THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the continuation of fox hunting. The only argument for it that you can believe is sincere, from its supporters, is that they enjoy it. But they will put up all kinds of smoke screens – essentially bogus defences. This fox lovers' guide provides definitive answers to the hunter's lame claims.

This is a fox lovers’ handbook designed to answer the lame claims of hunters who believe it’s acceptable to torture foxes to death. 

Fourteen of the hunt supporters’ best shots detailed here, along with the answers which expose them as false.

The file begins with the stock gripe about the Hunting Act 2004 which made it illegal to kill foxes, stags, hares, mink, etc. by running them down using packs of dogs.

Lame Claim 1: "It's a BAD law - Baa-aad! Unenforceable... confusing... we don't understand it.”

Answer: Read it more carefully! Improve it, tighten it up, monitor violations more rigorously, enforce it more diligently. If the law against child molestation was found to be unenforceable, what would we do? Repeal the law? I don’t think so!

Lame Claim 2: “It took up too much parliamentary time.”

Answer: No, it didn’t. This law was introduced by a proper parliamentary process - in accordance with the will of the majority of the British public who consider hunting with dogs barbaric and unacceptable. The public support this law, as a flagship move towards better treatment of ALL animals - wild animals, farm animals, and laboratory animals. The fact that Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance boasts that the Tories could smash this law “in a day” is proof that these people care nothing for the will of the people. God help us all if they seize power. 

Lame Claim 3: "Foxes are vermin -  if we didn't hunt them we'd be overrun with them."

Answer: So... how come the hunts construct artificial earths to encourage the breeding of foxes? And when foxes become scarce in a particular area, the hunts reintroduce them? Hunt supporters have elsewhere actually claimed that if there were no fox hunting, foxes would have been extinct by now. Surely there must be more humane ways to save an endangered species? By the way, DEFRA defines which animals are classed as vermin in the UK. The fox is not among them. Foxes are NOT vermin. This is, in fact, a very old argument – only now heard from hunting advocates who have not kept up. 

Lame Claim 4: "We don't persecute foxes - we love them... we conserve them... we preserve a balance... we even 'ennoble' them by hunting them and we strengthen the breed by picking off the weakest."

Answer: Well, make up your minds - just now they were "vermin" - pests - to be controlled. Now, suddenly, they are precious, and I bet they enjoy being 'ennobled' by being pursued and dismembered alive by dogs. Yes, folks - if there were no foxes - the fox hunters would have no fun. So they make sure there are enough to hunt and if the numbers go down in a particular area, they import them. (Oh, by the way, if being hunted is good for the species... perhaps we'd better instigate the hunting of humans... it'll improve the strength of our species too... goody!) If we really want to get technical, my ecology advisor adds, “This whole ‘savannah’ theory of maintaining balance by removing predators only applies when those species have co-evolved together and are in fact in a delicate balance. We did not co-evolve predating foxes in this manner so this argument is ecologically unsound.”

Lame Claim 5: "It's traditional and traditions are good - they are our birthright."

Answer: Oh really? So the traditions of wife beating, bear baiting, slave whipping, burning of supposed witches, birching of schoolchildren (and so many more atrocities) were all traditions that ought to have been preserved... right?! Just because something has been done for years does not make it right. If traditions were always upheld, women would still not have a vote. Traditions my ass! 

The humane replacement for fox-hunting is Drag hunting. This now well-developed pastime doesn't involve hunting an animal; instead, the hounds follow an artificial scent - the drag - laid a few minutes earlier. In Drag Hunting, horse riders are able to enjoy all the old traditional exhilaration of a chase. The only thing missing is the sadistic end of the chase. In another version, Hunting the Clean Boot, bloodhounds are used to follow a human runner – and again there is no cruelty involved.  

Lame Claim 6: “Foxes are vicious and cruel - haven't you seen what they do to a chicken coop if they get in? They kill all the birds for pleasure."

Answer: Not true - it's another bit of outdated propaganda. If a hungry animal suddenly finds food, it will eat it... just like we do... but the foxes kill extra chickens with the purpose of burying them for future use when the pickings are slim. Left to themselves they will come back and bury those chickens... but they are not completely stupid - if there is a farmer with a gun waiting to shoot him, Mr. Fox is not going to come back and collect the food supplies. Killing for pleasure?... make no mistake... there is only one animal that does this… MAN.

Lame Claim 7: "Foxes are dirty."

Answer: Nope - they're not... Our rescued foxes spend at least as much time grooming themselves as the average domestic cat; in fact, they are very cat-like in many ways… This is something I never realised until I spent time with these delightful animals. They don’t cover up their poo, but neither do any of our domestic dogs. It’s not the end of the world and certainly not a good enough reason to persecute them.

Lame Claim 8: "It's NATURAL for men to hunt foxes - just like lions hunt antelope."

Answer: Well the flaw in this argument is blindingly obvious! Lions kill for food... but humans do not eat foxes. There is only one reason to hunt down and murder a fox... for fun... for 'sport'.  It's not in any way justifiable. It's barbaric and it's cruel - it's also clearly a crime as defined by the 1909 Cruelty to Animals Act. By the way, have we not noticed that it is NOT the hunters who manage to pull off this great 'sporting achievement' - it's the hounds? Pro-hunters claim that hunting and other blood sports are inevitable because of our biological make-up. To them, death and suffering are an unavoidable part of life and the foxes would die anyway. Fox hunting became popular in the 18th century. Before that, hunting hares, wild deer, and wild boars were the main blood sports in Britain, but the extinction of the wild boars and the almost extinction of wild deer turned attention to foxes instead.

