A fox hunting




  1. Maintenance of a healthy population of foxes through planned selection, the weak are more likely to be caught than the strong, not so with shooting.

  2. Maintenance of stable numbers of foxes by balancing the needs of farmers etc. to safeguard their possessions on the one hand, with the Foxhunts' and Conservationists' need for foxes, on the other. There are already (2007) signs that the fox population is declining in several areas.

  3. Maintenance of a delicate balance which had developed over 200 years of fox-hunting between fox numbers and the populations on which they prey; small mammals, rabbits and small birds predominantly.

  4. Keeping down fox suffering by reducing worse methods of fox control.

  5. Helping reduce the worsening of the environment for foxes and, incidentally and free from state expenditure, to produce several other advantages to conservation.(E.g. Reduce destruction of hedgerows and small woodlands).

  6. Keeping down predation by foxes where shooting is not favoured.

  7. Dispersing concentrations of foxes, these worsen predation and lead to Fox Diseases (E.g. Mange).

  8. Providing a significant part of the Society and Culture of Rural Areas

  9. A sponsor of a significant part of Britain's Horse related industries and competitions

    To a limited extent, some of these advantages are being preserved by Trail Hunting, but its popularity may well wain. Permitted Hunting is providing a much weakened version of some of these advantages but the cruelty and unselective nature of shooting now prevails.

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After a ban did the number of foxes settle at a number acceptable to farmers etc, as the Anti's claimed?


It has started a decline due to more shooting of foxes because the acceptable level is now lower since there is no longer a desire to please the local Hunt.  


We now know from actual relevant experience that the experiences after the '39-'45 War in the UK are being repeated. Elliott Morley MP (a former Minister covering Animal Welfare) recognised that foxes need controlling. 


Did fox-hunting play a significant part in controlling foxes? 


Around Shoots

Gamekeepers shot some 150,000 foxes a year; because, when uncontrolled, they kill large numbers of young birds.Therefore, the fox population where shooting predominates is very low and hunting did, indeed, play only a minor role in controlling foxes. These shootings have increased since the Ban.

Around Farms

Foxhounds accounted for some 18,000 foxes a year; because, when foxes are not controlled, they kill farmer's possessions where every loss is significant to the farmer. Unlike Gamekeepers, relatively few farmers would claim to be expert at shooting foxes. Inexpert shooting always runs risks of a slow painfull death. It is not always possible for the farmer to know that he has wounded. Neither can the farmer always own a suitable dog to guarantee catching a wounded fox. Many types of wound leave a fox able to run at its normal speed for a substantial time, but will cause the animal to die later from the wound. Very many farmers acknowledge the problems of shooting foxes themselves and have no access to a professional shot. Therefore, they preferrd the Hunt to control the foxes in their locality. This option is now restricted to flushing to guns which still has a significant risk of wounding or Terrierwork that can involve long periods where the fox is denied the ability to follow his "flee instinct", his adaption to the chase no longer applies and he is highly stressed.

Near motorways, busy main roads and urban areas

Motor vehicles wound and kill a very large number of foxes. But the majority of farms and shoots are sufficiently far from these hazards for them to have little effect on the number of foxes which concern farmers and gamekeepers. 


Over the last 200 years ( barring interruptions for wars) the highly selective cull by fox-hunting had maintained the fox population around farms in Hunting Countries at a virtually constant level just acceptable to the farmers concerned.


Hunting Scene

In Norman England, Hunting of deer and boar in the UK was confined initially to the Royal Family and those whom they invited. It took place in "Royal Forests" which were areas where the quarry species were protected by making it a serious offence to kill them there except as part of a "Royal Hunt". Later the privelege of "Hunting Forests" was extended to notable land owners (Eg; Bishops). As early as the 13th century the Crown granted licences to hunt foxes and some crown servants were employed for the purpose. Eventually the laws protecting the quarry species became those covering trespass and poaching which applied on land owned by anybody. Gradually Hunting in the UK was opened to Hunts (with hounds) and stalking (with guns) for which Sports anybody can apply to take part.By the mid-16th century quite a number of private landowners had formed packs of foxhounds but Staghunting predominated.

In France, the Revolutionaries won the right in the Constitution for any citizen to Hunt. Before then only The King, who allowed favoured aristos to Hunt.

In the 18th century  many factors were making Stag Hunting more restricted. Some Hunts started to chase foxes and found that they were worthy quarry. Furthermore, farmers well outside traditional Stag Hunting Areas welcomed Fox Hunting as one method of helping to control numbers of a significant "thief" of their possessions of lambs, chickens etc. Thus the Sport of Fox Hunting spread until it covered much of the UK and acquired the dual purpose of sport and fox population management.As Fox Hunting grew in popularity it became better and better regulated until it became the well disciplined sport we see today.