Metro Mayor for the West of England Dan Norris has expressed his delight as National Trust members voted to ban ‘trail’ hunting on its land.
In a decisive victory 76,816 National Trust members voted for the motion, while 38,184 voted against.
Earlier this year the Metro Mayor joined anti hunting campaigners from the League Against Cruel Sports at the National Trust’s Dyrham Park as part of the campaign to persuade members ahead of today’s vote.
While fox hunting was banned in England and Wales back in 2005, animal lovers fear that trail hunting is used as a “smokescreen” for chasing and then killing foxes. In the 2019/20 season, the League Against Cruel Sports compiled figures revealing 485 eye-witness accounts of suspected illegal hunting.
Dan Norris said: “My views on hunting are long-standing and well know. Britain is a nation of animal lovers and I am proud of that. To me killing for pleasure is sickening. Voting for the fox hunting ban when I was a Labour MP remains one of my proudest achievements. It wasn’t easy and I personally experienced violent opposition from pro-hunt thugs. But tragically fox hunting is still taking place. I want to remove any place to hide for people who enjoy hunting foxes for pleasure. It is time to consign this outdated, barbaric, cruel and inhumane so-called sport to the history books.”
In November last year the National Trust and Forestry England temporarily suspended licences for trail hunting on their land in response to a police investigation involving hunters talking about using trail hunting as a smokescreen.
Today’s vote to end the practice for good is not binding, but the board of trustees is expected to consider the outcome shortly.
Mr Norris continued: “I very much hope the National Trust listens to the extremely clear message from its members and now bans ‘trail’ hunting on its land for good. Hopefully other landowners will follow suit. We will certainly be keeping up the pressure.”
The National Trust owns 620,000 acres of land so the vote is seen as important and has the potential to severely disrupt future hunting in England.