Peterborough council bans hunting in 'landmark' step

Although it is unlikely to impact any hunts, the ban is seen by opponents of hunting as a “symbolic” step. Credit: PA
  • Words by ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

In what has been described as a “landmark” decision, Peterborough City Council will no longer “permit trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets on its land.” 

Although it is unlikely to impact any hunts, it is seen by opponents of hunting as a “symbolic” step.

The Countryside Alliance (CA) had warned ahead of Wednesday night’s vote that if passed it could set a “dangerous precedent”. Such moves, say the CA, have “the potential to affect large numbers of hunts across the country, particularly those who usually meet in towns and villages for festive meets”.

Peterborough City Council is not the first to take such action but the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) described it as ”landmark”, saying it is “the first since the launch of a police investigation into explosive comments made by hunt officials during two training webinars.”

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

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

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “No longer can the hunts hide behind their trail laying excuses. It’s time now for councillors across the country to get behind our campaign and ban trail hunting and any other form of hunting activity from their land”.

A Countryside Alliance spokesman said: “The motion was a complete waste of time and will have no practical consequences. Local packs will continue to trail hunt in a Covid-secure manner and enjoy the support of local followers.

Peterborough City Council is not the first to impose such a ban. Credit: ITV News

"[This] is clearly a politically motivated stunt that has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with grandstanding.”

Meanwhile, Peterborough Hunt Saboteurs said: "The motion passed by Peterborough City Council this evening, sends a clear signal that fox hunts are not accepted in civilised society.

"The recently leaked Hunting Office webinars, and subsequent police investigations, have opened the public's eyes to the deceit of trail hunting. We are hugely pleased that our local city council have joined the growing list of landowners to tell the hunts that they are no longer welcome."