Protests are being held outside National Trust estates across England today to highlight that hunts are still illegally killing British wildlife on its lands.

The protests are being arranged by campaigning group National Dis-Trust and backed by the League Against Cruel Sports and other animal welfare organisations and stem from concern among groups monitoring hunt activity on National Trust land that fox hunting is still taking place 14 years after it was banned in England and Wales.

They took place at Upton House and Gardens in Warwickshire, Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd Estate in Shropshire and the Stourhead property in Wiltshire.

A spokesperson for National Dis-Trust, said: 

“Serious questions hang over the National Trust about how it has handled its hunt licensing system, including ignoring numerous wildlife crime convictions amongst licensed hunts and providing a misleading statement to members at its 2017 AGM. 

“We are protesting about the decision to license hunts across the country which are clearly still fox hunting. The access to National Trust land needs to be revoked, and the foxes – that should never be subjected to this torture masquerading as a hobby – need to be properly protected by the National Trust.”


British wildlife is being chased and killed by hunts

Despite fox hunting being banned in England and Wales in 2004, campaigners are concerned that thousands of animals are still being targeted and killed every year by hunts. Hunts invented ‘trail’ hunting after the ban was introduced, claiming they were following a pre-laid trail rather than chasing animals. Campaigners believe that trail hunting is being used to cover up the indiscriminate killing of foxes, hares and deer by allowing hunts to claim that any kills were accidental.

A campaign to ban ‘trail’ hunting on National Trust land was narrowly defeated at the organisation’s AGM last autumn after its bosses disappointingly gave discretionary votes to back the continuation of the activity. Chris Luffingham, League Against Cruel Sports director of campaigns, said: 

“Many people are frustrated and angered by the National Trust and their inaction 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. 

“Evidence from the public and monitors across England who regularly witness the hunts, suggests that they are still chasing British wildlife, and animals are being torn apart by packs of hounds. The latest polling shows that the vast majority of the British public oppose fox hunting and I’m sure they’d be horrified to know that the hunts are still killing wildlife for fun and the National Trust is allowing this on its land.”


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 the hunts access to their land to kill British wildlife. Click here to sign. 

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Notes to Editors

  • For more information on National Dis-Trust: https://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]g.uk
  • 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).