Britons: Declare your land a hunt-free zone

A desperate fox runs from a group of hunt dogs down a railway in the United Kingdom.

The BBC has just reported that a volunteer IFAW hunt monitor filmed a fox being pursued by hounds on a railway track.

Sadly this is not an isolated incident. Year in and year out I hear of numerous reports of hunts that have run amok in the countryside with their dogs, killing people’s pets or livestock, trespassing on people’s private property and running riot across roads and train tracks.

Thankfully the Hunting Act 2004 banned the pursuit of foxes, hare, deer and mink with dogs for ‘sport’. Before this cruel and unnecessary pastime was outlawed IFAW hunt monitors filmed distressing scenes of hunt havoc including one where dogs were electrocuted on the railway after they had chased a fox across the line.

Since the ban on chasing and killing Britain’s wildlife for entertainment came into effect, the majority of hunts claim that they are following a scent rather than a live animal. Drag hunts were doing this long before and as far as I am aware there are no reports of their dogs running riot through the countryside.

Laying a scent not only means you can avoid needlessly pursuing a live animal and risking breaking the law, but also that hunts can ensure the trail steers well clear of people’s homes, fields with sheep or cattle and roads or railways.

It is deeply upsetting to learn that some hunts continue to trespass and intimidate people living in our countryside. ‘A Minority Pastime’, a film documenting the sad story of hunt havoc, has an interview with a woman who had her pet cat torn limb from limb by hunt dogs.

The film also has interviews with people who have had the hunts damage their land, worry their livestock and make them feel threatened in their own homes. I am no stranger to the disruption caused by hunts as I grew up in a small village. It comes as no surprise to me that recent polling shows 72 per cent of people living in rural Britain oppose fox hunting.

There is now a movement for people who want to declare their land a hunt havoc free zone. A new website called Hounds Off is being launched. It aims to provide an online source of information for people who want their house, garden or fields to be free from the threat of hunts trespassing. Visit to learn how you too can make sure your voice is heard.

-- TMS

For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to save animals in crisis around the world, visit

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