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Up Topic Dog Boards / Controversial Stuff / The Morality of Fox Hunting
- By MarkR Date 06.04.11 08:17 GMT
There is a current thread running discussing The Law on Fox Hunting.

Given time that thread would almost certainly turn into a debate regarding the morality of fox hunting and its focus would change from being a useful and informative thread on the law.

So what better way to start the Controversial Stuff Forum off. Why not debate the rights and wrongs of fox hunting in this thread instead.
- By Anwen [gb] Date 06.04.11 12:48 GMT
I think most people have had to agree to disagree on the rights/wrongs of fox hunting. What I find interesting is that, since the ban, we seem to have had far LESS foxes around than previously (in a rural sheep farming area). Just an observation.
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 06.04.11 12:58 GMT
mmm doesnt do anything for urban fox numbers which seem to be higher than in the countryside
- By dvnbiker [gb] Date 06.04.11 14:17 GMT
ok so my viewpoint then.  Yes foxes can be a pest to farmers etc.  I have no problem with them being dealt with humanely and only if necessary, what I have a problem with is them being hunted down, scared out of their wits and dying a horrible death.  So as far as I am concerned keep the hunting ban in place.
- By Tarimoor [gb] Date 06.04.11 17:00 GMT
Not necessarily replying to you MarkR, but I think the ethics of fox hunting, and any other hunting, are skewed out of all proportion.  We are more than happy to accept cruelty in other areas of our lives, because it suits our life styles, sometimes because we can't be bothered to even look further than what's under our nose, and at other times, even though we know or suspect what we buy supports cruelty, we tell ourselves it's ok, because we can't afford to buy organic, or free range etc, etc, and we all have to eat.

How many people know where their leather furniture came from?  Or how many other hidden cruelties we support to man/animal because we want to buy on a budget?  Modern farming practices call for bigger animals that produce more meat, and we raise them as intensively as possible to keep our costs down.  The dairy industry sees thousands upon thousands of unwanted calves killed for being the wrong sex, the same with hens and egg layers.  It is incredibly hard not to be hypocritical at all and to live in modern society, but one thing that puts a wry smile on my face, is the argument against fox hunting where it's chased and killed, possibly chased for a few hours, although that's the exception I believe, rather than the norm.  How many animals destined for our table live in poor conditions all their lives, some incredibly short in comparison to a natural life span, and know terrible fear and pain before being killed in a strange place? 

Some, no doubt support ethical practices where they can, but I'm guessing with the continuation of intensive farming, that even though the vast majority of people you'd ask would be against fox hunting, many of them must be supporting cruelty in at least this form.  I find that incredibly bizarre! 
- By Merlot [gb] Date 06.04.11 17:10 GMT
Hmm My take on it...well I think the "Horrible" death could be questioned. It's a much quicker kill than a poor shot and the fox crawling off the die of thirst and starvation due to a wound. Nature is very hard. Hundreds of animals die every day from being hunted and eaten. Foxes however are not prey animals so would not normally be hunted this way. They would, if nature was let go become the opposition for other larger hunters like bears and wolves so would be killed by them as and when caught. I do not like to see any animal killed for the sake of humans, but it is the world we live in and we all like our eggs cheap! and our chickens easily available. So fox numbers must be kept in order. I would like to see a man with a couple of good dogs and a shotgun do the job properly. But we know that does not happen and many are wounded or poisoned instead. I hate the idea of killing an animal becoming a "sport". Take out the sportsmen who get some warped fun out of slaughter and then maybe hunting could be looked upon in a clearer light.
- By colliepam [gb] Date 06.04.11 18:28 GMT
I agree with you,i once saw an advert against seal culling,showing a beautiful baby seal.Below it was an advert for british lamb!Every creature has only one life.Im glad Im vegetarian!
- By ceejay Date 06.04.11 19:34 GMT
Good post Aileen.  The trouble is the foxes have moved into the towns and that is where they are becoming a nuisance - we can't hunt them with dogs and a shot gun there.  I know we have had this discussion before about urban foxes. I do believe that they are becoming a bigger and bigger nuisance - I note too an article today about the spread of lungworm - how it has spread through most of the uk now and people should be more aware of it.  Some people may like the sight of foxes in their back gardens but I would rather see them out in the country.  How can you let your children go out and play where foxes have been messing.  The countryside is the place for foxes and their habitat should be protected so that they can find food there.  The trouble is humans are such messy creatures we provide easy pickings for foxes.   
- By G.Rets [gb] Date 06.04.11 20:31 GMT
Just fed the 4 in the field behind my garden. I gave them a Milbemax as well to prevent the French Heartworm!
- By ClaireyS Date 06.04.11 22:22 GMT

