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27th April 2018

Overview Of April 9th Meeting With National Trust

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National Trust Director General, Hilary McGrady, met with National DisTrust and others in Swindon on April 9th 2018 to hear about ongoing concerns regarding so-called ‘trailhunting’ over the conservation charities’ 618,000 acres.

Key points arising from the meeting include:

  • From the outset, the Director General stressed that whilst she wanted to listen and learn, so-called trailhunting would continue to be permitted on NT land under licence.
  • For the National DisTrust, Helen Beynon said that Trustees had misinformed Members in advance of the 2017 Members Resolution vote to ban so-called trailhunting on NT land with regard to new trailhunting guidelines that were promised but then rescinded upon. Helen said that Trustees advice did influence how many Members voted.
  • Many hunts which would usually have applied for a trailhunting licence from the NT did not do so for the 2017/18 season due to “uncertainty” on how new guidance would be applied following the narrowly defeated Members Resolution at the 2017 AGM.
  • Consequently, there was a higher than normal incidence of “transgressions by unlicensed hunts.
  • Rescinded guidelines, such as the advance publication of trailhunting routes, resulted from decisions made by Trustees, and not third parties such as the police.
  • Trustees will complete an internal Review of licence structures and procedures before the 2018 AGM in October.
  • Next season NT staff will undertake observation of trails being laid and followed at one pre-arranged monitoring session for each hunt granted a licence.
  • Monitoring by NT staff will be by vehicle and from hills through binoculars.
  • Based on a wealth of evidence gathered from observing hunts on NT land and elsewhere, we raised concerns that hunts would seek to mislead NT observers and that this could be easily done.
  • While we welcome NT guidelines prohibiting the use of animal-based scent to lay trails, we flagged the implausibility of hunts training hounds to chase artificial trails on NT lands and animal-based trails elsewhere.
  • Until recently, many hunts claim to use fox urine lures sourced from America to lay trails. We raised concerns that two Freedom Of Information requests to the Governments own Animal & Plant Health Agency regarding fox urine imports spanning from the beginning of 2014 to the 22nd March 2018 reveal that no import licences were granted.
  • We cited an example being the Duke Of Beaufort’s Hunt, which is licenced for so-called trailhunting on NT property. Their Joint Master told Somerset Live (20.03.18), “We use a liquid substance imported from the USA, that gets put on a rag at the end of a whip.” We suggested this was not true.
  • We informed the Director General that staff and supporters with some hunts granted a licence by the National Trust for permission for trailhunting on their properties carry Hunting Act and other criminal convictions.
  • We explained our belief that trailhunting is a false alibi used by hunts to cynically con law enforcement professionals, misinform the public and provide a cover for illegally hunting wild mammals with dogs.
  • Regarding terriermen, we were told that people carrying paraphanalia used for digging out foxes would not be allowed on NT property.

National DisTrust and Hounds Off would like to thank Hilary McGrady and Mark Harold (NT Director, Land & Nature) for meeting and engaging with us in these discussions.

National DisTrust & Hounds Off, 18 April 2018

Petition to Natural England against hunting on Long Mynd Site of Special Scientific Interest by the South Shropshire and United Hunts

Petition calling for the National Trust to withdraw a licence for so-called trailhunting by the Warwickshire Hunt

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11 Comments | Leave a comment

  • Tom Fitton says:
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Well done folks. Keep up the pressure. It is staggering to me, that the National Trust comtinue to allow this. They are making themselves look pretty stupid.

    Reply to this comment >
  • Terence Dite says:
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Some good news, but from past experience I am not expecting N.T. to honour their words.

    Reply to this comment >
  • Diana Slark says:
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    The Trust do not usually have the spare man power to monitor hunts so they should pay LACS people to monitor not Hunt supporters as they almost certainly will do.It should be unanounced as well.

    Reply to this comment >
  • LilyMae says:
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Giving prearranged monitoring dates will ensure that on that day a ‘trail’ would be seen to be laid. I suggest the hunt is asked when a trail would be laid, i.e. what time of day, which starting point, and then monitor randomly.

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  • Mellie Lewis says:
    Posted April 29, 2018 at 11:42 am

    I find it almost unbelievable that the National Trust could be so naive. As far as i can tell hunting has carried on with little respect of the so called ‘ban’, the national Trust therefore have also shown little respect and continue to be hoodwinked by the hunting fraternity .. As you pointed out following the hunt under the National Trust flag will give a false perspective of a days hunting as the Hunt will set things up to make them look like they are squeaky clean, they are not that stupid!! It will also make a difference if the people sent out to monitor are pro-hunt. The National Trust at some point will fall on their sword unless they sit up and take in the bloody truth about hunting.

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  • chris lock says:
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Beatrix Potter gave all her land to the National Trust and she had always banned hunting on her land. The National Trust cannot be trusted with anything.

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted May 07, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      We did not know that about Beatrix Potter. Is there a link where we might learn more?

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  • Paula Mason says:
    Posted April 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Cannot understand why NT doesn’t ban trail hunting outright. It’s pretty obvious that the hunting fraternity are out to kill. Why waste NT money paying staff to spy on them. NT obviously know they are not to be trusted. An OUTRIGHT BAN is needed.

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  • Liz Ashton says:
    Posted May 02, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    There is no excuse for trailhunting on national trust property and we will be cancelling our membership next year

    Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted May 07, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      That’s a shame. Many hunters have joined to bolster pro hunting voices & votes. Despite many leaving in disgust, membership has gone up recently. So leaving will not help hunted wildlife, it just means that another voice and vote is lost.

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  • Tom Kelly says:
    Posted May 04, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    What you need to tell/ask the NT is that now trail hunting is taking place on their land under license. That is a pastime not a working activity as it would have been prior to the 2004 act baning hunting mamels.

    So as a pastime/hobby, not a job of work, the hounds can no longer be considered as working dogs (as if they are working, that would imply illegal hunting). So the hounds a d those responsible for them must be considered the same as the general public walking dogs on trust land. That means cleaning up after them and having them under control at all times. The derogation from I think the 1992 act for working dogs cannot apply after the hunts declared they are only trail hunting. A hobby not a working task.

    The NT must apply their procedures and policies equally to all of the public equally. .

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