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Fox Hunting  

What's The Damage?

In 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 million.

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 and ignorance.

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.

No Threat

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 chemical deterrence.

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 farmers.
     
  • 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 territories.
     
  • Where foxes are persecuted by humans more cubs are produced to restore their population levels.
     
  • 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.
     

Fox Hunting Links  

League Against Cruel Sports - excellent Fox Hunting page
Fox Project - destroying the myths
 

 


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The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the League Against Cruel Sports