PRO HUNTING ARGUMENTS – AND WHY THEY ARE FALSE

Hunting is the same as it’s always been:  same reasons, same cruelty.

Before the hunting ban in 2004, the Countryside Alliance gave these as the reasons for wanting to go hunting:

  • Enjoyment of horse riding
  • Watching the hounds work
  • Social life and being out in the countryside
  • Maintenance of a country tradition
  • Enjoyment of using their dogs to kill animals.

Because it’s illegal, the hunters can no longer admit to enjoying using dogs to kill animals. So, they’ve come up with these excuses instead:

  • Foxes have no natural predators, so people have to control them
  • If we didn’t, the population would be out of control
  • Hunting with dogs is natural, because foxes are like running
  • Shooting is more cruel because the fox might be wounded and not killed
  • Hunting takes out the weak/sick and injured animals                                                      
  • It’s not as cruel as shooting (they made this point twice.)
These reasons are found on the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management’s webpage (VAWM). They used to be called VETS FOR HUNTING, but they changed their name because it drew attention to their pro-hunting stance. Because they’re vets, people think that this is scientific and therefore unarguable. However, they are undoubtedly wrong.
THEY HAVE NO REAL EVIDENCE AT ALL.

It is our job as Action Against Foxhunting to expose the truth. So here it is:

UNTRUE  Foxes have no natural predators – so we humans have to kill them.

  • All foxes will die without human intervention. There are plenty of unavoidable ways to die – disease and injury are the most common ways and recently there has been an outbreak of sarcoptic mange.
  • The fox population is stable* 
  • There is NO scientific evidence to show that hunting with dogs was ever a major factor in management of the species. Neither is there any evidence to show that the ban on hunting with dogs has affected the number of foxes. (Prior to the ban, the CA were asked to produce the evidence for the Burns Enquiry and they didn’t) .
  • Hunting with dogs was banned during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001-2002. The fox population did not increase.
  • It is still legal to shoot foxes. Even if hunting with dogs were legal, the shooting would continue regardless. 
  • Foxes are territorial. A group of foxes will defend its territory from other foxes. The UK is an island and the land is limited. Foxes with no territory will be unable to breed. This alone will limit the numbers, even without the shooting.

UNTRUE  Hunting is a natural way of controlling the population

  • Nowhere in nature does a chase last for so long or over such a distance. In nature, a predator chases a prey for food. A predator will stop if they haven’t caught their prey within a sensible time – otherwise they spend more energy chasing the prey than they would get from eating it. The hunters enjoy a long chase, so they keep it going.
  • Nowhere in nature is there a hunting group so large, pitted against a single small prey animal. 
  • A fox’s natural defence is to hide underground. Hunts dig out foxes that go underground. This does not happen in nature.
  • Because of the protracted nature of the hunt, the fox suffers extreme stress beyond anything that nature coul

UNTRUE  Shooting foxes is more cruel than hunting.

  • Foxes limit their own population so neither shooting or hunting is necessary.
  • Hunting is not carried out instead of shooting – it is carried out as well as shooting. The two methods of killing are separate. Linking them in order to justify hunting is illogical.
  • If shooters chose the right guns, they would have more chance of killing the fox at one shot.  Hunting foxes with hounds is unconnected to the choice of guns made by the shooters.
  • A study by VAWM All Party Middle way group (2009) stated that 48% of foxes shot were not killed by the first shot. The study implies that all 48% of foxes ran off, injured. However, most of the shot foxes are incapacitated by the first shot, and the shooter can follow up with a second, lethal shot.
    • A direct hit, with near instantaneous death, is the least stressful way of dying. Using the CA’s own figures 52% of foxes shot at will be killed immediately. Out of the other 48%, the majority can be killed with a follow up shot. If the shooter has a trained hound with them, then any injured foxes can be located easily and killed. 
  • Snaring, poisoning and gassing foxes are also inhumane. Again, these are carried out as well as hunting, not instead of.

UNTRUE: Hunting MUST be carried out to preserve bio-diversity and it is good for the foxes too.

  • In rural areas, foxes primarily eat rabbits. Rabbits are not endangered. They also eat birds, but as they are far more likely to be able to catch common birds (pigeons etc) their impact on other species is negligible. 
  • The biggest threat to bio-diversty is from humans. If the foxes are contributing (and there is little evidence to suggest this) their contribution is insignificant.
  • As stated before, hunting has no effect on the fox population or welfare. It neither increases it, nor reduces it. It is pointless.

UNTRUE: Hunting removes the sick/injured and weak foxes

  • Nature removes sick, injured and weak foxes. It happens in every other wild species. 
  • Hunters want a good chase, so they prefer to hunt healthy foxes. A sick, injured or weak fox will not provide enough fun.

GIVEN THAT ALL THE “NEW” ARGUMENTS CAN BE SO EASILY DISCREDITED,

WE CAN ONLY CONCLUDE THAT THE ORIGINAL REASONS GIVEN BY THE COUNTRYSIDE ALLIANCE ARE THE REAL ONES.

THEY ARE HUNTING BECAUSE:

THEY ENJOY WATCHING HOUNDS KILL ANIMALS.