Foxes survive even hunting
THIS SITE SUPPORTS THE HUNT BAN :
Well,well, was it not the hunt fraternity that so often called anti-hunt protestors yobs? The answer is yes, which made the spectacle in Parliament last week all the more illuminating for one who has raised the hackles of the men in pink for a quarter of a century.
Yep, that is yours truly: the irritating warble-fly of anti-hunt journalism with a view from the inside which has annoyed them so much. The aforementioned warble-fly lays it eggs beneath the skin of some mammals, such as deer and goats, and once the maggots hatch out, they burrow outwards for freedom.
My metaphorical allusion to the parasite is partly based on fact, because when I was 10, my mum was the cook at the Quorn Hunt Stables in Leicestershire, and we lived there. That was my view from the inside. I saw it all, especially when certain huntsmen took me under their wing and, explained the traditions of hunting. "Young foxes are ideal for training the hounds," they told me. First we catch them and keep them in a box or in a sack, then, just to give the young hounds a chance to taste blood we cut the tendons in the cubs leg." The 'sport', or as they called it 'training', then ensued as the unsuspecting fox was released in front of the slobbering hounds. Of course it did not take long for the cub to be ripped to pieces.
They (the hunt fraternity) do not like my tales, and why would they, because my experiences completely debunk all of the tosh that they utter?
Take the young girl interviewed in London during the protest. "City people do not understand what goes on in the country. If hunting were made illegal all the hounds would have to be killed; they don't think of that do they?" she asked. Complete rubbish, and besides, it used to be the case that hounds past their sell-by-date where killed anyway, and then tossed into the pot with other farm-stock fatalities and served up to the packs for tea. Part of my initiation into country ways was to stir the pot.
Another hunt supporter shouted down the microphone; "Hunting is the only way to control foxes." Yet more rubbish. What could be a more labour intensive and more futile method of hunting than on horseback across the English countryside? Why don't they just admit it, and let's face it they would gain more respect if they owned up to killing foxes for the fun of it. But no, the, protests are laced with pseudo-conservation talk. We need to control foxes for the sake of the farmer, they whine. More guff:
farmers are well able to control foxes themselves if they want to, and by other methods. Okay, foxes on occasion do take chickens and young lambs, but evidence has shown that many lambs eaten by foxes were dead before they began to dine; which means the fox was in fact performing a service.
Other scientific evidence, which I happen to believe, points to
the fox population
controlling itself anyway. In other words, fox numbers in the UK are
at their optimum: they are everywhere, as readers well know, and if there
is no room for young to disperse then they will rear less. Common sense from
Nature; and besides, don't you think they would have got rid of foxes
if they could have done? The truth is, that
Old Reynard has
proved an altogether more able adversary than the polecat, white-tailed sea
eagle, red kite and osprey, all either made extinct or very close to it,
by similar people to those in London last week. Misguided and belligerent
PLEASE congratulate Sean Wood on his article, 'Foxes even survive hunting', (Advertiser, 23 September).
Apparently his mum was a cook employed at the Quorn Hunt Stables, and as
a young lad he
Just face fox facts
the hunt supporters think it's acceptable behaviour to dump the decomposing
bodies of a horse, cow and calves' in the street to highlight the so-called
plight (Metro, Wed)?
Andy Gaskarth, Birmingham
It is curious to see that pro-hunting groups are able to stage so many demonstrations. But then, a large number of hunters and hunt supporters are rich, so presumably many of them don't have to work like the rest of us.
The fact is that an overwhelming majority of MPs has now voted to ban hunting, This ban should be implemented as soon as possible, and we should move on, There are many other important issues that face us.
Kevin Gannon, London W12
What is best for the fox in the long term? In Scotland, since hunting was banned, relative figures show many more foxes have died through sanctioned methods. These include using horses to chase foxes towards waiting rifles, as this is the required pest control.
In South Africa, where hunting on private farms is allowed, many millions of acres of unspoilt land have been preserved. Farmers are able to host visiting hunters, ensuring the land remains economically viable. If hunting was banned, the countryside would be ploughed and crops planted - and the animals would be slaughtered or chased away to compete in already overcrowded areas, resulting in the deaths of thousands.
I believe that those supporting a ban have a short-sighted argument based on emotion, backed by pictures of bloodied, dismembered foxes. In a few months, they will be able to view the intact bodies of thousands of dead foxes in neat rows.
