Proposed changes to the National Trust’s trail-hunting policy appear to have been made as a “direct response to demands from the animal rights movement,” said Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance earlier today (Monday, 21 August). The changes include the advance publication of meet information on the Trust’s website and the banning of animal-based scent used by most hunts to lay trails. The Trust announced on its website that it is introducing changes in the way that they license trail-hunts following an in-depth review of their current processes and procedures.
“It is quite extraordinary that the National Trust’s ‘in-depth review’ has not included consultation with any of the individual licence holders or the associations that represent them prior to the changes being made, and it is no surprise therefore that some are so impractical”, continued Tim Bonner, “The changes will go down extremely badly with hunts, the majority of National Trust tenants who welcome them and the wider rural community. Many of the hunts that operate on National Trust land have been targeted by animal rights activists in the past and will take the view that it will be too great a risk to staff and members to have their meets advertised. On the face of it this seems to be another example of the Trust distancing itself from the rural community to appease metropolitan sensibilities.”
Trail-hunting is one of the legal forms of hunting that was adopted by packs of hounds following the implementation of the Hunting Act in February 2005. It involves the laying of an artificial trail across the countryside which the hounds follow, with the aim being to simulate traditional hunting.
A members’ resolution proposing to ban trail-hunting on National Trust land has also been put forward for consideration at the Trust’s AGM on Saturday 21 October.