Call to ban trail hunting on North Yorkshire Council land ‘waste of time’, says former animal welfare campaigner
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Last updated Jul 13, 2023
Jim Barrington, is a former director at the League Against Cruel Sports but now advises the Countryside Alliance.
Jim Barrington, is a former director at the League Against Cruel Sports but now advises the Countryside Alliance.

A former animal welfare campaigner has described a call to ban trail hunting on North Yorkshire Council land as a “colossal waste of time”.

Jim Barrington, who is a former director at the League Against Cruel Sports but now advises the Countryside Alliance, said the motion which will be put before the authority next week “would do nothing to help animal welfare”.

At a meeting next week, Labour councillor Rich Maw, who represents Weaponness and Ramshill, and Green councillor Arnold Warneken, who represents Ouseburn, will table a motion calling for the practice to be prohibited.

Trail hunting involves laying an animal scent, usually urine, for hounds to track and is followed by a group on foot or horseback.

The practice is legal, but organisations such as animal welfare charity the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports have called for it to be banned.

At a meeting in May, Cllr Gareth Dadd, deputy leader of North Yorkshire Council, said the council “can’t confirm” whether or not trail hunts take place on its land.

In their motion, Cllr Maw and Warneken said the hunts had been used as a “loophole to carry on hunting foxes and other animals”.

However, Mr Barrington said the move would only “fuel prejudice” against rural communities.

He said:

“This motion does nothing to help animal welfare, but everything to fuel prejudice against rural people. Submitting this motion is a colossal waste of time, when there are so many genuine issues facing people living across North Yorkshire, not least the cost-of-living crisis.

“We sincerely hope councillors from across North Yorkshire reject this anti-rural motion in the first instance. There can simply be no justification whatsoever to ban a lawful activity on council owned land.”


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Meanwhile, the Countryside Alliance has said it will be contacting North Yorkshire councillors calling on them to reject the motion at the meeting on July 19.

The move comes as other organisations have called on the government to change the law on trail hunting.

A pressure group called Time For Change, which is led by the League Against Cruel Sports, was set up last month to lobby ministers to strengthen the Hunting Act.

It includes 32 animal welfare charity groups such as the RSPCA, Human Society International UK, Cats Protection and PETA.

Andy Knott, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“We’ve known since very soon after the Hunting Act 2004 was introduced that hunts were using its many exemptions – and something they call trail hunting – to carry on chasing and killing wildlife with hounds. 

“We and other like-minded organisations have been calling out for the law to be strengthened, for its many exemptions to be removed, and for trail hunting to be outlawed.”

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