>Im glad Im vegetarian!

but do you wear leather shoes ? drink milk ? eat eggs ? fish ?  animals dont only die for their meat.
- By colliepam [gb] Date 07.04.11 06:56 GMT
Im well aware of that,I dont wear leather personally,or drink milk,I have my own hens,or hen,now,rather,I was vegan for over a year,but I found it a little too strict.Its all  down to what your conscience can cope with.
- By dvnbiker [gb] Date 07.04.11 09:16 GMT
I understand what people say about cruelty in other parts of our lives but those animals are not hunted down for hours on end by a bunch of people who get some sort of thrill out of scaring an animal to death. 
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 07.04.11 11:53 GMT

>those animals are not hunted down for hours on end

In the same way that wild prey animals are hunted by wild predators? It's one of the ways Mother Nature designed for animals to die a natural death, especially the weak, sick or old which were of no use to the gene pool. (Mother Nature's a bit of an old harridan, not a sweet little old lady!)

No, factory farmed chickens and pigs (as intelligent and trainable as dogs, by the way) spend their whole lives, not just an hour or so, in misery, for the sake of cheaper food for us and our pet dogs.
- By tina s [gb] Date 07.04.11 13:31 GMT
but is it 'mother nature' to rip a fox apart by a pack of 30 dogs?
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 07.04.11 13:35 GMT

>but is it 'mother nature' to rip a fox apart by a pack of 30 dogs?

As much as it is for a pack of wolves to rip apart a baby caribou, for example, or a pack of Arican hunting dogs to rip apart an antelope. That's what predators do.
- By tina s [gb] Date 07.04.11 14:04 GMT
but the difference is that the dog pack is 'man made' and at the end of the day, the hunt is for mans enjoyment and not 'mother natures'
- By Boody Date 07.04.11 15:05 GMT
In the wild it is not normally a prolonged attack as they try their best to conserve energy as they don't know when their next feed may be, the only ones I can think of who seem to enjoy it are killer whales.
- By calmstorm Date 07.04.11 15:30 GMT
Like all pedigree dogs, fox hounds are man made and bred for purpose. They are bred to hunt foxes, to kill foxes, to keep the fox population under some sort of control for the vermin they are. Same as terriers will dispatch a lair of rats. The hunt kills foxes in the way Mother nature herself does, by hunting and killing. Yes, its controlled by exceptionally skilled and experienced hunt staff, far better than by trapping, poison, gas or by shot which relies on the skill of the hunter and his gun to kill outright not just, as in many cases, to wound not kill and leave the fox to die days later in pain either from injuries or starvation. A clean fatal shot on a fox is difficult, whilst many can manage this an experienced shot will tell you it is not easy to kill a fox outright.

Of course, if you think fox numbers do not need to be controlled, then you would not agree with any means of dispatch. If you think the Hunt is all about killing, perhaps you should with open mind discover all the work in country conservation the Hunt does over a 12 month period. To the staff and the majority of followers on horseback, foot bike or car it is a job of work, seeing hounds work over ground is pleasure in much the same way as watching a gundog work is pleasure. The kill for foxhounds is the result of this work. This is not 'bloodlust' but a natural conclusion to the hounds job. In much the same way as a fisherman lands a fish, or those out on a days shooting is proud of the birds they have shot and their dog has retrieved.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 07.04.11 17:29 GMT

>the only ones I can think of who seem to enjoy it are killer whales.

And bottle-nosed dolphins, who 'play with' the harbour porpoises in the Moray Firth before they kill them, and of course we mustn't forget cats, who extend their kill as long as possible.
- By Boody Date 07.04.11 20:11 GMT
and of course we mustn't forget cats, who extend their kill as long as possible.

