Thursday, 11 May 2017

Fox News

Having considered this article at great length, I have concluded that fox hunting is not an effective form of pest control. According to a BBC study here, there are only about 10 deaths a year attributed to equine related accidents in the UK. Even assuming all these accidents were related to fox hunting, the best available data suggests that we will not be rid of land owners and assorted bankers for many thousands of years by this control method. Surely there has to be a better way of humanely disposing of these pests; than requiring they learn to ride, dress-up, then jump farmer’s hedges Sunday mornings: hoping they fail to land on the other side? This mechanism is clearly a dated, inhumane method of pest control. So please do not give your support to May's flagship policy. Think of the poor horses!


A K Haart said...

Would the technique improve if the foxes were armed?

Lola said...


Mark Wadsworth said...

What AKH says.

James Higham said...

Keeps huntsmen out of mischief for a while though.

Lola said...

Seriously, I have a libertarian view about this. In that it's not for others to ban something. If you disagree with the activity by all means protest strongly to try and change public opinion, but 'banning' is just more authoritarianism (at best).

All though I am not from it, I do live in the countryside. Generally there is a difference between country and town on the 'nature red in tooth and claw' meme. Country-siders are a fair bit tougher about the fate of livestock and fauna than urbanites.

This vignette caught my eye:

In May 2015, a League investigation revealed 16 terrified fox cubs held captive in a barn linked to a fox hunt in Yorkshire.

“We rescued them, took them to a vet, and sadly one died, but we released the others to safety. We are proud to have protected those foxes.

Firstly, the cubs would not have been 'terrified'. The league is making the classic anthropomorphic error. In fact fox cubs can be - to a degree - domesticated. I have acquaintances who have done so.

Secondly, 'sadly one died' . So their actions killed a cub then?

Thirdly, 'releasing the to safety'. Eh? They are still hunt targets.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, the libertarian part of me does not mind fox hunting in the slightest, I eat meat and try not to be a hypocrite.

But the other part of me likes pissing off land owners.

DBC Reed said...

I'm afraid the above "vignette" does not support your interpretation.
Employees of the farmers, who are kept in business by massive State/European subsidies, were rearing cubs dug out of their earths and sufficiently domesticated to be "not terrified". When a hunt was scheduled one or two of them would be left along the intended route of the hunt (and any earths would be stopped/ the cubs would not know the country anyway) the survivors left for another day of "sport."
The big offence to the ordinary majority is against the sporting spirit.All European football competitions on the television carry effective messaging declaring No to Racism.
Members of the White Trash element that so influences Theresa May in her attitude to foreigners would no doubt like to chase and kill cats in towns.Rich people who chase not really wild foxes are still White Trash who are also marking their turf, declaring "Fuck off Townies, the country belongs to us and if we want to slap fox blood on the faces of children we fucking well will."

Lola said...


Eh? 'No to Racism', and 'White Trash' in the same comment. Well done. Best bit of conflicting nonsense yet.

The rest. So what?

Bayard said...

L, DBCR, OK, fair enough, I don't know what the eventual fate of these fox cubs was, but DBCR is probably right and I have to say, for the first time probably, that I am with the League on this. Fox hunting is supposed to be about pest control, not rearing foxes to be released like pheasants to be killed for sport.

Having said that, the League are still in La-la-land in releasing the fox cubs. They are supposed to be stopping people indulging in cruel (in their eyes) sports, not running some fox preservation society. If they were really interested in stopping hunting, they'd have done better to have the fox cubs humanely killed. It's highly likely that, if it wasn't for the local hunt, that those fox cubs would have been dug up and killed instead of being kept in a barn.

IMHO what should have happened when fox-hunting was banned was that all the hunts should have converted to draghunts (OK an awful lot of fox hounds would have had to be put down, but let's not think about that too hard, they are not really as cuddly as foxes, anyway), the farmers could have wiped out all the foxes with poison and no-one would have had anything to complain about, except the League Against Cruel Sports, who'd be out of a job, unless they decided to go and persecute fishermen.

Lola said...

B. Erm, fox hunting has only ever tangentially been about pest control. It's been about sport, and training cavalry and just having a good ride around the countryside.

FWIW I know several hunting people and none of them are 'rich'.

