Wake-up call for Westminster as Scottish parliament bans trail hunting

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Leading animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports described the new legislation, passed by Holyrood this evening, as a wake-up call for the British Government and called for the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales to be strengthened.

Trail hunting was invented by hunts after the fox hunting ban came into force in England and Wales in February 2005, with evidence pointing to it being widely used as a smokescreen to conceal the chasing and killing of foxes.

Emma Judd, head of campaigns at the League, said: “The move to ban trail hunting in Scotland is a wake-up call for Westminster to properly end fox hunting once and for all.

“It’s time for change. The British government needs to strengthen the Hunting Act, including provisions to ban trail hunting, which hunts use to deceive the public, police and the courts, so to avoid prosecution.”

The new Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill comes in two decades after a flawed attempt by the Scottish Parliament to ban hunting with the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act, back in 2002.

The new bill will bring into force a number of measures which will curtail fox hunting, including ensuring trail hunting cannot be established north of the border.

The League compiles figures which show hundreds of suspected cases of illegal fox hunting across the UK every year alongside hundreds of cases of hunts wreaking havoc by marauding across private land and intimidating rural communities and local people.

Polling commissioned by the League and conducted independently by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus across Britain show more than three quarters of the electorate (78%) were in favour of strengthening hunting laws.

The League is also calling on the British Government to remove the ridiculous exemptions within the Hunting Act (2004) which are used by hunts to avoid prosecution. These include the supposed ‘rescue’ of an animal which is injured or hunting a mammal for scientific research.

Emma added: “Hunting with dogs is a barbaric blood sport which results in animals being subject to a terrifying chase before literally being torn apart once they are caught, and the vast majority of the British public, including those living in rural communities who see it first-hand, rightly oppose it.

“It’s time for the Government to act by outlawing trail hunting, introducing prison sentences for those caught breaking the ban, and consigning hunting to the history books where it belongs.”


Notes to editors

Polling was conducted online by Find Out Now between June 11 and June 14 2022, and the total sample size was 5,187 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). MRP Analysis was conducted by Electoral Calculus. Both Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are members of the British Polling Council.

Download the full data here.

Attached is a photo of a fox hunt pictured in Essex.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 07496 496454 (24hrs) or email pressoffice@league.org.uk

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