Lame Claim 9: "Ah well, yes - it's natural for DOGS to kill foxes." 

Answer: Rubbish - It is in no way natural! I've already published pictures of our local dogs playing with the rescued foxes along with deer and various birds. The fox is a natural delightfully gentle creature – timid and built for running. The average dog, when decently looked after, is also playful, gentle and peaceful. The only way to make dogs vicious and ready to tear apart foxes, stags, hares or even humans - is to brutalise them - half-starve them - deprive them of affection and house them in such wretched conditions that they go berserk when allowed out to run. The hunts test the hound puppies on fox cubs - It's the charming practice of 'cubbing', wherein, once the parent fox has been slaughtered, the tiny fox cubs are poked or dug out from their homes and forced into the path of the young hounds - already 'toughened up' and ready to mutilate. The young hounds eat the fox pups alive. If the young hounds are not vicious enough - the huntsmen shoot them. A nice piece of 'natural selection' designed to make the pack not only healthy but as vicious as possible. Even leaving aside this abhorrent cruelty to foxes; in a decent society, it ought to be illegal to raise a dog for the sole purpose of killing (in fact, as noted in LC 11 - currently it IS illegal to breed dogs for dogfighting)… Logically, we need to bring things into line… so that what is a law for the "yobs" is also a law for the "toffs" too. 

It’s interesting that perhaps the fox hunting community of people have been in a sense brutalised too, brought up in a way that has desensitised them to the cruelty around them. Cubbing is described in an extract from Fox Hunting by the late Duke of Beaufort, Master of Fox Hounds, published by David & Charles 1980. He wrote: "Never lose sight of the fact that one really well-beaten cub killed fair and square is worth half a dozen fresh ones killed the moment they are found without hounds having to set themselves to the task. It is essential that hounds should have their blood up and learn to be savage with their fox before he is killed."

Lame Claim 10: “By hunting, we eliminate the weakest animals, so we strengthen the species. The foxes are either killed or get away if they are strong. Just like in Africa.”

Answer: Good try. But this is just another sly (yes - it’s the humans who are sly – not the dear old foxes) attempt to bend the truth. In fact, the appallingly cruel methods used in the hunt ensure that the chances of survival for a fox, in no way depend on its natural strength. Foxes are routinely imported; kept in bags so they are weakened and disoriented before they are let out in front of a pack of hounds. And the truth is that the occasional fox who actually does manage to elude the dogs is usually ‘accounted for’ by digging out and being shot anyway. No one should be allowed to treat animals this way.

Lame Claim 11: "It's all about class! The middle and working classes are jealous of the toffs and want to deprive them of their rights - among them, the right to treat any animal on their land any way they see fit." 

Answer: Nonsense! It is nothing to do with class. Decent people are equally outraged if a young thug in Yorkshire goes out with his pit-bull terrier and encourages it to savage wild animals, or if a rich landowner in Berkshire goes out with HIS dogs and commits an atrocity on a fox, rabbit, or otter. None of this is about class - we care about animals. Brutal behaviour is brutal behaviour - there is no excuse!

Lame Claim 12: "You people who live in towns don't understand the ways of the countryside. Leave us alone and mind your own business!" 

Answer: This is a good one... so glib... so ALMOST convincing. The Countryside Alliance is very keen to tell the 'townie' politicians how to run the whole of Britain and has managed to make farming the most heavily subsidised industry in the land. Yet these same people deny the townspeople the right to protect animals in the countryside... as if ‘country people’ OWNED our wildlife? Imagine landowners insisting that if child-abuse happened on their land, nobody in town had the right to try to stop it. We'd all say… "These children might be on your land - but they still have rights. We reserve the right to monitor your behaviour and stop the cruelty where we find it." Yet the Countryside Alliance stalwarts would have us accept that wild animals straying onto their land legitimately become subject to their every whim. It's a vile conceit. 

Lame Claim 13: “You are taking away our human right to socialise in our traditional way.” 

Answer: Not at all. We absolutely defend your right to meet up on a crisp country morning, dressed up in pinks and scamper about on your horses. What we dispute is your right to trample everything in your path, endangering other people’s property, children, pets, and livestock. And we dispute your right to kill animals for your pleasure in a hideously cruel manner. Drag hunting, with the hounds following a scent other than fox, gives you all the socialising you need and all the exercise; it has the huge advantage that the path of the hunt can be pre-planned so that your neighbours are not threatened by invasion. If you refuse to accept this as a decent alternative it can only be that you need the thrill of killing and that you actually crave the feeling of wanton disregard for anyone around you… That feeling of superiority perhaps – “Lords of the Manor” and all that? It’s time to come into the 21st century.

Lame Claim 14: “If we are prevented from killing foxes using dogs, farmers have to control these pests by shooting them. Farmers are poor marksmen so many foxes die a lingering death from gunshot wounds - which is inhumane."

Answer: Inhumane? Excuse me?!!! Given the choice of being pursued until your muscles are paralysed and then ripped apart by hounds, or shot with a bullet, or the chance of an instant death, which would you choose? I put this question to the head of DEFRA (the Department of the Environment and Farming and Rural Affairs). He at least had the decency to say he wasn't entirely sure. But many of the Countryside Alliance propagandists continue to insist that being killed by hounds is a desirable option. Sorry, but... simply not believable! We always come back to the same conclusion... the only reason to be indulging in this filthy bloodsport is that you enjoy causing unnecessary pain to animals. Dogs and horses also die on hunts. 


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