in the Hunting Act being exploited by hunts to be closed down.

It follows comments by SNP politicians calling for tougher measures to tackle fox hunting across England and Wales and to emulate the example being set by the Scottish Government which banned trail hunting last year.

Chris Luffingham, acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said “It’s time for change and to end hunting for good. The laws in Wales and England need to be strengthened.

“We welcome the support of MSs and MPs from Wales and Scotland in calling for the next UK government to urgently implement these vital changes which will stop hunts chasing and killing foxes and wreaking havoc on rural communities.”

Carolyn Thomas MS, Chair of the Senedd Cross-Party Group on Animal Welfare said: "It is fantastic to see the Labour Party's commitment to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 which is much needed and will close a loophole by banning trail-hunting, a practice used as a cover up for illegal and barbaric fox hunting.

"This will be a huge step forward in ending the horrific cruelty inflicted on foxes in the UK in the name of ‘sport’. We are a nation of animal lovers and I know the vast majority of residents across Wales will want to see an end to this brutal practice.”

On the eve of the election announcement, Steven Bonnar, SNP Environment, Farming, Agriculture and Rural Affairs spokesperson told the Animals Matter hustings in Westminster that hunting laws should be strengthened and prison sentences introduced for those who break them.

In the wake of these comments, Scottish politician Tommy Sheppard said: "Every time we try to legislate to outlaw the barbaric practice of hunting with dogs, there are those who try to get round the law rather than accept it. That is why we need to monitor and strengthen the law, which is exactly what our parliament has done in Scotland.

“When a new government takes office after the UK general election I hope it will do this across England and Wales too. Public opinion is crystal clear on the need to end hunting - the UK parliament must respond."

The Scottish Government strengthened its fox hunting laws last year and banned so called trail hunting. Fox hunting laws in Wales are not devolved and are determined by the UK government.

Recent polling commissioned by the League shows nearly eight out of 10 (78 per cent) of voters in Wales and 74 per cent of voters in Scotland were in favour of strengthening the Hunting Act.

The polling was carried out independently by FindOutNow with further analysis by Electoral Calculus in March and April this year.

Trail hunting was recently described by Chief Supt Matt Longman, the most senior police officer in England with responsibility for fox hunting crime, as a “smokescreen for illegal fox hunting”.

He also said the government should close the loopholes which allow the hunting community to continue killing foxes with apparent immunity.

Chris Luffingham added: “The new government in Westminster needs to follow the example of Scotland and bring in new laws to ban this horrific activity. Everyone knows that hunts are wilfully breaking the law – voters know it, the police know it, and it's time the next government in Westminster makes change happen."


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:

The campaign is backed by the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting, representing 34 animal welfare and environmental organisations.

Despite a fox hunting ban coming into force in 2005, the League Against Cruel Sports compiles reports showing hundreds of eyewitness sightings of suspected illegal fox hunting every year across Wales and England.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 or email

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 Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

Members of the Welsh Parliament outside the Senedd

Members of the Senedd outside the Welsh Parliament call for stronger fox hunting laws

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