• Clif Grant

The fox as a scapegoat

Updated: Jan 20

No other animal in Britain incites such hatred.

Foxes kill for fun…right?

Foxes are one of the most misunderstood animals in the UK, blamed for crimes they do not commit and subjected to a campaign of deliberate and malicious lies by farmers and hunters alike.

It is worth noting that contrary to what many people believe, fox hunting is still entirely legal in Northern Ireland. It was made illegal in England and Wales with the passage of the Hunting Act in 2004, and in Scotland with the Protection of Wild Mammals Act (2002). (These laws are very frequently broken, however, with little consequence.) And it continues here unhindered despite the fact that the vast majority of the Northern Irish public opposes it. (Ipsos MORI poll, 2015)

Foxes do not kill for pleasure. Their natural instinct is to kill surplus prey even if they are not hungry and bury it for later consumption, a strategy that works perfectly in a natural environment, since there are likely to be many days when they cannot find food.

However, in an unnatural situation such as hen houses or enclosed fields where their prey cannot escape, foxes instinctively kill far more prey than they could ever consume.

It’s a problem created entirely by greedy farmers…not foxes.

If farmers really want to protect lambs and chickens they would start by not breeding them into existence for the purpose of their eventual slaughter in the first place, and they would take far better care of them while they live. Think of it this way: Four million lambs are born in the UK each year and 1 million of them will die before they reach the age of slaughter age at approximately six months: 30 per cent from starvation and exposure and 25 per cent from disease and congenital defects. Four per cent are stillborn. Just five per cent die as a result of predation by dogs and foxes.

To say that foxes kill for fun is simply not true. The truth is, it’s the hunters and farmers who kill for fun. The pain and suffering they inflict is disgusting.

We are a long way from reaching a point where we recognise the value of protecting the natural world. Right now most of us are unable to prioritise compassion, instead choosing money, profit and ultimately blatant cruelty.

Personally, I refuse to accept the idea that just because an activity makes someone money that it is somehow justified. Whilst hunting is allowed to continue unchallenged, it will damage our own humanity and shows exactly how far we as a species we have yet to travel.

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