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National Trust narrowly rejects trail hunting ban

by Peter Frost

MEMBERS of the National Trust have narrowly rejected banning trail hunting on the organisation’s land. 

A ban on trail hunting — in which hounds chase down scent trails rather than live animals — was defeated by just 299 votes at the trust’s annual general meeting in Swindon on Saturday.

But trust member Helen Beynon tried to get it banned after witnessing the pack start chasing live animals instead of the scent.

Campaigners say foxes and deer are regularly caught up in the hunt.

Ms Beynon said that the trustees “should be ashamed” for advising members to vote against the proposal for a ban.

“I believe the only reason our motion has failed is because most National Trust members haven’t seen it with their own eyes,” she said.

“If they’d have seen what I’ve seen, then I have no doubt they would have voted with us.”

Philippa King, acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, described the vote as “a massive backward step for justice and a shot in the arm for cruelty.”

The ban was actually endorsed by normal votes, with 28,629 for and 27,525 against but when the 3,460 proxy votes were cast at the discretion of the trust board and other members the final tally was 30,985-30,686 against with 1,925 abstentions.

The result of the vote will be considered by the trustees at a meeting in November.

Trail hunting has been allowed since hunting with dogs was banned in 2005 but Theresa May had promised a free vote on scrapping the Hunting Act had she won more than a Pyrrhic victory in June’s snap general election.

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