D'you know, every time that I think I've calmed down about the alleged Hunting Ban along comes somebody to wind me up over it again. This time it was Robin Page in the Weekend Telegraph, who until he got slung off of One Man and his Dog some years ago, used to write sensible articles about the countryside. Since then all he does is rant about green politics and generally hate anybody that doesn't agree with his vision of the countryside.
Today, he was siding with the Hunts again and moaning about how stupid this continuing Ban is and how it is one reason for the increase of foxes everywhere. I get so wound up about this smoke screen that Huntsmen and their supporters put up about this alleged Ban and about how its not allowing them to go out, and how its threatening the existence of their packs of hounds, etc, etc. There is nothing to stop these people from enjoying charging about the countryside on their horses and with their hounds, all that's been stopped is their enjoyment at chasing a fox until its lungs give out, that's all. And if you live here on Sheppey its still possible to watch that occur because the Hunt, a few times each winter, still hunt in the traditional way, just as they always have.
Aided and abetted by the farmers whose land they hunt over, they turn up, unload their horses and hounds, unload the quad bikes with terrier men and terriers onboard and off they go after the first fox. Not only that, as is their traditional arrogant way, they also ignore the pleas of a few smaller properties out there to not go onto their land and do just that.
Now, I want to make it clear that I'm not against most pest control, which includes foxes, because as a hands on reserve worker I've seen the damage that foxes and the like can do to things like ground nesting birds colonies and have come to realise that simply "leaving things to nature" doesn't work. But what I do demand is that something should be killed as immediate and humanely as possible, not chased for a few miles for fun first. That's all the Hunts are about, killing for fun, controls are just a cover up.
Lets also consider how many foxes that a Hunt actually kill during one of these days out, probably 3-4 if they were really lucky, if they were really serious about their position as fox controllers they could probably kill far more, and more humanely and regularly, by going out at night with high-powered rifles and lights.
And lastly, one practise that used to go on in official hunting times and possibly still does is that of fox-earth protection. Yes, some hunts would actually safeguard some earths and their vixens in order to guarantee a supply of foxes for the following season's hunting and it has also been known for them to move fox cubs onto a barren estate. That fact somehow gets overlooked when they claim that a Ban prevents them from providing a fox control service in the countryside.
There is a lot of deceit being, and always has been, employed by the Hunts and those people that sit in their warm armchairs and smugly think that an alleged Ban is working, or that huntsmen deserve some sympathy, need to get out and look behind the smokescreen.