Ban disease-spreading hunts forever

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During this Covid-19 crisis, farmers are begging dog walkers to stay off their land for fear of contamination. However, every week during the hunting season, up to 36,000 fox hounds spread contagion from farm to farm, covering 30 miles or more of fields, roads, railway tracks and private gardens.  They have stopped for now, but they must not begin again afterwards.
 
Hounds spread disease. They are fed on raw “fallen stock”- farm animals that have died in the field, the cause of death often unknown. Whatever disease the farm animal had, the hounds consume and then spread. Hounds are kept in close quarters, with very little (or no) veterinary treatment.  Disease passes easily between them; kennel cough, for instance, which is caused by a coronavirus. Hounds have been proven to carry bTB, neospora, toxoplasmosis, mange, worms and many more.
 
Whether “trail hunting” or foxhunting, the hounds will be travelling from farm to farm, defecating in livestock fields, drinking from sheep and cattle water troughs, urinating in rivers, treading in faeces from other animals, picking spores up on their coats. All of these present a significant and dangerous biosecurity risk.
 
Hunts cannot be trusted to behave responsibly. They trespass on railway lines, animal sanctuaries and private gardens. They continued to hunt during the Equine Flu outbreak of February 2019, despite huge criticism. Hunting is controversial and 85% of people want it stopped.
 
No one wants another pandemic. ALL avoidable sources of disease and contamination must be shut down and this includes the hunts, whose activities are unnecessary.
 
Please sign our petition to ask DEFRA to ban the hunts for good.