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Fri, 19 April 2024

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Thousands urge national parks to protect vital rural life

League Against Cruel Sports

2 min read Partner content

Today a letter signed by thousands of wildlife and nature lovers has been handed to the associations of national park authorities in England and Wales urging them to protect their vital countryside.

National wildlife charity the League Against Cruel Sports, plus partner members of the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting, were in London today at the headquarters of National Parks England to personally hand the letter over. A similar letter has been given to The National Parks of Wales organisation.

The letter urges all National Parks Authorities to end so-called ‘trail’ hunting on their land, in which hunters with packs of hounds often chase and kill wildlife – a practice that should have been outlawed with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004.

It was signed by around 13,000people in just five months and, as a result, 10 out of 13 National Parks Authorities in England and Wales have committed to ending trail hunting.

However, three – Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Peak District– still consider trail hunting a legitimate practice. Not only that, but even within the boundaries of the national parks landowners are able to give hunts permission to chase and kill wildlife.

Dan Norris, Chairman of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We are grateful to those national Parks Authorities who have committed to protecting the land and wildlife in their care and who say trail hunting, which is so often a smokescreen for old fashioned illegal hunting, has no place in these precious rural areas.

“But there is more to be done. Our message to Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Peak District and to all the landowners who allow trail hunting on their land within the national parks of England and Wales, is clear: it’s time for change. Time to recognise that hunting hurts the countryside, it hurts the wildlife, and it hurts rural life. It’s time to stop hunting for good and to end trail hunting.”

In summer 2023 Chief Superintendent Matt Longman – National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Fox Hunting Crime – attended the launch of the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting as its keynote speaker. There, he described trail hunting as "a smokescreen for continuing illegal hunting" and suggested the Hunting Act was not fit for purpose.

One of the coalition members, Dominic Dyer from Born Free, said: “It is part of the National Parks’ vision to see wildlife flourishing, and this can hardly be the case if that same wildlife is hunted. That’s why today we’re asking that hunts are not allowed within the boundaries of all national parks in England and Wales.”

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