Apart from my 3 cats who would run a million miles if they saw a mouse ( they are peace loving lol )

Again though in my mind it all goes to the intent, to do it just for sport in my mind is wrong and blood thirsty and no matter how hard i try i can't see any good reason for it.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 07.04.11 20:32 GMT
But it's not just for sport; the primary purpose is to control the population of predators. The fact that it's possible to combine other elements with this doesn't overcome this basic aim.
- By colliepam [gb] Date 08.04.11 07:33 GMT
but some people enjoy it and thats got to be wrong.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 08.04.11 07:42 GMT
Does that matter to the fox (or any other prey)?
- By Brainless [gb] Date 08.04.11 08:07 GMT

>> but is it 'mother nature' to rip a fox apart by a pack of 30 dogs?
> As much as it is for a pack of wolves to rip apart a baby caribou, for example, or a pack of Arican hunting dogs to rip apart an antelope. That's what predators do.

What happens to the animal after it's dead is hardly important, ti will have died quickly long before any tearing apart of it's remains.
- By colliepam [gb] Date 08.04.11 08:39 GMT
maybe not,but it matters to me!
- By Boody Date 08.04.11 09:24 GMT
Well after watching and reading about the great temple grandin I agree 100% with her that nature is cruel but we don't have to be we owe them respect.
- By jackbox Date 11.04.11 08:22 GMT
we owe them respect.

And a quick clean kill is the greatest respect of all,

They will be hunted , they are vermin, and no matter how we look at it, they will be controlled, and we owe it to any animal to dispatch it quickly. 

And whether  we like it or not the best way to do that is with a quick kill from a dog.

In all the years of foot following, I have never seen a fox beign chased down for hours, they are usually scented by the hounds and a quick chase and dispatch,  or they get away, and the hounds move on to a new scent.
- By Merlot [gb] Date 11.04.11 09:45 GMT
Unfortunatly the majority of things we do with animals is...for want of a better word...cruel.
The problem is that we make things into a sport. I have no proplem with killing animals quickly and cleanly if there is a need for it. Fox populations need keeping under control...for our benefit not theirs, nature would do the job if we did not interfeer because we have taken away the natural preditor of the fox. If numbers got too high food would be scarce and fox's would be regulated. It is the sport aspect I find hard to accept. It does not take a crowd of people racing round the countryside to kill a fox. A couple of men and a pack of dogs will do. The kill if it happens is quick and complete, either the fox gets away  or is killed, end of story.
We kill animals for meat, some are killed in a better maner than others. I choose to get mine from a local small producer who uses a local small slaughterhouse, quieter and slightly kinder on the animal, but still "cruel" They are killed for my food and unless we all become vegans then it needs to be done in the best way possible. No sport...chasing around...possible slow death. Being a superior animal we can choose to do things the best for the animal or we can choose to use them as sport.
Where fox populations are a problem to humans then a quick clean kill is preferable, shooting/gassing/poisoning are not always clean, often a fox gets away but is mortally wounded in some way and has a slow death, if he gets away from the hounds he is tired but after a rest will often be fine.
The culling of deer is another slaughter that has been turned into a sport. One very good marksman and a gun will do the best job but we let amatures take shots at them for money and all too often they injure but not kill so the marksman then has to track a wounded deer to finish it off. Cruel?
Fishing is a bone of contention why fish and then after you have hooked it and dragged it out of the river...put it back with a hole in its face..? fish for food by all means and eat what you catch..or don't use the fish for Sport.
Ok thats enough from my soap box now.
- By Tarimoor [gb] Date 11.04.11 12:23 GMT
The culling of deer is another slaughter that has been turned into a sport. One very good marksman and a gun will do the best job but we let amatures take shots at them for money and all too often they injure but not kill so the marksman then has to track a wounded deer to finish it off.

What makes you think that's the case?  Any person who goes out with a professional deer stalker, has to prove themselves an able shot before setting foot out stalking.  It is one very good marksman, with a gun, and a professional stalker.  If the deer weren't culled by the estate, then they would be culled by the relevant government department, and they wouldn't choose the most appropriate animal, it would just be to reach the quota, whether that's made up of young or old animals, or stags, hinds, calves.  The way the estates manage deer stalking ensures that an income is generated, which goes back into the running of the estate (hopefully); and the deer stalkers get to choose which animals are culled, which gives them chance to focus on older animals, and those with dangerous antlers rather than younger, healthier animals, and in this instance of culling, the meat can be used as well. 

