Traditional fox hunting is a countryside sport which is now illegal that involves the tracking, chasing and eventual killing of foxes, unless they escapes. Fox hunting is traditionally carried out by around 20-30 couples of foxhounds per hunt.
Fox hunting is generally seen nowadays as an upper class activity and participants are expected to wear proper attire dependant on the season, this differs from hunt to hunt but generally stays consistent:
Autumn Hunt / Cubbing – Informal attire.
Formal Season – During the main hunting season, attendees will be expected to dress according to their hunts dress code – this usually consists of a riding hat, red coat and cream tie. Dress codes will vary based on the hunt, as well as gender and role of the huntsman.
Fox Hunting As A Form Of Pest Control
Fox hunting can’t really be classed as pest control, whilst foxes are killers and can be a nuisance for farmers as they prey on livestock, a foxes diet consists of whatever they can find. If it must be classed as pest control, it is an extremely cruel and completely impractical method of it.
Huntsmen claim they are helping farmers control foxes by offering a ‘free service’, but if a fox is killing a farmer’s livestock, they have every right within the law to shoot the fox.
In addition to this, many argue that if livestock is properly protected, there is no way a fox would be able to get to it. It’s also worth noting that with rabbits being part of their diet, a fox can actually be of use to a farmer who finds their crops being destroyed by rabbits.
Whilst some farmers are associated with the hunt, there are farmers up and down the UK who dislike the hunt, and consider them trespassing when the horses and hounds enter their property often causing damage and scaring livestock when they do so.
What To Do If You Witness Illegal Hunting
If you do become aware of illegal fox hunting taking place in your area, we recommend taking the following actions:
- Contact your local hunt saboteurs group with any information you may have.
- Write to your local MP expressing your concerns with illegal activities taking place where you live.
If you witness illegal hunting, we recommend:
- Calling this police immediately and reporting the crime.
- Trying to film the ongoings (from a safe distance) be careful that you are not trespassing, also be especially cautious of the hunt approaching you – they may try and take your camera.
- If you are dissatisfied with the police’s response, write to your MP and encourage others in your constituency to do so if they feel the same.