What's The Damage?
an average fox hunting season:
Foxes killed: 15,000 (36% by digging up by terriermen)
Humans killed (in accidents): 3
Pups and hounds killed: 6,000
Veterinary fees for horses: £15 million
Injuries to hounds: 1,000
Injuries to those on foot (including sabs): 500
Total blood spilled: 1 ton plus
Policing costs (paid by taxpayers): Over £1
Brushing up the fox's image
THE fox is rapidly gaining popularity.
In part, this is thanks to TV naturalists such as David
Attenborough who have presented the fox in its true image
and not distorted by myth. As a result, we are
much more comfortable with the fox today.
A Bad Press
In such enlightened time we can dismiss
the views of those who hunt and shoot animals for 'sport'
as irrelevant and self-interested. Even so, we are still
conditioned throughout our lives by folk-lore and falsehood.
The stereotyped fox 'villains' in children's books and
uninformed popular newspaper pieces still spread fear
Scarcely 25 years ago, farmers and hunters
had us believe the badger and the otter were 'vermin'
and needed to be controlled. Everyone now knows this was
nonsense: both species are now protected by the law. The
Fox Project sees no reason why the same courtesy should
not be extended to the fox.
Neither the Minister of Agriculture nor
the National Farmers' Union considers the fox to be a
significant threat to agriculture. In an age of battery
farms, when few foxes know what a chicken looks like,
and when reputable scientific studies have shown only
a tiny minority of foxes take live lambs, this is unsurprising.
In fact, the most common complaint against
foxes today is that of digging and fouling in urban gardens.
This is a minor nuisance - one that hardly calls for the
death penalty, and it is quite easily overcome. The Fox
Project has over a decade of experience in humane non-toxic
Fox Hunting - The Facts
Foxes are at the top of their
food chain. Their population has never been controlled
by natural predators. Man and his dogs are the only
predators which have ever chased foxes over long distances.
Weak, injured or lost cubs could
have been taken by eagles of wolves but these animals
would never have become part of the breeding stock,
so such losses would have very little effect on overall
fox population density.
Foxes are not significant predators of farm livestock
Foxes are highly adaptable and
live mostly on earthworms, rodents, rabbits and carrion.
For this reason foxes are of positive benefit to most
Foxes are expert scavengers which
is why they have been so effective in establishing
urban fox populations. Foxes will prey on ground nesting
birds but rarely on lambs.
Post-mortem evidence has demonstrated
that lambs taken by foxes are likely to be either
already dead or weak, non viable lambs.
According to MAFF, predation of
foxes on lambs is nationally 'insignificant'. Studies
show that lamb losses are between 10% and 24% from
hypothermia, malnutrition or disease, but even sheep
farmers only claim that only 0.5% are due to foxes.
Hunting does not control fox populations
Hunts kill around 20,000 foxes
a year, but this is only 3% of the fox population.
The fox population is governed
by the year round availability of food in defended
Where foxes are persecuted by
humans more cubs are produced to restore their population
Studies in Europe have shown that
fox populations can survive losses of up to 70% and
still recover fully in the following year.
Where foxes are killed this merely
created a vacant territory which will be quickly filled
by other foxes.
Hunting is cruel by design
Foxhounds are bred to run more
slowly than the fox to sustain a good chase. The fox
will outrun the hounds initially until it is exhausted
and overtaken by the hounds.
Many foxes escape by hiding in
fox earths or badger setts and will be dealt with
by the terrier men.
Hounds do not kill foxes instantly
with a 'nip to the back of the neck'. Canids do not
kill in this way but rather tend to bring down their
prey by a series of bites and tears to their quarry.
The League has obtained post-mortem evidence from
veterinary surgeons to support that this is how foxes
recovered by League monitors have died.
League Against Cruel Sports - excellent
Fox Hunting page
Fox Project - destroying