In recent days it has been revealed that The Defence Infrastructure Organisation has granted 11 new "trail hunting" licences for the 2021-22 season. The news comes after Shadow DEFRA minister Luke Pollard asked Ben Wallace MP about the licencing of hunting on MOD land. Wallace's response on 27th October revealed that the licencing of hunts continued throughout the pandemic and that 11 licences were in place for the current season.

In 2018/19 the Ministry of Defence gave out 21 licences to hunts to use their land, in 2019/20 26 licences were given out and in 2020/21 19 licences were given out. According to the Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace permission for hunts to operate on MOD land is via a licence issued to a specific hunt. The news comes after the landmark vote carried out by the National Trust which saw an overwhelming majority support a members' resolution to end the licencing of so-called "trail hunts" on National Trust land. It goes without saying that it has long been time major landowners stood up to the hunts and ended the sham that is "trail hunting" which is nothing but a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting.

It is incredibly disappointing to see that the Ministry of Defence continues to allow hunts to use their land despite an abundance of evidence which shows this pastime to be nothing but a coverup for the cruel and barbaric slaughter of wildlife.

Will the National Trust AGM Vote prove to be a turning point?

Until 2020 the National Trust allowed so-called “trail hunts” to use their land through a system of licences administered by a dedicated ‘trail hunting’ team. However following the outcome of the 2021 National Trust AGM vote on trail hunting these licences look set to be ended. National Trust members voted in favour of the resolution regarding trail hunting by  76,816 votes to 38,184.

This outcome follows what’s been one of the most damning months for hunting in recent memory. In early October Keep The Ban released the outcome of an undercover investigation which showed the Beaufort Hunt shooting dead their hounds (a hunt previously licensed by the National Trust). The following week the Director of the Masters of Fox Hounds Association Mark Hankinson was found guilty of encouraging/assisting others to break the 2004 Hunting Act. This trial had huge significance and provided proof of something we have all known for some time - that so-called “trail hunting” is nothing but a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting. Just to add to the misery of the hunting world one of the nations biggest landowners has now taken a further step towards banning all hunts on their land for good and Keep The Ban welcomes this decision.

However the campaign doesn't end here. The National Trust board of trustees will still be left with the final say as to whether hunts are given access to Trust land as the outcome of the vote is not binding. It is important that we keep up the pressure not only on the National Trust but on all major landowners who have or continue to licence so-called "trail hunts" on their land. Without the land to hunt on many of these groups of wildlife criminals will no longer be able to carry out their sordid activities.

We are calling on our supporters to sign our petition to major landowners - help us end fox hunting for good.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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Keep The Ban is a non-profit organisation that campaigns to end wildlife persecution and we fund anti-hunting groups across the country such as the brilliant Hunt Investigation Team. We rely solely on our supporters and donations. If you'd like to support what we do please head to our shop or back us with a small donation.