Tori Scott celebrates as H&M owner, Stefan Persson, advocates for the safety of foxes by banning all hunting on his English estate.
Photo by Sunyu
For decades, there has been a battle between hunters and wildlife. Fox hunting was a regulated and legal activity until the Hunting Act of 2004 was enforced to protect wild animals. Stefan Perrsson, H&M owner, has joined this battle and banned hunting on his estate with “immediate effect”, marking a key step forward in stopping trail-hunting in the UK.
Multi-billionaire owner of high-street fashion brand H&M, Stefan Persson, has made it his mission to remove all hunting on his English estate by banning the activity after allegations were made about illegal practice taking place on his grounds. Persson has owned Ramsbury Estates for 23 years, which covers 19,000 acres across Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.
Trail-hunting entails using hounds to follow an artificial scent often from the carcass of a fox in order to hunt foxes, hares and deer. This form of hunting is legal in the UK, but heavily scrutinised.
Before 2004, dogs were explicitly allowed to hunt down these animals, but animal welfare campaigners argued that this form of hunting was causing wild animals unnecessary suffering. However, this law doesn’t prevent dogs being able to ‘flush’ out the animals from hiding for specific and controlled reasons, essentially legalising the killing of the animals once they’ve been ‘flushed’ out.
The decision to remove hunting on Ramsbury Estate came as a result of an incident involving Vine and Craven Hunt being accused of using voice notes. This can be known as traditional fox hunting which has been illegal since 2004. Vine and Craven Hunt was previously allowed to hunt on Ramsbury Estate, but after illegal allegations were made on December 6, 2020, Ramsbury Estate decided to suspend hunting all together. This law being made to decrease fox hunting is not enough for anti-bloodsport supporters. They believe that the trails used to hunt involve killing foxes to provide carcasses, and hunters cannot avoid their hounds picking up the scent of a living fox.
Prohibiting hunting on the grounds prevent potential illegal activity and prevent damage to flora and fauna. Mr Persson is not the only well known individual to ban hunting; French footballer Djibril Cisse, Forestry England, the National Trust, Lake District National Park and more have decided to suspend hunting on their grounds to contribute to maintaining good animal welfare.
"Finally, 15 years after the Hunting Act, the tide is finally turning and hunts are fighting for their very existence" - Hunt Saboteurs Association
Ramsbury Estate & Animal Welfare
By making this decision early December, Ramsbury estate is on a growing list of UK landowners to suspend hunting. Many landowners committed to this suspension after ITV revealed that police were investigating the blood sport.
"Every acre of hunting territory being lost is a great win for wildlife and we look forward to other landowners following suit" - Reading Hunt Saboteurs
Persson is not only protecting animal welfare through this action, but also through his brand. H&M has banned the use of fur, angora and exotic animal skins in their products. It does not eliminate all animal products like leather and exotic animal hair, but by 2025, H&M is hoping to be fully traceable.
More bosses of big brands need to take visible action to become more sustainable in order to promote eco-friendly lifestyles and consumerism habits. Let’s hope Mr Persson can be an inspiration to other brand owners, or to other landowners who are contemplating the morals behind trail-hunting.
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