Giant fox delivers petition to end hunting on Exmoor National Park

National animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports made a special delivery today of more than 10,000 campaign postcards to Exmoor National Park Authority calling for an end to fox or ‘trail’ hunting on its land.

The League’s fox postie delivered mail sacks stuffed with postcards to the national park authority offices on Exmoor. They have been signed by the public and state that trail hunting is a myth invented by the hunts so they can carry on hunting foxes.

John Petrie, 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. It’s time for change and for Exmoor National Park Authority to protect wildlife and preserve nature by banning fox and trail hunting on its land.”

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Exmoor national park, along with Dartmoor and Peak District, is one of the only national park authorities in England and Wales which still allow fox or ‘trail’ hunts on their land. Ten other national park authorities have policies which 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 on our 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.”

A spokesperson from Exmoor National Park Authority said: “We do not allow fox hunting, which is an illegal activity. Whilst we work with local police, Exmoor National Park Authority is not responsible for enforcing the hunting ban on Exmoor. Anyone who suspects that hunting is taking place illegally, or is witness to unacceptable behaviour, should report it to the police.”

The Countryside Alliance were also approached for comment.