Reverberations from the secretly-recorded Hunting Office webinars released by the Hunt Saboteurs Association in November continue to be felt. While the police investigate their contents (presumably to check for conspiracy to break the law or misconduct in a public office), major landowning organisations and charities from the National Trust and Forestry England to United Utilities and the Lake District National Park have suspended the issuance of licences for so-called ‘trail hunting’ on their land.
Now in a decision that will hopefully be picked up in the same way that northern councils have increasingly banned moorland burning by gamekeepers, last night Peterborough City Council voted on a motion submitted by Labour and Cooperative member for North ward Cllr Ansar Ali to ban all forms of fox hunting on their land.
Cllr Ali’s motion clearly showed that hunting’s ‘smokescreen’ of so-called ‘trail hunting’ is dissipating.
It stated: “Peterborough City Council notes that fox hunting, deer hunting and hare hunting with dogs is illegal under the terms of the Hunting Act 2004, except where an exemption applies.
“Most registered hunts claim to now be trail hunting, an activity invented after the ban which allows hunts to claim that any chase of a wild mammal is an accident rather than intentional.
“This council resolves to do everything within its legal powers to prevent trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land.”
With sixty council members voting on the night, the final count was perhaps broadly split along political lines: 30 in favour of the resolution, 26 against and 4 abstentions (notably there are twenty-seven Conservatives on the council).
The agreed resolution stated: “This Council resolves to do everything within its legal powers to prevent trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land”.
A spokesperson from Peterborough Hunt Saboteurs commented: “The motion passed by Peterborough City Council this evening, sends a clear signal that fox hunts are not accepted in civilised society. The recently leaked Hunting Office webinars, and subsequent police investigations, have opened the public’s eyes to the deceit of trail hunting. We are hugely pleased that our local city council have joined the growing list of landowners to tell the hunts that they are no longer welcome.”
If you’d like to ‘buy a coffee’ for the Peterborough Hunt Sabs click here
Interestingly, a few days earlier the hopeless chair of the pro-hunting lobby group the ‘Countryside Alliance’, Tim Bonnner, had weighed in on the upcoming democratic decision saying “This motion wreaks of a cheap political stunt and should be voted down accordingly. Focus should be on serving communities across Peterborough, not pursuing divisive class war politics.” His defence of so-called ‘trail hunting’ is becoming increasingly cliched and histrionic, and – as it turns out – neither influential nor much help…
Cheshire west and Chester Council are voting on a similar resolution to ban hunting on their land this evening, Thursday 10th December.