Several major landowners have now turned their back on trail hunting as United Utilities becomes the latest organisation to suspend trail hunt licences following the announcements by both Forestry England and the National Trust to also suspend hunting activities.
Keep The Ban welcomes the action taken by these landowners and we urge other organisations to follow suit.
Keep The Ban has been campaigning for Forestry England to revoke trail hunt licences for the past few months and so it is very welcome news that Forestry England has decided to suspend all licences for hunting in the nations’ forests. What the recently leaked webinars proved is something anti-hunting campaigners and monitors have known for quite some time, that “trail hunting” is nothing but a smokescreen for illegal fox hunting and we welcome the positive and forward-thinking approach adopted by both Forestry England and the National Trust. It is important to remember that whilst the suspensions of trail hunting licences represents a victory, for now, only a permanent ban will help secure a future free from the persecution and killing of wild mammals.
Please sign our petition for a permanent ban if you haven’t already.
The decisions come in the wake of an explosive leaked webinar released by the Hunt Saboteur Association that showed senior hunt officials conspiring to use trails as a “smokescreen” for illegal fox hunting.
Read below for more information about the leaked webinars:
Senior Hunt Official admits trail laying is used to “create a smokescreen”
In a video released by the Hunt Saboteur Association on November 13th, Mark Hankinson (MFHA Director, Hunting Office Executive Director, and former Master of the Wilton Hunt) is shown on camera explaining how trails are laid to create a smokescreen and “to portray to the people watching that you’re going about legitimate business”.
Below are a couple of full extracts from the 3-hour long webinar as Mark Hankinson explains the importance of fake trail laying:
“It’s a lot easier to create a smokescreen if you’ve got more than one trail layer operating and that is what it’s all about, trying to portray to the people watching that you’re going about legitimate business. Obviously, it’s important for the trail layers to know where you’re going to go. Give them a brief beforehand, tell them what your order of draw is and if it changes for any reason let them know. You’ve got to have clear communication.”
He goes on to say:
“It’s probably just as well to have something foul smelling on the end of the drag just in case an anti leaps out from behind a gateway and grabs hold of it and says, ‘This is just a clean hanky’ or something and of course the other thing you don’t want your trail layer getting mixed up with the, you know, stop at the meet or if there’s a check or wherever the hounds are and he’s stood in the middle
discussing the next rule with the huntsman and the lure is just dangling down in front old Dreadnought’s nose and he’s paying no attention to it. Pretty obvious it’s no good for anything, so that is another very important factor to bear in mind while
you’re doing all of this.”