Deer need culling to maintain healthy populations, this has been proven by the League Against Cruel Sports, who operate a no cull policy on their deer 'sanctuary' at Baronsdown.  I hope it's ok to post the link, apols in advance if it isn't, but have a look at this clip:

Any culling method is viewed as cruel, particularly those where the animal can't be utilised for food, but if if it keeps the balance of our wildlife equitable, then surely it is ethical to cull certain species, to ensure the survival of all, as fit and healthy animals? 

I do find it an odd perspective, I'm a confirmed omnivore and love my food, particularly meat; I love preparing marinates and sauces, butchering up the meat so I get the best cuts, tenderising etc, doesn't make me some sort of bizarre psycho likely to chop up animals.  In the same way, those involved with hunting and shooting, enjoy what they do, but it doesn't mean they want to see every fox dead, or kill every deer they see. 
- By snowkitten [gb] Date 12.04.11 12:32 GMT
I have never known a fox to be hunted down for hours. As others have said before me they are usually scented out and caught quickly or they get away. When they are caught it is usually by the leading dog who like a tiger catching it's prey will grab it around the throat for a quick kill.

Beagles used to do it with hares too only we are not allowed to chase hare anymore just an aniseed scent.
- By LJS Date 12.04.11 12:42 GMT
Did anybody watch the BBC 3 Program called Kill it, Cook it, Eat it presented by Julia Bradbury ?

Well worth watching if you are against hunting as it gives a really good insight to this subject.Even the most avid supporters of banning hunting had their views changed once they learnt more about the subject.

Very good series.
- By ceejay Date 12.04.11 13:07 GMT
Sounds an interesting programme - we have got too far from our roots - we like everything packaged up cleanly without any clue to the way it has been reared and killed.  As for hounds being bred for purpose - well it is only training them to do something that is in their genes already.  I was horrified when my dog caught and killed a rabbit - pretty instant death I think from the look of it.  She then tore it apart and ate it - nothing I could do. 
However I would not have another cat.  I hate the way they play with what they have caught - I used to try to retrieve animals from mine and in doing so she would dispatch them quicker.  It was ironic that when she reached old age and was a bit doolally it was a fox that decapitated her and left her body to be found by my neighbour.  
- By sam Date 12.04.11 19:44 GMT
I have to disagree with you on your comments re deer culling Aillen. To get a FAC (not a shotgun lisence note) for a calibre of RIFLE legally allowed to shoot deer you have to go with a mentor for at least 1 year before you are allowed the full FAC and to go out unaccompanied. part of this mentoring includes showing your capabilities as a marksman as well as species ID and your ability to deal with the carcass as well. its not just a question of amateurs going out taking potshots at deer for sport atall and those of us who take our deer stallking activities seriously would be aghast .
- By Merlot [gb] Date 12.04.11 21:20 GMT
I stand corrected Sam. maybe the sport needs to make it a little more open to JP like me who obviously have the wrong idea. I assumed wrongly it seems that money could buy you the right to shoot deer. I seem to remember a program on the TV some little while ago with a gamekeeper talking about some of the hopeless shots he gets to take out looking for deer. May have been filmed in Scotland, would that be different?
My Uncle was a gamekeeper for much of his life in Wales. He taught me to handle a gun,  and when younger also went with him and shot Rabitts which my Aunt made into lovely meals... I also love Venison so I am not opposed to shooting deer, as long as it is for the table and needs culling anyway.
Just can't stand the idea of some rich pillock killing for fun!!
- By colliecrew [gb] Date 13.04.11 08:33 GMT
Did anybody watch the BBC 3 Program called Kill it, Cook it, Eat it presented by Julia Bradbury ?

Well worth watching if you are against hunting as it gives a really good insight to this subject.Even the most avid supporters of banning hunting had their views changed once they learnt more about the subject.

Well, with respects to fox hunting - not sure I've ever heard of anyone killing for the pot!

