The National Trust have permanently banned hunting on their land following their AGM held in Harrogate today.
This was the first chance for the trust’s 5.6 million members to vote on hunting since 2017, when the board used discretionary proxy votes to defeat a motion calling for a ban. Accusations of unfairness followed, with members who supported the ban claiming those in favour had used “dirty tricks” to vote down the motion. Today’s vote was overwhelmingly in favour of the ban at 2 votes to 1.
The motion’s supporting statement reads:
“Supporters of this resolution believe evidence comprehensively shows that illegal hunting continues to take place under the guise of ‘trail hunting’ by hunts who also carry out activities on National Trust land.”
The Trust suspended hunting on its land last year whilst Devon and Cornwall police investigated the participants of online webinars that were made public by the Hunt Saboteurs Association. Mark Hankinson, one of the webinar panel members, was recently found guilty of encouraging others to break the Hunting Act following a three-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:
“We’re delighted that the National Trust and its members have finally made the right decision and banned hunting from their land. Following the Hunting Office webinar expose and Mark Hankinson’s conviction they really had little option but to distance themselves from the criminal countryside gangs that hunts have become.
The webinars contained blatant admissions of widespread illegal hunting and the use of smokescreens to confuse the public. Any respectable landowner knows their reputation will be forever tarnished if they don’t permanently distance themselves from the hunting community.”
“We expect other corporate landowners including Forestry England, United Utilities, the various National Parks and the Ministry of Defence to also permanently ban hunting. The National Trust decision alone will deny the hunts access to 620,000 acres of land and when these other landowners follow suit they will be banned from millions of acres. We expect some hunts will be forced to shut down completely as a result.”