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National Trust narrowly votes against ban on trail hunting on their estates

National Trust members have narrowly voted down a proposal to ban legal "trail hunting" on the organisation's land.

Members who put forward the resolution called on the National Trust not to permit trail hunting, in which a scent is laid for hounds and the hunt to follow.

Protests were held in Swindon as the National Trust held its AGM Credit: PA

During the charity's annual general meeting in Swindon, Wiltshire, they said the practise is allowing illegal hunting of foxes, deer and other animals with dogs.

Those opposing the proposal said hunts were working within the law, and claimed the charity was being used "as a political football".

The charity's board of trustees brought in new measures for licencing legal hunts - including forbidding laying fox-based scenes - in August.

In total, 30,686 members voted for the proposal to ban trail hunting, while 30,985 voted against - a difference of just 299 votes.

The trustees previously said the revised process for licensing trail hunts would allow the Trust to meet conservation aims, as well as welcome people and accommodate users from a broad range of constituencies.

Since the ban on hunting with dogs came into force in 2005, the National Trust has licensed legal trail hunting on its land as one of number of activities it allows.

The Trust insists it monitors the activities it licenses and has taken action against trail hunts on six occasions over the past five years.

Credit: PA

Anti-hunt campaigners groaned as the vote was announced at the annual general meeting, at the STEAM museum in Swindon.

Protesters gathered outside the AGM from Saturday morning to support the vote to ban trail hunting, exempt hunting and exercising hounds on Trust land.