Trail Hunting suspended on National Park land

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The Lake District National Park Authority have suspended all Trail Hunting on their land with immediate effect following the release of a video by hunt saboteurs. 

A spokesperson from the National Park said: "We are aware of recent allegations made to the police in relation to a webinar hosted by The Hunting Office, hunting’s governing body. Whilst these allegations are being examined by the police and Crown Prosecution Service to determine if any criminal offences have taken place, we have suspended trail hunting on National Park Authority land.

"This will include the suspension of the licence issued to the Blencathra Foxhounds. We will consider any action we need to take once the investigation is complete." 

Hunting was banned in England and Wales by the Hunting Act of 2004. This law does allow what is known as trail hunting to continue. This activity involves people on foot or horseback following a scent along a pre-determined route with hounds or beagles. It effectively replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed.

The Park Authority added: "We do licence trail hunting in some areas and at certain times of the year as it allows us to monitor activity on our land in a legally compliant way." 

There are approximately twelve fell packs operating with the permission of landowners in various parts of Cumbria. Prior to 2004, these fell packs were generally engaged in fox hunting, but since the Hunting Act 2004, which bans the hunting of foxes, their activity is restricted to the exercising of hounds, trail-following or drag hunting.

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) does not have any overall power or responsibility to manage this activity on land owned by others in the National Park.

Several fell packs have traditionally used areas of Common Land that is now owned by the LDNPA (amounting to about 4 per cent of land in the National Park) and this use has continued under licence.

"In 2020 we made some modifications to the licence and work very closely with Cumbria Police both in the terms of the licences which have been issued and now currently working with them to monitor the activities on our land.

"The licensed trail hunt is responsible, under the conditions of the licence, for the behaviour of the hounds and followers associated with it. This means that bad behaviour from followers or hounds will affect our decision as to whether to licence, or continue to licence, a trail hunt. Terrier men have no place in a trail hunt and are explicitly prohibited under our licence conditions.

"We continually seek to keep the activities of the fell packs under review and the activities taking place which are permitted under them. We also maintain a constructive relationship with the police, other landowners, the fell packs and other legitimate stakeholders. We meet regularly with representatives of the fell packs operating on our land as well as representatives from other interest groups. If any incidents are reported to us, we investigate these directly with the fell pack concerned. We are founder members of a Liaison Forum which meets with the aim of sharing experience and harmonising the requirements placed on the various fell packs," the Authority concluded.

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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Trail Hunting suspended on National Park land
Trail Hunting suspended on National Park land
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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria
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