If you live in the UK, I’m sure you will be aware that it has been suggested that the fox hunting ban may be lifted. This has sparked lots of debate all over social media, which I often find myself struggling not to get involved in. As I have mentioned in a previous post (Fox Hunting: What side are you on?) I am not pro hunting, but I am more pro than against.
When it comes to the ban being lifted, I’m not sure where I stand. As it stands, all the fun of hunting can still be achieved by drag hunting. However, if the hound cross the scent of a fox, there’s not much you can do. So it seems that as long as you don’t set out to kill a fox, but stumble across one and kill it, it’s not breaking the law…
But back to the social media debates. My real problem with many people on the anti hunting side, have no idea what life is like in the country. One person said to me recently that we should leave foxes to their natural environment of “eating out of bins.” Sorry, but people who obviously have no clue really get to me.
Other people have said to me, that they aren’t against hunting as such, just that they don’t like the idea of it being lots of posh people riding around. Which is such an old stereotype and really not true anymore! I also feel it is important to point out, that the majority of people taking part in a hunt don’t enjoy the idea of killing a fox, just the experience and the thrill of the chase if they come across one. I stumbled across this article in the telegraph recently, which I feel is a very honest view of hunting from a rider and worth a read whatever you think about fox hunting.
It just seems with any welfare issue, the public knows all the bad bits, but none of the real life behind it. So I wanted this post to explain why people feel there is a need for it and how the current alternatives are potentially worse from a welfare point of view.
Don’t get me wrong, I have never been hunting, so it could be argued that I don’t know enough about what I’m talking about. However, I live in the country, with lots of friends who are farmers and or go hunting and I have lost animals to foxes. So I am writing this as my idea of country life involving fox hunting.
Although foxes look extremely cute, they are not wild dogs. They attack and kill live stock (poultry and lambs). They do not kill because they are hungry and they will not just kill the one, they will kill everything they can. Because of this they cost farmers money.
I have seen many stupid suggestions from anti hunting people about how they can protect the animals from foxes. But basically, the only way to do this is lock them away in a building all day and night so foxes can’t get to them. If the farmers did this, people would be calling it abuse. Therefore, the farmers best option is to kill foxes to prevent them getting to his animals.
There are several ways this could be done. The farmer could lay traps or poison. These would cause a slow and very painful death and they could kill other animals other than foxes. A popular method often suggested by anti hunters, is shooting them. This in theory, is the best method. However, foxes are crafty animals and this makes it hard for even a good marksman to get a good shot. Therefore the fox may be crippled rather than killed and will most likely die of bloodloss, infection or hunger.
Then there is hunting with horses and hounds. I know people who have been hunting for decades and never seen a kill. Which shows how often they do get away. And if they don’t get away, as violent as the death is, at least it is very quick, unlike other methods.
My overall opinion is, farmers will try and kill any fox they see. At least with horses and hounds its a quick death. And if they get away, hopefully the chase was enough to scare the fox away from the livestock for at least a little while.
I’m not trying to change anyone’s minds. I just wish the general public were given more of the facts to then make their own decision, especially those who do not come from the country and are likely to be unaware about things we take for granted.