I rarely respond to the ridiculous arguments of the pro-hunt lobby but I was simply incensed by the flat out lies written in the Western Morning News on Monday by Henry Chalfont.
Chalfont writes that hunting picks out the old and/or diseased and that only 1 in 10 foxes chased are actually killed. He writes that several hunting days can pass without a kill being made. However he then claims that hunting with hounds is an effective culling system!
Am I missing something? Now I’ve read a lot of journal articles on population dynamics and I’m pretty sure that killing one fox every now and again is not going to have a massive effect on a species which it is estimated to be in the region of about 250,000.
One wonders if Chalfont was aware that even before the ban more foxes were shot and killed on the roads than were hunted. In fact despite the Burns Inquiry requesting to be provided with this information the pro-hunting lobby have failed to ever produce a scrap of evidence that hunting has any affect on the fox population.
Chalfont repeats the same old propaganda that because hunting with dogs has been banned everyone will run around killing all the foxes with guns. This I assume is why people have been creating and maintaining artificial earths then?
So what are the hunting lobby saying exactly?
- There are too many foxes (Many of which I assume are old and infirm and need to be put out of their misery. It’s presumably also these old, sick foxes which go around killing everyone’s chickens for no reason?!)
- The hunts hardly catch any foxes so what’s the big deal?
- If we don’t let the hunts do what they want all the foxes will be shot
- All the hunts are abiding by the law
- But the law has failed because none of these law abiding hunters have been caught?
So even if the first point were true it is clear that hunting with hounds is not going to have any affect on the number of foxes.
I don’t believe that all hunting folk are blood thirsty or evil as Chalfont claims. I think many of them have been lied to so many times that they have stopped questioning these contradictory claims.
Chalfont says that no hunts are breaking the law. I would be ecstatic if this were true however after speaking to hundreds of members of the public who have seen illegal activity, had foxes chased through their gardens, hit hounds who have been running across busy roads, reported hounds impaled on park fences, been sworn at by members of hunts or followers, seen badger setts being dug out, and after being assaulted by hunters I find these claims unlikely.
I would have more respect for the hunters if they just admitted the truth, instead of these nonsensical arguments about a failed law. Hunting with dogs has no absolutely no impact on fox population size, the majority of hunts are continuing to hunt as they did prior to the Hunting Act and they do it because they enjoy it.
If you have any information about hunts (or any other kind of wildlife crime) please complete our online form.
Read our report on hunting: Hunting with Dogs: Past, Present but No Future.