Saboteurs target ARMY: Activists launch war on MoD for 'facilitating illegal ...

Saboteurs target ARMY: Activists launch war on MoD for 'facilitating illegal ...
Saboteurs target ARMY: Activists launch war on MoD for 'facilitating illegal ...

Hunt saboteurs will now target the Ministry of Defence in their latest war on trail hunting.

Activists said they will turn their attentions to military chiefs they claim 'facilitate illegal hunting on their land'.

They said it was the latest attempt to squeeze out the areas in which the sport can operate.

The MoD currently sanctions trail hunting on bases across the country, including at Sandhurst and the Brecon Beacons.

Other bases where licences are issued are at Aldershot in Hampshire, Colchester in Essex and across Northumberland.

The move comes after the National Trust last week banned packs of hounds from the 620,000 acres it manages across the country.

Activists said they will turn their attentions to military chiefs they claim 'facilitate illegal hunting on their land'. Pictured: The Royal Artillery Hunt in front of a tank last week

Activists said they will turn their attentions to military chiefs they claim 'facilitate illegal hunting on their land'. Pictured: The Royal Artillery Hunt in front of a tank last week

Which trail hunts were licensed to use MoD land last season?
Surrey Union Staff College Drag Hunt Sandhurst Ullswater Tynedale West of Yore Zetland Essex & Suffolk Blankney Hunt Tanatside Glyn Celyn Beagles Brecon & Talybont Sennybridge Farmers Hunt Irfon & Towy Royal Artillery Hunt Tedworth East Kent with West Side Wilts & Infantry Beagles Palmer Marlborough Beagles

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Lee Moon, from the Hunt Saboteurs Association told MailOnline: 'Our next target will be the MOD who, despite appearing indifferent to public opinion, cannot continue to facilitate illegal hunting on their land.

'We expect to see some hunts fold completely and others face an increasingly difficult future as they struggle for land on which to carry out their illegal acts.'

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation dished out 11 trail hunting licences for the 2021-22 season, according to anti-hunt site Keep The Ban.

This was a sharp decline from 19 granted in the season before the pandemic struck, 26 in 2019 and 21 in 2018.

Last season hunts were sanctions to use military land across the country to chase artificial scents.

These included bases in Aldershot in Hampshire, Sandhurst in Wiltshire, Colchester in Essex and the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

Hankley Common in Surrey, Gibraltar Barracks in Hampshire, Albermarle Barracks in Northumberland and Ellington Banks in Yorkshire were among the camps named.

The Royal Artillery Hunt, which is made up of soldiers and civilians on Salisbury Plain, had the most amount of fixtures on MoD land with 28 from September to November.

Wilts & Infantry Beagles, based in Warminster, was second with 20 while the Tedworth hunt had 13 days.

Hunts pay £75 for the licence to be granted - which can be refunded if a pack does not make it out due to military exercises - plus a further £100 for it to be prepared.

Hunting on MoD land is separated into green land - where anyone following the hunt can go - and red land, which is only for huntsmen to retrieve any stray hounds.

In the contract, huntsmen also swear to abide by the laws set out in the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and the Hunting Act 2004.

They are also not allowed to lay a natural scent - using the carcass of a dead animal - for the hounds to follow, it has to be artificial.

The Secretary of State for Defence, which is currently former British Army officer Ben Wallace, signs off on the licences.

But the agreement between the hunts and the MoD can be ripped up with just a month's notice, government documents show.

An MoD spokesman said: 'Trail hunting continues to be permitted on MOD land, subject to hunts obtaining and abiding by the terms of a trail hunting licence and the law.'

Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance Tim Bonner said: 'The Government has made it perfectly clear that legal hunting activity will be allowed to continue on MoD land.

'We look forward to as many hunts as possible being able to take the opportunity to go drag hunting and trail hunting this winter.

'Activists would be better advised to focus on campaigns that actually improve animal welfare and the environment, rather than pursuing their petty class war agenda.'

The National Trust, which has been blasted for going 'woke' in recent months, said the board of trustees had 'carefully considered the issue' before taking the drastic step (file photo)

The National Trust, which has been blasted for going 'woke' in recent months, said the board of trustees had 'carefully considered the issue' before taking the drastic step (file photo)

Last week the National Trust banned trail hunting on its land because bosses feared 'the reputational risk' of allowing packs to continue.

The charity, which has been blasted for going 'woke' in recent months, said the board of trustees had 'carefully considered the issue' before taking the drastic step.

It said a recent conviction of a senior huntsman and a vote at its annual general meeting - involving just two per cent of members - were among other factors.

Hunting and rural groups slammed the trust for 'breaking its fundamental principle' of 'for everyone, for ever'.

They pointed to an 'engineered' bullying campaign from opponents of legal hunting to harass landowners into stopping the sport.

It came as senior huntsman Mark Hankinson appealed against his conviction for telling people to use trail hunting as a 'smokescreen' for killing foxes.

National Trust director of land and nature Harry Bowell said: 'The board of trustees has carefully considered this issue.

'Its decision to issue no further licences for trail hunting is based on a wide range of considerations.

'These include - but are not limited to - a loss of trust and confidence in the MFHA, which

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