North Yorkshire Council looks set to join major landowners such as the National Trust and United Utilities in banning “trail hunting” on its land.
A motion to debate the ban will be held on Wednesday 19 July 2023. North Yorkshire is the largest county by land area in the country, so this vote would be a significant blow to the fox hunters.
As with every part of the country, there is a tsunami of evidence that trail hunting in Yorkshire is a smokescreen for illegal hunting. In January 2023, for example, hunt sabs saved a fox that was seconds away from being torn to pieces by the Middleton Hunt. Just a month later, sabs had to witness the killing of a fox by the Bedale Hunt. The poor animal was savaged to death as she tried to cross a stream.
Perhaps even more damning, internal documents on trail hunting for the Sinnington Hunt’s 2019/20 season state that they “only needed to pay lip service to this activity” as they are rarely visited by hunt sabs. The same document reports how their neighbours, the West of Yore Hunt, are admired for the way they can switch between “hunting foxes and trails” depending on who is watching. The trail of lies goes on…and on.
The motion has even caused the Countryside Alliance press machine – who are increasingly quiet on the hunting issue – to splutter into life. But their pathetic statement about “lawful trail hunting activities” will fool no one.
Indeed, Tim Bonner, their own CEO, recently admitted that incidents such as Avon Vale fox-throwing are “not a one off and that there have been a number of such extremely unhelpful news stories over recent years.”
Perhaps even Tim is coming round to the view recently expressed by Chief Superintendent Matt Longman that “illegal hunting is still common practice. I know it, you know it, the public and the hunts know it.”
A HSA spokesperson commented,
“While the HSA’s focus is always on direct action – physically stopping hunting in its tracks – we will watch this vote with interest. More and more public bodies are seeing trail hunting for what it is – a pathetically transparent cover for illegal hunting that has been indulged for far too long. We urge all councillors to support this ban.”