‘No plans’ to change Hunting Act despite trail-hunting row

Fox hunters on horseback
Support us and go ad-free

Environment secretary George Eustice said there was a “settled consensus” for the Hunting Act to remain unchanged, amid controversy that trail-hunting was being used as a “smokescreen” for the banned practice.


It comes after the National Trust and Forestry England decided this week to suspend licences for trail hunting on their land while police investigate webinars by the governing body The Hunting Office, which discussed the activity.

Trail hunting is a legal activity which involves following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds or beagles to replicate a hunt, but animal rights campaigners argue it offers little protection for foxes. Eustice said that despite there being “strongly held views” on both sides of the debate, there are no plans to change the Hunting Act, which has banned fox hunting since 2005.

Speaking to ITV News, he said:

At a political level, there’s a settled consensus now that the Hunting Act should stay.

When asked for his view on Boxing Day hunts, he said:

I don’t think there’ll be any reason for that to change. They’re going out trail hunting as they have since the Hunting Act was introduced, and where there is law-breaking, where people breach the provisions of the Hunting Act, the police do take action.

Read on...


The Lake District National Park, United Utilities, and Natural Resources Wales are the latest landowners to suspend trail hunting while police investigate two leaked training webinars involving huntsmen discussing trail hunting.

The Hunting Office, which administrates hunting across the UK, said the purpose of the webinars was to discuss legal hunting, while animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports claimed it was being used as a  “smokescreen” for the chasing and killing of foxes.

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us