to think that fox hunting ban might have been a mistake?

(284 Posts)
lessonsintightropes Wed 26-Jun-13 00:29:22

I live in suburban South London and have done for donkeys. Over the last five years foxes have been encroaching a lot into our neighbourhood and have killed a couple of cats, and regularly torn up bins etc. I know at least nine individual foxes by sight. I'm in zone 3!

I was always rabidly anti-hunting on cruelty grounds when I was ill informed younger. My DBrother and DSis live in very rural Hampshire; she used to hunt and now they drag-hunt exclusively, but they lose a lot of chickens, ducks and cats despite stalagluft-style electric fences.

I've rethought my position over time and have come to the conclusion that town people shouldn't dictate to country people how to live, and vice versa. Especially when countryside vermin start inhabiting my street!

What makes me a bit anxious is the risk to children and domestic pets from a growing fox population. It's certainly made my cat anxious and makes me freak out a bit when I see something dog sized in my tiny suburban garden, but am also well prepared to listen to arguments the other direction (although I will always wish they don't rip up my recycling bags).

Would love to know what the MN jury has to say?

maninawomansworld Tue 02-Jul-13 13:10:12

I've rethought my position over time and have come to the conclusion that town people shouldn't dictate to country people how to live, and vice versa. Especially when countryside vermin start inhabiting my street

Wow..... common sense prevails.... can you have a chat to some of your fellow town dwellers for us please?

Funny how it takes the problem to begin affecting you before you start to see it from our point of view though isn't it?!

ragged Sun 30-Jun-13 13:52:07

I live in the countryside and we never see foxes here. No hunts, but not heaps of rubbish & food, either. After the potato harvest we see people in the fields gathering up the castoffs for themselves. Get rid of the wasteful habit of throwing out good food & I bet you won't see them, either. It's a sign of affluence if you ask me.

burberryqueen Sun 30-Jun-13 12:28:36

excellent post ^^

cazboldy Sun 30-Jun-13 12:20:16

all good factual points selectausername

SelectAUserName Fri 28-Jun-13 18:30:48

I'd like to throw in a few facts at random:

Traditionally, the reason the majority of hunt staff "dressed up" in red coats was so that a farmer, seeing a group of riders on his land, could see at a distance and at a quick glance that they were the hunt and so riding there with permission, rather than any random group of pleasure riders who might not know and follow the rules of riding across farmland, crops etc. Many hunts have moved away from wearing red in recent years.

A trained marksman with a rifle would be a more humane method of fox control. Unfortunately it isn't possible to guarantee a clean kill shot 100% of the time - particularly not with a shotgun, which is the more common type of weapon used - so a percentage of all foxes shot will not die a quick death but a lingering one of starvation or infection. One advantage of fox hunting in that respect is that the hunted fox either gets away unhurt or is killed outright. There is no half measure, unlike every other method of control to a greater or lesser extent.

There is a misconception that foxes are running flat out, terrified, for hours. This is almost never the case. The fox will usually be far enough ahead of the hunt to move at a purposeful jog, quite calmly, pausing to sniff the air, assess the pursuit and pick its escape route. They are not chased for hours in a blind panic or anything near it. Only during the final short phase of the hunt, when the hounds are within sight of the fox, will it break into a run. Even then, running from a predator is 'natural' IYSWIM. It is far more stressful for a fox (or any wild animal) to be restrained than it is to be chased. That's not to say the fox won't feel a degree of fear during the end-stage of a hunt but only to a level consistent with its natural lifestyle. There is a tendency to anthropomorphise the thought of being chased as we humans would find it terrifying as it's such an alien concept to us, but it is much less alien or terrifying to a wild animal who lives on its instinct.

Far from being bloodthirsty slavering loonies hell-bent on torture, hunt staff in particular and many followers have respect for the fox. It is an unsentimental pragmatic 'old-skool' countryman's view but they neither hate foxes nor take perverse glee in watching it be 'ripped apart'. They see themselves, in the main, as having a job to do - a job which happens to give members of the community the opportunity to watch hounds at work, to ride an unknown line over open countryside and to strengthen social ties. The vast majority of people who followed hounds either did so because of enjoyment of the skill of houndwork - and there is skill involved; you have to be able to judge scenting conditions, ground conditions, predict the behaviour of the individual hounds which make up the pack, read subtle signs regarding trails, spoors, dens - or because it was the only opportunity to ride 'into the unknown'. Every other equestrian pursuit involves having the course or event entirely mapped out for you. Drag-hunting mimics hunting freedoms to some extent but even then, a person has previously chosen the trail based on a relatively restricted amount of land and there isn't the same unpredictability of route, speed, number of stops and starts, distance of runs etc that fox hunting offered.

A large number of people who hunt will have never seen the actual kill. That is not their primary motivation. It is the thrill of riding at speed over land that they would not otherwise have access to, because access was only granted on the basis the hunt was providing the farmer with a service. It may not have been the most efficient service, but it was a symbiotic relationship.

The ban was never about animal welfare. The independent enquiry set up to report on hunting during the parliamentary debates leading to the ban could not definitively recommend a ban on the grounds of cruelty as there was insufficient evidence to do so. The Labour Government had to invoke the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 to pass the Hunting Act into law; only the seventh time it had been invoked since its inception.

