In November 2018 six hounds from the Four Burrow Hunt were trapped down a mineshaft for four days without food after having got lost from a so-called “trail hunt”. Eventually (four days after getting trapped) the hounds were rescued by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service but two of the hounds subsequently died as a result.

The area used by the Four Burrow Hunt was well known for having many disused mine shafts, so why then if this hunt were in fact “trail hunting” would they risk using an area which poses big safety concerns to the hounds? Of course, it is blatantly obvious that “trail hunting” is nothing but a smokescreen for the illegal chasing and killing of wildlife and that these hounds were victim to a hunt that was reckless and out of control. This very same hunt was ordinarily given a licence to use National Trust land (licence covers National Trust Porkellis Moor in Cornwall). At the time of the tragic incident,a huntsman from the Four Burrow Hunt told Cornwall Live “It’s a horrible thing.I hate to think of them being trapped down there… You know, these [the hounds]are our life. They can go missing and if you can’t find it, you just can’tsleep.” If this was the case, then hunts like the Four Burrow Hunt continue toastound us in the ways in which they continue to neglect and abuse the houndsthey claim to love so much.

Over the next few months Keep The Ban will be exposing every hunt that has been historically licenced by the National Trust to use land for so-called “trail hunting” (a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting). We areasking our supporters and those who are members of the National Trust to sign our petition, send off our template email, and stay up to date with how youcan support the motion to end all hunting on National Trust at this years’ 2021 AGM.


While the hunts claim to “love” their hounds, the evidence suggests that thousands of hounds are shot and incinerated when deemed no longer “productive”. Whilst it can vary depending on the hunt and some hounds do end up being rehomed, many hunts kill their hounds at the end of each season to ensure only the fittest and strongest are left in the pack. 

The numbers vary when it comes to how many hounds are killed each year,with the 1999 Burns Inquiry into hunting estimating that 3,000 hounds are putdown every year.

The RSPCA has since predicted this number to be as high as 10,000 while Mr Kirby of Protect Our Wild Animals calculated the figure at around 7,000. Whatever the exact figure it is evident that the hounds are nothing more than an accessory to the hunts and are often treated appallingly.

Rob Pownall

Founder of Keep The Ban

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