Ryan Skinner, London SW17
[Metro Sep 30,2004]
ON THE HUNT: I was wondering if Frederick
Copley (Metro,Wed) could decipher the following stats based on the last time
a fox got into my neighbours chicken coup. Number of foxes: one ; number
of dead chickens: nine ; number of part-eaten chickens: one. My guess is
either that foxes also kill for fun or that this particular fox was from
the US; in which case the eight uneaten chickens would be collateral
Real crises overshadowed by hunt ban
Reg Sharpe reckons the House of Lords has soundly thrashed
democracy, with regard to the fox hunting debate (Metro, Fri). It is democracy
if a Bill passed through the Lower House and then rejected by the Upper House,
without Tony Blair - bulldozing it through anyway. Just because Mr Sharpe
may not like the result does not mean that democracy has been thrashed.
Adam Way, London NW6
The Metro Nov 2 2004
ACT FACT: Adam Way thinks we give "more priority
to a few foxes" than we do to humanitarian issues because Parliament
has spent hundreds of hours debating the issue (Metro,Tue). That is
a distortion of the truth.Animal Welfare issues account for a tiny
fraction of total Parliamentary time.The reason fox-hunting seems to
take up an inordinate amount of time is due to the filibusting tactics used
by a minority of MPs to frustrate the arcane way in which our Parliament
works.The great majority of the public wants this issue dealt with
once and for all,and that is what the Parliament Act allows us
But no peace in hunting..
PRO-HUNT campaigner Otis Ferry says supporters will cause mayhem for the Government in the run-up to the General Election, in protest at the ban. The son of rock star Bryan Ferry told BBC's Breakfast With Frost he felt a 'total commitment' to continue hunting. The 21-year-old was among protesters who stormed into the Commons during a debate in September this year. He told Sir David: 'Hunting is not a hobby, it's a lifestyle.'
The Metro Nov 22 2004
Our cats are safe from foxy friends
Sean keeps quiet over hunting row
I HAVE been biting my lip over the past few weeks, and making
a deliberate effort not to become embroiled in the fox-hunting issue. Although
regular readers may find this strange, especially as my ant-hunt writing
has appeared both locally and nationally for 27 years, the whole debate has
The sick and warped reasons hunters give for their activities and why they are wrong:
Please also see my writings on logic, reasoning, and ethics and which may shed light on the erroneous thinking of hunt advocates)
1.Hunting represents a way of life that we can ill afford to lose.Any way of life that advocates the torture and misery of a living thing is a way of life we can not only afford to lose,but must do away with.Camilla Parker-Bowles has said that the fox has no natural predator - it does not need one - it is subject to population dynamics - if it eats to many things...it starves - and this is no justification to kill something - otherwise we ought to kill people because they have no natural predator.
2. It's tradition amongst a community.On the 1st October the METRO featured an article on the Sforza Hours which depicted an illuminated page from 1490.It is now 2004,isn't it time we moved on and progressed past neanderthal concerns with blood lust.The hunters are out-of-date and out-of-touch.They are a minority that live in a democracy where the majority rule - the majority says "ban blood sports."If we can be that cruel to an animal,how easy is it for the same mindset to predominate when a human being is asked to consider the welfare of another human being. How apt then,that the hunters showed their true colours when protesting to parliament - they should not be dressed in red - but yellow for the cowards they are.."
3."Townies" do not understand the countryside.Sean is living proof of the fallacy of that statement - and further - one need not be a countryside dweller to know that to kill is wrong,indeed,if one were to believe in God (which I don't - I derive my morality logically)then one would be forced to be the caretakers of all creatures - I happen to have respect for life because I know God does NOT exist, and therefore it is up to me to determine morality - and I have discerned that there is no point in destroying a complex organism for the sheer reason that one wishes to - it lacks respect for nature and so any argument that says countrymen understand nature or as Sean said "pseudo ecological arguments" is just plain ignorant.Along with other arguments,this one shows alarming ignorance of Western philosophical thought, not to mention religious ideals as to what is a high moral stance.
