A proposal to ban trail-hunting on National Trust land has been defeated.

Members of the National Trust voted yesterday (Saturday, 21 October) at the organisation’s AGM in Swindon on the subject. The result saw 30,985 vote against the resolution, while 30,686 voted in favour of it.

Polly Portwin, head of hunting at the Countryside Alliance, who attended the AGM, said: “While we are happy with the outcome of the vote, the resolution was ill-informed, unnecessary and has wasted a huge amount of the Trust’s time and money. In the end, despite months of campaigning by animal rights charities less than 1% of the Trust’s membership could be persuaded to support a ban on trail-hunting.

“After a very lively AGM and long campaign we are delighted that the motion put forward has been defeated and that the Trust’s board advised members to vote against it. Hunting remains an important element of the rural community and it is good news that hunts will continue to be able to access National Trust land as they have done for generations.”

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A spokesman for the National Trust said: “National Trust members at today’s annual general meeting have voted against a resolution for the cessation of trail-hunting on all land belonging to the charity.

“Prior to the vote, the charity’s board of trustees had recommended that the activity should be allowed to continue after recent improvements in licensing conditions to further safeguard conservation and access on the Trust’s land.

“The conservation charity has been carefully listening to both sides of a highly polarised and passionate debate for years.

“We are pleased members have had the opportunity to debate this issue and have voted to support the Trustees’ position.”

Under National Trust rules, members cannot now introduce another motion to ban hunting for four years.

Read more on this story in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 26 October