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  1. ITV Report

National Trust vote against banning 'trail hunting'

Photo: PA

National Trust members have voted against a ban on "trail hunting" across the 600,000 acres of UK land owned by the organisation.

Trail hunting, which is when a scent is laid for hounds and the hunt to follow, has been practiced on National Trust land since the ban on hunting in 2005.

Campaigners against trail hunting said it allowed illegal hunting of foxes, deer and other animals with dogs.

Whilst supporters of trail hunting stated that the hunts were within the law and claimed the charity was being used as a "political football".

Just 299 votes separated the decision within the National Trust, with 30,686 members voting for the proposal to ban the form of hunting, while 30,985 voted against the decision.

There were 1,925 abstentions from the vote.

Helen Beymon from Wigston in Leicestershire, led the campaign to have trail hunting banned and told ITV News Central that she had "mixed feelings" on the result.

The Trust has taken action against trail hunts on six occasions in the past five years.

A Countryside Alliance spokesman said there is "no evidence to suggest that hunts are breaking the law" and:

There has not been a single successful prosecution of a hunt trail-hunting across National Trust land since the inception of the Hunting Act in February 2005.

– Countryside Alliance spokesman