Dartmoor targeted by anti-hunt protestors

The postie from the League Against Cruel Sports
The postie from the League Against Cruel Sports -Credit:League Against Cruel Sports

Anti-hunt protestors have made a special delivery to the Dartmoor National Park Authority. National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports made a special delivery of more than 10,000 campaign postcards to Dartmoor National Park Authority yesterday, Wednesday, May 1.

The League’s fox postie delivered mail sacks stuffed with postcards signed by the public, which state that trail hunting is a myth invented by the hunts so they can carry on hunting foxes. They were also due to hand in the same to Exmoor National Park Authority later in the day yesterday.

John Petrie, senior campaigns manager at the League Against Cruel Sports senior campaigns manager, said: “Most national park authorities in England no longer allow fox hunts onto their land, because what they claim to be doing – hunting a pre-laid trail instead of an animal – has become increasingly discredited and shown to be a sham.

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“It’s time for change and for Dartmoor and Exmoor national park authorities to protect wildlife and preserve nature by banning fox and trail hunting on their land.”

Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, along with the Peak District, are the last three national park authorities in England and Wales that still allow fox or ‘trail’ hunts on their land. In total, 10 other national park authorities have policies that prevent fox hunts from using their land and, in recent years, fox hunting has been banned on 2.3million acres of land run by other landowners including the National Trust.

Trail hunting was recently described by Chief Supt Matt Longman, the most senior police officer in England with responsibility for fox hunting crime, as a “smokescreen for illegal fox hunting”. The campaign is backed by the Time for Change Coalition Against Hunting representing 34 organisations.

Despite a fox hunting ban coming into force in 2005, the League Against Cruel Sports compiles reports showing hundreds of eyewitness sightings of suspected illegal fox hunting every year – some of which take place in national parks.

John Petrie added: “We need fox hunting laws to be strengthened by the next government so that fox hunts can no longer chase and kill animals, something sadly going on despite the fox hunting ban. In the meantime, national parks and landowners need to deny the hunts access to their land so that the cruel and senseless killing of foxes is ended once and for all.”

In a recent statement, Jim Barrington, who worked as a Director for the League Against Cruel Sports until the mid-nineties but now advises the Countryside Alliance on animal welfare, accused the League of “spreading mistruths” and “fuelling division”.

Mr Barrington said: “The League Against Cruel Sports has a history of spreading mistruths about the reality of trail hunting. Trail hunting is a legal activity, which involves the laying of an artificial scent for hounds to follow. There is no justification whatsoever to ban a legal activity on public land."