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National Trust bans trail hunting at Kingston Lacy

The National Trust has banned a hunt from its Kingston Lacy estate after reports that a fox was killed in January.

The charity has said that trail hunt licences for the Portman Hunt have been withdrawn for the rest of the season, with a spokeperson for hunt saying it had not breached the terms of its licence.

Fox hunting is illegal in the UK, yet countless foxes are murdered by packs of hounds, often on so-called trail hunts, following a scent.

In a statement issued by the National Trust, it said: “If any of the terms of our licence agreements are proven to have breached during these checks, we’ll take strong, immediate action with the relevant hunt.

“We have taken the decision to cancel all remaining trail hunt licence dates for the Portman for the remainder of the season. We will not go into detail over specific allegations against hunts and are not in a position to comment further.”

The comes only two years after the master of the hunt was taken to court over alleged illegal fox hunting, which judges concluded he was not guilty of.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “The Kingston Lacy estate is to be commended for ensuring the license granted last week to hunt across its land has now been cancelled. This outcome reflects strong public opinion opposition to the practice – with 85 per cent of people opposed to hunting foxes with hounds.”

He added: “By cancelling its hunting licence for the Portman Hunt to meet on its land, the Kingston Lacy estate has done the right thing and we hope that other National Trust properties will follow suit.

“In light of the Portman Hunt repeatedly chasing and killing British wildlife, any future applications for licences must be denied.”

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