After much outrage and protests for a ban, Scotland and England finally made fox hunting illegal in 2002. Wales followed soon after, introducing a ban in 2004.
Many thought these bans would finally be the end of this cruel, sadistic event that is popular with the middle classes. Yet it still continues to this day thanks to major loopholes in the law, it just takes the name trail hunting.
The question is, was this intentional? Simply a smokescreen for people to continue fox hunting?
When did fox hunting first begin?
Fox hunting began way back in the 1500s when farmers used dogs to catch foxes who went after their animals and damaged their crops and land. It was then in the 19th Century that it became a source of entertainment for the middle-upper classes who used large packs of hounds to chase and kill poor defenceless foxes.
What is trail hunting?
Trail hunting is where huntsmen give hounds a rag with the scent of foxes before sending them off to hunt them out. While it is illegal for packs of dogs to kill foxes, this is a common outcome for trail hunts. It is not unusual for huntsmen to stand aside and let their dogs attack while saying “it’s just an accident”. It is also legal for people to use dogs to flush out foxes so they can shoot them.
So really the ban is not a ban. It does not protect foxes, nor does it work.
A lack of empathy
Those that take part in trail hunting lack empathy and compassion for animals and the countryside. They are just in it for the blood lust thrill.
Foxes endure so much physical and mental stress during hunts whether they die to not. It’s normal to block holes in the ground to stop foxes from escaping, which is what they normally do when face-to-face with predators. They have no safe haven, and if caught, foxes suffer immeasurable pain and agonising deaths.
And it’s not just the foxes…
… the dogs don’t have a great life either. Reared specifically for hunting, they spend a lot of time in kennels with little food and many suffer injuries from racing over busy roads or jumping over things like barbed wire. Whatsmore, if they don’t perform well in the hunt environment, are ill, injured, old or unable to keep up then they are killed. They don’t get the chance to retire and live in peace.
Other animals that suffer include the horses who are whipped during the hunts and treated badly generally, and even pets and other animals that cross paths with the dogs. In March of this year, hunt dogs caught and killed a rescue cat called Mini. In an attempt to hide evidence and cover up the incident, a huntsmen was seen throwing the poor cat over a fence. He was thankfully charged, but it just goes to show how the trail hunting still goes on and harms so many.
Calling all National Trust Members
The National Trust are currently asking members to vote on whether they should allow trail hunting on their land. If you are a member, please act now to have your say by doing the following and voting FOR the resolution. The dealine for votes is 11.59 pm on the 22nd of October 2021.
- Log in by entering your name, surname, membership number and post code.
- Click the AGM Resolutions button.
- Appoint the Chair of the meeting as your proxy.
- Select the box ‘FOR’ the resolution to ban ‘trail’ hunting.
- Vote on any other motions (should you so wish, if not leave blank).
- Click the ‘Next Page’ button.
- Review your choices, then click ‘Submit’.
Not a member? You can still help!
Our Government is failing foxes by allowing these barbaric events to continue. We need better laws and no loopholes. Let them know by writing to your local MP and urge their party to close up these loopholes and strengthen the fox hunting ban. Alternatively, join one of the supporter groups and raise awareness of these events to encourage others to support a real ban.
Blog by volunteer writer, Susan Bulloch.