Owllady Fri 28-Jun-13 17:21:36

The Duke of Bedford also has the Pere David's deer, Axis, Chital and the Barsingha oh and Rusa and didn't the muntjac and chinese water deer escape from there? (you know, originally)

Re deer, we have tipped nature's balance rather dramatically by a) eradicating their native predators and b) introducing four non-native species (fallow, sika, muntjac and Chinese water deer), for shooting purposes, all of which have settled in very well. Only roe and red deer are native to Britain, and their natural numbers were boosted considerably by introductions from other countries in Victorian times.

TheRealFellatio Fri 28-Jun-13 17:07:02

I completely agree with you Ginger. I have yet to hear an argument for fox hunting that stacks up. All of it just smacks of clutching at straws, and I say that as a countryside lover and someone who knows a fair few pro-hunting people as friends.

Owllady Fri 28-Jun-13 16:56:17

I know we are not short of deer wink

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 16:44:00

I happily shoot and eat rabbits, we are in devon, and even if you sat there all day and night you would never deal with the numbers in the same way hungry foxes do,

I don't see the point of hunting an animal you are not going to eat,

but as conservationist all over the world unfortunately find, often it is the hunting that protects the species.

a few years ago a chap in Gloucestershire left a huge amount of woodland to the NT, he was a keen deer stalker, and the land was kept in mint native condition, he left to the NT (for all of us) with a condition the local shoot would continue to use the land.

the NT accepted the land, then went through legal routes to overturn the shooting conditions, much to the disgust of family, friends and the shoot.

so the anti shooting people were very pleased,

but that one incident has cost us (british public) thousands of acres which would of come back into public use, because hundreds of people who were going to open up their land, by gifting it to the NT, changed their minds.

we have more deer in this country now than when the Magna Carta was signed, (1200s) because we don't eat venison in the same qualities, even though it is much healthier and greener than beef.

Deer numbers have to be controlled because of the damage to trees, we are not short of deer.

nooka Fri 28-Jun-13 16:01:01

My parents live in an area on the edge of hunt territory, so were only disturbed every now and then when the hunt got a bit over excited and went through their land (cue a lot of swearing farmers as the damage they left was considerable). When the rabbit population gets out of control they go out at night with very powerful lights, the rabbits freeze and then the farmers shoot them. It seems to be pretty effective, but does not involve any great fuss or excitement.

On another note there is a shoot on the local estate, the main result of which is pheasants everywhere (which my mother finds upsetting as they eat all her vegetables). These things tend to make money for the estates that run them, but generally are more likely to cause bother for everyone else.

Gingersstuff Fri 28-Jun-13 15:38:02

HoHoHo why, thank you grin

Owllady Fri 28-Jun-13 14:54:02

quoteunquote, I don't know where you live but here wild rabbits are shot to eat (in season) to keep the population down. My local butchers has them all hanging on hooks outside the shop. The same is done with muntjac, which is also seen as a pest - they are not hung outside the butchers though - heaven forbid grin

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 28-Jun-13 14:49:03

Great post Ginger smile

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 14:45:19

It would be very cruel to let an urban fox go in a rural environment, it would not have the required hunting skills needed,

one of my(It live on land I manage) extra clever foxes, sits just inside the gateway of a field, by a main road with wide verges(rare here), at a cross roads,

she waits patiently until one of the rabbits usually a young one is knocked over by a car, she then carefully waits until there are no cars, then collects her dinner,

each year she teaches her cubs road safety,

I watch her in the evenings, show her cubs, how to enter a field down wind from the rabbits, and work their way up through the crop, and then wait until a nibbling rabbit is a lunge away and pounce.

we need the foxes as the rabbits get out of hand with the falling numbers, then we start to get serious problems with rabbit damage.

Gingersstuff Fri 28-Jun-13 14:37:21

Interesting that the pro-hunters all trot out the same old tired arguments...it's jealousy, it's a class thing, it's great for the horses, the ban has ruined the rural economies, it's great for controlling the pest population, the foxes nearly always don't get caught. Yada yada yada.
The fact is that fox-hunting is a brutal, barbaric, outdated and inefficient method (nowadays in any case) of controlling fox populations. There is no excuse for it. If need be, a quick death with a bullet to the head. Though I'm of the opinion that if indeed urban fox populations are increasing, it's for two reasons...one, we're all lazy fuckers that can't be trusted to put rubbish properly in bins which results in very easy pickings for foxes (and rats, and seagulls and pigeons) and two...that we parasitic humans are expanding at such a rate that we are encroaching on the foxes' territory and they're left with little choice besides raiding bins in back gardens. However I would argue that we're doing the same to every other species on this planet. And as someone else upthread said, left to their own devices their populations would stabilise eventually anyway.
We're supposed to be the intelligent species here. I completely understand the concept of land and species management, this is not the way to go about it. And to hell with tradition. It used to be tradition to hunt the great whales on this planet and where did that get us? Whole species brought to the very brink of extinction and untold upset to marine ecosystems. Though the Japanese would argue differently and are currently being dragged through the court at the Hague to defend their reprehensible behaviour in continuing to hunt endangered whale species.
And for the posters who likened fox-hunting to swallowing an aspirin...laughable. Not even in the same universe. Similarly for those posters who claim that while there is world hunger we shouldn't be worrying about a few foxes. We are a species capable of higher thinking and processing more than one issue at a time, though you wouldn't think it from some of these posts sad

burberryqueen Fri 28-Jun-13 12:55:53

interesting that you have touched on the behavioural differences between urban and rural foxes..

