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Saturday, October 21, 2017

The National Trust needs to grasp the nettle on hunting

I used to be a member of the National Trust but left in disgust in 1990 when its ruling council voted to effectively ignore an all-member vote to ban deer hunting on Trust land. 

As well as stately homes, the National Trust owns thousands of acres of valuable land throughout the UK, including large parts of Gower, where they act as an effective bulwark against those who might want to destroy or undermine it as Britain's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As a leading conservation advocate and a trustee of our natural heritage, the National Trust in my view has a duty to do more than just preserve valuable areas of beauty and historic buildings, they should also be concerned with the wildlife that lives on their land. That is why I favour them closing off their land to hunting of any sort.

Trail hunting may be an attempt to simulate an actual hunt but it can also result in the 'accidental' death of live prey. That sort of 'accident' is becoming increasingly common. There is no reason why these so called hunters cannot resort to drag hunting, which is far less likely to lead to such an outcome.

These forms of hunting may well be traditional but so, at one time was bear-baiting, dog fighting and many other sports that have been outlawed as cruel and unnecessary. If I were still a member of the National Trust I would be at the meeting in Swindon today to vote to ban trail hunting on their land. I would not though have any confidence in the ruling council to implement it.

The National Trust needs to provide leadership on these matters if it is to live up to its reputation as an important conservation body and if it is to carry on in that role into the 21st century.
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