Why do people still

hunt foxes?

Lamping is a loose term that covers a number of different activities. However, they all take place at night and they all result in the murder of wildlife in the British countryside.

Fox hunting has been taking place worldwide for hundreds of years.  Hunting with hounds, originated in England in the sixteenth century, and continued in a similar format until February 2005, when the 2004 Hunting Act came into place banning the activity in England and Wales.

The hunts today believe that fox hunting, and associated activities, are an important part of the British countryside culture.


It is believed that the desire to track, chase and kill a fox originated in the sixteenth century from a farmers attempt to catch a fox using farm dogs.  Foxes were regarded as vermin by most farmers and landowners, and where therefore hunted for many years as a form of pest control.

It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that fox hunting developed into its current state, and  its inception was probably an addition to stag and hare hunting, where they used the same hounds to catch each quarry.  Fox hunting was later classed as a sport in its own right because of the UK’s declining deer population and developed into a national upper-class pastime.


The word ‘whip’ within todays Parliament dates back to the 18th century hunting terminology ‘whipper-in’. In Parliament an MP is given the name ‘Chief Whip’, and it is that MP’s role to inform the Prime Minister of any issues with the back bench or party opinions.  The name derives from ‘Whipper-in’ which refers to a huntsman’s assistant who drives straying hounds back to the main pack using a whip.


Traditional fox hunting was banned in England and Wales under the 2004 Hunting Act and banned in Scotland two years previous under the Wild Mammals Protection (Scotland) Act 2002. 

These hunting acts prohibit the hunting of wild mammals with dogs and were brought in to prevent or reduce the unnecessary suffering to wild animals, stating that ‘causing suffering to animals for sport is unethical’, but despite the legislation in England, Wales, and Scotland, there is continual evidence that indicates that hunts are illegally hunting wild foxes.

Today, across England, Wales and Scotland, hunts claim to be ‘trail hunting’ instead of engaging with the hunt of live quarry.  However, multiple cases have proven that ‘trail hunting’, which involves a pack of hounds following an artificially laid scent, is nothing but a smokescreen for illegal hunting.  Such loopholes are the reasons Protect The Wild continues to campaign and pressure government to strengthen the Hunting Act .

Despite the introduction of the 2004 Hunting Act (England and Wales) and the Wild Mammals Protection (Scotland) Act 2002, fox hunting is still legal in Northern Ireland.