4.If foxhunting is banned then hounds would have to be killed. Like all the facile so-called "reasons" that the excuse for human beings give,this is just as absurd,if not moreso.There is no cause and effect relationship that leads inevitably to the hounds being killed.Just because my pet dog loses it's rubber ball,that is no reason to kill it.These hounds reason d'etre is not to catch foxes - it is a gross miscomprehension of the nature of existence of a living form to assume it must be killed if indeed it's primary function is not completed.Indeed,the lions and bears kept in zoos are evidence that something need not be killed just because it's primary motivation to exist is removed.They should be set free. In the case of the hounds they are primarily alive like human beings just for the sake of it.They are not there at the behest of their human controllers,although those cloaked in red think they are.It is typical speciesism of them to think they ordain what happens to another life. When human beings are disabled - we do not kill them (although maybe euthanasia is more caring - that's another debate) because we know they can do other things besides that which their disability impedes.
5.People will be put out of jobs.Everyone runs the risk of being made redundant,there is no special case to be made for anyone to do with the hunting fraternity,quite the contrary,their way of life is redundant and inconsistent with a modern society wishing to rid itself of sadism and inhumanity. When the miners were put out of work they had to find other jobs,the rest of us have to,so why cannot the hunting fraternity? Threat of loss of a vocation is not a reason to justify immoral behaviour.
6.The numbers of foxes need to be controlled.Whether or not this is the case,the sick and barabaric maiming and chasing an animal to exhaustion and then ripping it to shreds is NOT how to control a population. Personally,I have studied population dynamics and anyone who claims culling is necessary by human beings is on very shaky ground.I maintain that those who advocate culls (as a lame and sick excuse to continue barbarism) are ignorant of the biosphere and how it functions.I doubt very much that they could cite Robert May's work to explain why populations find their own balance or why indeed they may get out of control.
The ground is even more shaky in the case of foxes.One is rarely privileged to even SEE a fox,and it is so scared of human beings (unsurprisingly) that it is unlikely to wish to breed where it would likely be disturbed.This is why so many are finding homes in towns and along railway lines (not places where one would find livestock). In the country it maybe different,but even so,this is no excuse for resorting to barbaric means of death.As Sean says above,there is scientific evidence that the fox population controls itself,if they eat too much they starve,if they breed too much,they starve. This was modelled as a first level derivative equation on nothing more sophisticated than a Spectrum home computer,but perhaps modern technology has not permeated the countryside populace.More on this can be found in "The New Scientist Guide to Chaos" ch4 p49 where Ian Stewart explains predator-prey models- but I doubt country bumpkins have any idea of that.
7.Foxes would die anyway.
8.It's a democracy,we should be able to do
what we want in a free country.
9. If hunting was banned,animals would die
of lack of habitat. This is another farcical and misleading reason
for supporting barbaric slaughter. The fact is habitat is being lost
anyway,and hunting is NOT a way of preserving habitat - we should
preserve habitat anyway,not because for the purpose of hunting. It's quite
conceivable that habitat is maintained by golfers - I am not a golf fan - I
think they are a pain - but at least their pursuit of a small white object
causes no suffering unless one gets in the way of the ball - the point being
there are OTHER ways to preserve habitat and at the same time not kill
anything - it's ludicrous to compare the death or lack of propensity
to life of animals though lack of habitat to the wanton barbaric
acts of a few outdated mindless yobs.Sometimes emotion tells us what
is correct - even if I am not an advocate of this means as a way of telling
what is truthful - human beings ARE emotional - and it seems to me it
is the hunters grasping at emotional arguments trying to hold onto
an outdated way of life.
After 500 years, book is finished
BY JAYNE ATHERTON
The book measures 13cm x 9.5cm (6in x 4in) and is said to be worth more than £l0million. The final page cost £191,000 and was obtained from a dealer in Chicago.
The Sforza Hours was commissioned by Bona of Savoy, alter her husband, Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, was assassinated.
Dr Scot McKendrick, the library's head of medieval and earlier manuscripts, said: 'The Hours is one of the greatest illuminated manuscripts. The acquisition of the October leaf ends a 500-year odyssey.'
The book is on show in the library's exhibitions gallery until December 6.
The Metro Sep 2004
Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations,
caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.
