I think I’ve heard most of the arguments put forward by the advocates of bloodsports and none of them stand up to scrutiny. Here are some of my favourites.
- Hunting foxes with a pack of hounds is an efficient method of pest control. This is perhaps the least convincing of the hunt lobby’s arguments because the numbers say otherwise. There will be any number of people on horseback, supported by dozens of hounds, all of which are chasing a single fox. Surely a single marksman with a rifle is a more efficient way to deal with the alleged problem. The fox hunters don’t seem to think so. The element of pest control is a convenient excuse that masks the true cost of the hunt and the cruelty exhibited towards the fox, which is torn to pieces by the pack of hounds. I would argue that the pest control defence has only been introduced to deflect attention away from the over-riding blood lust of the participants.
- People of all social backgrounds take part in hunting. To this point I would ask, “How many working class people can afford to own, stable and feed a horse and buy the clothing to participate in a hunt”? None, I would argue. The role of the working class in the hunts is limited to the support activities (blacksmithing, mucking out and so on). Traditional working class bloodsports like cock-fighting and badger-baiting were outlawed long ago. Fox hunting was allowed to continue until relatively recently.
- Fox hunting is an integral part of rural life. But then so are a great many other things like having to put up with poor public transport and isolation. Such things are of little concern to the Countryside Alliance, whose main objective is to campaign for a repeal of the Hunting with Dogs Act.
- Fox hunting is popular in the countryside. Urban dwellers don’t understand the ways of the country. Many people who live in the towns and cities used to live in the country and we understand the countryside better than you think. I grew up in the country and I saw hunting as cruel and barbaric and joined the Hunt Sabs as soon as I could. In the past, many hunts have trespassed onto land that does not belong to them. Those farmers on whose land the hunts have trespassed do not find fox hunting endearing in any way shape or form.
- The ban on fox hunting is an example of the tyranny of the majority being imposed on the minority. The paedophile would doubtless make the same argument. The majority of us find child sexual abuse abhorrent. That isn’t “tyranny”, that’s a concern for the welfare of children. Indeed many farmers don’t see foxes as pests but as allies that, for example, keep rabbit numbers in check.
Here’s Julian Cope’s Reynard the Fox