A FARMER stopped to talk to us at our outreach. Initially, he said that we wouldn’t want to talk to him because he used to hunt when he was younger and enjoyed it. His family were all hunters. But, he did feel some regret now and had always felt sympathy for the fox. He appeared to believe that if he had gone hunting at some point in his life, he would never ever be forgiven – either by himself or by us.
The truth is, we can forgive him – if he is sorry. More than anything, we need to open the channels of communication between us and people like this farmer. He took our leaflets and said he’d read them. In our view, this is a success because he listened. You never know, somewhere down the line, this man may become one of us.
The subject matter was also interesting. So many pro hunters like to use “foxes kill lambs” as an excuse for foxhunting. (Illogical, we know, because they also tell us that they don’t hunt foxes). This farmer doesn’t lose any lambs to foxes because he lambs INDOORS. There is a solution, then, and an easy one.
The transcript of some of our conversation is below.
9 August 2021
FARMER In the first 24 hours I’m very critical about the little lambs, after he is dried and he’s sucked from his mam he’s pretty much o.k., But I’ve seen them (foxes) sit up there three of them watching the ewe giving birth.
PIP It’s a very vulnerable time for the ewe as well isn’t it?
FARMER Oh absolutely
PIP They take them immediately?
FARMER Yes, because there’s a strong smell, very strong at first.
PIP And you’ve avoided that by keeping the lamb inside?
PIP So once that’s done they’re it’s o.k? (ie safe from foxes).
PIP, So there you go, until you told me that I wasn’t sure.
FARMER Any lamb that’s just been born, he hasn’t got up on his feet, and that’s the ideal time for the fox to get in and take him, and they will, The ewe can do all she can, but if she’s got two she may not be able to keep them.
ALYSON Do they often have two?
FARMER Oh yeah, my lambing percentage is 1.8, so we’ve got triplets as well, we had a quin and we saved them all, we took three on and left her with two and they all survived. We had to look after her pretty well. We do scanning so we know what the prediction there is you know with the numbers and feed accordingly. We are getting away from your fox cubbing.
PIP It’s all worthy stuff to pick up things. People often come to us about foxes taking lambs and associate fox hunting with population control. Fox hunting isn’t about population control. You went (hunting) because you enjoyed it.
FARMER I did but I tell you what a confirmed hunting person I don’t know if you know, they get bloodied? Now I wouldn’t have it, my sister did, what does that say about me? I couldn’t stand the thought of the blood, I didn’t want the blood of the fox on my skin.
PIP It shows you’ve got compassion, You should sign our petition.
FARMER I like your tactics, I like you very much actually.
PIP It’s good to talk to someone who has done it. You would say that you would be on the opposite side to us, but we are not on opposite sides to you are we?
FARMER No we aren’t are we? The more I talk to you, the more I like you. I’ll leave you to it. Nice to meet you anyway.