USPCA & League Against Cruel Sports Collaborate to End Hunting With Dogs in NI

The League Against Cruel Sports and USPCA are calling on the public to support the campaign to ban hunting with dogs in Northern Ireland.

Already illegal in England, Wales and Scotland, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where it’s still legal to hunt mammals for sport.

Speaking at the Together campaign launch, USPCA Chief Executive Nora Smith said:

“People across all age groups and across all parts of Northern Ireland want this terrible form of animal cruelty to end. This is supported by recent polling which shows that between seven and eight people out of ten want to see a ban.

“The USPCA is pleased to join with the League Against Cruel Sports to campaign for a ban. Together we can make a positive change.

“We are asking for the public’s help to ensure we introduce legislation by signing our petition. We want all of our politicians to get the message that the majority of people here are against hunting with dogs.

Robbie Marsland from the League said:

“Chasing and killing a mammal with dogs has no place in today’s society. We are asking people to let our local politicians know that this cruel killing of wild animals has to end.

“There are humane alternatives such as drag hunting which allow for the traditional pageantry but crucially don’t involve encouraging a pack of dogs to chase and kill wild animals across the countryside.

“While farmers need effective methods of pest control, evidence shows that hunting with dogs isn’t one of them. It’s a sport that is cruel to the wild animals and the dogs that are forced to kill them.”

The Together Campaign is asking people to take some simple steps for change

  1. Sign the petition
  2. Tell people you have signed the petition, especially politicians
  3. Ask people to sign the petition - ask family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and school mates “have you signed yet?”
  4. Follow the campaign for change

To show your support and help end hunting with dogs, sign the petition at

Additional resources and information


  • Polling was conducted by LucidTalk Limited as part of its NIVIEW Winter Tracker Poll on 9th to 11th February with 1050 respondents.
  • Of those who expressed an opinion (should be legal/illegal):
    • 87% said hunting deer should be illegal
    • 76% said hunting foxes should be illegal
    • 82% said hunting hares should be illegal
    • 77% said hunting rabbits should be illegal
  • Of those who expressed an opinion:
  • 47% said it is currently illegal to use dogs to hunt live animals in NI.
  • 53% said it is currently legal to use dogs to hunt live animals in NI.

Policy context

  • Hunting with animals was banned in England and Wales through the Hunting Act 2004
  • Traditional fox hunting and hare coursing was banned in Scotland through the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002.  This Act was repealed in 2023 and replaced with the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) 2023.  Under this Act:
    • It will still be an offence to hunt a wild mammal using a dog except in limited circumstances. For example, hunting with dogs may be allowed to prevent the spread of disease or to protect other animals if the activity meets the requirements in the Bill about how it is done.
    • However, it will always be illegal to chase and kill a wild mammal using a dog. 
    • Where hunting is allowed, the Act introduces new limits on the number of dogs that can be used.
    • In some circumstances, people may be able to get a licence to use more dogs.
    • The Act also bans trail hunting except in limited circumstances. Trail hunting is when a dog is used to find and follow an animal-based scent.