Campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports took to the streets of Bristol this Saturday to call on the National Trust to stop licensing ‘trail’ hunting on its land.

Staff and volunteers from the leading national animal welfare charity, including one in a fox costume, urged shoppers on Broadmead to take action and sign up to its National Trust campaign.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It is evident that tragically fox hunting is still taking place despite the ban, so we are calling on the National Trust to stop licensing ‘trail’ hunts on its land once and for all.

“The overwhelming majority of the public oppose fox hunting and it’s time to consign this barbaric activity to the history books for good.”

Fox hunts have come under the spotlight recently after an ITV expose revealed senior figures within the hunting lobby seeming to admit that ‘trail’ hunting, one of the excuses they use, is a ‘smokescreen’ for the chasing and killing of animals.

A fox hunting ban outlawed fox hunting in England and Wales in 2005 but in the 2019/20 season, the League Against Cruel Sports compiled figures revealing 677 separate eye-witness accounts of suspected illegal hunting.

Through much of 2020, hunting activities were disrupted by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions but the League still gathered figures showing 300 suspected cases of suspected illegal hunting during the cub hunting season in autumn.

The National Trust is expected to hold its AGM in October when there will be a vote in which members will get the chance to call for a permanent ban on the licensing of trail hunting.

The day of action in Bristol is the first in a series of actions taking place across the country.

Social distancing, masks and hand sanitisers were used at all times and staff took a Covid-19 lateral flow test in advance of the day of campaigning.

Nick Weston added: “If trail hunting is real then why are we getting so many reports of foxes being chased and killed by hunts?

“Trail hunting is a smokescreen being used by the hunts to deceive the public and the police about their brutal activities which shockingly involves their hounds tearing apart foxes.”

Ends

Notes to editors

I enclose links to four photos of the League Against Cruel Sports ‘fox’, staff, volunteers and members of the public in Bristol.

Bristol National Trust photo one

Bristol National Trust photo two

Bristol National Trust photo three

Bristol National Trust photo four

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).