Reading Time: 2 minutes Hounds following animal scents on hunts can mix up the smell with foxes, causing deaths across the nation Credit: WildMedia/Adobe
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Trail hunting, which mimics illegal fox hunting, could see new legislation banning the use of animal scents. 

This is with a view to ensuring no wild animal ends up being hunted by dogs.

Currently, fox hunting with dogs is illegal. But trail hunting lays in its place – where hounds are bred to hunt follow a fake scent. 

However, in many cases, the dogs pick up the scents of wild animals whilst on the hunt. 

Protecting foxes with animal scents ban

As part of the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, it will be prohibited in the UK for dogs to be trained to follow animal-based scents.

The bill is currently in the report stage, which means it is waiting for final amendments from the House of Lords. Before it can be given the final approval, there are a further seven steps in the process.

Co-sponsors of the amendment include Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation patrons Tracey Crouch MP and Henry Smith MP.

In a statement sent to PBN, patron MP Roger Gale said: “When packs of hunting dogs are trained to follow animal-based scents in trail hunting, there is inevitably the possibility that they will hunt live wild animals. 

“Trail hunts have had 17 years to retrain their hounds to follow a non-fox scent. But, ‘choose not to’ as they claim their hounds will only follow a fox-based scent. 

“There is no logical reason why dogs should not be trained to follow a non-animal-based scent such as aniseed on an artificial trail.”

Trail hunting

Despite fox hunting being illegal, it has been uncovered that trail hunting is, in fact, a “smokescreen” to carry on killing foxes.

Key figures have been exposed for killing hounds and inciting illegal activity this year alone. Namely, the director of the Master of Foxhounds Mark Hankinson was forced to pay thousands when he was found to have encouraged illegal hunting in a series of online calls.

Campaigners warn that it is difficult to know what really goes on across countryside hunts. 

And, that more needs to be done to prevent landowners from handing out licenses allowing it to take place in their fields.

You can help end fox hunting by signing Keep The Ban’s petition here

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.