Another striking fact now rendered familiar, even platitudinous,
by triumphs of recent genetic science is how closely all living things are
related. Humans share more than half their genes with worms and fruit-flies,
and almost all their genes with chimpanzees. Yet this intimate familyhood
of life does not stop people from
spearing worms onto
fish-hooks, or testing drugs on chimpanzees. Nothing surprising there,
you might say, given the way humans treat humans; in the face of gas chambers,
racism, war and other avocations, what chance has a monkey or a cow? There
are lessons to be learned from the way humans justify their treatment of
animals - not least of those evolutionarily closest to them - namely, the
apes. Apes, especially gorillas, have long been demonised in film and literature.
Their similarity to us is used not as proof of kindred, but as a means of
symbolising the supposed bestiality within us. Thus when Dr Jekyll drinks
his potion he exposes a mythologised savage inheritance; his hands grow hairy,
his brow beetles, his teeth enlarge: he becomes a horrifying gorilla-man.
If it is not violence it is stupidity which marks the ape, betokened by
tree-swinging, armpit-scratching and gibbering. You insult a person if you
call him an ape. Yet apes are intelligent, inquisitive, affectionate and
sociable, with capacities for suffering and grief that match our own, and
with a grave beauty and dignity which recalls Schopenhauer's remark that
'There is one respect in which brutes show real wisdom when compared to us
- I mean their quiet, placid enjoyment of the present moment.' There is a
parallel between our excuses for maltreating apes and those for maltreating
fellow humans. We locate a difference that we find threatening, or that we
despise; we thereby make the other fully other, so that we can close the
door of the moral community against him, leaving him outside where our actions
cannot be judged by the same standards as apply within. Racism and speciesism
are thus the same thing - they are myths about who belongs and who is alien.
In their book The Great Ape Project published some years ago, Paola Cavalieri
and Peter Singer
entered a plea for humankind to 'admit our fellow Great Apes - the
chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans - to the same moral community as ourselves,
thereby according them rights to life, to liberty, and to protection against
torture - especially the kind of torture inflicted in the name of scientific
research.' In the face of the genetic and behavioural evidence, there is
no good reason why the moral respect and consideration that applies between
humans should not apply between humans and apes. But note: the moment that
the boundaries of morality are extended in this way, there is no obvious
place to stop. All animate nature comes within the purview of ethics; and
that, arguably, is as it should be. The world divides into vegetarians and
those that eat them. Thoreau wrote, 'I have no doubt that it is a part of
the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating
animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other.'
There are plenty who argue that it is not immoral to eat a cow, especially
if it has lived well beforehand. Lovers of cats and dogs would think it cruel
to eat their pets, though, and once again the reason is the boundary: cats
and dogs, horses and yet hamsters, have become quasi-citizens of the human
world, and our treatment of them is premised on the same kind of concern
for their interests as we show to other humans. We would not crowd dogs into
a closed lorry as we do sheep when they are sent on long export journeys;
that is a happy fact. But it is an unhappy fact that we crowd sheep into
lorries, for sheep can suffer thirst and panic just as dogs - and humans
- do. Humanity's record with animals is poor. 'We have enslaved the rest
of the animal creation,' wrote Dean Inge, 'and have treated our distant cousins
in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate
a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.' Some think that
sentimental do-goodery over animals is a distraction from more significant
moral matters. Perhaps; but a person's integrity is never more fully tested
than when he has power over a voiceless Creature; and the route from pulling
wings off flies to committing crimes against humanity is not a notably circuitous
[The meaning of things - A.C. Grayling]
It's perhaps also worth noting the mixed messages adults send to children about animals - on the one hand criminal behaviour is decsribed as being "worse than animals" whilst at the same time we have Disney cartoons and others with anthropomorphised animals in them displaying sometimes the best qualities of humanity. This is particularly paradoxical in the case of the fox - we have the children's character BASIL BRUSH who is an "old charmer" in the style of Terry Thomas, and yet Hunter's are telling us that foxes are vermin - humanity should get its ideas straight -either animals are our lessers and our underlings to be treated as peieces of meat - or they are bretheren creatures who deserve our understanding and respect - we cannot show them both ways around and expect children to grow up with a comprehension of their world that makes any sens - given the present concern about the ecosystem - and the nonlinear process that givern such things as the Gaia Hypothesis it is perhaps better to treat animals as other creatures on the same ride of life that we are and to show them some respect -then perhaps children's anthropomorphic characters would not be so paradoxical.