it seems there are definitely two 'breeds' here, the sheep biters that u don't see and the bin rummagers who are bold as anything - apparently there is a band of fox loving crusties who trap urban foxes and drive them to rural areas and set them free there. Honestly.

All the more reason to don the red coats and hunt them down...tuuruuu!!

The local pack here continues hunting as normal, but they are now called a 'vermin pack' not a 'hunt'

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 12:42:33

Now I live in rural South Yorkshire where people still hunt foxes I never see them, ever

As I said up thread,

The thing is we now have far fewer foxes in the countryside than when hunting was allowed,

because when the ban came in, the shooting started, it is really easy to shoot a fox, the reason landowners left them before the ban, was so the hunt could always easily find a fox,

now that the hunt do not "want" a fox, the landowners shoot any spotted

the chap alongside us shot over eighty in six months,

I am no fan of fox hunting, but while it was allowed, the fox was rarely shot, now the policy for most is shoot them all,

I miss them.

WillowKnicks Fri 28-Jun-13 10:37:48

LessMiss It was YOU who made the song & dance about being called a Scot!!

If anyone has disagreed with you & come up with a reasoned & informed argument against you, you have been personally offensive & called them racist & Stalinist??!!

If your true personality is coming across in your posts, it surprises me not a jot that you enjoy hunting & sad

Eyesunderarock Fri 28-Jun-13 10:33:03

'When I lived in South London I used to see/hear foxes all the time. Now I live in rural South Yorkshire where people still hunt foxes I never see them, ever.'

Due to the prevalence of food and shelter, an urban fox's territory is much smaller than most rural fox's and the population density is correspondingly higher.
And if anyone said they were fox-hunting in Scotland, my automatic assumption (correct or not) would be that you were/t a scot as the majority of large land estates in Scotland are owned by foreigners. Including the English. I would also assume that your income was way above the average.

mummytime Fri 28-Jun-13 09:12:36

Bunbaker - that is meaningless BTW. Urban foxes have evolved to be relatively unfrightened of people, and happily wander around in broad daylight.
Rural foxes are still totally wild animals and hide from human's and are nocturnal mainly. So you are much less likely to see Rural foxes than Urban foxes, even if there is exactly the same population density.
Just as you would be very lucky to see a vole, even though there are millions of them.

Or as a friend observed with the deer. The adults started to visit her garden and were a bit annoying eating her flowers, but they never tried to get the ones in the middle of beds. The Fawn though learnt how to get to those in the middle, and now eats all the flowers. Another generation back they were only occasional visitors.

Bunbaker Fri 28-Jun-13 08:58:22

When I lived in South London I used to see/hear foxes all the time. Now I live in rural South Yorkshire where people still hunt foxes I never see them, ever.

LtEveDallas Fri 28-Jun-13 08:49:32

You may refer to me by mine, as already mentioned

Which one, Lawyer or Lecturer?

mainly elderly or diseased foxes are caught

Or vixens and their cubs.

did not address the benefits of foxhunting to the ecosystem, particularly preserving a healthy population

Which can be equally controlled by a huntsman and his rifle. As you said yourself, FoxHunts don't happen weekly, so it would be equally effective (if this were true) for the farmer to cleanly shoot every elderly or diseased fox he sees.

mainly elderly or diseased foxes are caught

Delete "caught" and insert "torn to shreds whilst exhausted and terrifed"

LessMissAbs Fri 28-Jun-13 06:29:43

Precious much Oli? Demonising someone because they referred to you by your job title rather than by the random collection of letters you have chosen as your username?

Is that the most important point if your argument? And then claiming I have not addressed the points in your interesting, but one sided post, which as I pointed out earlier, did not address the benefits of foxhunting to the ecosystem, particularly preserving a healthy population because mainly elderly or diseased foxes are caught. Is those which tend to target stock rather than wildlife. And your arrogant assumption that people would not want to learn about rural ways. Why? Because you said so.

Why someone would make such a huge song and dance about being referred to by their job title (on which point you admittedly remain vague). You may refer to me by mine, as already mentioned.

It is worrying that you see no difference in referring to someone by their job, and by their racial or ethnic background. And that your response to what you perceived as an insult was to make reference to that racial or ethnic background. The inference is that you perceived that to be equally insulting.

cronullansw Fri 28-Jun-13 01:19:13

The ban of fox hunting had nothing to do with foxes, or hunting, and everything to do with Labour trying to bloody the Tory nose.

It was governmental spite, end of.

Either way, it had nothing to do with foxes in the city.... thats a majorly dumb thing to think.

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