The group says there have been hundreds of suspected illegal fox hunts in the UK in a month | Daily News Byte


Hundreds of “bloodthirsty and disgraceful” suspected illegal fox hunts took place in the UK in just one month, according to an animal welfare charity.

The League Against Cruel Sports said the new figures show there were 303 combined incidents of game destruction and poaching in just five-and-a-half weeks between November 1 and December 7.

The group said the figures, released to coincide with the Boxing Day Fox Hunt Parade, the biggest day in the hunting calendar, showed the practice’s “negative impact” on wildlife and rural communities.

Boxing Day Hunt
(Danny Lawson/PA)

Fox hunting was banned in England and Wales following the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into effect a year later.

But drag hunting, where hounds are trained to follow artificial scents, is permitted under the law.

However, the group said there were 78 reports of foxes being apparently chased, with eight kills and three suspected kills recorded between November and the first week of December.

The counties with the highest combined totals of suspected illegal hunting and game destruction were Dorset (39), Yorkshire (30), Somerset (22), Warwickshire (21) and Gloucestershire (19).

In Yorkshire, there were nine reports of suspected poaching and 21 incidents of game destruction, with groups using railways and busy roads as well as worrying livestock.

Emma Judd, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “People would see hunting in Yorkshire today and not know that behind the finery is a so-called sport that threatens public life on roads and railways and worries livestock. – Control hounds.

“Our figures released today show that poaching has a negative impact on rural communities and clearly show that it is time for change. Communities, wildlife and rural values ​​can only be protected by strengthening laws on hunting.

She added: “The bloody and shameful ‘sport’ of fox hunting is widely unpopular with Yorkshire voters who want to see hunting laws strengthened, and it is time the Government got on board with public opinion.”

More than 200 hunters are due to parade through high streets up and down the UK as they have done for hundreds of years on Boxing Day, with meetings taking place at 10.45am before following artificial trails through the countryside.

Polly Portwyn, head of campaign for hunting at the Countryside Alliance, said the meetings provided an important day of trade for rural businesses and that trail hunting was part of the fabric of rural life.

She said: “The League Against Cruel Sports has spent the last 20 years making ludicrous claims about poaching to justify its existence, yet almost every time it makes allegations to the police or the courts they are found to be false.

“The legal trail has been hunted by hunters for thousands of days since the Hunting Act came into force.

“Only a person with extremely warped priorities would think that the country is facing a life crisis, the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and political instability that now is a good time to start discussing hunting laws.”


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