Stars of stage and screen are joining forces to support a ban on hunting on National Trust Land.
The group, which includes Sir Tony Robinson and Bill Oddie OBE, are backing the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) campaign to prevent hunts from legally accessing large amounts of land across England and Wales.
A group of National Trust Members, supported by the LACS, have successfully submitted a motion to ban hunting on National Trust land, which will be voted on at the Trusts' AGM in October.
Since the Hunting Act 2004 was implemented, hunts have claimed they go ‘trail hunting’ - the activity the National Trust permits on its estates. The LACS believes trail hunting is a false alibi for traditional hunting and is responsible for the death of countless animals.
Conservationist, writer and President of the League Against Cruel Sports, Bill Oddie OBE, said: “If you visit a National Trust ‘mansion’ you will probably see paintings of red-coated horsemen encouraging hounds in pursuit of a fox or deer. The hunting and killing of animals still goes on in some areas despite being illegal.
“Do the National Trust really intend to allow this? As Victor Meldrew would say, “I don't believe it” Neither do I. And neither will thousands of Trust members.
“For many years The National Trust could justifiably claim to be custodians of Britain's past glories. Hunting is not glorious. It is cruel. It is a piece of history that belongs in the past and for the National Trust to allow it on their land - and thereby condone it - is retrogressive and highly regrettable.”
Television presenter Paul O’Grady, who is also backing the campaign, said: “The National Trust’s responsibility is to care for the precious wildlife that lives on its land and we all know there’s nothing caring about hunting.
“National Trust members don’t want to be walking in the countryside and come across a fox or a stag being chased to within an inch of its life.
“The AGM vote is a great opportunity for National Trust members who believe in protection for animals, to show the organisation that they won’t stand by and watch wildlife being persecuted in the name of fun.”
The high-profile celebrity support for the motion to ban hunting on National Trust land also includes backing from actor and historian Sir Tony Robinson, well-known actor and star of Downton Abbey, Peter Egan, and naturalist and television presenter, Chris Packham.
National Trust members will be given the opportunity to voice their concerns about the ban at the Trust’s AGM vote on Saturday, 21 October 2017.