BRITISH MPS have hit out at “conjured up social media campaigns” by animal rights activists.
They said they can give the impression of a mass movement when in fact they are peddling misinformation.
The MPS were opposing a bid in the UK to ban trail hunting where packs of dogs are licensed to chase bottled fox scent.
It is practice which began after fox hunting was banned in 2005.
Now The National Trust – which licences the practice – has been asked by the League Against Cruel Sports to ban it.
The National Trust is due to vote on the issue but
Labour and Conservative MP have both opposed the call to ban it in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They said in a letter to Tim Parker, the National Trust’s chairman, that the practice should be allowed to remain and that social media pressure may not reflect reality.
The letter was signed by eight MPs including Labour’s Kate Hoey, as well as Tory MPs Simon Hart, Sir Nicholas Soames, Richard Drax and Victoria Prentis.
It said: “Many of us represent constituencies with Trust properties, and are proud to do so.
“What makes these places so special is the people who have nurtured them for generations and who understand the complex relationships that exist in rural communities and upon which the Trust depends.
“To destroy these vital relationships simply out of fear of a problem entirely conjured up in a social media campaign would set both a dangerous precedent and achieve nothing.
“As MPs we are only too well aware of how these campaigns are used to create an impression of a mass movement and to manipulate and intimidate individuals and organisations based on a sustained campaign of misinformation, unsubstantiated allegations and downright lies.”
The MPs said that it was “absurd the very same people who were proposing hunting a trail as a humane alternative are seeking its abolition on your property, without it seems any evidence to support their case.
“Indeed we understand that there have been no prosecutions under the Hunting Act on Trust property.”
The vote is open to the Trust’s five million members.