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Illegal hunting continues 15 years since the Hunting Act came into force

HUNTING with dogs is continuing on a “shocking scale” 15 years after legislation banning it was enacted, an animal welfare charity has warned.

Hunters are bypassing the Hunting Act by using exemptions to the ban, including resorting to taking birds of prey such as eagles on their hunts to exploit a loophole that excludes falconry from anti-hunting laws.

The League Against Cruel Sports launches an online map today that identifies 299 hunts that still operate in the British countryside and the species they target, such as foxes, hares and deer.

Supporters of the group will be able use the map to urge local councils to end trail hunting and the exercising of packs of hounds on their land — excuses used by hunts to continue hunting.

The league’s director of campaigns Chris Luffingham said that hunts have ignored the Hunting Act since it was enacted in 2005 and have “heartbreakingly” carried on chasing and killing British wildlife.

“The hunts currently exploit weaknesses in the law or use the excuse they are following scent trails that have been laid, but it is evident they are simply covering up their bloodthirsty hunting activities,” he said.

“This map shows the scale of the hunts’ activities and will help us to hold them to account as we campaign to limit the land they can access and end, once and for all, the savagery of hunting with dogs in Great Britain.”

The league said that it has received more than 300 reports of foxes and other animals being chased by hunts and regular eyewitness accounts of wildlife being torn apart by hounds since the fox-hunting season began in October.


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