Reproduced from the ‘League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) – England.
Fox hunting is a ‘traditional sport’ in which hunters, usually on horseback, follow a pack of hunting dogs aiming to pick up the scent of a fox, chase it – and kill it. Fox hunting is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales, but evidence suggests that hunts are regularly breaking the law.
Carry on reading for some more fox hunting facts.
IS FOX HUNTING ILLEGAL?
Fox hunting is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales. It is still legal in Northern Ireland.
Fox hunting was banned by the Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales, and the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 in Scotland. But while these were both welcome and hard-fought pieces of legislation, overwhelming evidence suggests that both are being ignored or exploited by hunts on a regular basis.
Hunts in England and Wales invented the activity of ‘trail’ hunting after the fox hunting ban came in. This claims to be a non-lethal sport where the hunt simply follows a pre-laid trail rather than searching for and chasing a fox. However, years of evidence shows that hunts are using trail hunting as a cover for illegal hunting by claiming to be following a trail but still carrying on and hunting foxes the way they did before the hunting ban.
Hunts in England and Wales also use ‘exemptions’ in the Hunting Act. These were designed to allow certain types of ‘pest’ control or scientific research, but are being exploited by the hunts to give them an excuse to carry on hunting.
In Scotland, an exemption in the law allows foxes to be killed by ‘flushing to guns’, where a pack of hounds is allowed to be used to chase a fox from cover where it can be shot. However, evidence from League investigators shows hunts claiming to be flushing to guns – but without having any guns present in the right place.
MOST PEOPLE WANT TO STOP FOX HUNTING
If you are opposed to hunting, then you are in the majority. More than eight out of ten people are opposed to hunting. This includes more than eight out of ten people in rural areas – which shows that people who truly understand and experience what hunts do want to see it remain illegal.
Hunting is not a town vs country issue, and it is not a ‘class’ issue. More than seven out of 10 Conservative voters want hunting to remain illegal. Hunting is an issue of animal cruelty, nothing else.
Some argue that ‘hunting’ should continue because it’s a grand old British tradition. However, bear baiting and bull baiting were also traditions, and they were rightfully consigned to the history books. Traditions are measured in more than years. They have to reflect the values and attitudes of a society, and the vast majority of the British people oppose hunting with dogs.
IS FOX HUNTING ‘PEST CONTROL’?
Fox hunting is not a credible form of pest control. Hunters claim that they are helping farmers by killing foxes, but this is a senseless argument that most people no longer believe. The League does not believe that there is any requirement for lethal fox control, but even if there was, then hunting is neither a humane nor effective way of doing it.
Any suggestion that fox hunting is about ‘pest control’ can be dismissed very quickly by the fact that hunts have been caught capturing and raising foxes purely so they can then be hunted. In May 2015, a League investigation revealed 16 terrified fox cubs held captive in a barn linked to a fox hunt in Yorkshire. We rescued them, took them to a vet, and sadly one died, but we released the others to safety. We are proud to have protected those foxes.
While the scale of this fox ‘factory’ was shocking, it’s not an isolated case. In December 2015, League Investigators released a fox found locked in a building near to where the Belvoir Hunt was meeting. It is worth mentioning that a few months later, while monitoring the same hunt, our Investigators were brutally attacked, leaving one with a broken neck, which we believe was retaliation for us rescuing this fox.
Watch the story of 16 fox cubs found captive in a barn close to a hunt kennel.
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The Result – Photo – Mark (WAV).