North Yorkshire County Council urged to ban fox hunt meets in Malton

The Market Place, Malton. Picture: James Hardisty
The Market Place, Malton. Picture: James Hardisty

North Yorkshire County Council is facing calls to no longer host Boxing Day fox hunt meets in Malton after concerns were raised about public safety and amid new reports the Middleton Hunt is still chasing British wildlife.

The League Against Cruel Sports has written to Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, following Middleton Hunt meeting in Malton market place last Boxing Day.

In its letter, the League cites a terrified fox being chased to exhaustion across the North Yorkshire countryside during a hunting meet on December 30.

This is just one of 151 reports of illegal hunting reported to the League since the hunting season opened on November 1.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “A fox has been chased and killed by hounds under the control of the Middleton Hunt, which is permitted by North Yorkshire County Council to hold one of its most prestigious meets in Malton market place.

“This brutal incident, in which a wild animal has lost its life after being torn apart by a pack of dogs, not only reflects on the hunt itself – but anybody who allows them to continue operating.”

Large groups of hunt riders and hounds meeting creates a health and safety hazard – with highways obstructed and passers-by, including families with young children, forced into narrow spaces.

It is only a matter of time before somebody is injured as a direct result of these chaotic scenes and no risk assessment can realistically mitigate that likelihood, the League adds.

Violent clashes have also taken place between proponents and opponents of fox hunting during recent town-centre hunt meets after deep-rooted community tensions ran high.

Mr Luffingham added: “A number of local authorities have already committed to not allowing fox hunts to meet or parade on public land under their jurisdiction.

“With 85% of the public opposing fox hunting, there is clear support for North Yorkshire County Council to follow these examples and instead allow only cruelty-free entertainment in Malton.”