Councillors across the country are debating banning trailhunting on council-owned land. Anti-hunting councillors claim the release of a webinar animal rights activists claim exposes the activity as cover for actual fox hunting. We covered that story about the Hunting Office webinar here.
Last week, Cherwell District Council in Oxfordshire threw out a proposed ban on trailhunting. Other councils such as Peterborough have upheld temporary bans, and so have other bodies including the National Trust, Forestry England, the Lake District National Park, United Utilities, Natural Resources Wales and even the Church of England.
ITV News has spearheaded the ban campaign, describing the councils’ decisions as ‘landmark’. ITV portrays trailhunting as fox hunting.
Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance says the councils’ actions are nothing but “grandstanding”, considering some of the councils don’t even own any land.
“It’s this strain of animal rights activism which just has such warped priorities, which can’t see this is so lacking in objectivity, that thinks this stuff is ever relevant at any time, let alone right now,” he says, as many councils are preoccupied with dealing with the coronavirus and crippling lockdowns.
“We’re encouraging people, if they have the opportunity, to lobby council leaders to make sure [they] realise there’s a lot of support out there for hunting. There have been some of these motions that would affect us [reversed]. There was one in Essex last year. Essex council, which has a number of tenanted farms, and thankfully after a lobbying operation. A lot of our members and supporters got in touch with their councillors in Essex and Essex County Council threw that out, so we were grateful. But it is a waste of everyone’s time and money.”
On Thursday, Cheshire West and Chester Council also said they are considering considering trailhunting bans.
“Frankly, it’s very sad that councillors haven’t got anything better to do than pursue this sort of thing,” says Bonner.