Campaigners opposing blood sports held protests at National Trust properties across the country this weekend, in a bid to persuade the conservation body to block those seeking to illegally hunt wildlife on its land. Horses, hounds and followers are being granted access to properties maintained on behalf of the nation, some of which include nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) home to vulnerable fauna and flora.

The demonstrations – which received support from visitors, members and staff alike – were arranged by campaigning group National Dis-Trust backed by other groups and organisations including the League Against Cruel Sports. The organisations which monitor hunts granted access to National Trust estates all have strong evidence that fox, hare and deer hunting is still taking place – 14 years after the practice was banned.

A spokesperson for National Dis-Trust says:

“As we approach the 2018/19 hunting season, we continue to call for an enforced ban of all hunts on National Trust land and an end to hunt licences. The Trust's new monitoring scheme, stated to include pre-arranged monitoring of hunts, will do little to detect any of the widespread wildlife crime that causes such concern to many. We ask that the Trust swaps pre-arranged monitoring for random spot checks of licensed hunts.”

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at League Against Cruel Sports, says:

“Many people are frustrated and angered by the National Trust’s failure to properly monitor hunt activity and the priority they appear to be giving to the protection of hunts, rather than the protection of wildlife.

“The Trust is letting down its members and the British public. They firstly ignored the wishes of their members and blocked the vote to ban ‘trail’ hunting on their land. They claimed at the time that they would regulate and monitor ‘trail’ hunting, but this isn’t happening, as the hunts they license have been spotted targeting foxes.

“If they have any respect for their members or their reputation, they should take this issue more seriously than they are at present, because the public don’t want animals being killed for fun on land which is meant to be protected for all of us.”

British wildlife is being chased and killed by hunts

Despite hunting with hounds being banned in England and Wales in 2004, thousands of wild animals – including foxes, hare and deer – are still being targeted, chased and killed every year by hunts across the country. ‘Trail hunting’ was concocted by hunts following the ban being introduced, to provide cover for illegally pursuing mammals under the guise of following a pre-laid trail. Strong evidence outlines how ‘trail hunting’ is being used as a ploy for the indiscriminate killing of foxes, hare and deer by allowing hunts to falsely claim that any animals killed are done so accidentally.

A campaign to ban ‘trail hunting’ on National Trust land received considerable support at the organisation’s AGM last autumn – however bosses vetoed a prohibition by using discretionary votes to endorse the continuation of this controversial activity.

Alongside National Dis-Trust and the League Against Cruel Sports, other groups backing the protests outside National Trust properties included Cheshire Hunt Saboteurs, Cheshire Monitors, Cheshire Against Bloodsports, Welsh Border Hunt Saboteurs, Shropshire Against The Cull, Animal Welfare Party (Cheshire East), Surrey Hunt Monitors, North East Hunt Monitors, East Yorkshire Coast Hunt Saboteurs, Grantham Against Bloodsports, Lincoln Hunt Saboteurs and Northants Hunt Saboteurs.

Petition
A petition has been launched called ‘Stop the Killing of Animals by Hunts’ by the League Against Cruel Sports. It calls for the strengthening of hunting legislation and for landowners, including the National Trust, to no longer allow hunts to access their land to kill British wildlife: www.league.org.uk/huntingkills

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Notes to editor

For more information on National Dis-Trust: www.facebook.com/NTDistrust/

https://twitter.com/nt_distrust?lang=en

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