Think fox hunting, banned by the Hunting Act 2004, is a ‘thing of the past’? Think again. Hunts have been breaking the law since the Act was passed – helped by sympathetic landowners who issue hunting licences despite a wealth of evidence proving that the terms of those licences are being routinely broken. Jack Riggall, an independent hunt monitor and anti-hunting campaigner, is writing a series of posts for us on fox hunts and Forestry England, the government department responsible for managing and promoting the nation’s forests.
Jack has written other guest posts and recorded a number of podcasts with us: search Jack Riggall.
By way of introduction, I’m an independent anti-hunting campaigner with a focus on what so-called ‘trail hunts’ are doing on public land owned and managed by government authorities. Of these, Forestry England (FE) and their policy of licensing hunting as one of the largest landowners in the UK is the most important (in my view). I’m posting a series of brief blogs here on The War on Wildlife Project throughout the current hunting season on what’s happening with Forestry England & fox hunting.
For those who aren’t aware, Forestry England allows a number of criminal fox hunts to use publicly funded forests for wildlife crime. They do this under the guise of licensing ‘trail hunting’ [a copy of their licence agreement with the Master of Foxhounds Association [MFHA] can be seen here], a false alibi for illegal hunting. In expecting us to believe that wildlife isn’t harmed on these so-called ‘trail hunts’, this government department expects us to ignore footage and public condemnation of the hunts in question.
Very recently, my own petition calling for an end to ‘trail’ hunting licences being granted came to a close, with 11,949 signatures.
I’m very glad to see that Robert Pownall from the anti-hunt campaign group Keep The Ban immediately took up the issue and launched another petition to end these licences.
As I write this, the petition has been active for less than a week and has already gathered over 10,000 signatures, which means Defra will once again have to publish a written response to defend fox hunting on public land – very soon after having to do the same with my petition.
I’m confident that Robert’s petition can gather over 100,000 signatures and I hope the fact that calls for Forestry England to stop giving out hunting licences aren’t slowing down shows the decision makers that this issue isn’t going away.
If you’re reading this, please sign this new petition here: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552017
Please follow & support Keep The Ban too!