Fox hunting is the chasing and, usually, killing of a red fox by fox hounds followed by people on horseback. The people are led by the master of foxhounds. Small though it is, the picture above shows the barbaric end of the life of a fox that was minding its own business until a group of country people turned up for a spot of fun.
Hunting foxes with dogs began in the 16th century in Norfolk, England as a means of controlling “pests”. England then exported this cruel activity to many other countries. Australians took to it but foxes imported solely for the purposes of being hunted reproduced and killed native species. This led to foxes being shot in vast numbers. The whole thing looks silly and cruel to me.
In England, over many years there was a groundswell of public opinion against this hideous pastime. Eventually the government of the time passed the Hunting Act 2004. The House of Commons passed the bill conclusively while the House of Lords, who are unelected, rejected it. A rarely used procedure involving the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 was employed to ensure the bill became an Act.
The Hunting Act 2004 (the Act) criminalises hunting with dogs. Deer are also hunted with dogs in England. It came into force on February 2005. It is said by pro-fox hunters that the Act has not worked and that there are as many hunts now as before the ban. The League Against Cruel Sports “found that, in the 2008-9 hunting season, 66% of hunts we monitored were acting in a manner consistent with traditional – illegal – hunting.” The police are failing to enforce the Act.
With the country having just gone through a messy election (at May 2010) there are conservative MPs who wish to repeal the Act and replace it with some sort of regulatory body. This is unacceptable to three quarters (75%) of the general public as a whole. While 84% of people want the Act to remain to stop deer hunting with dogs. Even 62% of conservative supporters are against fox hunting. And in rural England, 72% of the people want fox hunting to remain illegal1. The figures shout out the simple truth that the people of this country strongly object to fox hunting.
It is not difficult to see why. It is obviously barbaric. It is a horrible throwback to the past when we were meant to be less civilised. The people who participate in fox hunting and who support it say it controls foxes. This is the usual transparently false justification for this obviously cruel and unacceptable pastime.
If the Act is not being enforced properly and if it needs amending then lets enforce it and fine tune it - but not throw it out. Hunting foxes really has to remain banned and it has to stop. There is no justification for it except to please those who do it. To those of us who say that fox hunting in England must remain banned; how can we make our voice heard?
Well, here are some things that we can do:
- Register your support to keep the ban in place on the League Against Cruel Sports website: Keep cruelty history
- If you voted conservative, you can send a message to David Cameron on the Conservatives against fox hunting website.
- Write to your MP
- Visit the SAVE-ME website and look at the “lame claims” page to see the weak arguments of the pro-hunters
- You might like to visit the Save-me Facebook page and get involved.
I am sure the “troops” will have some more ideas – please see the comments.
What the public think on hunting with dogs.
1. Conservatives against fox hunting