Up to 100 ‘bloodthirsty illegal fox hunting incidents recorded in just six weeks

Campaigners have called for tougher laws after as many as 100 suspected illegal fox hunting incidents have been recorded in just six weeks.

The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) say the hunts endanger lives on roads and railways and see livestock 'worried' by out-of-control hounds.

The charity called for stricter laws on the “bloodthirsty and shameful so-called sport”, which was banned in 2005.

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It comes as 200 Boxing Day hunts are set to meet today, the Mirror reports.

Activists say they have compiled reports of 95 suspected illegal hunting incidents between November 1 and December 7, which included 78 of a fox being visibly pursued, eight reported kills and three suspected kills.

There were a further 208 incidents of suspected ‘hunt havoc’, including road interference (50 incidents), trespass (55) and livestock worrying (14), the charity said.

The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance hit back at the claims, saying they are often “found to be false".

The Hunting Act stopped the cruel practice of hunting wild mammals with dogs in 2005.

But drag or trail hunts are legal – and campaigners claim they are a “cover” for foxes to be mauled to death.

More than 200 Boxing Day hunts are to parade routes through high streets up and down the UK, as they have done for hundreds of years.

Emma Judd of the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Behind the finery is a so-called sport that sees public lives endangered on roads and railways and livestock worried by out-of-control hounds.

“The bloodthirsty and shameful sport of fox hunting is massively unpopular with the British people who want to see hunting laws strengthened.

“It’s time Government came on board with public opinion.”

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Polly Portwin, the head of the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Hunting, said the meets were important for businesses and part of the fabric of rural life.

She said: "The League Against Cruel Sports has spent the last 20 years making ridiculous claims about hunting in a bid to justify its existence, yet nearly every time it makes allegations to the police or a court they are found to be false."

Labour said there have been at least 438 convictions under the Hunting Act since 2010, but called for the law to be strengthened further.

Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon said: “The government must do more to close the loopholes that allow people to break the law, and to consign hunting to the history books.”

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