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Should Fox hunting be banned?

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Introduction

Christina Fayers SCM Should Fox hunting be banned? Fox hunting dates from the late 17th century, when it arose as a practical method of limiting the fox population which endangered poultry farming, but by the early 19th century it was indulged in as a sport by the British aristocracy and gentry who made it traditional. Foxhunting was introduced into the USA by early settlers from England and continues in the southern and middle Atlantic regions. The recognized fox hunting season runs from the first Monday in November until the following April. Fox hunting is the pursuit of a fox across country on horseback, aided by a pack of foxhounds specially trained to track the fox's scent. The aim is to catch and kill the fox. Fox hunting has met with increasing opposition. Although fox hunting is by no means the only issue annoying people from the countryside, it is one of the bigger issues. Fox hunting with hounds is a tradition in the English and Scottish countryside, which has been going for centuries. That's why countrymen and women were up in arms the minute they caught a sniff of the government's intention to debate a possible banning of the sport. Animal- rights activists condemn it as involving excessive cruelty, and in Britain groups of hunt saboteurs disrupt it. Animal rights activists have had just about enough of the activity they call 'blood sport' and are horrified that it is still going on in our countryside in this day and age. ...read more.

Middle

It is not just foxes and other wildlife that suffer. Horses and dogs are also victims of hunting, viewed simply as 'sporting accessories' many sustain fatal injuries during the gruelling chase and the poor foxes are often savagely ripped apart by the hounds. Animal welfare arguments * From the RSPCA website: A 12-year-old girl and her ten-year-old brother were traumatized when they saw a fox being torn apart by a pack of hounds in their garden in West Yorkshire. Their father said: 'They (the hunt) said it would have died in seconds, as the hounds would have got it by the throat, but from what I saw it was torn to pieces.' * Fox hunters chase foxes for pleasure and not because they want to help farmers. Foxes could be controlled by shooting instead. * Foxes do attack chickens and lambs, but that is part of their nature. Farmers should protect their animals, not attack the foxes. Civil liberties arguments * Personal freedom doesn't mean you have a 'right' to be cruel. * Living in a democracy means that you have to accept the majority view - we can't all just do what we want. Economic arguments * Only 835 people are employed in hunt kennels. That many jobs are often lost when a factory closes. The economy is strong enough to bounce back. ...read more.

Conclusion

I now try to look at the sport from both sides. I would say that I do not agree with the sport because that's exactly what it is, a sport, a hobby. I feel that hunters find it more of a social gathering than an attempt to control the fox population. There are a great proportion of people who participate in fox hunting because of the prestige. These are the people who the ban needs to be aimed at. If you want a feeling of exhilaration, take your horse to a beach and go galloping along in the wind. I am not so narrow minded that I cannot see a need for foxes to be controlled but I don't necessarily agree with letting the fox reach the point of physical exhaustion so he can no longer run, that's not natural. Also once the fox has reached its den, game over, he's the winner, the dogs shouldn't be digging it up. No one has the right to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals. Moreover, hunting is not a natural encounter between predator and quarry because, unlike animals, humans are responsible for their actions. This is one debate where there is always going to be conflict and not everyone is going to be satisfied once a 'solution' is decided upon. Fox hunting is a subject that needs much consideration. I believe that soon the government will open their eyes and see that fox hunting is an ancient and barbaric ritual. How can killing of any kind be described as sport? ...read more.

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