British fox hunts

I do not hunt. Don’t care to or even own a gun, but I have no problem with hunters. They pay licence and other fees which benefit the very play ground they use, and keep the population of deers at more manageable levels since all other natural enemies have disappeared. OF course, some vegans will object.

When I heard about the British royal family members participating on a fox hunt, and the British people’s reaction, it made me wonder. Are the Brits just anti-hunting pacifists, or is a fox-hunt symbolic of upper-crust society they love to loathe.

Being from Texas, I see a fox hunt as something I would not care to do, but no big deal. I do eat meat, so someone has to kill them. But I feel there is more to the British animosity than just treatment of animals.

I’m in NY I know a lot of folks who like to hunt deer… Here are some differences between deer hunting and fox hunting:

  1. If you don’t hunt deer, there’ll be too many of them and they’ll starve. Foxes are anywhere near overpopulation. Deer are basically oversizes rats - they do nothing useful, except destroying plants. Foxes do something positive for the ecology.

  2. You shoot the deer. A smart deer has a good chance of getting away. A fox, once spotted, does not get away (so much for Brits’ “sportsmanship”) and is forced to run until it drops with a heart attack.

  3. We eat the deer. No one eats foxes. (Although folks who eat haggis might eat foxes too, dunno.)

I’m not sure if fox hunting should be outlawed (like cock fighting, bull baiting, and other traditional British forms of entertainment) but it’s certainly fair to let the Windsors know they’re disgusting.

I’m from Tahoe…Eastern California, for those you don’t know… and in the mountains. I see no fox here, and few deer… although, there are many deer all around. I have seen bear all around, but I do not shoot them! Why shoot them!? I do have guns, an SKS, a Glock 9, and a SigSauer…but, I do not shoot these beautiful creatures… Why do other people?


I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him…

I’m no animal rights activist and I have no quarrel with deer or fowl hunting but I have to admit that I find fox hunting about as loathsome as bullfighting. I think even Ted Nugent would have a problem with fox hunting.
If you ain’t gonna eat it, don’t kill it. Speaking of bullfighting, am I the only one who pumps his fist and exclaims “YESSSS!” when he hears of a matador getting gored to death in the ring??


Regards,
Tom

No question – bullfighting is absolutely disgusting and barbaric, and I ain’t too wild about fox hunting, either.

As others have said, if you’re gonna eat the critter, that’s another thing altogether.

I think most of the objections your Briton-on-the-street has with fox hunting is based on contempt for the predators rather than concern for the prey. Fox hunting is one of the most obstentious displays of upper-class priviledge that survives in Britain. Keep in mind that in Europe, unlike America, hunting is traditionally considered an upper-class sport.

I’m in Berkeley, CA. This is urban territory, but I wouldn’t swear by the urbanity of a lot of Berkeleyans. I live in the transitional area where the flats become the hills. No dear here but far too many in the neighboring urban residential hills – you can say – because nobody is allowed to shoot them there. Back a while, they had too many on Angel Island in SF Bay and brought in hunters to drastically reduce their number there.

I eat meat and am not into animal rights. When I was young I had an uncle who hunted occasionally. That period is the last time I’ve ever had venison.

Guns have never appealed to me and I’ve never owned one. During basic training in the US Army, I fired one a few times at a rifle range. I think essentially all guns not used by police or the military should remain only at shooting ranges. In the woods and wildernesses, I only like to hike and camp.

Yes, I think fox hunting, as its always been presented to me at a distance, as a tribe of equestrians and a large pack of dogs chasing one fox to exhaustion, is most ridiculous in respect to consideration as a sport, right in there with bullfighting, cockfighting and dogfighting. But killing animals for sport, in general, is not exactly my idea of an appealing sport anyhow.

I have never talked to any English or Scottish people about fox hunting, so I don’t know their range of emphases on the perpetrators and the victims, but I would guess its usually a combination of the two.

dlv:

I can’t figure someone who makes such a statement without informing us as to what such a positive thing might be. Preventing overpopulation in chicken houses? The only foxes I’ve seen around here are not native gray fox, but rather, imported red foxes.

Squee:

So, who do you shoot with all those guns? I usually stay away from those rednecks up at Tahoe. . .and hike into the back country (but not during hunting season).

Ray

Nanobyte… C’mon, gimme some credit! I target shoot, responsibly!! the last thing I killed was a Blue Jay, and when I did(at age 10), the guy who saw me kill it told me I had to eat my kill…he was a hunter, and believed that nothing that isn’t killed should not be left. But the way he said it scared me, so actually, YES I do shoot what I aim at, but only if it is my dinner!
But, I guess that isn’t always true, cause I don’t eat tin cans, cause that is my only target nowadays. OK?


I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him…
I believe in God, but the only thing I’m afraid of is Keyser Sose!

