…which is a slightly misleading headline, because of course fox hunting was banned in Wales (and in England and Scotland) by the passing of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force the following year. Fox hunting has continued under the guise of so-called ‘trail hunting’ (which we’ve written about many times but as a starter try National Trust and Trail Hunting 101), somehow escaping the Rule of Six restriction that was intended to slow down community transmission of the coronavirus (yes, of course, we know how), but now even that loophole appears to have been closed as Wales prepares to enter a full ‘firebreak’ lockdown from 23rd October.
According to the Hunting office website (which, incidentally, includes this absolute laugh-out-loud gem of a paragraph under its Covid-19 advice “As always, hunt staff, members and followers will behave with courtesy, respect and good manners towards members of the public and other road users, especially now with regard to social distancing at this time of uniquely heightened public sensitivities” – tell that to the monitors who have been attacked and had their vehicles damaged in the past weeks alone), hunting activities in Wales should cease after 6pm on Friday 23rd October, until Monday 9th November. (They should have ceased from 2005 but we’ll park that thought for a while…)
Hunting activities in Wales (update 20th October 2020)
Further to the recent announcement by the Welsh First Minister, the Hunting Office can confirm that Hunting activities in Wales should cease after 6pm on Friday 23rd October, until Monday 9th November.
The Welsh Government have given guidance about restrictions on exercise and outdoor activities, and it is clear that Hunting should not continue in Wales during this short ‘fire breaker’ lockdown.
Hounds should be exercised from the kennels, but this should be done by Hunt Staff only and for the purposes of the routine daily care of the hounds. Horses can continue to be exercised from the stables, but only as part of their routine daily care and maintenance of fitness.The Hunting Office, 20 Oct 2020
For a few weeks then the wildlife of Wales will be spared being chased around the countryside by packs of horses and hounds. It will be a brief respite and doubtless the frustrated bloodsports enthusiasts of Wales will make up for lost time when the restrictions are eased, but in the meantime it will be very interesting to see how the authorities respond to any reports of lawbreaking. After all, an illegal hunt is easy to spot at the best of times – in the worst they will be absoutely unmissable…