Fox hunting is a pastime for humans to "enjoy". It's not for the purpose of controlling numbers and it's not for the pot. It astounds me that some people continue to spout such fallacies.
- By dvnbiker [gb] Date 13.04.11 14:09 GMT
the title of this topic is the morality of fox hunting so surely the question is, is fox hunting moral?  If its for sport, personally I don't believe that it is.
- By LJS Date 13.04.11 15:02 GMT
spout such fallacies

Sorry but was this comment aimed at me ?

I never said that this program was about hunting foxes I stated it was about hunting in general :-)

It was also around teaching people about how hunting is really done and not the perception of how it is done.It also showed the benefits to both the countryside, the animal population in general and how hunting done properly kills animals ina  humane way.

Fox hunting although wasn't covered in this program as you quite rightly pointed out not generally hunted for the dinner table. It is about keeping the fox population in check and as explained above is one of the best humane ways of killing a fox. Shooting and poisoning are not and can result in a slow painful death.

And dont dismiss that foxes are never eaten as many types of wild animals are eaten, for example squirrels. This I have had first hand experience of eating from the result of somebody going out hunting and bringing me back a couple of rabbits and a squirrel as a thanks you for borrow one of my girls for picking up. Foxes however I should imagine are not the best type of meat to eat as there would be little fat on the fox and so wouldn't be very tender I should imagine. It is a meat I am not sure I would like to try ;-)

I was watching Master Chef last night on Sky Plus and one of the dishes they were serving at one of the top restuarants was squirrel with a quinell of squirell liver.
- By colliecrew [gb] Date 13.04.11 21:31 GMT
Sorry but was this comment aimed at me ?

No - sorry, reading it back it did sound rather abrupt of me! My apologies :)

The fallacies part was in relation to various comments made throughout the thread. It's very frustrating to read particular comments which are really absolute nonsense with no evidence to support the claims. Indeed, evidence which supports the opposite of that which is suggested.

The main one is regarding fox numbers requiring to be controlled. In the case of both urban and rural foxes, it's proven to not be the case. Various independent (as in not funded through animal rights group or the countryside alliance type of group) studies have shown that, where extermination of foxes take place, it has absolutely no impact on fox numbers.

In terms of fox hunting, there is really no case to be argued in terms of control of numbers. Aside from the fact that the numbers exterminated from hunts was small, studies in Scotland (where the hunting ban has been in place for a number of years) show that there has been no increase to the fox population. That said, hunts in Scotland have never been as prolific as in England. However, during the foot and mouth outbreak, where hunting was ceased, there was also no impact on fox numbers following the ban.

Foxes are a self limiting species and numbers have largely remained stable for a long period of time. This is largely explained by the fact they are highly territorial creatures. Where one fox is killed (by man), another will claim that territory. Without human intervention, territory would be claimed by the strongest fox - hence the self limiting concept.

I really have no issue with kill for the pot or where numbers do require to be controlled for the health of the herds (in the case of deer for example). Quickly and humanely. Where I do have issues is where animals are hunted for the sheer enjoyment of humans. This, in my opinion, is the case with foxes and also, to some degree, with pheasant shoots. What people often forget is how much of our own natural wildlife is destroyed in order to maintain healthy pheasant stocks (a bird not indigenous to this country) - stoats, weasels, foxes, birds of prey (yes, illegal but nonetheless happens). All this for the pleasure of man.

Luckily we have red squirrels so it's definitely off the menu here!!
- By Nikita [ru] Date 15.04.11 18:23 GMT

> Foxes however I should imagine are not the best type of meat to eat as there would be little fat on the fox and so wouldn't be very tender I should imagine.

There's next to no fat on a rabbit but they turn out nice, I imagine fox wouldn't be too bad :-)
- By Tarimoor [gb] Date 15.04.11 21:37 GMT
Apologies colliecrew, my first response was a little tongue in cheek, but to reply further to your post, here's my thoughts.

I agree, I find it frustrating to read posts that don't appear to have much basis on reality.

Control of fox numbers happens throughout the UK, if numbers were 'self limiting' you would expect a decline in areas where they couldn't increase to keep up with the numbers culled.  From the people I know that go out lamping to control numbers, this isn't the case, foxes are abundant, and those that venture towards areas where they come into conflict with domestic lifestock, are killed, as humanely as possible.

