Hunting is now prohibited on National Trust land, following the discovery of shocking underhanded tactics.
THE NATIONAL TRUST has outlawed trail hunting on its property after a huntsman was found guilty of encouraging the legal practice as a cover for killing animals.
The charity’s trustees announced today that the practice of hounds following an animal scent dragged along a trail will no longer be allowed.
It has long been claimed by critics that it is used as a cover for illegal hunting.
After police investigated webinars involving huntspeople discussing the pursuit, legal activity on the Trust’s land has been halted since November 2020.
In October, Mark Hankinson, a former director of the Masters of the Fox Hounds Association (MFHA), was found guilty of encouraging the use of legal trail hunting as a “screen” for illegally chasing and killing animals.
Mr. Hankinson has challenged his conviction.
Members voted 76,816 to 38,184 in favor of banning trail hunting on Trust land at the charity’s annual general meeting last month.
“The board of trustees has carefully considered this issue,” the charity’s Director of Land and Nature, Harry Bowell, said.
“Its decision not to issue any more trail hunting licenses is based on a variety of factors.
“These include, but are not limited to, a loss of trust and confidence in the MFHA, which regulates trail hunting, a vote by National Trust members at our recent AGM, the significant resources required to facilitate trail hunting, and the reputational risk of continuing this activity on our land.”
The MFHA is an organization that represents 170 registered foxhound packs.
Following a meeting with the National Trust in 2017, the charity established a dedicated trail hunting management team to oversee the licensing process and monitor activity in accordance with the terms of new licenses.
Since then, it claims to have seen a number of reported violations as well as hunts that were deemed legal.
The Hunting Act of 2004 made it illegal in England and Wales to hunt wild mammals with dogs.
The League Against Cruel Sports claims that fox hunting bans in England, Wales, and Scotland are routinely disregarded or exploited.
It has cautiously welcomed the Trust’s decision, but has expressed concern that it does not go far enough, arguing that it is unclear whether it has banned exempt hunting activities that could still result in animals being chased and killed.
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