Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Run fox run!

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In 2005 the UK parliament banned the hunting of foxes by hounds. And so the death knell was tolled for one of our oldest sporting traditions. Or was it?

Today was Boxing Day, the day which was most associated with hunting. And today more than a quarter of a million people turned out to participate in, or support the 300 hunts which took place throughout the country.


The authorities have so far made no real effort to enforce the new law, and as a result hunting is now supported more than at any time in the past.

Richard Dodd of the Countryside Alliance, supporters of hunting, said today that the ban was a ‘dog’s dinner dreamt up by people who know nothing about the countryside’. He is optimistic that in time this law will be scrapped. Indeed it is very difficult to find anyone in favour of the ban outside our large towns and cities.

On the other side, Mike Hobday of the League Against Cruel Sports said today that he does not believe that hunting is undergoing a revival, and doubted that the Alliance would succeed in getting the ban overturned.

The nearest hunt to me is a few miles away in the town of Battle, and if the scenes there today were anything to go by, I’d say that hunting is here to stay.

9 comments:

  1. Keith, did you ever participate in any of those hunts????

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  2. Hi LW, No I never have, but working in a rural pub means that most peole I come into contact with do - infact 2 of my teenage staff rode in the Battle hunt yesterday

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  3. Hmm.. I am not sure how feel about this...yet to decide which side I would take if I had to vote for the ban or not...hope xmas went well for you.

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  4. Seems rather barbaric I must say, to run the prey to death when it isn't even going to be a meal.
    On this side of the pond we would have the animal rights people in an uproar.
    But then on the other hand we think nothing of locking up wild animals in a zoo, which to me seems wrong.

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  5. It makes me smile. That same small fox would be protected as if it were on the extinction list here on the islands. In the past, fox nearly were extinct here because of farmers setting traps. They had to protect their hens. But an island only has a limited ecosystem and once it is gone, it's gone.
    Your post has made me stop and think about the ways of the past vs the present ways. I've come to a conclusion. The present means of killing are not often better than past means. The difference is that now it is hidden behind closed doors and what it out of sight is out of mind. I've been behind those closed doors and I'd prefer for the animals sake, it stayed out in the open.

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  6. Happy Boxing Day to you. The pics are beautiful.

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  7. Interesting, but puzzling tradition for a non-hunter like myself. Are foxes considered pest or problems in the UK? Here in Oregon, we rarely see them and when we do it is a treat!

    -Will

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  8. Firstly, we are over run with foxes, not only in the countryside, but also in our inner cities.

    Yes Will, they are something of a pest in rural area and are quite capable of wiping out whole flocks of hens in a very short time.

    Interestigly LW, you mentioned that it seems barbaric 'to run the prey to death when it isn't even going to be a meal'. Interesting because that is exactly what foxes do to hens!

    Gimme, the fox population has to be controlled. Dogs hunting foxes is all part of natures plan. Who is too say this is wrong? I don't know.

    UL, I don't have any strong feelings either way. The hunt is a magnificent sight and part of our heritage. Then again, some of the rituals associated with it, such as the 'blooding'of children are pretty distasteful.

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  9. these photos reminded me so of listening to the musicial "peter and the wolf"; not sure why

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