A councillor has proposed a motion calling for a ban on trail hunting on North Yorkshire Council-owned land amid criticism it is an “anti-rural” policy.
Cllr Rich Maw, who represents the Weaponness and Ramshill division on NYC, has proposed a motion which would ban trail hunting on council-owned land.
Cllr Maw, whose motion has been seconded by the Green Party’s Cllr Arnold Warneken, claims that trail hunts are used as “a loophole to carry on hunting foxes and other animals”.
The hunting of foxes with dogs was banned in the Hunting Act 2004 but the law does allow for trail hunting, which is intended to replicate traditional fox hunting.
However, the motion, which is set to be debated at the council’s full meeting on Wednesday, July 19, has been criticised by the Countryside Alliance as “anti-rural” and a “colossal waste of time”.
The Countryside Alliance describes itself as “a political campaigning force that promotes and protects the rural way of life” including hunting.
The proposed motion states: “This council resolves to ban trail hunting, exempt hunting, hound exercise and hunt meets outright across all council land where legally possible, including any new tenancies where there are positive covenants attached to the land that currently require the council as the owner to allow trail hunting events and formal gatherings.”
Cllr Maw has previously raised the issue of trail hunting and in May he asked North Yorkshire Council whether it held a register of trail hunts taking place in the county and whether trail hunting takes place on council-owned land.
At the time, the authority responded by stating that it “can’t confirm” whether or not trail hunting takes place on its land but is “not aware” of formalised hunting taking place on its properties.
Jim Barrington, who advises the Countryside Alliance on animal welfare, said: “This motion does nothing to help animal welfare, but everything to fuel prejudice against rural people.
“Submitting this motion is a colossal waste of time when there are so many genuine issues facing people living across North Yorkshire, not least the cost-of-living crisis.”
The organisation said that it was contacting councillors urging them to reject the “divisive” motion, adding that hunts provide “a vital social and economic lifeline in the countryside”.
The motion by Cllr Maw and Cllr Warneken adds that the Hunting Act is “unworkable and leaves the police caught in the middle of the hunting debate” as well as “eroding public confidence”.
The motion will be voted on by councillors at the full meeting of North Yorkshire Council on July 19, at County Hall in Northallerton.