BBC Claims More Foxes Killed After Hunt Ban In Scotland than Before

The BBC is reporting that the number of foxes killed by hunts in Scotland actually increased after the Scottish Parliament passed a ban on hunting with dogs.

The legal change in Scotland forbid huntsmen from using dogs to hunt down and kill foxes. Instead, they are only allowed to use dogs to flush out foxes who then have to be shot by hunters, and in any event only for pest control purposes.

According to the BBC, this change actually makes it more likely that foxes being hunted will be killed,

It’s claimed that since a ban came into force the hunts are killing more foxes, because the animals stand less chance of getting away from guns than they did from the hounds.

There’s also concern that in the past the younger, fitter, healthier foxes were the most likely to get away from the pack.

But now they’re the very ones most likely to break from cover first, which makes them more like to be shot.

Older or diseased animals may stay hidden and so escape. Hunts say this is bound to be bad for fox populations in the long run.

The most amusing part of the Scottish ban is the debate over “flushing” vs. “searching.” Under the ban, hunters are allowed to use dogs to flush foxes from their hiding places, but they are not supposed to use dogs to actively search for foxes. Sounds like a hair-splitting lawyer’s employment program to me. The BBC quotes huntsman Trevor Adams saying,

Flushing, and looking for a fox, are pretty similar things really. The fox is a wild animal and nobody knows exactly where it is, so you have to search for it a certain extent to find out where it is. . . . What you’re not allowed to do is go off searching, without a need to control that animal.

Sounds like they’d need to take a lawyer with them on every hunt. Frankly, I’m disappointed that the rights of dogs to pursue their carnivorous nature with foxes isn’t taken seriously by the animal rights activists.


Huntsmen ‘destroying more foxes’. Huw Williams, BBC, November 20, 2004.

Groups Continue Campaign to Ban Fur Farming in Ireland

Compassion in World Farming, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and UK-based Respect for Animals have continue their two-year old effort at convincing Ireland to ban fur farming.

CWF and the IPSCA recently released a poster intended for secondary schools and colleges to highlight the alleged evils of fur farming.

Compassion in World Farming is campaigning jointly with the UK-based group, Respect for Animals, for all fur farming to be banned in the Republic of Ireland. As part of our campaign, we have put into place a programme of street events around the country. We have an eye-catching human sized silver fox in a cage and we are collecting signatures on a petition calling on the Agriculture Minister to ban fur farming. We also have pre-printed Shame on Ireland – Ban Fur Farming postcards addressed to the Minister.

According to CIWF, there are currently 6 mink farm and at least 2 fox farms with about 140,000 mink and 1,700 foxes total.


CIWF and ISPCA call for ban on fur farming. Online.IE, January 29, 2004.

Campaign to ban fox and mink fur farming in the Republic of Ireland.. Press Release, Compassion In World Farming, January 29, 2004.

Colorado Bans Feeding of Fox and Coyotes in Urban Areas

On January 8, the Colorado Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to prohibit the feeding of fox and coyotes in urban areas of the state.

Mike King, regulations manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, told The Rocky Mountain News,

We have prohibited feeding coyotes and fox in any area where shooting a gun is not allowed. . . .We want people to stop feeding wildlife, especially animals that could be dangerous.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, the rules change follows a 2002 incident in which a woman was bitten by a coyote that a restaurant kept leaving out food for.

Violators of the ban will be fined $68 for each offense.


Request now a rule: Don’t feed the wildlife. Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News, January 9, 2004.

South Dakota Proposes Allowing Aerial Hunting on Public Lands

In March the South Dakota state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will consider a regulatory change to allow aerial hunters to hunt foxes and coyotes on public land. Current regulations allow hunting over private land, but forbid it over public land and water.

If approved, the change would open up an additional million acres for aerial hunting of foxes and coyotes.

Not everyone who hunts coyotes is happy about the proposed rules change. Coyote hunter Jerry Pier told the Rapid City Journal that he was afraid aerial hunters would accidentally shoot hunters on the ground, as well as fears that aerial hunters might be too efficient, leaving few coyotes for hunters on the ground to shoot.

Those favoring the change, however, argue that it’s already extremely difficult for aerial hunters to distinguish between public and private land, and that the change is needed to keep coyote numbers in check.

Doug Hansen, Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Director for Pierre, South Dakota, told the Rapid City Journal,

It’s kind of a classic conflict between interests. If you’re out there as a predator hunter, I can see how interference from an airplane and gunner would affect your interests. On the other hand, if you’re a producer losing sheep to coyotes and public land is a safe haven for coyotes, your interests are a whole lot different.