In terms of fox hunting, what's crueller, gassing, trapping and killing, snaring, poisoning, shooting, or hunting with dogs, take your pick?  Only one method of hunting has been used effectively for over a thousand years, it's been applied to all methods of hunting, including foxes, and only recently condemned as cruel along with a few other prey specific species.  How cruelty can be applied to the specific species of prey is beyond me.   

No animal is to my knowledge self limiting. No animal exhibits birth control on a sentient level, except human beings, and then, really not very well.  Foxes are no more self limiting than any other species.  Unless, perhaps you mean if there isn't sufficient food, in which case, a fox will starve to death.  In which case, is it better to have a smaller, healthier population controlled by culling or a larger population, with individuals starving to death. 

All animals are killed for enjoyment, whether to eat or wear, it's the detachment from the kill that people seem to have a problem with.  I personally respect animals enough to understand this, and ensure whatever I eat, I make the most of it.  I make my own stocks, sauces etc, and nothing gets thrown away before being used, if at all. 

Glad you have red squirrels, I hope they continue to do well, and manage to make a come back ;)
- By theemx [gb] Date 16.04.11 03:00 GMT Upvotes 1
Im fully on the 'for' side with fox hunting.

It just ISNT as simple as saying 'oh its only done for sport thus its awful' because that aint the case.

Nor is it done to control huge numbers of foxes - its individuals that cause problems and little pockets of over populated areas so they need the odd rogue picking off and the rest dispersing.

Hunting with a pack of hounds does that, picks out the rogues - they are the sick, the weak, the old and the ones who have for whatever reason learned its easier to loiter and pick off newborn lambs or break into chicken housing than it is to hunt for themselves.

It disperses foxes, they clear off and move to pastures new and the reduction in numbers THAT way means theres less pressure on the remaining foxes so they don't pose such a problem.

The whole 'hunting is a sport done for fun' is a misconception.

The hunt - ie, the hounds, hunt staff etc, they are doing a job. (Multiple jobs) - they are teaching hounds the ropes, they are dispersing foxes in several areas within one day, they are going to areas where a problem has been reported.

That is JUST on an actual hunt. Outside of that, they are providing subsidised services to the local farmers/landowners - both removing fallen stock/slaughtering animals not destined for the human food chain, and pest control in areas its not appropriate to take the whole hunt.

Who subsidises that? The followers do. They get their fun, which is not a barbaric bloodthirsty slavering delight in seeing a fox ripped to pieces, but riding and jumping over land nto normally available to them (adn all the social aspect of it as well), at a cost - that fee pays for the hunt to carry on and to do all the things it does.

This idea that people following the hunt want to and do, see the fox ripped to bits is a fallacy - it rarely happens that anyone in the field sees it, becuase the hounds are there first and the persons on horseback closest to the hounds are the hunt staff (the Master, the huntsman the whippers in maybe and maybe the terrier man, talking pre ban!).

Members of the Field are NOT supposed to be that near the hounds, you have to stay well back and if you get near them you get a right rollocking - so how on earth can 20, 50, 100 people on horses ALL stand even a semi decent chance of seeing the fox meet its maker? They can't and thats the simple truth of it, they can't and they don't and they on the whole don't want to anyway!

So the fun part, is a long way distanced from the 'killing an animal' part - the 'fun' subsidises the 'job' and most of the real, necessary useful work a hunt does, does not take place in the field with loads of people galloping around!

Lots of areas now have drag hunts, and thats great IF you can get enough land owners to permit it - many won't because there are fewer benefits to them and much more damage done to the ground and the fences (though both types of hunt are supposed to, and on the whole do, repair fences and keep them in good nick).

Drag hunting though doesnt help to disperse foxes as thats purely about fast riding and jumping, theres little to no standing about at a drag hunt, and so they avoid areas there may be foxes in many cases as the last thing you want is the hounds rioting and/or splitting up, and going off the pre-planned trail.

