A fox hunting

CONCLUSIONS:

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OF THE "SCOTT HENDERSON COMMITTEE"

The disciplined culling of foxes in the UK by highly organised, long standing and respected Hunts ( i.e. those belonging to the Masters of Foxhounds Association) avoids the excessive depletion and risk of excessive suffering which would be a feature of the practicable implementation of alternative methods (e.g. trapping, shooting, gassing, snaring.) This was the conclusion of the "Scott Henderson Committee" set up by the Labour Government in 1949. They summarised it as follows :

What has changed? Not the facts, only the "Public's attitude". In reality, this is views held for the most part by representatives of our "Urban Sub-Culture" and not shared by many from our "Rural Sub-Culture". Surely this attitude, unless supported by incontrovertible evidence of cruelty, is not a proper basis for increasing the number of foxes that suffer much and often die slowly in pain/starvation, degrading the fox population and wrecking a major recreation of many "Rural's" and "Urbans" who hunt. This conclusion has been borne out during the Ban.

OF SOME SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

In a paper published in November 1996 in the academic journal Animal Welfare, a number of eminent zoologists agree that animal breeds that have been farmed for centuries (E.g. cows) can be expected to have adapted to, say, being housed in barns and, therefore, do not suffer under the conditions to which they are subjected. Similarly, wild animals (E.g. foxes) that have been hunted for centuries can be expected to have adapted to being hunted by dogs and, therefore, although under great stress while being hunted do not suffer mentally during the hunt. In a phrase "do not confuse stress and suffering".

 

OF THE BURNS INQUIRY

This was set up by the Socialist Government in ----

  • Their report stated that "this experience {being hunted} seriously compromises the welfare of the fox". The Anti fox-hunting fraternity used this statement to allege that this meant that hunting was cruel. However during the parliamentary debate, two principal authors of the Burns Report set out to explain precisely what they meant by the expression.
  • Lord Burns, Chairman of the Inquiry, said on the issue of cruelty "Naturally, people ask whether we were implying that hunting is cruel... The short answer to that question is no. There was not sufficient verifiable evidence or data safely to each views about cruelty."
  • Lord Soulsby, one of the most senior vets in the UK, went further, condemning those organisations who claimed that the expression equated to cruelty and thus justified an end to hunting "At no point did the committee conclude, or even attempt to conclude, an assessment of cruelty. Yet many bodies have erroneously--I repeat the word "erroneously"--quoted the Burns report, stating that it clealy demonstrated that the practice of hunting wild
    animals with dogs caused cruelty. The report did not state that."
  • Thus the primary argument used by opponents of hunting following the Burns Report had been dismissed by the very people who wrote it.

OF FOXMAN ON MORALITY

The moral objections to hunting are, at best, arguable and, at worst, factional opportunism. If a conflicting moral standard of one sub-culture (e.g. the "Urban" attitude on fox-hunting as exemplified by the animals rights lobby----ARs) is imposed upon those who live within another (e.g. the "Rurals" as exemplified by the Animal----Real----- Welfare lobby); resentment and cultural, social, economic and political damage will result. The outbrak of government dishonesty and the collapse of repect for the Labour Government is an example of the "rot" forecast to be partially due to these conflicts.

 

OF FOXMAN ON THE FOX-HUNTING ISSUE

Foxman is not opposed to some enforced changes to the control (regulation or supervision) of fox-hunting and to the banning of some practices in specific circumstances in particular places as may be decided by "A Hunting Authority" and implemented through a Statutory Code of Conduct. "Burns" found that several crucial aspects of the alleged cruelty and degradation of welfare had NOT been thoroughly researched. Furthermore, the Inquiry did not have time to initiate this "missing research", nor to await its outcome before reporting. The Government has stated that it is founding its actions about hunting on the basis of the evidence. However since Burns found that there is not enough evidence available, it would be incumbent upon any eventual Government sponsored Hunting Authority to sponsor the necessary research and to analyse its conclusions before disallowing any hunting activity. Pending such evidence becoming available, nothing in The Burns Report nor from The Westminster Hearings dilutes Foxman's conclusions that:

  • There are good reasons (REF "A") to believe that foxes are not in terror when being chased and that certain death under many hounds in seconds is preferable to a significant probability of wounding and slow death when shot at. [Ref "A": A paper published in November 1996 in the academic journal Animal Welfare, by two British zoologists at the University of Nottingham, (Chris Barnard, professor of animal behaviour and Jane Hurst, a behavioural ecologist). Summarised here. )
  • Persons whose property is killed by foxes (E.g.. Farmers and Gamekeepers) are going to kill foxes; however needless this may be in a macro-economic sense.
  • All methods, other than Hunting with Dogs have serious disadvantages. However, there are some practices of fox-hunting, which may be found after further independent study to be against the "good order of Society" or "cruel" in specific circumstances. A system of regulation should be introduced to stop these.

Consequently, "Burns" and "Westminster" has found nothing to invalidate the arguments put forward that a total ban on fox-hunting or an ill considered, premature or ill implemented licensing system would "backfire" because it would increase suffering from the inevitable culling of foxes by lengthening the duration of suffering in the fox population. Experience since the implementation of "The Ban" support this conclusion. It may well also be contrary to legislation on Human Rights and this has been  tested through a series of legal processes that  escalated gradually to ever more "senior" and international courts. Inevitably such authorities rejected our case as undermining the right of governments to enact laws passed by their legislatures. Nevertheless, it needs no legal process to be seen as undemocratic ( in the sense of true democracy) political opportunism in perpetuation of "class warfare" and "Old Socialist" aims. Furthermore, it is wholly contradictory to the aspirations of New Labour, as stated when first elected, to govern for "all the people" in a thoroughly modern manner. In practical terms, The Ban. and any subsequent regulations after its repeal, that covered particular aspects of "the hunt" would be wholly premature before further research.

FINAL CONCLUSION

This arises from Logic not emotion. In the interests of the fox population, of true democracy and of Human Rights, fox-hunting should be reinstated under Government sponsored regulation and a fair and properly implemented licensing system.

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