Weymouth Animal Rights have forwarded us the following email confirming that Forestry England won’t lift their ban on hunting until after Mark Hankinson’s trial and any possible appeal.
Thank you for your email. Trail hunting is not currently permitted within the nation’s forests managed by Forestry England and our suspension remains in place.
Following investigation by Devon and Cornwall police into online webinars held in August last year, we too understand the matter will be heard in court. We will review our position once the outcome of the court case and any appeal are known.
As announced on Friday, Hankinson has been charged with Intentionally encouraging others to commit an offence under the Hunting Act following his leading role in the leaked Hunting Office webinars that the HSA exposed to the world in November last year. He is due in court in March but it is likely the case will run on for months if not years.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“We greet with cautious optimism the news that Forestry England will maintain their hunt ban whilst a court case continues. We expect that the longer these bans are in place, the more obvious it will become to these major landowners that it is the right course of action. If the Forestry England ban continues into next season it is likely that some hunts, such as the New Forest Foxhounds, will be forced to dissolve and with their celebrity trail layer Will Day playing such a prominent role in the webinars it’s the least they deserve.
We now look forward to other major landowners including the National Trust, Ministry of Defence and Natural Resources Wales following Forestry England’s lead.”