Tory MS defends trail hunting following Natural Resources Wales ban on its land
A Tory MS has defended trail hunting after Natural Resources Wales (NRW) banned the activity on its land.
James Evans, who represents Brecon and Radnorshire, said trail hunting is “perfectly lawful” and criticised NRW for its ban.
He accused the Welsh Government of having “little understanding of the rural way of life” and claimed that “scaremongering on this topic has been rife”.
The Conservative politician described the ban as an “attack on the rural way of life by Government organisations and woke individuals trying to end rural traditions”.
Trail hunting replicates a traditional hunt, with people and hounds following a scent but without foxes being chased or killed. However, many believe that this has been used as an excuse for illegal fox hunting.
NRW, which is one of Wales’ biggest land owners, made the decision after a court ruled that a leading huntsman had encouraged the practice as a smokescreen for illegal foxhunting.
It said it decided to ban train hunting completely because it could not be sure that it was not still being used as a “cover” for illegal activity.
During a debate in the Senedd, Labour MS Vikki Howells asked Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Rural Affairs whether the Welsh Government would consider banning trail hunting on all public land in following the decision by NRW.
The Minister said it was a “matter for the Minister for Climate Change”, but that she believes the “Welsh Government would support the consideration of a permanent ban on trail hunting by those responsible for publicly owned land in Wales.”
James Evans told the Senedd: “Minister, judging by your response, then, it is widely known and accepted that the Labour Party running the Welsh Government has little understanding of the rural way of life or the countryside, and I believe that the recent Natural Resources Wales decision to ban trail hunting on its land is the wrong one.
“Trail hunting is not hunting, which was banned in the Hunting Act 2004. Trail hunting is a perfectly lawful activity; it does not involve the pursuit of mammals.
“So, this ban will have no impact on animal welfare, as has been referred to by yourself and the other Member. The scaremongering on this topic has been rife.
“This NRW ruling is another attack on the rural way of life by Government organisations and woke individuals trying to end rural traditions by spreading falsehoods.
“Will the Minister now meet with myself, Natural Resources Wales and relevant stakeholders to have an informed discussion and to look at the evidence and resolve this poor decision?”
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, said: “I disagree with the majority of what the Member said, and no, I won’t meet with him, because, as I say, this is a matter for the Minister for Climate Change.”
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