Time to ban trail hunting on Cornwall Council land

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
The League Against Cruel Sports is urging the Cornwall Council executive to ban ‘trail’ hunting on its land following a full debate on the issue by councillors this morning [TUESDAY].

The debate stemmed from a petition organised by Action Against Fox Hunting urging the council to bring an end to hunting on its rural land, which attracted more than 10,000 signatures.

During today’s meeting, however, the council also dismissed an amendment that would have seen it consult local residents on their view.

Chris Luffingham, director of external affairs at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It’s disappointing to see the council rejecting the idea to ask its own voters what they think about this topic, but the executive now has an historic opportunity to show their commitment to the environment by bringing about an end to trail hunting on their land.

“Enough is enough. It’s time for the brutal world of fox hunting to be consigned to the history books, something that most Cornwall residents would support.”

Polling commissioned by the League and carried out by Ipsos Mori in 2017 showed 85 per cent of respondents support the Hunting Act 2004, including 81 per cent of people who say they live in rural areas.

In the 2019/20 hunting season the League recorded 41 incidents relating to illegal hunting in Cornwall, including seven incidents of hounds trespassing into nature reserves, and six of hounds straying onto major roads.

Chris added: “If the hunts were following a pre-laid trail, which is what they claim trail hunting is, the hounds would not have been in these places, causing disruption and potentially collisions on roads, and disturbing wildlife.”

One of those reports was of Mini the cat, who was mauled to death by hounds belonging to the Western Hunt.

The council vote fell against the backdrop of the conviction of Mark Hankinson, the disgraced now former director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, who was found guilty in October of encouraging or assisting others to break the Hunting Act 2004, under the Serious Crimes Act 2007. He was caught telling hunt masters how to use the “smokescreen” of so-called trail hunting to get away with killing animals.

During the trial, trail hunting was described by Judge Tan Ikram, deputy chief magistrate of England and Wales, as a “sham” and a “fiction”.

The vote also came shortly after the National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, and the Malvern Hills Trust all permanently ended ‘trail’ hunting on their land.

Elsewhere in the UK, three other councils – Cheshire West and Chester Council, Peterborough City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council – voted to ban hunts from their land in 2021, 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Ends

Notes to editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

For more information on trail hunting, see: https://www.league.org.uk/what-we-do/hunting/trail-hunting/

For more information on the Ipsos Mori polling on the public’s view on fox hunting, including people in rural areas, see:

https://www.league.org.uk/news-and-resources/news/opposition-to-fox-hunting-remains-at-an-all-time-high/

For more information on the Mark Hankinson case, see: https://www.league.org.uk/hankinson-trial/

and

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/hunting-director-guilty-encouraging-foxhunting-dog

Police suspend Countryside Alliance’s attendance at wildlife meetings after webinar trial:https://www.itv.com/news/2021-10-25/countryside-alliance-national-wildlife-crime-unit-membership-under-review

Huntsman found guilty after Mini the cat was mauled to death:https://www.league.org.uk/news-and-resources/news/cornish-hunt-master-found-guilty-after-cat-mauled-to-death-by-hounds/

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 and the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021.

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 sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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