'Dangerous precedent' if Peterborough City Council ban hunting

  • By ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

The Countryside Alliance are warning of a "dangerous precedent" being set if Peterborough City Council ban trail hunting on their land. 

Councillors will decide on Wednesday whether to prevent hunts from meeting on or trail hunting taking place across public land owned by the city.

If they do the Countryside Alliance claim it could cause other councils to "bow to the pressure and follow suit".

Trail Hunting is where hounds follow an artificial scent often manufactured from the carcass of a fox and it is legal.

Councillor Ansar Ali’s motion put to the City Council said: "Most registered hunts claim to now be 'trail' hunting, an activity invented after the ban which allows hunts to claim that any chase of a wild mammal is an accident rather than intentional.

"This Council resolves that it will not permit trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land."

Unlike England, Wales and Scotland, fox hunting in Northern Ireland is still legal. Credit: ITV News

Councillor Ali told ITV News: "There should be no place for [hunting] in the 21st century. There is growing resentment from the general public for this outdated and cruel sport."

Hunting has been suspended across huge swathes of public land after it was revealed by ITV News that police were investigating the sport.  

Forestry England, The National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, United Utilities, the Lake District National Park and The Church of England have all suspended trail hunting and other major landowners are ready to take action once the results of the police investigation are known.

Responding to Wednesday’s Council debate The Countryside Alliance said: "It is astounding that the Peterborough City Council Labour group would attempt to waste valuable council time and resources arguing over whether to ban people from taking part in a lawful activity on public land.

"It appears that local hunts don’t even use the land in question, however there are supporters living within the area that support trail hunting and the importance of supporting this legal activity.

"This motion wreaks of a cheap political stunt and should be voted down accordingly. Focus should be on serving communities across Peterborough, not pursuing divisive class war politics. The Countryside Alliance stands up for rural communities, day in day out."

The League Against Cruel Sports are currently running a campaign aimed at banning hunts from council land.

They said that if Peterborough Council vote for a ban "it will be only the second motion of this nature to be passed and the first since the police investigation into the hunting lobby webinars. It will be a landmark moment if passed and will lead to other councils following suit."