Taking Action at the National Trust

It’s always good to get out and meet the public, as it’s a strong reminder of how much support the ban on hunting has. This is something my colleagues, League supporters and I experienced during our recent awareness actions outside National Trust properties in the South East.

This level of support, however, does come with an assumption that hunting no longer takes place. Which means people are surprised to learn that hunting still goes on, and as we found out this weekend, especially surprised to learn that hunting still goes on on National Trust land. Not only that it goes on, but that it is actively licensed by the Trust.

The National Trust believes that it is licensing legal hunting activities, but unfortunately it seems has fallen for the false alibi of Trail Hunting, which the League believes to actually be a cover for illegal hunting. It is the job of the League and our supporters to challenge this misunderstanding and raise awareness in the public and Trust member ship.

The timing of this is crucial as this October sees is a motion at their AGM to have hunting banned once and for all. It’s a message that the League Against Cruel sports, together with other organisations, are starting to spread far and wide. But as wide reaching as that message may be, it is no use if it doesn’t reach the people that can vote: National Trust members.

Which is why this August Bank Holiday weekend, League supporters and volunteers, alongside staff members such as myself, found ourselves standing in the blazing sun outside Polesden Lacey, Surrey, and Knole House, Kent, two of the National Trust’s most popular properties, handing out leaflets to visitors.

League Volunteers at Knole House

Kitted out with placards, leaflets and most importantly, high-vis vests, we greeted visitors as they entered the properties. While we only had a few seconds to chat, most were shocked to learn that such a trusted institution is allowing such cruelty to occur within its borders.

Polesden Lacey has a very long driveway, and visitors drove past we received waves of support, thumbs up and friendly honks from the car horns. The same cannot be said of the team at Knole House, however. While the public were very friendly, the Trust staff decided to call the Police. But the local law enforcement had no interest in stopping a peaceful protest, and the day continued without a hitch.

The smiles of welcome on people’s faces, and the surprise they expressed as they learned of the licencing of hunts on National Trust land serves to remind why the work we are doing is so important. It’s a good start, but it’s a far cry from reaching the 4.2 million National Trust supporters across the UK. Which is why we need your help.

Events such as these are vital to informing the National Trust membership.

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