A CAMPAIGN group has urged the National Trust to cancel the new hunting licence issued for Hanbury Hall – or prove no animals will be harmed.

The League Against Cruel Sports has written to the conservation body, which manages the historic site near Droitwich, to block those seeking to hunt wildlife on its land.

The group has also urged the trust to explain how it is going to prevent any hunts from resulting in animals being killed on the land by hounds.

Chris Luffingham, director of CLACS, said the estate "showcases British nature at its best".

“Allowing a hunt to trample across the land, taking part in an activity which many people believe involves the killing of animals, completely goes against that philosophy.”

A poll carried out by Ipsos MORI last year, showed 85 per cent of Brits opposed all forms of hunting wild animals with hounds.

Mr Luffingham said a “considerable number” of those in opposition were National Trust members, arguing that it is “high time the conservation body provided protection to wildlife by stopping licensing hunting on its land”.

The letter cites how horses, hounds and followers are being granted free access to sections of Hanbury Hall, which the trust maintains on behalf of the nation.

Having undertaken monitoring, the league claims how hunts, which have been granted access by the trust to its estates, are pursuing fox, hare and deer under the guise of following a trail.

This is despite the Hunting Act 2004, banning the hunting of wild mammals in England and Wales.

Mr Luffingham went on to say: “It’s sad that this licence has been issued.

“But now it’s been done, the National Trust estate need to show their members and the public how they will ensure that animals are safe on their land.

“We need to hear from them as to exactly how they will prevent foxes being killed by the hunt.”

The trust has brought in measures which it says will ensure hunts don’t kill animals on its land, however groups like the league believe these are inadequate.

CLACS believes one example of how the rules can be easily flouted is the trust giving hunts 24 hours’ notice before spot checks take place.

“Giving hunts 24 hours’ notice that they will be watched is like telling a burglar which house is being staked out by the police. It’s a nonsense and reflects the half-hearted and ineffectual way in which the National Trust has approached this serious problem,” said Mr Luffingham.

The National Trust did not provide a comment before we went to print.