Sooooo morally I have no problem with it. As a method of dispersing and culling foxes that are a problem, it is better than the alternatives - because NO other methods can pick out just the weakest problem animals and no other method can promote the survival and dispersal of the fittest animals. Some methods may be more efficient at killing large numbers but that isnt and never was the point!
- By colliepam [gb] Date 16.04.11 09:26 GMT
Il never believe its right theemx,but you made some good points and Im now a lot more informed than I was .Thanks!
- By colliecrew [gb] Date 16.04.11 10:46 GMT
Tarimoor - I suspect your original post was so tongue in cheek that it was never approved by the moderators lol It remains hidden on my screen!

I, more than anyone perhaps, know how emotive this subject is. I was embroiled in a rather heated discussion about this some time ago. I promised not to involve myself in this thread...but here I am! Grrrrrr - too loud mouthed for my own good lol

Anyways, yes, control of fox numbers does occur throughout the UK. Road accidents are the primary cause of death for our foxes followed by culling through lamping. Two field studies, in Scotland and in Wales respectively, found that the more foxes were killed in winter, the higher the number of foxes tended to be in the following spring. Thus over-winter culling seems to be counter-productive, attracting immigrant foxes from surrounding areas. Recently, a modelling study confirmed the results of these two field studies.

A study used computer simulations to model the impact of different culling practices on fox numbers in a large region. Of four methods of fox control (hunting with hounds, winter shooting, culling at the den and fertility control) the most effective at reducing fox populations was found to be culling at the den, which eliminates the mother with her cubs and winter shooting, which removes dispersing individuals. Both methods however, were effective only at very high culling levels (greater than 80%), which are unfeasible for large areas. None of the methods were effective at reducing fox numbers because immigrating foxes from other areas quickly replaced dead foxes.

This was also found to be the case in some large local authority areas where culling was carried out on urban foxes. Hence the reason that no local authority in the UK now carry out any form of fox control.

The Mammal Society carried out a 2001 study into fox numbers throughout Britain (studyof droppings) where an estimate of 225,000 foxes was made. This was repeated in 2002 following the ban on hunting with dogs due to foot and mouth - estimate was the same. In more recent years, Tracking Mammals Partership continue to evaluate fox numbers and have found the population to be stable.

I am not a sentimental fool about these matters. I like to understand the rationale behind arguements. I don't see any arguement which convinces me that hunting with dogs is necessary for any reason. Of anyone, I have a keen interest given I own sheep and have the potential loss of lambs through foxes.

Where there is sound reasoning, I have no problem with culling. The case of the grey squirrel (sounds like an Agatha Christie book!) for example. I fully support the culling of greys in order to sustain our native reds. It's funny though - gamekeepers will talk passionately about the culling of greys and how reds have been dessimated given the introduction of a non-native species. Yet, they think nothing of the control of our native species in order to sustain the non-native pheasant. Money talks as they say....people will pay the price to trudge through the countryside shooting pheasants which are unlikely to ever see it to the "plate".

All animals are killed for enjoyment, whether to eat or wear

Yes, I guess you could argue that "for the pot" is for enjoyment given we could sustain our life eating non-meat products. Perhaps I am as hypocritical as the gamekeeper! Perhaps this is where it comes back to morals. I see a distinction between killing for meat (which we are designed to eat) and killing just for the kill.

I doubt we will ever agree Tarimoor. People are rarely ever "shifted" from their view on either side of the fence. I actually sat on the fence for a while which I guess is what drove me to read on the subject.

I have managed to keep calm throughout - hurrah!! :)
- By Olive1 Date 16.04.11 17:28 GMT
"There's next to no fat on a rabbit but they turn out nice, I imagine fox wouldn't be too bad ."

Then try this place;
- By Dicksee [gb] Date 25.09.11 05:05 GMT Upvotes 1
Has anyone given any thought to the fate of the packs hounds that no longer foxhunt. The English Foxhound has been bred for soundness, temperament and nose by expert huntsmen for centuries and the thought of losing that gene pool is a tragedy. Working hounds cannot be rehomed in pet homes on the whole they are just not suitable after living in packs all their lives.
Their temperaments are superb, who else could keep upwards of 20 males safe together at feeding time!!!
I know some packs now drag hunt but I suspect that scores of hounds have been put to sleep....maybe more than the foxes they would have caught....
Up Topic Dog Boards / Controversial Stuff / The Morality of Fox Hunting

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