Animal welfare campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports have welcomed a cross-party motion by local councillors calling on the council to recognise that Peterborough is no longer an appropriate city for the Festival of Hunting.

Local campaigners and the League ‘fox’ took to the streets of Peterborough city centre on Wednesday to hand out leaflets protesting about the ‘festival’ taking place today at the East of England showground.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “The brutal blood sport of fox hunting was rightly banned 16 years ago in England and we should not be celebrating this squalid activity in any way or form.

“Polling indicates that the vast majority of the public oppose fox hunting. We welcome this new challenge to the ‘festival’ and look forward to councillors from all parties supporting this motion.”

The motion, backed by both Labour and Green Party Peterborough City councillors, is to be debated at the next council meeting on Wednesday July 28.

It will call on the leader of the Council to write to the chairman of the East of England Agricultural Society to request that it does not host the Festival of Hunting at the East of England Showground in future.

A new League Against Cruel Sports campaign group covering the whole of Cambridgeshire has been set up by local residents who are unhappy about blood sports events taking place in their county.

Peterborough City Council took the landmark decision late last year to ban so-called ‘trail’ hunting on its land, the first council to do so after hunt officials were heard in two webinars appearing to describe trail hunting as a “smokescreen” for real hunting.

A fox hunting ban came into force in England and Wales in February 2005 – however, the League compiled figures for 2020 which revealed 300 separate eye-witness reports of suspected illegal hunting, despite hunts having to forestall many activities due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Nick Weston added: “Peterborough has been at the forefront in tackling the savage world of trail or fox hunting so the logical next step will be to distance itself from the national celebration of this bloodthirsty activity.

“Fox hunting is on the back foot, shunned by the public, and increasingly in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. It’s time for Peterborough to rid itself of this grubby festival once and for all.”

Ends

Notes to editors

I enclose a link to photos of the League fox with members of the Peterborough public taken on July 1. Please let me know if you require photos of today’s event.

Link to photograph one

Link to photograph two

Enclosed is a link to our web page on the realities of what trail hunting really is.

Social distancing, masks and hand sanitisers were used at all times on the day by League staff who were required beforehand to take a Covid-19 lateral flow test.

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).