In this essay I will be arguing the benefits and drawbacks of having the ban of fox hunting being brought back and also talk of the effects if fox hunting was totally abolished. In Scotland 2002 a new ban came into place, Protection of Wild Mammals Act. If you were guilty of this offence you could face 6 months in prison and/or a fine. This law protects foxes, though there is an exception, that being, “flushing to guns”. This is when, using hounds, they “flush” the foxes from cover to open for a clear shot when safe to do so.
Scotland has also allowed an unlimited amount of hounds in their hunts. Though this sport may be popular a lot of people do not want fox hunting to be made legal again, 84% of people in fact. So it was in February 2002 when the Scottish parliament voted 83 to 36 to pass legislation to ban hunting with hounds.
Fox hunting has been on the go for longer than most think it is a historic tradition and know worldwide.
It tracks back to ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman influenced countries where they too used dogs to track pray. Though that was a form of hunting. It properly originated with a farmer and his dog in Norfolk attempting to catch a fox in 1534. It is such a long ongoing tradition why stop it? It was in the 18th century where it developed into the real competitive sport it was destined to be. This was due to a decline in the deer population.
England holds the oldest fox hunt which is still running to this day. The hunt which was established by George Villiers who was, of course, the Duke of Buckingham in 1668. So on Boxing Day, the men in red with their dogs set off for that oh so gruelling hunt. The main point made here is that when this sport is such a long tradition it has to be clear that it would be a shame to get rid of it. It is something that we as a Country are associated with.
However, is hunting just a sport? The pain animals are put through because of fox hunting should be enough to never want it brought back. The welfare of the animal should be put first. From a study that showed in a post-mortem examination that the “quick bite to the neck” they claim kills them, is false it is in actual fact the trauma of numerous dog bites that kills them. There are more studies that show they are disembowelled first. But it can not possibly be animal cruelty if it is vermin, surely. The fox goes through such a traumatic event that has caused some to even have a heart attack. This is no sport, it is a massacre, putting foxes through the most traumatic situation they could be in. Act registered hunting claims between 21,000 and 25,000 foxes each year are killed by hunting and how much of which you think got that “quick bite to the neck”. Scott Henderson from the labour government in 1949 stated: “An act causing unnecessary suffering”. This is the great problem with bringing it back, is allowing these foxes to be violated. It is one of the main drawbacks of allowing it back, it cannot be allowed to happen.
On the other hand, foxes are ever breeding. The population needs to be capped to an appropriate level. In the mid-1990’s it was estimated, 23,000 adult foxes produced 41,000 cubs each year. These numbers are massive there has to be hunting to keep these foxes at bay. Fox hunting allows to pick off the ill and diseased foxes allowing the stronger, healthier, and elite to survive. There is correspondingly the argument that gamekeepers and farmers shoot any fox they see as they are no longer relying on the fox hunts, further lives would be spared if there were no ban. We cannot forget that foxes are wild animals they can kill vulnerable lambs ad chickens, most often, more than necessary. Studies have shown the annual cost of the life loss of chickens, geese and turkeys because of these foxes is at £1.3 million. The overall impact of foxes on poultry and livestock is around £10.12 million. The issue here is if we simply need these fox hunts to keep them down and produce a better species but also to keep our animals safe. If there is an overcrowding of foxes they have less food themselves and risk their lives to go onto farmers land for their chickens, lambs etc.
We need to talk about “flushing to guns”, as it seems during some hunts no guns were present. This paragraph will be on the welfare of the animal and how hunters are not abiding by the laws. This just highlights the fact they have no intention of killing them and are just chasing them. Possibly and most likely just for the sheer thrill of it, it seems. But this hugely compromises the welfare of the foxes. The stages of fox hunting go similar to this. Stage 1 spot ad track the fox. Stage 2 chase and hunt it down till exhaustion. Stage 3 kill the fox, 24 hounds to 1 fox, not like the odds are greatly stacked against the fox. Very humane and fair. This is why foxes have been protected under a number of protection laws against poisoning, gassing, stabbing, drowning, clubbing and most forms of snaring. Anyone sick enough to carry out these acts shall get 6 months in prison and/or a £5000 fine per animal. What about dogs tearing at fox’s limb from limb ordered and supervised by the hunters? This would be the consequence if we were to get the ban abolished and allow hounds to take the fox down. Though it is happening anyways even with the ban. This could highlight to us and the people in Britain that perhaps the ban just isn’t tough enough and more would need to be done so people comply with the law.
Moreover, fox hunting has a more economical side to it. This paragraph is about how much it costs the industry and how fox hunting boosts our economy. Shooting is worth over £200 million to Scotland’s economy if it were to be banned 300 full-time jobs would be lost. Macauly land use research Institute say 10 mounted hunts would fall by £260,000. The knock-on effects of this could mean a reduction of £1.97 million in expenditure entering economy which is more full-time jobs being lost. The Scottish gamekeepers Association chairman, Alex Hogg, shows deep concerns that many jobs would be lost. The annual expenditure is £175 million from hunts, 8215 manufacturing, supply, trade and service organisations are partly dependant on hunting. There would be so much lost if there was a total ban on fox hunting, there were even financial drawbacks from the ban made in 2002. There would be no way Scotland would financially work if it were to be totally banned altogether.
In conclusion, I am against fox hunting and would not like it to be brought back in the foreseeable future due to the stress and trauma it puts the foxes through. I agree with the laws Scotland has about “Flushing to guns” as it puts the fox down instantly, though the hunters need to follow this rule. Though I am concerned with the number of hounds allowed present at a hunt. I think the number should be capped and not “unlimited” as it states in the law, as this stops the hunters using their dogs on the foxes, as legally there not allowed to, there also not needed. This could make the hunters more inclined to follow the rule of “flushing t guns” if there were not so many hounds allowed in the hunt.