Aerial hunting rules may be changed. Associated Press, January 8, 2004.

S.D. aerial hunting law concerns coyote hunters. Kevin Woster, Rapid City Journal, January 15, 2004.

Arson Hits Home of Scottish Hunt Ban Opponent

In April, Roy Innes, 26, became one of the first people charged with violating Scotland’s ban on fox hunting. Innes was charged with participating in a fox hunt in October 2002, but maintains he is innocent of the charges.

In September, Innes home was set on fire while he and has girlfriend slept in the upstairs level of the house. The arson took place a day after an article about Innes’ alleged violation of the fox hunt ban appeared in a local newspaper.

Innes told The Express,

The fire-raisers took my hunting gear, including my breeches, which were hanging on the washing line to dry, and had stacked them at the door.

They then lit them and left them to burn. If my girlfriend hadn’t woken up, we could have died.

I believe they have just gone a step too far this time.

Police confirmed that they were treating the fire as an arson. A police spokesperson told The Express, “The door of the house had been set on fire and the owner had put it out. It has been listed as arson and we are investigating.”


Master of hunt claims he was target for arson. Billy Briggs, The Herald (Glasgow), September 12, 2003.

Hunt Master’s Home ‘Targeted By Arsonists’. Ben Mitchell, Press Association, September 1, 2003.

Hunt Supporter Threatens Libel Lawsuit Against Opponents

Hunt supporter Iain Harris, 66, announced in August that he plans to sue opponents of hunting foxes with hounds who describe such hunts as “cruel.”

Harris told the Western Morning News (Plymouth),

This is nothing to do with trying to save hunting or with the Countryside Alliance – it is about objecting to being called cruel. I am delighted with the support we have for a joint action which we are very serious about.

As far as I am concerned this is personal and I am furious that I have been smeared. I go hunting, which is my legal and just right to do, and I do not cause any damage, I behave properly and I am certainly not cruel to any animals.

. . .

We are sick and tired of people getting away with it and other people believing they are right.” Mr Harris said he had hunted all his life, and that it gave him the opportunity to follow the hounds and ride across country where he would not normally be allowed to go.

. . .

That is the top and bottom of hunting for the majority of people. I have never done anything cruel in my life. It is nothing to do with hunting, it is about the fact that I go hunting, and I am described because of that as being cruel.

Harris claims that he has consulted with lawyers who told him he may have a case, and given the UK’s loopy libel and slander laws he may. On the other hand, even if successful, such a lawsuit would probably simply garner public support for opponents of the hunt.

As Peter Anderson of the League Against Cruel Sports told the Western Morning News,

Let him sue. All the independent MORI opinion polls which we have had carried out have consistently shown 70 per cent of the country think hunting is cruel and want it to be banned.

They are going to need a few more than 7,000 people offering support to take everyone to court.

League Against Cruel Sports head Douglas Batchelor expanded on those views telling the Western News,

Suggestions that hunters have a case against those people and organizations that say hunting is cruel have no basis in law.There is and should be no freedom to be cruel.

The legal definition of cruelty is the causing of unnecessary suffering. A cruel act is cruel, whether it be by design or neglect. Hunting with dogs is based on practices which are inherently cruel.

While Mr. Harris and others may want to use the law to silence those who oppose the deliberate cruelty of chasing wild mammals with dogs for sport, most members of the public have a very clear understanding of the cruelty of hunting. That is why, on their behalf, MPs have voted to ban it and to make it a crime. If Mr. Harris wishes to swell our campaign coffers by funding our costs when he loses, we will be happy to meet him in court.

A couple weeks after announcing his lawsuit, Harris reported receiving death threats from hunting opponents. Harris told the Press Association, however, that the threats would not deter his lawsuit,

We have got cameras all around the property recording everything that moves.

Regardless, the proposed lawsuit is simply a bad idea all around and should not be pursued.


Anti-hunt groups react to libel threat. Western Morning News (Plymouth), August 11, 2003.

Legal fight looms over ‘cruel’ hunting claims. Nathan Pynn, Western Morning News (Plymouth), August 12, 2003.

Hunt supporter threatens to sue over cruelty claims. Richard Savill, The Daily Telegraph (London), August 14, 2003.

Hunt-Follower Receives Telephone Threats. Chris Court, Press Association News, August 23, 2003.