After 10 years of the Hunting Act, hunters continue to flout the law

After 10 years of the Hunting Act, hunters continue to flout the law
Tuesday, 17 February, 2015
London, UK

As the Hunting Act reaches its 10th anniversary today (Wed), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) calls for better enforcement to deal with hunters who continue to flout the law so they can chase or kill British wildlife for fun.

IFAW, along with other groups, successfully campaigned for a ban on the cruel ‘sport’ of hunting foxes, stags and hares with a pack of hounds and continues to monitor hunts to gather evidence of suspected illegal activity.

The Hunting Act is already the most successful piece of wild animal welfare legislation in England and Wales, with hundreds of successful prosecutions, but many hunters continue to escape prosecution by using trail hunting (the laying of a trail using a fox-based scent) as a false alibi.

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “A decade on, the success of this vital piece of legislation should be celebrated, but illegal hunting is a reality that we cannot ignore. Trail hunting was invented by the hunting community as a response to a ban on hunting. Time and again we see trail hunting used as a smokescreen – no more than a false alibi to illegally chase or kill foxes.

“Far too many allegations of illegal hunting are not properly investigated and far too many investigations are dropped by the police and CPS when we believe there is still a case to answer.”

Mansbridge added: “We should remember that this law was passed because the overwhelming majority of the UK public found it abhorrent that British mammals could be chased and torn apart by dogs for the enjoyment of a minority. We need our politicians to protect the Act and law enforcement agencies must recognise the reality of trail hunting to stop hunters from riding roughshod over the law.”

Polling by Ipsos MORI* in December 2014 showed that 80% of people in Great Britain think that fox hunting should remain illegal, 86% for deer hunting and 88% for hare hunting/coursing. The figures are about the same for rural and urban areas.

IFAW’s team of wildlife crime investigators remain committed to gathering evidence of suspicious behaviour to aid private or public prosecutions against illegal hunters. Members of the public who witness suspicious behaviour by hunts are encouraged to call the non-emergency police number 101.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Clare Sterling at IFAW on +44 (0)20 7587 6708, mobile +44 (0)7917 507717 or email Alternatively visit

Notes to Editors –

* Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 1,971 adults in GB aged 15+. Interviews were carried out face-to-face, in home, using CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing), as part of the Ipsos MORI Omnibus (Capibus). Fieldwork was conducted between 5–21st December 2014. Polling commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Press Contact

Clare Sterling (IFAW UK)
Contact phone:
020 7587 6708
Contact mobile:
07917 507717
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