The hunting of wild mammals (including foxes, deer, hares, otters and mink) with hounds was made illegal in England and Wales by the passing of The Hunting Act 2004. The Act came into force on 18 February 2005. The pursuit of foxes with hounds, other than to flush out to be shot, had been banned in Scotland two years earlier by the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002. The Act does not apply in Northern Ireland. The Act does not cover the use of dogs in the process of flushing out an unidentified wild mammal, nor does it affect drag hunting, a legal and well-established activity where hounds follow an artificial scent.
Despite the passing of the Act, and overwhelming public support for it, fox hunting, in particular, has continued much as before, with hunts bypassing the law by claiming to follow ‘trails’ – scent-based trails based on fox urine. Monitors say that only in very rare cases are trails ever laid, and hunts are simply doing what they can as they wait for the Hunting Act to be repealed.
Protesting ‘trail hunting’ at the National Trust’s AGM (October 2019)
In the following podcast, campaigners and protestors (along with one anti-hunt and one pro-hunt National Trust delegate) talk about so-called ‘trail hunting’ and explain what is being done to put pressure on the Trust to stop issuing licences for it at its 2020 AGM.
Monitoring illegal fox hunting with members of Cheshire Monitors (January 2019)
Charlie Moores met up with Lesley, Neil, and Jack, members of the Cheshire Monitors, to discuss how the group started, their work monitoring the three main active hunts In Cheshire, their good relationship with – especially – two of Cheshire Police’s wildlife crime officers, and their thoughts on the future of illegal hunting in the county.
National Trust and Licencing of trail hunts with Jack (National Distrust) and Cathy (West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs) (May 2018)
Charlie Moores talks with Jack from the campaign group National Distrust and Cathy from West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs about the licencing of hunts and in particular the notorious Warwickshire Hunt which rides on National Trust land and has been given a licence to hunt despite numerous apparent breaches of the Hunting Act.
Boxing Day Hunts with Eduardo Goncalves (December 2017)
Charlie Moores asked Eduardo Goncalves, chief-executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, what he thinks about the Boxing Day Hunts.
The National Trust and Trail Hunting with National Distrust and League Against Cruel Sports (August 2017)
Charlie Moores talks with the grassroots organisation National Distrust and the charity League Against Cruel Sports to find out more.
25 Years of the The Fox Project with founder Sue Williams (June 2016)
25 years on, Sue talks to Charlie Moores about the organisation’s ongoing struggle to improve the public’s perception of the wild animal, as well as their work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing approximately 700 foxes per year.