THE BLOG
30/10/2015 10:39 GMT | Updated 30/10/2016 05:12 GMT

Face It Fox Hunters, You're Just in It for the Fun

Eight out of 10 people, across town and country, support the ban on hunting. They recognise that chasing wild animals across the countryside before killing them for fun is barbaric and cruel, and has absolutely no place in modern Britain.

Of course supporters of hunting recognise this as well, which is why they have sought to downplay the 'fun' element of late, at least in public. They know that it is untenable to argue for a return to hunting just for the sport.

So instead they claim that hunting is needed for wildlife management. This, I'm afraid, is a lie.

For starters, around a third of hunts chase hares, not foxes. Hare numbers have declined dramatically in recent times and are now a threatened species included in the Government's Biodiversity Action Plan. No wonder you don't hear the hunting fraternity talking a lot about their wish to kill hares.

But as the traditional fox hunting season gets underway this weekend let's take hunt supporters at face value and consider the value of hunting to fox control. A new report by a world expert on foxes, Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University, considers precisely this and his conclusions are stark.

Foxes are territorial creatures and so killing a fox simply leads to more competing for the vacant patch, usually within three or four days. This is especially true during winter which, yes you've guessed it, is when hunting takes place. In fact predator control can actually lead to greater livestock losses as the new foxes will be less familiar with where to find wild prey.

Unsurprising then that there is no evidence that hunting has an impact on fox numbers - in fact fox numbers have decreased since the ban on hunting came into force. Claims that we are now overrun with foxes since hunting became illegal are simply wrong.

What's more, the impact of foxes on livestock is shown to be significantly overplayed. Lamb losses to foxes are likely to be less than one in a hundred, if that, while poultry farmers have told us that a good electric fence keeps the foxes at bay. Even more damning for hunters - the fox actually helps farmers by keeping rabbit numbers down, to the tune of about £500 per fox.

The science is clear - hunting isn't about fox control or wildlife management. We know this too from our undercover work which time and time again has shown that hunts will kidnap and raise foxes in order to ensure there is a ready supply to be hunted. Check out the evidence on our website if you don't believe it.

Earlier this year, the Government tried to help out their hunting pals and introduce amendments to the Hunting Act to make it practically unenforceable. A huge public outcry followed and the Government dropped their plans when they realised they didn't have the support of MPs, including many from their own party.

Supporters of hunting are dwindling as people around the country increasingly see through their myths. Hunting is a cruel sport, nothing more. Let's hope this is the last hunting season where pro-hunters claim anything else.

Read Professor Harris' report The Utility of Killing Foxes in Scotland

Find out all the arguments against fox hunting in our quick and easy report, The Case Against Hunting