Bayard said...

L, well, quite. You can do all those things with a drag hunt. However, AFAIAC, the choice should either be hunting real foxes as part of pest control or drag hunting, not hunting real foxes simply for sport.

Having grown up in the country ISTM that the nature of "the Hunt" has changed a lot, at least where I come from. When I was a child, the Hunt consisted of "a few broke farmers" as my mother put it. Now it is five times the size, but mostly well-to-do off-comers. It has become just another facet of the FBRI.

Mike W said...

AK Hart, Arming fox. Not a good idea. As the fox already has the brains it would shift the balance of power too far in the critters favour.

I only intended a joke, honestly, but I will contribute to the comments above.

Mark, This problem is like arguing with someone over drugs and they say 'well, you think 'taking' cannabis is ok then.' You have to start the discussion and explain their weighted verbs that simply beg the question. No, one 'smokes' cannabis like fags. And does one 'take' rum and coke, caffine, etc?

Fox 'baiting' is not 'hunting'. In baiting, you follow the creature who is hunting and take part in the kill(ritual).I dislike all baiting. As it happens, I dislike old, working class badger baiting the most. I have no problem with someone using a Jack Russell to kill rats as vermin control,ferret to catch rabbits for the pot, etc, etc.

Bayard, I once lived in countryside too with hard pressed farmers as friends. I accept that shooting is an important part of the rural community. For example, this is how it works in comtext. Farmer A likes and enjoys hunting and shoots deer/birds/ vermin. Wife of farmer B asks him to come over and shoot the deer who are hammering her veg garden this year. Farmer A happy to do it. A deer or two die as a price of the fresh veg before they scatter and move on. Farmer A puts kills in his record book. No one would even comment on these events.

Local hunters comes and asks Farmer C, could they hunt rabbit/hare or duck this winter on his land. He says No. He explains he is concerned about his live stock and the fact that his kids run all over the place. Hunters leave and thank him. No one would comment on these events. It would not occur for anybody to say that Farmer c is a towny, who knows fuck all about the rural life and hunting!

I fish centerpin and once moved along the river and got within the shooting ground of a deer hide/tower. The hunter, who had paid a great deal of money to sit there that evening, and take his allotted deer, was naturally annoyed with me. I chose not to debate my fishing rights with a chap holding a high velocity rifle set for 600 yards!

Lola, Fox baiting has not much military use (beyond getting on a horse pissed) even to cavalry officers of the Victorian period. They would go on 'staff rides' with the point of not riding around like headless,'unspeakables'. If you want to get a taste of a cavalry charge then I suggest going to a Polo match.They teach so much, down to the vibration on the ground! Here the events are wholey dominated by miltary practice. In particular, lancing or slashing infantry running and ducking. Reforming, charginging and reforming again, spotting holes in enemy ranks etc, etc. Of course I am not suggesting that The British Cavalry, 1815 to 1915 ever learned these lessons, only they were there to be had.

No, Fox baiting is about showing (ritual)who really owns the land, who really frames the law, who is master and who is serf.

Bayard said...

Mike, I take it you reside in the US. Here "hunting" means chasing and killing a fox or red deer on horseback (or, in a very few fox hunts, on foot) and nothing else really. Shooting deer is either "stalking" (in Scotland) or "poaching" (everywhere else in the UK. No-one really hunts roe and fallow deer in England and Wales like they do in the US). Hunting hares is "beagling" if you are posh or "coursing" if you are not, but own a lurcher. Shooting anything else is called simply "shooting". In the absence of hunting, foxes and red deer are usually exterminated (red deer by poaching), so the foxes and deer lose out either way.

Mike W said...

Bayard, You should write detective fiction. I see where you are coming from, my hunters and the rural community rings true, but it is not any community in the UK that you know. Given away by deer towers, winter duck shooting and I assume your guessing centerpin fishing for US steelheads. Top marks, but the only thing stopping you being 100% correct is that I have never set foot in the USA :)

I stand by the central idea, 'hunting, baiting' means what a landed ruling class wants them to mean. Mostly dividing us from them. If you have time; consider translating the division; Game fishing and Course fishing for a non- English speaker.

Bayard said...

Mike W, OK, sorry, Canada?