Why the fox hunting ban must stay

I picked up a copy of The Daily Mail today. I don’t usually do that, but they’re giving away free Lego, so I picked that up for my daughter.

As I flicked through the pages, idly glancing at the articles, I couldn’t help but come across an article (well, several in fact) that annoyed me. On page 28, there is an article about foxes.

The article is written by Andrew Pierce, who recounts some unfortunate experiences he’s had with foxes. I’m not without sympathy – there are foxes in my neck of the woods. I’ll admit to some concern for my little girl – foxes can be dangerous, and yes, they can carry diseases. Pierce refers in his article to tragic incidents where foxes have attacked small children, so yes, the danger is real.

It’s also true that foxes can make a lot of noise. They screech at night sometimes, and yes, they have been known to kill family pets.

The thing is, they have been all but encouraged to slip into urban areas by our wasteful society, as we create easy hunting grounds with our rubbish and scraps for foxes to feast on (indeed, given our steady encroachment upon green spaces and natural habitats, we have left foxes almost needing to come to our doorstep to survive).

We’ve made it easy for foxes to come to us.

Pierce makes the following statements about foxes:

These disgusting and stinking vermin – and that’s what they are – should be culled

I’ve never been on a fox-hunt and have no interest in going on one. But I would love to see a red-jacketed huntsman, followed by hounds, charging through the back gardens of our neighbourhood. Apart from doing us all a service, it would be worth it just to see the look on Joanna Lumley’s face

Foxes are not vermin. They are wild animals, driven into urban areas by the expansion of those areas. They would not be in our cities and streets if we were not chopping up their natural homes.

Pierce’s declaration about fox hunting is telling. Hunts usually involve several men armed with guns who have several dogs that are sent after a single fox, and somehow, this is dressed up as ‘sport’.

It’s not sport. It’s a throwback to the age of toffs who took pleasure in killing defenceless animals. Sport implies two people or teams with a means to compete. There is no such thing in fox hunting.

Finally, whilst it’s true that foxes carry diseases and have been known to hurt people, this is true of other animals. The Daily Mail itself ran an article in 2011 that 6,000 cases of dog-related injuries were reported.

No one is calling for dogs to be culled.

Repeated searches for numbers in regard to fox-related injuries have not revealed any hard numbers (in itself quite interesting – are there too few to warrant articles?).

It’s also worth noting that as of January 2015, most of the UK still favours the ban on fox hunting, and rightly so.

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