National Trust members vote to ban trail hunting on its land

Members of the National Trust have voted to ban the search for clues, fearing that they will be used as “smoke screens” for hunting and killing foxes.

Members voted to support a motion not to allow hunting in trust land, with those who requested saying “overwhelming evidence leads to the conclusion that ‘trail hunting’ is a cover for dog hunting”.

76,816 votes were cast for the motion, 38,184 against and 18,047 abstentions.

The voting results are not binding, but the Board of Trustees will probably deal with the result after the annual general meeting on Saturday.

League Against Cruel Sports protesters gathered outside the Harrogate Convention Center in North Yorkshire to show their support for the ban proposal during the event.

They welcomed the result with the words “enough is enough”, but the Countryside Alliance, which had opposed the motion, said the vote represented only a “small proportion” of national membership and therefore did not give a mandate.

The 2004 Hunting Act prohibited hunting with dogs.

Trail hunting simulates a traditional hunt without deliberately hunting or killing foxes by placing artificial fragrances on the riders.

Last November, in response to a police investigation into webinars with hunters discussing the practice, the National Trust and Forestry England suspended licenses for trail hunting on their land.

Saturday’s vote comes just weeks after a prominent hunter was convicted after giving advice on covertly conducting illegal fox hunts.

Masters of Foxhounds Association director Mark Hankinson was found guilty in Westminster Magistrates’ Court of deliberately encouraging hunters to use legal tracing as “bogus and fiction” for the illegal hunting and killing of animals via two webinars in the August 2020 to use.

The hunter’s illegal advice was exposed after saboteurs released footage of online discussions to police and media.

He was sentenced to pay £ 3,500, the judge concluding that he “clearly encouraged the mirage of trail laying to serve as a cover for old-fashioned illegal hunting”.

Andy Knott, executive director of League Against Cruel Sports, said, “Enough is enough. Now membership has voted to end it permanently, we must insist that the National Trust trustees listen and act.

“The Trust must finally ban ‘trail’ hunting on its land. Other landowners should take note of this and follow suit immediately. “

Polly Portwin, director of the Countryside Alliance’s hunting campaign, said there was “absolutely no mandate to ban any legal activity that has been practiced on National Trust land for generations.”

She argued that accepting the motion would “totally undermine the trust’s own motto: ‘for all, forever’ and is legitimate”.

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