Latest News University challenge for the National Trust and Farmers Union Campaigners opposing illegal fox hunting and the badger cull are protesting outside a meeting between the National Trust and the National Farmers Union (NFU) being held today at Oxford University’s Centre for the Environment. The protest – backed by the League Against Cruel Sports, National Dis-Trust and the Oxfordshire Badger Group – is targeting the farming and wildlife round-table, to raise awareness of the animal welfare issues that are blighting the British countryside. The National Trust issues licences for ‘trail’ hunts on its land, a form of hunting with hounds which is a cover for the illegal chasing and killing of foxes, deer and hares. Pretending to follow a pre-laid trail, the hunts are believed to still be brutally killing thousands of animals every year, despite hunting being banned in 2005. The League and many independent scientists and other animal welfare organisations also believe that the badger cull is an unnecessary waste of the lives of badgers and makes no meaningful contribution to the Cattle bTB problem in Britain. Emily Lawrence, the Regional Campaign Manager at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Today, the National Trust are holding a round table discussion on the future of the countryside, farming and wildlife with the NFU. The League Against Cruel Sports would like to see that future include a total ban of hunting on National Trust land. While they still keep issuing trail hunting licences, we will continue to protest and inform the public that trail hunting is a lie and a deceit. The National Trust is meant to be for everyone, for ever – but at the moment it’s certainly not for animal lovers or foxes.” A spokesperson for National Dis-Trust said: “In Oxfordshire, the National Trust licensed three fox hunts during the 2017/18 hunting season for the Buscot and Coleshill Estates, despite these hunts illegally hunting and trespassing on private land over the years, which has been clearly documented. “We have also highlighted on a number of occasions that this estate is in the High Risk Area for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and has two ongoing bTB breakouts, yet has no apparent issue with granting licences for hunts to travel in from 300 miles away. These licences should be scrapped to protect wildlife and to prevent the spread of bTB by hunting hounds.” Julia Hammett, Chair of the Oxfordshire Badger Group, said: “We are protesting because the NFU has put pressure on the Government to extend the inhumane, unscientific and costly cull of badgers, although there is no clear evidence that the slaughter of thousands of badgers is having any meaningful effect on reducing bTB in cattle. Instead of pushing to kill up to 40,000 badgers, the largest destruction of a protected species in living memory, the NFU should be focusing its efforts on the real issue of preventing cattle to cattle transmission of bTB through more accurate and frequent testing, tighter restrictions on cattle movements and a nationwide programme of vaccination for badgers.” PetitionA 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 hunts to access their land to kill British wildlife: www.league.org.uk/huntingkills - ENDS - Notes to editor For more information on National Dis-Trust: 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] 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).