Protect the Wild is calling on the MoD to stop issuing trail hunting licences and to permanently ban hunts from MoD land.

#NO DEFENCE: END HUNTING ON MOD LAND

There’s #NoDefence for fox hunting.

Many major landowners including the National Trust and Forestry England have stopped issuing ‘trail hunting’ licences, effectively banning hunting on their land.

The Ministry of Defence and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – the estate expert for defence –  is holding out though. The MoD is still licencing so-called ‘trail hunts’ on huge areas of land including Salisbury Plain, hunting ground of the notorious Royal Artillery Hunt (RAH).

The Plain is one of the most important grasslands in Europe with many parts of it covered by SSSis and SACs.Yet, the MoD still allow hunts to illegally chase wildlife here.

Monitors and sabs routinely see the likes of the Royal Artillery Hunt hunting illegally on MoD land using MoD issued trail hunting licences.

Footage captured by members of Salisbury Plain Monitors on 30 October 2021, for example, showed a fox running ahead of Charles Carter, huntsman of the RAH, as he blew his horn. The video led to police charging Carter in May 2022. The incident occurred at Larkhill, Wiltshire, just north of Stonehenge and under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence.

 It was just the first time MoD Police had ever brought a charge of illegal hunting…

Who are the Royal Artillery?

Also known as ‘the Gunners’, the Royal Artillery have been involved in almost every battle and operation the Army has fought in its 300 year history.
Its motto ‘Ubique Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducun‘ means ‘Everywhere that right and glory leads’.
How proud they must be to have an organised crime gang with the same name breaking the law just a few miles down the road from their barracks…
RA badge
Charles Carter of RAH is told to return to kennels after chasing a fox
Charles Carter and the Royal Artillery Hunt being told by police to return to kennels after chasing a fox.
Photo by Salisbury Plain Monitors

Critical for wildlife

So-called ‘trail hunts’ are licenced by the DIO to hunt on Salisbury Plain – one of the most  extensive areas of semi-natural chalk grassland in North-West Europe and home to nationally-important populations of scarce wildlife.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation itself highlights the range of wildlife “associated with the fantastic flower-rich grasslands” found there, which include rare butterflies, bumblebees and other insects, as well as birds such as the Stone Curlew, Barn Owl, Skylark, Corn Bunting, and (in winter) the UK’s most persecuted bird of prey the Hen Harrier.

In 2004 a project began to restore the Great Bustard (pictured) to Salisbury Plain – now its only regular nesting site in the whole of Britain.
 

Birders, dog-walkers, hikers, cyclists all know to be extremely careful around wildlife – so how on earth do illegal fox hunts get permission to rampage across the Plain with horses and packs of dogs?

Key

Points:

  • Defence chiefs issued licences to 23 hunts to ‘trail hunt’ on 10 of the Armed Forces’ sites during the 2021/2022 season.
 
  • The Defence Infrastructure Organisation gave out 19 grants to hunts in the season before the pandemic struck, 26 in 2019 and 21 in 2018.
 
  • 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.’
 
  • But in 2022 leaked emails showed exactly what MoD staff themselves thought about the hunts…and it wasn’t supportive!

Take action

Send a letter to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the estate expert for defence

Many major landowners including the National Trust and Forestry England have stopped issuing ‘trail hunting’ licences, effectively banning hunting on their land.

The Ministry of Defence and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) – the estate expert for defence –  is holding out though. The MoD is still licencing so-called ‘trail hunts’ on huge areas of land including Salisbury Plain, hunting ground of the notorious Royal Artillery Hunt.

Call on them to stop supporting hunts and to permanently stop issuing so-called ‘trail-hunting’ licences for MoD land.

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