Fox hunting - where is the law?

Hunting with dogs has been banned for 14 years. Yet hunts still operate all over the country with apparent impunity. Hunters claim they are ‘trail hunting’ - instructing the hounds to follow a scent trail, and if a fox is killed, it is treated as an 'accident'.  

Hunting with dogs has been banned for 14 years. Yet hunts still operate all over the country with apparent impunity. Hunters claim they are ‘trail hunting’ - instructing the hounds to follow a scent trail, and if a fox is killed, it is treated as an 'accident'.  

In December, a BBC Radio 4 programme was aired that investigated ‘cub hunting’, which is exactly what it sounds like. Hounds are trained to get a taste of fox blood by encouraging them to attack cubs that have been disturbed by the huntsmen creating noise to scare them. The cubs then run into the waiting hounds and are ripped to pieces.

This practice goes on every year and this year the League Against Cruel Sports reported there have been 138 separate reports of cub hunting, involving 73 different hunts, between August and the end of October.

The League Against Cruel Sport are reduced to starting petitions to get cub hunting banned. There is already a law which should be enforced.

Where is the law? There appears to be no real desire by the police to enforce the law on fox hunting. As so often, the law is simply not being applied.  An article in the Telegraph last August stated that conviction rates have fallen to an all time low. Just over 40 per cent of cases prosecuted last year resulted in a conviction. According to figures released by the Ministry of Justice, of the 52 prosecutions brought under the Hunting Act in 2017, only 22 resulted in conviction.

Speculation that the Hunting Act will be repealed by the current Government continues.  We should oppose any attempt to repeal the Hunting Act and ensure that current law is fully enforced.

 

Janet Underwood, Animal Welfare Spokesman 

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