A fox hunting

PROPAGANDA

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The opponents of Hunting use propaganda to mislead; particularly about the facts of the more emotional aspects and about the politics of a ban. They play on emotions with scant regard for underlying facts. It takes some serious thought to appreciate our arguments. Unfortunately, most people react to media emotionally. I will examine a typical advertisement of the early 2000s to see how facts are misrepresented and emotions inflamed. 

IFAW Ad' 

The picture

When you read the text, copied below, you will believe that this shows a fox killed recently by disembowelling by hounds. But notice the eyes, which are typical of an animal which has been dead for some time, and the absence of a brush on the tail. It seems to me that this fox has received the attentions of somebody intent upon Taxidermy pobably for the fashion trade. A very similar, if not identical, fox carcase and text appeared in advertisements placed by the RSPCA. The Countryside Alliance complained to the Advertising Standards Agency, who adjudicated that the RSPCA:

  • Used a photograph that was "not genuine".

  • Misrepresented official government policy.

  • Made false implications about the way in which hunting is conducted.

The text

Please see the comments alongside a true transcript of the text. 

TEXT OF IFAW ADVERTISEMENT

It's a disgusting habit. But one that fox Hunters seem loath to give up.
In an average year, they get through around 20,000 cubs, dog-foxes and vixens.
Even heavily pregnant vixens are considered fair game.
Selective with the truth. some fox hunters maintain there is no cruelty.

Post-mortem examinations of foxes savaged by hounds prove otherwise.
Typical findings include, "Extensive wounds to abdomen and thorax, intestine hanging out" and "death caused by pathological shock:'
A 'quick nip to the neck' it isn't.

Foxes that manage to go to ground during a hunt face a terrifying and protracted ordeal.
Escape routes are blocked, and terriers sent in to corner their prey.

The ensuing underground battle is nasty and brutish. It is not short.The fox may well die underground fighting for its life. (The terriers also sustain injuries.)
If it's still alive, the hunters' digging will expose it. The best the poor creature can hope for now is a gunshot.
Those animals that escape the necessarily escape the suffering.
The stress and exertion of the chase is traumatic beyond imagination.
This, the fox hunters insist, is sport.
71% of the British people disagree. They think hunting with dogs should be banned (MORI).

COMMENT

"Cubs" are mentioned as quarry without pointing out that by the start of Autumn Hunting most are already adept killers of small mammals and birds. We are accused of killing "Heavily pregnant vixens". But they have so little scent that on nearly every occasion that hounds seek to follow it in the spring, the Huntsman will soon realise that they are on a pregnant vixen and will call them off.
The advert claims that Hunting is cruel because "post-mortem findings include extensive wounds to abdomen and thorax, intestines hanging out, death caused by pathological shock". But most caught foxes have FIRST received a nip to the neck which has severed the spinal cord. The fox, therefore felt nothing during the short time while the wounds and shock mentioned were inflicted. It is easy to mislead about anything by quoting rare exceptions to the normal.
IFAW claims that terrier work results in an"underground battle that is nasty and brutish" and not short,also that a fox "may well die underground fighting for its life." In fact, with rare exceptions, the fox is brought to bay by barking and dug down to as quickly as possible or bolted; so that it may be shot certainly at close quarters. The rules for Terrier-work state that terriers that fight their fox must never be put to ground again.

The advert states that "the stress and exertion of the chase is traumatic beyond imagination". In fact foxes are conditioned to being chased. I have seen them catch and eat a small mammal in the middle of a hunt. For more detail on the cruelty issue please see some academic views on suffering of animals while being chased.

The implication here is that if 71% of the British people think that hunting with dogs should be banned then Parliament should ban it. In other words that the will of the majority should prevail in all circumstances. This position is dangerously undemocratic because "democracy is defined as government vested in all of the people". That is on behalf of small minorities (such as people imbued with "Rural Culture") as much as the urban majority.

In truth, Parliament is elected to govern wisely. This requires it to balance the sensitivities of the majority against the interests of all minorities in the light of the well-being of the nation as a whole. HOW MUCH WOULD THE WELL-BEING OF THE UK BE IMPROVED BY BANNING HUNTING? I CANNOT SEE ANY, BUT THE DAMAGE TO THE INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE (INCLUDING THE FOX POPULATION) WOULD BE SIGNIFICANT.

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