Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Veterinarians Call for End to "the Ban"
Fox populations are exploding in the U.K. and the issue of control is moot. The only question now is whether it will be through vehicle impact, starvation, disease, poison, shooting, snares, or a return to hunting with hounds.
A bipartian Parliamentary group in the UK, working with the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management, has issued a new report [PDF] which concludes that hunting with dogs is the most effective way of controlling foxes, and that all arguments of cruelty are "invalid" as predation by larger canids has been the way of the fox since before man walked the earth.
The publication goes on to to note that hunting with hounds is "demonstrably the natural and most humane method of control," and there was "never any scientific evidence" to support a ban.
The all-party parliamentary Middle Way Group worked with the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management (500 veterinarians across the U.K.) to produce the document, which concludes that the hunting ban of 2004 is "unscientific, unenforceable, socially divisive, and harms, rather than improves, animal welfare," and called for the ban to be repealed.
Alison Hawes, regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said the findings were another step towards the repeal of the ban which the organisation has been campaigning for: "We are now looking at the probability of a repeal, rather than the possibility. The ball is really rolling in that direction."
David Cameron has already pledged the Conservatives will hold a free vote on the issue in Parliament if they come to power in an election likely to be held next year.
Trapping is not an option for fox control in the U.K., as it is in the U.S., because the use of traps was banned in the 1950s. Ironically, the ban on traps was supported by the mounted hunts who thought it would strengthen their hand as the "preferred" method of fox control. >> To read more >> To read the press release [.doc]