Anti-hunt campaigners to sell off land

August 11, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

An anti-hunt campaign group is to sell off swathes of land to fund a £1million campaign to save the ban on hunting.

The League Against Cruel Sports currently owns or manages over 2,000 acres of land across Exmoor in Somerset which was bought in a bid to prevent stag hunting.

The issue of whether to repeal the Hunting Ban is due to be discussed by MP’s in Parliament in the autumn.

And 2,000 days after it came into force, the organisation has launched a major counter offensive to fund a ‘public education campaign’ to save the ban.

Douglas Batchelor, the League’s Chief Executive, refused to reveal which areas would be sold off but said they were refusing to ”undo years of hard work”.

He said: ”We are absolutely focused and determined in our aim to ensure the Hunting Act remains.

”Our investment in this campaign recognises the massive public support and strength of feeling amongst our members and supporters that there must be no return to bloodsports.

”We will not lie down and allow the views of a small minority to undo years of hard work in bringing about a ban.”

The Conservatives had pledged to give MPs a free vote on whether to repeal the ban.

But the coalition govenment has compromised by first offering a vote on whether the issue should be discussed in Parliament at all.

While the organisation is remaining tight-lipped over which specific areas will be sold, it is thought the 250-acre Baronsdown sancturay will remain.

Instead, smaller pockets of land and a handful of farmhouses will be sold to help reach the £1million target.

The rest of the money will be made up through donations and cash reserves.

A League Against Cruel Sports spokesman said: ”The league will retain the sporting rights over all the land it sells, most of which was purchased in the 1960s and 70s to provide sanctuary to animals running fromt he hunt.

”By retaining the spoirting rights, the league ensures that hunting and shooting cannot legally take place ont he land, whatever the outcome of the vote on repeal.”

But the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance claimed the land sale would ‘anger’ some of the league’s own supporters.

Spokeswoman Jill Grieve said: ”The news that the league is selling off some of its land is not a huge surprise but will anger the supporters who hoped the money they gave was ring-fenced for its upkeep.”

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