Members of the Senedd, including a former Rural Affairs minister, joined animal welfare campaigners at the Senedd on Tuesday to back calls for the next UK government to strengthen fox hunting laws.

The MSs expressed their support for a ban on so-called trail hunting and for loopholes in the Hunting Act being exploited by hunts to be closed down.

Among the politicians backing the call to ban hunting was Lesley Griffiths, who was the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs up until 21 March this year.

Chris Luffingham, acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It’s time for change and to end hunting for good. The laws in Wales and England need to be strengthened.

“We welcome the support of MSs in calling for the next UK government to urgently implement these vital changes which will stop hunts chasing and killing foxes and wreaking havoc on rural communities.”

Carolyn Thomas MS, Chair of the Senedd Cross-Party Group on Animal Welfare said: "It is fantastic to see the Labour Party's commitment to strengthen the Hunting Act 2004 which is much needed and will close a loophole by banning trail-hunting, a practice used as a cover up for illegal and barbaric fox hunting.

"This will be a huge step forward in ending the horrific cruelty inflicted on foxes in the UK in the name of ‘sport’. We are a nation of animal lovers and I know the vast majority of residents across Wales will want to see an end to this brutal practice.”

The charity says a poll it commissioned showed that 78 per cent of people in Wales were in favour of strengthening the Hunting Act with 57 per cent saying they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the strengthening of hunting laws.

The Scottish Government strengthened its fox hunting laws last year and banned so called trail hunting. Fox hunting laws in Wales are not devolved and are determined by the UK government.

Chris Luffingham added: “We are calling on the next UK government to catch up and change the laws with urgency.”