This Is How Fox Hunting Continues In The UK, Despite The Ban

This Is How Fox Hunting Continues In The UK, Despite The Ban

On 26 December, we celebrated Boxing Day in England, a popular celebration that also comes with football matches, evenings with friends... but also with fox hunting, for a certain part of the population of Britain. We will explain to you why that is and how it happens.

On December 26th, animal welfare associations alerted the public to the Boxing Day public holiday in the United Kingdom, where generosity and giving to the poor are celebrated.

Hunting red foxes

Whilst for a larger part of the population, this day is reserved for big football matches, for the upper crust of society, the day of sharing and generosity is a day for fox hunting.

Across the country, no less than 53 fox hunts have been recorded, but it is possible that many other hunting parties, unofficially, have been held in the English countryside.

Trail hunting?

This is because there is a form of ‘hunting’ that is perfectly legal, called ‘trail hunting’.

This practice consists of spreading the urine of red fox or red deer in the countryside, to form a ‘track’ which will be followed by a pack of dogs, who are themselves followed by a party on horseback.

Normally, no animal should be killed: the hunt is only supposed to be acted out and the dogs are content to follow the smell of the animals.


Illegal hunting

According to many associations, some parties continue to kill foxes (which is illegal in the United Kingdom) unofficially, taking advantage of trail hunting, open since November but heavily implemented by tradition on 26 December, Boxing Day.

In a completely illegal way, red foxes but also red deer and hares from Europe are pursued until they become exhausted and get torn apart whilst still alive by a pack of dogs.


Faced with the growing anxiety of nature conservation associations but also of the British population (85% of which is opposed to hunting, as shown by a recent poll), the Labour Party has announced that it will work for a reinforcement of the 2004 law prohibiting hunting if they come into power in England, while filling the legal loopholes that continue making this practice possible in certain specific situations.

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In 2017, the Cheshire police had to deal with a crisis following an illegal hunt for a red fox discovered in the town of Macclesfield: the poor little animal had been chased by a party into the streets of the town.

A void in the legal system

Unfortunately, while many complaints are filed in the UK about illegal hunting, they are rarely followed by convictions.

Sue Hayman, Secretary of State for the Ministry of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is apparently open to the creation of a new law that more strictly regulates the practice of ‘Trail Hunting’. 

Check out the video above for more on why this barbaric practice is still continuing in the UK today.  

Emma Jensen
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