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Fox hunting - an entertainment sport or barbaric cruelty

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Introduction

FOX HUNTING AN ENTERTAINING SPORT... OR BARBARIC CRUELTY? Some people still see foxes in the stereotypical light that generations have portrayed them in, as cunning, vicious, pests that plunder livestock. This is not the case. This cruel sport seems to be no more than another outmoded British tradition. Huntsmen often hide behind the false pretence that the hunt is actually a form of 'pest control'. Foxes are not 'pests', but a natural part of the British Wildlife. If anything a fox's diet of rabbits and rats is actually beneficial to farmers. This excuse can no longer be used to justify the hunt, as it is actually a very inefficient form of population control. Foxes naturally balance their own numbers based on food supply and territorial availability. A 1996 MAFF booklet states that only 0.4% of lambs who die do so due to accidents, dog attacks and all other animal predation, including being taken by a fox. ...read more.

Middle

The hunting season commences in November and ends in April. A hunt will typically last from late morning to early evening. Once an unsuspecting fox's scent is picked up by one of the hunting dogs the 'chase' will begin. Hunting dogs are specifically bred for stamina and endurance, not speed. As the whole point of hunting is that the chase lasts as long as possible. The fox will be chased for as long as two hours by the horde of hunters, hounds and often radio-equipped trucks for tracking. Usually a group called 'Earthstoppers' will have filled every visible foxhole the night before the hunt, so the fox has no chance of escape. The chase will last until the fox finally collapses from sheer exhaustion. At this point the hunts' dogs will snap at any part of the fox. Once the fox is down it will be seized, and if lucky shot before being thrown to the dogs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once dug out the fox is supposed to be shot, but many simply give it a blow with a spade or throw it alive to the waiting hounds. British support for the hunt is on the decline. A recent poll for the Daily Telegraph, showed that 77 per cent of rural dwellers and 84 per cent of urban people supported a ban on hunting. Even those who support fox hunting, such as Lord Burns, are now discussing the cruelty of this sport. He commented during a debate in the House of Lords that they had come 'to the view that the experience of being closely pursued, caught and killed by hounds seriously compromised the welfare of the fox and probably falls short of the standards we would expect for humane killing.' And this was from a supporter! This 'sport' has been carried on out of British tradition, for no other reason than to entertain. Inflicting such pain and cruelty on any living creature simply for 'sport' is morally unjustifiable, and a ban should be imposed as soon as possible. ...read more.

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