Is fox hunting illegal?

Is fox hunting illegal?

Yes. Since the 2004 Hunting Act was passed it has been illegal to intentionally hunt a wild mammal (notably foxes, hare and deer). However, there are a number of exemptions to the ban which hunts often use to get around the legislation and avoid prosecution should a case go to trial.

In 2015 David Cameron, who has previously ridden with the Heythrop Hunt, said he believed in the “freedom to hunt” and that the Conservatives would hold a parliamentary vote on repeal of the ban. However, following pressure from Keep The Ban and other animal rights groups, combined with a heavy public backlash to the plans, the idea of a vote became politically unviable.

Two years later and the debate was back on the table. Theresa May publicly declared her support for fox hunting and argued that hunting was the most humane way of killing foxes. This led to even more backlash with a public demonstration against fox hunting co-hosted by Keep The Ban making headlines. From this point onwards it was increasingly clear that fox hunting was politically toxic. The polls also demonstrated that 85%, 87%and 90% of the public agreed that fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing should not be made legal again.

By 2019 the picture became even clearer that fox hunting had become politically toxic for the Conservatives. During the Conservative leadership election Jeremy Hunt was lambasted by his own peers for even mentioning the idea of repealing the ban, with a fellow Tory MP calling his fox hunting pledge “political suicide”. Fast forward to the present and there is a strong consensus amongst politicians that the potential legislation of hunting or indeed the repeal of the 2004 Hunting Act is now well and truly off the table.

Since 2018 the Labour Party has pledged to enhance and strengthen the Hunting Act should they get into power and the focus for Keep The Ban and other anti-hunting groups is to ensure that the ban on hunting is amended as quickly as possible.

 

To read more about our proposals for the 2004 Hunting Act click here

Check out other related FAQ's

What is ‘trail hunting’?
What are terriermen?
Why does the ban on hunting need to be strengthened?

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