Why is it that across the entire spectrum of classes, pockets
and professions of people in this country there are those
that support, and those that oppose hunting?
up with a farming background the realities of life, real
life, are made rather obious. We all know that farmers today
recieve precious little for their efforts. The average farm
income is, I understand, less than £8000 per year. Farmers
work 70-80 hours per week, and livestock farmers put all
their waking effort into looking after thier animals. Let
no-one try to say that they don't care about their stock!!
If they were in it for the money, then, well... they wouldn't
be in farming, would they????
human being that eats meat accepts the fact that animals
must die for our benefit. And seeing that vegetarians proove
meat isn't necessary, then animals also die for our non-essential
anyone has an argument with that fact then they are clearly
misguided! Unless they are into fried roadkill!!!
spend their lives caring for, feeding and cleaning, their
stock in order to have them killed to feed the nation. To
provide the enjoyment of meat withut the need for Jo Public
to even look at a knife, bolt-gun, or stun-gun. "We are
proud to supply your food" read the banners at the countryside
march. Proud they are indeed, and they have precious little
time for time wasters.
...Bring on hunting. Without farmers' consent hunting could
not exist in this country. Horses damage ground with their
heavy feet, yet a very vast majority of farmers welcome
hunting on their land.
Why? Because it works!! Pure and simple - no timewasters
please! I have shot several foxes, always at close range
and with a a shotgun from the landrover. The fox is spotted,
chased, and when we get close enough i.e. 10-20 yards, it
is shot. Once seen, they rarely get away.
lambs still get taken by foxes, and chickens, geese, etc.
Why? Because the foxes that we see out lamping are fully
grown and fit - the ones that the hunts can't catch. These
healthy foxes don't bother with lambs or chickens because
they can catch their own wild prey, which is what they're
up to when we shoot them. Old, sick and wounded foxes are
rarely seen while lamping, but they are seen around stock.
Hounds can catch these troublesome foxes because they are
slower - the very reason why they prey on livestock. Hunting
with hounds is an expression that is taken too seriously,
it should read 'With Hunting Hounds' - because it is they
who are hunting. All the chaps in red coats do is tell them
where to start looking, and try their best to keep them
from where they shouldn't go!!
course the job of a huntsman is a little more complex than
that, but essentially the hounds just follow their noses.
As for the chaps in black, and the ladies in blue, and the
children in rat-catchers coats, all they do is watch the
redcoats watch the hounds.
of hunts chasing foxes for hours only to have the fox escape
are true, but sound misleading when you understand why.
The hounds are following the sent of a fox for a fair period
of time. The fox can easily be 30 minutes hunting away from
the outset - then as the hounds approch where the fox has
been ambling about for that time, it puts a spurt on and
runs like hell. If that fox is old, wounded or sick - it
can't run as fast as the hounds, and they will catch it.
If it is a healthy fox it will run faster than the hounds,
get a good distance away, and then stop and rest.
will usually double back and then go under ground - hunting
over, bring on the terriers (if the farmer requests). Hunt
moves on elsewhere. A healthy fox has to make a real error
to get caught above ground.
hounds are about five times the weight of foxes. If you
were a lead foxhound, ahead of the pack, and at the heels
of a fox - running at life-or-death speed, how would you
stop it? The neck, or spine is the only place to go for.
You can't get your teeth into anywhere/anything else. Imagine
a preditor five times your size biting you on the neck while
you were running at top speed - you're not going to last
long are you??
with a shotgun at ten yards you can't guarantee that rapid
a kill. Lucky for the fox that there's a second barrel ready
in a second or so if the first one only manages to 'clip'
it. It is, I'm afraid, a harsh reality. A shotgun can be
lightening quick..or not. A long range bullet..well we've
all had our unlucky shots with rifles, haven't we?
friends have had quite a bit of luck with snares - but there's
never much need for shooting them, they usually save them
the job and choke themselves. I don't think the answer would
be to ban the killing of foxes - after all if only an insignificantt
16,000 are killed by hunts then the total number killed
must be huge.
without that, overpopulation on such a scale would be devastating
for wildlife, not to mention foxes. And if the illegal killing
of foxes were the farmer's only method - then forget visible,
traceable hounds, snares and shooting - its time to bring
on the tons and tons of poison and gas.
more difficult to trace, not too much fun for the badgers,
deer and birds life that get caught up in the frey. I'll
continue to shoot foxes to protect stock so that all you
meat eaters out there can enjoy finest westcountry lamb,
beef and poultry (on sale in all good supermarkets), even
though 90% of those foxes are probably fit, healthy and
pose no threat to livestock.
afraid that prevention is better than cure. And my friends
better keep on with the wires, because - well, you never
know - one of the ones they catch might be a lamb predator.
