The National Trust has cancelled its controversial hunting license for the Portman Hunt at Kingston Lacy Estate.

The decision to deny the hunt permission to hunt on its land followed a string of incidents including a fox being chased and killed by the hunt in January. The hunt was also filmed chasing another fox with a pack of baying hounds across the Kingston Lacy estate in March 2017.

The League Against Cruel Sports, which wrote to Kingston Lacy’s General Manager, urging the conservation body to block those seeking to hunt wildlife on its land, has welcomed the cancellation of the Portman Hunt’s meets.

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

“The Kingston Lacy Estate is to be commended for ensuring the license granted last week to hunt across its land has now been cancelled. This outcome reflects strong public opposition to the practice – with 85% of people opposed to hunting foxes with hounds.”

A total of 23 licences were issued this hunting season allowing horses, hounds and followers to access National Trust land around its properties. This land included nature reserves and conservation areas, home to vulnerable fauna and flora. However, four hunting licences have been cancelled following public pressure and incidents involving wild animals being targeted by licenced hunts.

Monitoring by wildlife protection organisations, including the League, has revealed how hunts granted access to National Trust estates are pursuing foxes under the guise of following a trail – 14 years after the cruel ‘sport’ of hunting was banned.

Chris Luffingham adds:

“By cancelling its hunting licence for the Portman Hunt to meet on its land, the Kingston Lacy Estate has done the right thing and we hope that other National Trust properties will follow suit. In light of the Portman Hunt repeatedly chasing and killing British wildlife any future applications for licences must be denied.

“There is no doubt the considerable number of National Trust members, visitors and employees, as well as the wider public, now expect the cancellation of all remaining hunting licences as a matter of urgency.”

The League will continue its campaign until hunting is prohibited on all National Trust land across the country.


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  • 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 league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).