I have one more exception… Nanobyte, I am not a ‘redneck’… I don’t know what your definition is, but I am NOT one!!! I shoot for sport, and that is rare, and in the mean time I do ecology for the State… this is on top of my ‘regular’ job… cut me some slack… =) I shoot once every 2 months, I’d do more, but I’m busy… I have a job, a girlfriend, and a ton of other shit… So, ease up on the “Tahoe redneck” stereotype…


I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of him…
I believe in God, but the only thing I’m afraid of is Keyser Sose!

This topic would be better served in Great Debates.
Nickrz

GQ Mod

Not sure why this was moved to GD - the o.p.
merely asked why the Brits are having a fit over the royals foxhunting – not “hunting” in general. I wasn’t aware there was a controversy in the UK over this, so can’t speak to it. But foxhunting is an “upper class” (i.e., rich people) sport in the US too. And believe me, it takes big money to engage in this sport. Virginia’s hunt country occasionally spawns a news article about it, the primary concern being the fox. The hunt master claims the fox is not hurt or killed, and that once the dogs have run it to ground, the hunt is over; the thrill is in the chase and horsemanship required. There’s a lot of tradition surrounding the sport - ceremonies, symbolic clothing, etc. Being a horseperson, I can tell you that horse people in general tend to feel a bit superior and a tad snobbish (a great feeling, riding and controlling a 1,000 lb. animal), and “riding to hounds” is taking it to nth degree.

Sycorax,

We Brits are having a “fit” (well, given our stereotyped reserve it’s probably more of a “raised eyebrow”) because fox-hunting is a political issue and everyone prefers the royals to stay out of politics.

Where the royals stand on an issue is usually used as evidence for them being absolutely right or as evidence for the need to abolish them (depending on your political leanings). Generally, though, it’s accepted that the royals have an amazing ability for foot/mouth interaction, so they should steer clear of politics to avoid stirring up political debates.


[ X marks the spot ]

Tennis, anyone?


Elmer J. Fudd,
Millionaire.
I own a mansion and a yacht.

Who was it called fox hunting “the unpeakable in pursuit of the inedible”? G. B. Shaw?


JB
Lex Non Favet Delicatorum Votis

Oscar Wilde, surely

Fox-hunting is a big political question just now - to ban or not to ban - and the Royals have got tangled up in it almost by accident. It just muddies further an already emotive issue.

It is partly a matter partly of class relations (and aspirations), partly of economics, partly of the environment, but primarily a practical one on what is the most humane but still effective way to control foxes - and that is by far the most important question, in my view.

I quote from ‘Fox hunting - beyond the propaganda’ by C. Pye-Smith.

‘MORI poll 1997: 71% of English population would like to ban hunting with dogs.’

‘Hunt supporters claim their sport is in the best interests of the fox, because otherwise the fox will be killed in a more cruel way.’

‘Hunts kill an estimated 16,000 foxes in a typical year. Each year about 100,000 foxes are killed in road accidents, 80,000 are shot and 30,000 are snared.’

(I hasten to add that Mr. Pye-Smith is a researcher in the Straight Dope mould, and gives careful consideration and analysis of both sides. He should be judged only when all of his work is read.)

I have chosen 3 quotes only, and must state I am anti-hunting. When I moved to the country 11 years ago, I met members of the local hunt. They told me foxes would overrun the countryside unless they acted (see statistics above), and that drag hunting (where the whole hunt chases a man leaving a carefully planned scent) was pointless (so the social side doesn’t matter, it’s the killing?!)


In the bathtub of history, the truth is harder to hold than the soap… (Pratchett)

Who was it called fox hunting “the unpeakable in pursuit of the inedible”? G. B. Shaw?


Osacar Wide said that.


Truth is something you stumble into when you think you’re going someplace else.
[Jerry Garcia]

{{ I quote from ‘Fox hunting - beyond the propaganda’ by C. Pye-Smith.
‘MORI poll 1997: 71% of English population would like to ban hunting with dogs.’

‘Hunt supporters claim their sport is in the best interests of the fox, because otherwise the fox will be killed in a more cruel way.’

‘Hunts kill an estimated 16,000 foxes in a typical year. Each year about 100,000 foxes are killed in road accidents, 80,000 are shot and 30,000 are snared.’ }}

Over 225,000 foxes killed each year in England alone? Man, that’s a lot of foxes – can those numbers be right?

Big Iron,

‘Fox-Hunting’ by C Pye-Smith is published by Wildlife Network 1997. ISBN 0 9531955 0 3.

He quotes:

The British Field Sports Society estimates that 15,000 - 17,000 foxes are killed by hunts in an average year.

MacDonald and Johnson published a paper ‘The impact of Sport Hunting: a case study.’ They estimate hunting kills 21,750 annually.

Pye-Smith does not give a source for his estimate of road kill, shooting and snaring. (I expect that since shooting is generally paid for by farmers, the figures would be available).

He adds that Wildlife Network has a speculative estimate of 50,000 fox kills by terrier dogs outside hunting and 10,000 by lurchers (another type of dog).

I don’t think that really addresses my query, somehow.