strengthen the hunting act

In 2004 the introduction of the Hunting Act made fox hunting, deer hunting and hare hunting illegal.

The legislation was designed to outlaw these outdated and cruel pastimes, but the Act contained a number of exemptions that have been exploited by the hunts to avoid prosecution and continue killing wildlife.

Keep The Ban campaigns for the Hunting Act to be strengthened to ensure animals are protected and to prevent hunts from using lax wording and loopholes in the Act to avoid prosecution.

While the ban has secured a number of prosecutions over the years, there are a number of amendments that are needed to make the Act more readily enforceable and a greater deterrent to those intent on killing wildlife.

key issues

There are several exemptions included in the Hunting Act which the hunts use to avoid prosecution, and which make it difficult for the police and CPS to properly enforce the hunting ban.

You can read more here about why more hunts aren’t prosecuted and the ways in which hunts use the guise of ‘trail hunting’ and loopholes in the Act to continue flouting the ban.


Add a ‘reckless’ clause -

As it stands the hunt can send their hounds into any area, including places where mammals are likely to be found. As a result, the hunts often claim that subsequent deaths are merely accidents. A ‘reckless’ clause will ensure hunts are made responsible for the behaviour of the dogs out with them.

The use of dogs below ground should be banned -

Perhaps one of the cruellest aspects of hunting is the work of terriermen who send terriers underground in search of mammals who have sought safety. This activity should be banned and the use of terrier work to flush out a fox prohibited.

Sentencing powers should be increased -

As with any legislation its’ power and effect is limited to the sentencing powers associated to it and the Hunting Act is no different. The current maximum punishment under the Act is a level 5 fine which is not a great enough deterrent to those still intent on hunting wildlife and breaking the law. We would like to see Section 6 of the Act amended and sentencing powers increased to up to 6 months in prison.

Restrict the number of dogs used to flush out wild animals to bird of prey -

As it stands there is no limit to the number of dogs that can be used to flush wild mammals to birds of prey. This enables hunts to carry out the barbaric practice of cubbing where an unlimited number of dogs are sent into woodland areas. If caught killing a fox, they will claim to be flushing an animal to a bird of prey.

Remove the observation and research exemption -

This exemption is routinely used by hunts to avoid prosecution but there are as of yet no genuine researchers relying on this exemption.


how it works

Emails Sent
Dear [xMP],
Despite hunting with hounds being made illegal in 2004, hunts up and down the country continue to flout the ban and kill wildlife week in week out. Of course, the hunting fraternity claims to be ‘trail hunting’ but this is nothing but a trail of lies and a coverup for illegal wildlife persecution. A leaked webinar hosted by the Hunting Office and attended by the most senior hunting officials has shown the hunters themselves admitting to using ‘trails’ as a “smokescreen” for the real thing. An ex Police Chief is also seen advising hunt masters the best ways to get around legislation and to be seen to be acting within the law. Additionally, there have been countless incidents of hunts acting recklessly, endangering members of the public and their pets and causing untold havoc to livestock.
These loopholes make it difficult to secure more prosecutions against those breaking the law and this is why the Hunting Act needs to be strengthened. The Act needs strengthening to ensure people are discouraged from participating in illegal hunting and for those caught hunting, the penalty and arrest needs to be more severe. I would like to see section 6 of the Act to be amended to add provision for a prison sentence of up to six months and a 'reckless' clause which will make it an offence for anyone to 'cause or permit' one or more dogs to seek out, chase, injure or kill a wild mammal. The widespread flouting of the ban continues to this day and these measures along with several other reforms could ensure our wildlife is protected. The hunts have got away it for too long and I count on your support to ensure the ban is strengthened.

Yours sincerely,
Strengthen the 2004 Hunting Act
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