Hunting to continue on National Trust land after campaign to overturn cruelty fails key member vote

Hunting to continue on National Trust land after campaign to overturn cruelty fa
Monday, 23 October, 2017

Foxes will continue to be cruelly chased or killed on National Trust property after a move to ban trail hunting on the organisation’s land failed to pass, despite a majority of members voting for the motion at its Annual General Meeting today (Saturday).

The so-called ‘sport’ of trail hunting was invented by hunters to circumvent the fox hunting ban introduced with the Hunting Act in 2004, so they could continue to hunt with packs of dogs. Despite the ban trail hunting still leads to foxes being killed and hunters, when caught, will usually claim this is an accident to avoid prosecution.

IFAW campaigns for an end to the cruelty of trail hunting and its use as a false alibi for illegal hunting, and has campaigned for the National Trust to stop supporting these inhumane hunts. Last year, it issued 79 licences for trail hunting, and around a third of all trail hunts happen on National Trust property.

A group of National Trust members, disappointed that the charity enables animal cruelty, tabled a motion to change the organisation’s policy and stop the issuing of trail hunt licences. The motion was voted on at the Annual General Meeting in Swindon but failed to pass despite a majority of members voting in favour of the motion. A total of 28,629 members voted for the ban, versus 27,525 against the ban, but the Chair elected to use 3,460 Discretionary votes (from members who had authorised the Chair to vote on their behalf at will) to block the motion, resulting in a final majority of 299 against the motion.

Philip Mansbridge, IFAW UK Director, said: “IFAW is extremely disappointed by the failure of this vote and that the National Trust chose to vote against the will of the majority of its members. It doesn’t make sense for such a much loved institution to continue to support the outdated and inhumane practice of fox hunting in any guise. As an organisation that carries out so much great work preserving our natural heritage and landscape, it is even more shocking that it would enable animal cruelty.

“Despite today’s vote, we urge the National Trust to look long and hard at this issue and the will of its members and we welcome the new guidelines and regulations being put in place to make it harder for those alleging to be trail hunting to do so unrestricted. The National Trust needs to ensure that members and supporters can be confident that by supporting the charity, they are not supporting the cruel chasing or killing of foxes with packs of hounds.”

IFAW conducted the largest and most comprehensive investigation to date into trail hunting and exposed it as a false alibi for illegal fox hunting in its 2015 report, Trail of Lies. A summary of the report can be read here.


For more information or interviews please contact Philip Mansbridge on mobile 07860 920796 or email

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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 social at @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.



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