A TEMPORARY ban on trail hunting on Cheshire West and Chester’s land has been approved by council chiefs.
The authority’s ruling cabinet met earlier today (Wednesday) to rubber-stamp proposals for a ‘pause’ on the practice – which is designed to replicate a traditional fox hunt but with a scent instead of a live animal – while it awaits the findings of a report.
Traditional fox hunting with hounds and riders was made illegal in 2005, but trail hunting allows hunt enthusiasts to preserve aspects of the tradition by substituting live foxes with a scent which is followed along a pre-determined route by hounds, as well as hunt participants on foot and horseback.
Critics claim it still sometimes results in the death of foxes and the council established a cross-party working group to examine the practice, with the group’s final report set to be delivered to the cabinet in November.
But the working group’s initial findings are that trail hunting presents ‘a risk to both wild and domestic animals’, and the cabinet has now decided to introduce the temporary measures in the meantime.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting at Ellesmere Port this morning, Upton Labour councillor Matt Bryan branded the practice ‘barbaric’.
He said: “I commend this report and I’m really looking forward to the full and finalised report later in the year, and I’m really looking forward to the ongoing consultation with the communities to put an end to this barbaric practice.”
Although nobody spoke at the Cabinet meeting to oppose the ban, Simon Eardley, Conservative councillor for Saughall and Mollington, Tweeted on Tuesday: “Tomorrow the Cheshire West & Chester Council cabinet will consider an interim report on trail hunting on council land.
“A total waste of time. Meanwhile kids from my ward can’t get to school sensibly or back home at a reasonable time owing to council policy. Madness!”