On This Day: Fox hunting banned in England and Wales

British Pathé
On This Day: Fox hunting banned in England and Wales

February 18 2005: Eight years ago today fox hunting with dogs became illegal in England and Wales.

Controversy surrounded the decision which came into force overnight and saw the Countryside Alliance pledge to hunt in force and defy the ban.

The sport had already been banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2004, with the ban coming into force a year later as part of the Hunting Act.

The shooting of foxes as vermin remained legal, with pro-fox hunters saying it was part of rural culture and important for conservation.

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Hounds could still be used to follow a scent and to flush out a fox, and the animals could still be shot or killed by birds of prey, after being tracked by no more than two dogs.

The League Against Cruel Sports continued to allege rule breaking by fox hunters even after the ban came into force.

The video above describes the first fox hunting season being opened in 1935.

The newsreel footage describes it as 'the healthiest and most exciting of all sports' - a stark contrast to its modern perception.

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