The truth about ‘trail’ hunting spreads across the UK

Before I joined the League Against Cruel Sports, more than five years ago, I was aware that fox hunting still took place in Britain, despite being banned by the Hunting Act 2004. But, since working for the charity I have gained a better understanding of the breadth of the deceitful activity known as ‘trail’ hunting. 

It now seems the public is on its way to that realisation too. We have seen the media, the public and politicians all have their ‘light bulb moment’ as they realise the hunting ban doesn’t work, and ‘trail’ hunting is nothing more than a ruse - designed to circumvent the law, deceive officials and allow the brutal killing of Britain’s mammals to continue. 

A “smokescreen” if you will. 

A leaked webinar, published by the Hunt Saboteurs Association in November, showed key members of the hunt lobby describing ‘trail’ hunting’ as a “smokescreen” and exemptions in the law as a “good wheeze”. It seemed to confirm what we already knew, but its impact continues to make waves. 

Major landowners in England and Wales have suspended permission for ‘trail’ hunting to take place on their land, denying them access to more than 2.3million acres of land. This is a huge step towards ending hunting with dogs, but the next phase of the campaign now is with local councils. 

Over the past year the League has been asking members of the public in England and Wales to contact their councillors and ask them to table a motion to ban ‘trail’ hunting from their land. 

Of the four motions that have been tabled since the webinar releases, two have passed, making hunting a lot more difficult for local hunts, and the most recent in Bolsover has been deferred until a countywide debate can be conducted. 

These victories may seem small, but they are vitally important to local people and local wildlife, and together they help paint a big picture that ‘trail’ hunting is becoming a thing of the past. 

As well as these new bans, the League has been in contact with councils asking them to confirm they already have bans in place, and make sure they are as impactful as possible.  

That’s not all. In Scotland we continue to pressure Holyrood to make the hunting law more robust and ensure hunts cannot use loopholes to get away with killing wild mammals.  

And in Northern Ireland, where hunting with dogs is still legal, we are assisting in gathering support for a Private Members’ Bill that seeks to outlaw the ‘sport’ – and we urge Stormont not to repeat the mistakes of Westminster by implementing a law that allows hunts to put up their ‘trail’ hunting “smokescreen”. 

Please take action and contact your councillors today to ask them to ban ‘trail’ hunting on public land. 

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