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26th February 2018

Trail Hunting – A Nationwide Criminal Conspiracy

Campaigners continue to expose #TrailHuntLies & lobby the National Trust to stop issuing licences to kill fox, hare, deer & mink on their land for so-called 'sport'. Here, at Stourhead in Wiltshire on 25 Feb 2018 as part of a day of similar protests at NT sites around England, co-ordinated by the National Dis-Trust. Pic: Hounds Off

Trail hunting is a myth, a ruse invented by the hunting community to enable them to continue abusing wild mammals with dogs for sport.

Trail hunting was invented on the day the Hunting Act (2004) came in to force. It has been used as a false alibi to cynically subvert the law ever since. There is no trail hunting governing body, there are no written rules and regulations to which participants must abide. How to conduct a so-called trail hunt is left up to each individual hunt to decide.

Trail hunting is billed by the Countryside Alliance and their allies as a temporary activity which sustains the infrastructure of hunting until such time as the law banning bloodsports is repealed. One of the main tenets of this charade is the principle that the scent which is laid for hounds to follow is based on their traditional quarry. They say that this will enable them to switch back to fox, hare, deer and mink hunting at the drop of a hat because their hounds won’t need retraining. We say that this pretence enables them to “accidentally on purpose” harrass and kill live animals. Nobody, not even the National Trust, is denying that “accidents” happen.

In 2017 the National Trust introduced some changes in the rules they claim hunts must obey in return for a licence to trail hunt on NT land. The first of these is banning the use of animal-based scents as a trail for hounds to follow.

“This will reduce the risk of foxes or other wild animals being accidentally chased,” the NT tells us. Alas, it’s a nonsense.

Hunts continue to train their hounds to hunt the scent of their traditional quarry, not something else. You cannot have a situation where a hunt goes after a fox-based scent on private land on Monday, then an artificial scent on NT land on Wednesday. Hunting a pack of hounds doesn’t work like that. Training a them to be steady and reliable on one thing takes time and effort. And who’s checking anyway? Not the NT. They’re happy to let hunts self-regulate.

We believe that everybody who follows so-called trail hunts, save newcomers, children and the terminally naive, knows that trail hunting doesn’t really exist. Sure, somebody might trot around with a duster on the end of a whip as lip service to a ‘trail’ for the benefit of show, or if the press or cameras are present. But away from outsiders, out of public gaze, hunting wild mammals with dogs for sport continues much as it did in the last century. There is, we suggest, a nationwide criminal conspiracy to facilitate this animal abuse. It’s tragic that the National Trust Ruling Council chooses to collude.

© Joe Hashman

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  • Brian Jones says:
    Posted February 27, 2018 at 10:19 am

    So-called trail hunting leads not only to foxes being torn apart by hounds, but to ill-treatment of horses (eg. being ridden hard on hard-surfaced roads), hounds running unprotected across busy roads and occasionally killed (surely hunts don’t lay trails across A-roads?!), traffic being held up unlawfully by hunts(wo)men, road accidents and frequent uninvited trespassing on private property.
    Then think of the welfare of the hounds, being fed uncooked fallen, often diseased, cattle, foxes, badgers and even elderly or sick members of their own pack. They become very ill and are rarely given veterinary care; when no longer fit enough to hunt their fate is a bullet.
    Then there are the “countrymen”, previously and more appropriately known as terrier men. They are not allowed on trail hunts but are ever present, riding on main roads without registration or insurance, blocking badger sett entrances so foxes can’t go to ground (on a trail hunt?!).
    They, and hunt members, and followers also frequently intimidate and attack hunt monitors and sabs trying to prevent unlawful killing.
    All this is condoned by the National Trust, or at least by the small number of influential members who defeated the democratic vote which originally opposed trail hunting on NT land. One assumes that this decision will be overturned as more NT members are given the true facts of crimes against the countryside.

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  • John Bryant says:
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    The criminal conspiracy also involves the police and any Members of Parliament who are or have been active supporters and participants in riding to hounds.

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