Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports is urging the National Trust to cancel a controversial hunting licence covering its Farnborough Hall estate in Warwickshire.

The estate, home to historic parkland managed and promoted by the National Trust, issued a ‘trail’ hunting licence last week to the Warwickshire Hunt.

The League Against Cruel Sports has already recorded 11 reports since August this year of the Warwickshire Hunt hunting fox cubs, in addition to seven reports of the Warwickshire Hunt chasing foxes during the 2018/19 fox hunting season, which ran from November 2018 until March 2019.

Trail hunting, which was invented after the fox hunting ban was implemented in 2005, has been widely dismissed as a fraudulent activity that is used as a cover-up for the illegal pursuit of foxes.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“It’s time for the National Trust to follow the positive examples of landowners such as the Woodland Trust and English Heritage, which don’t issue trail hunting licences on land they manage.

“We are calling for the Hunting Act to be strengthened to close loopholes that allow activities such as trail hunting to be used as a cover for illegal hunting and to finally bring about an end to cruel sports in the UK.”

Before the Hunting Act was introduced, hunts would train their hounds to kill adult foxes by first encouraging them to hunt and kill young fox cubs, usually from August up until the fox hunting season begins in November. When the Hunting Act was introduced, that practice was made illegal.

The League recorded 284 reports of illegal hunting activity and 43 reports of foxes being killed by hunts across the UK during the last hunting season.

The National Trust issued 25 licences across England and Wales last year but three of those were then suspended due to illegal fox hunting activity.

Hunts are virtually never seen laying genuine trails. Judge Michael Pert QC described the conduct of members of the Fernie Hunt as a ‘cynical subterfuge’ when they used trail hunting as an excuse to disguise the fact they were hunting a fox, in an unsuccessful appeal in 2011.

Any suspected illegal hunting activity can be reported to the League’s Animal Crimewatch service at www.league.org.uk/animal-crimewatch

Alternatively, phone in confidence on 01483 361108 or email on [email protected]

ENDS

Notes to Editors

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).

* Media coverage of the unsuccessful Fernie Hunt appeal in which Judge Michael Pert QC described the conduct of members of the hunt as a ‘cynical subterfuge’.