Nationwide protests are being held outside National Trust properties to highlight that hunts are still illegally killing British wildlife on its lands.

The protests are being arranged by campaigning group National Dis-Trust and backed by the League Against Cruel Sports, and are taking place at 20 different sites on Sunday, February 25. They stem from concern among groups monitoring hunt activity on National Trust land that ‘trail’ hunting is a fraudulent cover for illegal hunting activity and the chasing and ripping apart of foxes, hare and deer by packs of hounds.

A spokesperson for National Dis-Trust, said: “National Dis-Trust are working with many wildlife and animal protection groups around the UK to highlight the National Trust’s endorsement of illegal fox hunting. The hunts they license, like the Warwickshire and the Beaufort, are regularly filmed pursuing and killing foxes. On top of this, many hunts have been observed trespassing on Trust land, which would not happen if they were following a ‘trail’. We’re calling on a compassionate public to support us on 25th February in our call for the National Trust to end their complicity in bloodsports.”

British wildlife is being chased and killed by hunts

Despite hunting being banned in England and Wales in 2004, campaigners are concerned that thousands of animals are still being targeted and killed every year by hunts, which invented the false alibi of ‘trail’ hunting after the ban was introduced, to con the British public into thinking they were not breaking the law and covering up their indiscriminate killing.

A campaign to ban ‘trail’ hunting on National Trust land was narrowly defeated at the organisation’s AGM last autumn after its bosses disappointingly gave discretionary votes to back the continuation of the activity.

Eduardo Gonçalves, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “The National Trust is letting down its members by turning a blind eye to the illegal activity taking place on its land, under the cover of ‘trail’ hunting. They firstly ignored the wishes of members and blocked the vote to ban ‘trail’ hunting on their land. They claimed at the time that they would regulate and monitor ‘trail’ hunting on their land, but this isn’t happening, as the hunts they license have been spotted targeting wild animals. If they have any respect for their members or their reputation, they should take this issue more seriously than they are at present, because the public don’t want animals being killed for fun on land which is meant to be protected for all of us.”

“Evidence from the public and monitors across England who regularly witness the hunts, suggests that they are still chasing British wildlife, and animals are being torn apart by packs of hounds. The latest polling shows that the vast majority of the British public oppose hunting and I’m sure they’d be horrified to know that the hunts are still killing wildlife for fun and the National Trust is allowing this on its land.”

Conditions laid down last autumn by the National Trust, in an attempt to win the vote and to address concerns around the activities of the hunts, are now being reneged on. The National Trust have gone back on their promise to publish the specific dates and routes that ‘trail’ hunts follow, which would have allowed people to properly monitor their activities and witness and report any illegal hunting.

Hunts are trespassing on National Trust land

14 hunts have been seen trespassing on National Trust land without having a licence to enter since the AGM. The Warwickshire Hunt was witnessed trespassing at the National Trust Farnborough Hall in November, yet was recently issued a licence to hunt on the very same land. Footage of a fox being chased by hounds belonging to the same hunt was in the media only very recently.

The same hunt has also been filmed with terrier men, who accompany hunts and encourage their dogs to find, fight and flush out foxes that have gone underground. The involvement of terrier men with ‘trail’ hunts raises questions about their activities and was prohibited by the National Trust in the new conditions it introduced.

Eduardo Gonçalves, added: “The majority of people support the ban on fox hunting and are frustrated and angered by the National Trust and their inaction to properly monitor hunt activity and the priority they appear to be giving to the protection of hunts rather than the protection of wildlife. Those that know the truth about ‘trail’ hunting will be making their voices heard at a series of countrywide protests outside National Trust properties at the end of February.”


A petition has been launched called ‘Stop the Killing of Animals by Hunts’ by the League Against Cruel Sports. It calls for the strengthening of hunting legislation and for landowners, including the National Trust, to no longer allow the hunts access to their land to kill British wildlife:

National Trust protests:

· Cheshire, Biddulph Grange Gardens, withCheshire Monitors

· Cheshire, Little Moreton Hall, withCheshire Against The Cull

· Cornwall, Gunwalloe Beach, with National Dis-Trust

· Cornwall, Lanhydrock National Trust, withKernow Sabs, Monitors & Animal Rights Team

· Cumbria,Sizergh Castle, with National Dis-Trust

· Devon, Castle Drogo-National Trust, with Mid Devon Badger Patrol

· Dorset, Kingston Lacy, with Weymouth Animal Rights

· Gloucestershire, Newark Park, with Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch & Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs

· Gloucestershire (Cheltenham), Sherborne Estate, with League Against Cruel Sports

· Leicestershire, Stoneywell Cottage, with Leicester Animal Rights

· Lincolnshire, Belton House, with Grantham Against Bloodsports

· Lincolnshire, Woolsthorpe Manor, with Grantham Against Bloodsports

· North Yorkshire, Ravenscar, withEast Yorkshire Coast Hunt Sabs

· Northumberland, Cragside House & Gardens, with National Dis-Trust

· Oxfordshire (Banbury), Upton House and Gardens, with National Dis-Trust

· Somerset (Bridgwater), Fyne Court, with League Against Cruel Sports

· Somerset, Dunster Castle, with Somerset Wildlife Crime & Somerset and Devon Anti Hunt

· Surrey (Dorking), Polesden Lacy, with Surrey Hunt Monitors

· Tyne & Wear, Gibside, with NE Hunt Monitors

· Wiltshire, Stourhead, with National Dis-Trust