The heritage body’s members voted against issuing licences for the trail hunts after a senior huntsman was convicted of telling people to use the sport as a “smokescreen”. The activity, which uses a scent trail for hounds to follow instead of a fox, has been suspended on trust land since November 2020 after a police probe into online hunting discussions. And last month Mark Hankinson was found guilty of encouraging hunters to use trail hunting as “a sham and a fiction” to kill animals.
Hankinson, director of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), was exposed after saboteurs leaked footage of his online videos.
After the conviction, trust members voted by 76,816 to 38,184 to ban the sport on the charity’s land in England and Wales. A hunting bar already exists in Northern Ireland.
Those who proposed the motion said “overwhelming evidence leads to the conclusion that ‘trail hunting’ is a cover for hunting with dogs”.
Hunting wild mammals with hounds was banned in England and Wales in 2004 and trail hunting was adopted as a harmless alternative because no fox is hurt or killed.