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Why it is time we put a stop to illegal fox hunting

Background of fox hunting

Fox hunting has been a tradition in the UK for around 200 years, adopted mainly within the upper classes. It replaced deer hunting in the mid 1500s as they became endangered as a result. The monarchy enjoyed and traditionalised hunting, King Henry VIII particularly liked it.

It is technically illegal. People still hunt foxes and other wild mammals even after being banned, under the 2004 Hunting Act in a parliamentary vote. In the 2003 vote, just a year before its prohibition, 362 MP’s were in favour of keeping and 156 MP’s voted against.

Many still argue these laws are designed in ways that people are still basically free to hunt, with statistics for the Boxing Day hunt having still reached high numbers in recent years.

Why we should be standing against this style of hunting

Illegal fox hunting is sometimes disguised by naming it trail hunting which is a legal hunting method, however this been used for people to find loopholes in the law. This is a cruel practise while using the animals scent to lure them in. Similarly to Deer hunting making the breeds population decrease dramatically as a result of hunting in the 1500s, Red fox numbers have decreased by 42% since 1995.

If we’re compared to hare coursing, something traditional within the Gypsy and Traveller community, many are being prosecuted for these offences; we fail to see the same legal outcomes compared to fox hunting even if society lands it on the  same spectrum, law enforcement is lesser.

Many people believe that the fox hunting community believe they are above the law.

The UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) also advises against controlling foxes, and instead favours strengthening protection around livestock to guard against natural predation.

Going into our 18th year with hunt ban being in place, the fact we are still having protests against the Hunting Act being ignored, is despicable.

In 2017 85% of people objected to fox hunting, except the around 15% of people who would want it to remain, are not willing to give up the morality fight about this style hunting to remain. Tensions have clashed between protesters and hunters, this becomes especially prominent around this time of year pre Boxing Day hunt.

How people are standing up against the Boxing day hunt this year?

I think it is evident that there should be more scrutiny of the pastime. More pressure from protesting and general societal frowns against fox hunting, will ensure we are protecting foxes and further wildlife, also widening awareness and listening to environmental law, will ensure it gets the government’s ultimate attention and complete rejection.

I believe the number of people who express outrage and reject this unarguable cruelty will decrease numbers still taking part.

Protests will be held on Boxing Day in Elham this year.

Featured image: Leo Reynolds