RSPCA chief executive proposes new ‘drag hunt’ alliance

The RSPCA’s chief executive today urged countryside groups to sign up to a new self regulating association to ensure traditional countryside pursuits can be enjoyed without breaking the law.

Gavin Grant today spoke at the CLA Game Fair in Warwickshire, one of the biggest events on the countryside calendar. During his speech he proposed the idea of an independent trial and drag hunt association, which would have the support of the RSPCA.

Mr Grant suggested that hunts sign up to the self regulating body, and that landowners only allow access on their property to members of such an organisation, knowing that they would act legally.

He implored landowners to deny access to any group that is not a member of the association, or which has been thrown out for breaking the law.

Mr Grant said: “I seek common ground with all those who share our passion for enjoying our countryside, respecting our wildlife and obeying the law while being out with their dogs and horses.

“I passionately believe the formation of an independent trial and drag hunt association would build confidence that people can enjoy riding out in the countryside, without subjecting wild animals to unacceptable cruelty and suffering.

The RSPCA’s chief executive said the charity is as committed to protecting our countryside and the animals that live there.

“We have already launched a campaign to highlight the crisis in the abandonment of horses. Farmers and landowners are bearing the brunt of this growing practice known as ‘fly-grazing’.

“This is in addition to our ongoing work to help farmers and farm animals, from rescuing livestock during floods and heavy snow to times of crisis such as with the foot and mouth epidemic.

“Given that common interest and on matters such as the need for responsible landowners to be reassured as to hunts obeying the law, I want to work closely with rural groups and communities. That way we can all continue to enjoy the truly great British countryside,” added Mr Grant.

The CLA Game Fair will take place at Ragley Hall, in Alcester, from today until Sunday. It attracts field sport enthusiasts from across the United Kingdom, as well as rural businesses and organisations.

ENDS

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS

Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk | Website: www.rspca.org.uk

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