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Fox Hunting - Again?

By Paul Michael
6th November, 2009


For most people, the idea of lifting a ban on the barbaric act of hunting and killing foxes with packs of dogs would seem like the politicians have gone barking mad - literally. Yet, this is what the Conservatives have said they will do if they are elected.

There remains a significant bunch of people who utterly believe that fox hunting is their right and there should never have been a ban. They argue that fox hunting has run in their families over hundreds of years, and that there is a great industry of people supporting and employees being supported by the 'sport'.

Foxes have been a pest to farming livestock. They sometimes attack, kill and eat sheep and chickens. However, while farmers should protect their livestock, attacks today are few and far between. In fact, it is domestic dogs that pose more of an issue for farmers than wild foxes.

In extreme cases, it would be appropriate for a farmer to shoot a fox. For example, where it is clear that a fox is continually attacking livestock as easy prey. However, most people would want a quick and clean kill.

Fox hunting with packs of hounds dates back hundreds of years and was made more popular at the end of the 19th century. Britain's oldest foxhunt, the Bilsdale in Yorkshire, was founded in 1670.

Foxes were deemed as vermin and were less favoured for hunting than deer. However, the advent of the railways and canals in the 1800s, along with the hedgerows and fences used to mark out arable land, made deer hunting less possible. How fine and dandy then for the wealthy land owners to arrange hunt meetings with some chums who by now were mostly living in the towns and could travel to the country by train. With a pack of hounds and their trusty steeds, they would charge over the countryside in pursuit of the wily fox. It was a great day out for the gentry and, of course in their minds, it was doing the poor farmer a favour. Ah, the thrill of the chase.

Time has moved on and the world has changed. Farming techniques became significantly more effective and efficient with the advent of the steam engine, and later the internal combustion engine. Animal husbandry techniques significantly improved, which increased the yields of farms. The fox is not the threat to output yields as it once was.

Despite all the changes and technical advances, the gentry just cannot resist the thrill of the chase. And so now, with absolutely no reason whatsoever, other than pure human greed, the gentry continue to chase down foxes and have them brutally killed. The fox is sniffed out, chased to exhaustion and is literally ripped apart from limb to limb by the blood thirsty pack of hounds. At some point the fox might be shot by the huntsmen. There are many accounts that suggest that the fox is left to the dogs to deal with.

The recently introduced ban on fox hunting is not being policed and prosecutions against those that flout this law are seldom. The law permits the steeplechase, and the pack of hounds now follow a man-laid scent. However, the argument of those who participate is that sometimes the wily fox will blow its cover and the hounds will inadvertently give chase and will kill the fox. This, say the hunters, is an 'accident'.

This is no accident. This is a bunch of irresponsible idiots, prancing around the countryside on horseback with a pack of hounds and some toff with the horn. Just like they did back in the 1600s. It is a clear example of how depraved the human mind can be when several people of the same depraved mind-set come together with the same aim. We humans can be pack-minded - just like dogs. It is simply not enough to chase your hounds who are chasing some scent laid down by someone earlier that day. These people are thrill-seekers, and there has to be a thrill. The kill is the thrill.

We should also be concerned that hunt meetings usually start with a few rounds of drinks. Huntsman also carry guns - real guns that can be used to kill. They meet in our towns and villages and ride through our towns and villages.

Let's take the huntsmen out of the 17th century and into the 21st century. Now we see a bunch of intoxicated and rowdy toffs being driven around in 4-wheel drive pick-ups, brandishing shot guns with a pack of blood-thirsty dogs with some nutter beeping his horn to make the dogs go wild. We would spend significant sums of money to ensure that such mad-Max styled undesirables do not visit our towns and villages. Yet, because the huntsmen continue on horseback and wear their uniforms of yesteryear, this is somehow deemed as acceptable.

As a society we commonly believe that we should kill only what needs to be killed and we strive to ensure that where it is necessary, we employ the most humane methods of killing to cause the least distress for the animals. If foxes must be killed then these ideals must be upheld. If our political candidates wish to side with our common beliefs, then supporting fox hunting should not be in the manifesto. In fact any idea of a bunch of intoxicated yobs brandishing guns in public should be outlawed.

Indeed, the only candidate that might wish to lift a ban on fox hunting is the one who's party is being funded in blood sport money. What other reason can there be?

We do not want intoxicated thugs with guns and blood-thirsty dogs roaming all over our countryside and needlessly, barbarically killing foxes. We have special and secure hospitals for people who have such tendencies.


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