But, if you don't mind - I'd like to continue to let my
local hunt come and try to catch the troublesome foxes.
all, it provides local emplyment, and is a free service
to farmers. At lambing time we're all too knackered and
busy to be out lamping, and who wants to walk around checking
snares and traps after being up all night with 30 ewes all
deciding to lamb at once.
according to the antis, if the costs are averaged out across
the country, it costs those "rich toffs" £1000 per fox that
they kill. What a wonderful round sum. It would be nice
if the public realised that that £1000 is £1000 of the hunters'
own money going into local businesses - helping to keep
the last few of us in the countryside.
for every fox I kill, I only put about 10p into the local
economy - cartridges aren't all that expensive, and landrover
diesol is sold at near cost price - so the garages don't
that to the squillions of pounds of public money that the
government paid out during the Foot and Mouth disaster.
But where are the so-called toffs? When I go hunting I see
farmers and their daughters on horse back, and some local
redcoats look awefully posh, but the people in them are
often farmers too. And when you consider that the average
UK woman spends £500 per year on clothes that she will never
wear (according to a TV programme I saw yesterday), the
costs of hunting seem to deminish.
there are the 'hunting townies' who are countrymen at heart
- looking to escape the rat-race for a peacefull bit of
riding throught the parishes and moors. Of course it does
cost a lot of money to own and keep horses - but they can
be hired and ridden out hunting for the day for a little
more than the cost of a score of heroin or cocaine.
Unfortunately, apart from the trouble caused by the antis,
hunting doesn't provide as much work for the local constabulary
as these drugs. Oh well, you can't have it all ways.
go hunting? Riding out in the driving rain and cold weather,
having to look after hounds all year round, phone around
for permission, paperwork, bills, responsibilities, the
threat of being made a criminal - all to try and rid some
other bugger of his foxes, when a shot-gun in your cupboard
could bag you far more.....
Everyone who goes hunting has a different reason. Farmers
allow it on their land because there's a chance that a troublesome
fox will be killed, if not killed then chased off to someone
else's land for them to deal with. And its free.
riders, contrary to popular belief, don't get to use their
own God-given predatory skills and bare hands, to bag themselves
a fox - all they get to do is ride across private land and
watch some fast dogs follow their noses and look for often
they really wanted blood, then they could pay me to take
them out lamping - there's a chase and everything. Of course,
anyone who enjoys natural history on TV, knows that watching
a predator is very interesting viewing. With hunting, you
can watch via a horse to be sure of a good view - or hedge
your bets with a motor vehicle, or trusty old feet.
has hunting survived for so long? Becuase it provides a
valuable service to the countryside, and helps to maintain
a healthy fox population in the absence on natural predators.
Farmers and country people have been managing this island
of ours for centuries.
Up until the demand for mass production of food, there was
little damage done - farmers cannot be blamed from doing
what the growing population have demanded of them.
farmers had it their way then there would be many more,
smaller farms, without entensive mechanical and chemical
processes that the hungry population have recently been
demanding of them. Hunting is one survivor of that less
intensive time, when it wasn't all about numbers and outputs.
like the few other survivors - its all about quality and
not quantity. Hunting with hounds is a sport, the people
are there to watch the hounds hunt the fox. You can't say
that the people are ganging up on the fox - they have no
affect on it at all.
far as the fox is concerned, only the hounds are a problem
- and a greater number of hounds only increases the chances
of finding a scent, not catching the fox after finding it.
The fittest, fastest hound will always have the advantage
- but maybe not the best nose. The future is in the nation's
who has an opinion on hunting can really be swayed - those
who don't can go either way if all they have is an earful
from either side of the debate. The only way to know about
hunting is to go about hunting. Go and watch, that's all
anybody is doing at a hunt - watching. That's what it is
death of an animal can be a strange thing to see for the
first time - farmers, the producers of your meat - have
to live with it. Most hunters don't see it.
is where it gets difficult. To eat meat is to accept that
animals must die for our benefit... For a fox, there are
several ways to die... Disease, starvation due to old age,
to be caught in a snare and choke, to be shot, to be poisoned,
to be gassed, to be run over, to bit bitten on the back
of the neck by a hound that is five times your size. Of
these, there is one that doesn't pose the risk of a lingering
Isaac P, Smallville, Cornwall