Wildlife crime, including the chasing and killing of animals using loopholes in the law, came under the microscope when the League Against Cruel Sports joined forces with the police at a prestigious conference this weekend.

The UK Wildlife Crime Enforcers conference in Warwick was addressed by Director of the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, Robbie Marsland, who spoke about successfully working with the police in preventing hunts acting illegally and inflicting cruelty on British wildlife.

He said: “There is clearly a willingness on all sides to stop illegal hunting. The problem is that the law just isn’t up to it. Loopholes like flushing to guns in Scotland and false alibis like ‘trail’ hunting in England and Wales allow those who still want to encourage packs of hounds to chase and kill foxes and other mammals, to run a coach and horses thorough the legislation. The hunting bans in the U.K. must be strengthened.”

In Scotland, the League Against Cruel Sports agrees with the recommendations of a recently Government commissioned review of the legislation by Lord Bonomy. However, it believes that the Green Party are right to put forward a Members Bill that would add two further changes that would really stop fox hunting in Scotland – for good.

  • Remove the flushing to guns loophole for mounted hunts.
  • Reduce the number of dogs that can be used to two.

The League Against Cruel Sports is also recommending four amendments to the Hunting Act in England and Wales, to ensure that animals are properly protected in future:

  • The use of dogs below ground should be prohibited
  • A ‘reckless’ provision should be inserted to stop hunters using the false alibi of trail hunting
  • Sentencing powers should be increased
  • The Observation and Research exemption systematically abused by stag hunts should be removed

This was the 29th annual meeting of the UK Wildlife Crime Enforcers Conference and the League is proud to be a supporting partner.

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Notes to editors

  • For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24 hrs) or email [email protected] 
  • 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. 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).