Cheshire Monitors, the group that works to expose cruelty to wildlife in and around Cheshire and the North West, including fox and hare hunting, badger baiting and their related crimes, have launched a petition asking the Duke of Westminster to honour his late father’s wishes and ban so-called ‘trail hunting’ (see – Language Matters | Smokescreen/Trail Hunting) on his Cheshire estate.
Cheshire Monitors write on their Facebook page that, “…in 2004, before the enactment of the Hunting Act, which banned the hunting of wild mammals with a pack of hounds, the then Duke of Westminster, who owned the 11,000 acre Eaton Estate in West Cheshire, vowed to stop hunts using his land if they broke the law (see: https://bit.ly/3qqCRbs): “I respect the law and if the law of the land comes in in February I will stick to it.”
However, the current Duke of Westminster (Hugh Grosvenor) has continued to allow the Wynnstay, Cheshire Hounds and Cheshire Beagle hunts access to his land at Eaton Estate – presumably using the ‘smokescreen’ that so-called ‘trail hunting’ is legal. However, we all know that ‘trail hunting’ is a scam, hunters know we know it’s a scam, and leaked Hunting Office webinars (which purported to explain ‘trail hunting’ to some of the country’s ‘leading’ fox hunters some fifteen years after they should have simply stopped killing foxes) have demonstrated to the public, to numerous councils, and even to police forces that fox hunters know that it’s a scam too. Despite this the Estate’s website claims that they are managing the land responsibly and for the protection of biodiversity (see: https://bit.ly/33KajAa).
The Duke’s Estate includes the villages of Churton, Coddington, Saighton, Aldford, Poulton and Waverton, all of which fall under the authority of Cheshire West and Chester Council, who are themselves looking to ban ‘trail hunting’ from their public land saying just last month, “With a continual threat to the environment and on wild and domestic animals; to prevent potential illegal activity in breach of the Hunting Act 2004 and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and to prevent damage to other flora and fauna by hunts, their hounds, followers and objectors, this council asks cabinet to consider and develop a policy to clearly reflect this position with regard to trail hunting on council-owned land” (see – Cheshire West | ‘Trail Hunting’ to go under the microscope).
Cheshire Monitors emailed us to explain how such a ban would be welcomed locally:
“We hear that the Duke is a good guy, and that he cares about the world and people around him, and yet we watch hunts and their thugs – under the guise of ‘trail hunting’, which we all know is just one huge scam to enable real fox hunting – repeatedly causing damage, disturbance and misery across his Estate. Many of those who rent from him, and even work for him, tell us how they hate what the hunts are allowed to get away with, but that they could never complain for fear of losing their homes or jobs; we’ve had people in tears over this. The upset hunting causes for these rural communities is just awful, and someone like the Duke could take instant, decisive action to improve this by removing all permission to ‘trail hunt’ on his land. He must know now what really goes on, and we are hopeful that he will choose to do the right thing.”Cheshire Monitors, pers comm, 11 Feb 21
As we wrote just a few days ago, leaked documents show that foxhunting’s ‘leaders’ themselves acknowledge that they are ‘running out of country (to hunt in)‘ which is extremely good news and shows how important the pressure on organisations like the National Trust and Forestry England to suspend ‘trail hunting’ licences on their land has been. That pressure needs to be also put on individuals like Hugh Grosvenor who allow foxhunts on their land…
If you would like to sign the petition click here or on the image below: