Theresa May wants to revive fox hunting in Britain

May 10, 2017 • 2:15 pm

This video came from The Independent:

Fox hunting was banned in Britain a while ago, but now some Tories want to bring it back so they can indulge in upper-class ritualized murder.

In the video above, the odious May says this:

“As it happens, personally I have always been in favour of fox hunting, and we maintain our commitment, we have had a commitment previously as a Conservative Party, to allow a free vote.”

Well. some things, and fox hunting is one of them, should not be up for a vote.  And do the foxes get to vote? After all, they’re the ones who get chased down and torn apart by dogs. What kind of heartless boobs would do that for fun?

Maybe they should bring back bear-baiting, too.

134 thoughts on “Theresa May wants to revive fox hunting in Britain

  1. Seems like a perfect moral landscape on which to explore the naturalistic fallacy.

    Nature is red in tooth and claw, yes. And, for better or worse, many animals, including humans, survive by eating others. Some, including cats, even take visible pleasure in the hunt and the kill.

    But does that mean that we ought to ourselves indulge in such bloodshed for sport?

    I fail to see any wisdom in sport hunting. Nothing about it enriches the world.

    There are legitimate cases to be made for certain hunts, especially when humans are the only remaining large predators in an environment and the prey species are overpopulated.

    But that’s not what the fox hunt is about — not in the slightest.



  2. The Tories look set to win a big majority in the upcoming election and so if they hold the vote it is virtually certain that Parliament will vote to rescind the ban. It’s a free vote being promised (i.e. the members of parliament will not be subject to party discipline so can vote according to their own conscience) so it is probable that a few Tories will vote against a resumption of fox hunting but most vote for it. Members from the other parties will largely vote against fox hunting but it seems very unlikely that there will be enough of the to make a difference. The only hope is that it wont be a top priority for the government and that they wont have time to get it through Parliament. Faint hope, though.

    I fully agree with your characterisation of May. She is certainly odious. As Home Secretary she was repressive; as Prime Minister she seems intent on running the negotiations with the EU over UK withdrawal from the Union in the most destructive way possible.

    1. And on what rational grounds can she possibly be in favour of fox hunting?
      Foxes certainly can be a pest in some circumstances but if control measures are necessary then fox hunting with hounds is a ludicrously inefficient way of doing it (indeed fox hunts in the past have managed woodlands to ensure that there would be a supply of foxes to chase so clearly pest control was never the true justification for it)and it is undeniably inhumane to chase an animal down and then set dogs on it to tear it to pieces.

      1. Her supporters simply want the joy of killing. Once she has enough dalmatian puppies for that coat, she’ll move on to hunting the poor. They enjoy it, don’tcha know?

      2. (indeed fox hunts in the past have managed woodlands to ensure that there would be a supply of foxes to chase so clearly pest control was never the true justification for it)

        Certainly true. In my younger days I did a fair bit of volunteer work for a nature conservation group. A number of the nature reserves which we managed had been kept as woodland for precisely that purpose and having to be polite to the re-coated buffoons really stuck in the craw. Where we owned the land ourselves, we took a real pleasure in refusing the hunt permission to cross our land, and then enforcing it.
        I never met a gamekeeper who had a good word for a huntsman either. Choice words in abundance, but not nice ones.

        1. i was once told that the main reason for encouraging fox-hunting was as a way of ensuring there was a steady supply of well-trained (or at least, experienced)horsemen for the cavalry.
          There seems to be an almost instinctive dislike of horsemen in Britain; cavalry,mounted police, huntsmen. i suspect it’s another of those social memories dating back to the aftermath of the Norman invasion. The English (including nobles) fought on foot, whilst the invaders and oppressors rode on horseback.

          1. That doesn’t ring true with me. Equestrian sports are popular, and we do well in international competitions. Remember when Princess Anne was sports personality of the year? However, the simple expense of keeping a horse or pony restricts social access to horse riding.


          2. Which part doesn’t ring true?
            A long time ago, when i still had working knees, i was a pikeman in the English Civil War society, and the one thing that united both Parliamentarian and Royalist infantry was a hatred of those bloody arrogant bastards on horses.
            i disagree that equestrian sports are popular. Betting on horse races isn’t participation.

          3. Oh, we don’t need to go back to the Normans (Viking invaders who had a temporary layover in N. France) to have a dislike of horsemen. I’ve been ridden down by both police and hunt horsemen; Dad by the police, in his youth; the massacre of Peterloo; the Battle of Orgreave.

          4. The Normans are my particular bete noir of history,i could rant about them and their toxic legacy in Britain for the rest of the week…
            You reinforce my views on horsemen, arrogant oppressive tools.

    2. I am very saddened to hear this. I have disliked May since I first heard about her (I’m an American-Canadian, not a Brit), but this little piece about bringing back fox hunting absolutely disgusts me. I hope for the sake of both Britain’s human and non-human residents that your report about the Tories likely winning a majority is mistaken.

      We just had an election yesterday in BC where it appears – at least for the time being – that we have finally broken our Tory-equivalent majority government. Recounts and absentee ballots will make the final decision. In BC, the Liberals* have promoted many odious atrocities committed against wildlife, including our notorious wolf hunts where individuals can pay to shoot wild wolves from the safety of a helicopter.

      (*Note: the BC Liberals are actually the conservative party in BC. They have no affiliation with the federal Liberals in Canada.)

  3. My ancestry is British. Alas, I cannot vote against “the odious May”.

    Perhaps there will be enough enlightened Brits to defeat Theresa May? Between May and Trump, the Western World is at risk of losing most of what we cherish.

    Not to forget that if corporations can be “people”, surely animals qualify also!

      1. Corporations give YUGE amounts of money to politicians. That’s why they’re “people,” too.

        Hell, sometimes, they’re more “people” than the actual people are! The U.S. of A. isn’t the only country where fat cats and politicians rub shoulders.

    1. It will not work like that – the way constituencies are bounded, the feebleness of the Labour party & their inability to take more seats in Scotland, the betrayal of the Liberal Democrats in the previous ‘coalition’… all combine to suggest a Conservative win.

      If Scotland does separate in the near future, then the England/wales rump will be probably Conservative dominated.

      1. To be accurate, if Scotland does separate, it will be the “rump”. England and Wales will still be ten times larger than Nicola Sturgeon’s tartan Zimbabwe (as it will soon become).

    1. Her pitch is red meat for the atavistic branch of Tory, still widespread in the shires. It’s about votes, votes wherever they my be gleaned. It won’t get through parliament and she knows it.

  4. I’d be happy for a few resident foxes since I assume they’d do some damage to the groundhog explosion here (in western PA).

    1. Exploding groundhogs in western Pennsylvania? Geez, I knew fracking was bad in that part of the country, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

      …but what’re the foxes supposed to do to help? Chew off the faces of oil executives? It’s a nice thought, but I’m not sure how realistic it is, or how much good it’d do if successful….




      1. What we need are mutated foxes with laser beams on their heads. That should take some executives by surprise.

        1. No! Then that’ll put the sharks out of a job. Do you want elasmobranchian unemployment rates to rise, you mammal-biased ichthyophobe? They already suffer enough from the high homicide rate.

        2. Hi ,the only reason they chase Foxes is because it runs away ,perhaps The league against cruel sports and Cambridge life sciences (if they are still going ) can get together and create a Genetically modified Fox that stands still when a bunch of d*gs and titheads dressed all in red come galloping towards it .

          1. Well, wild Boar have escaped from captivity and are living in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire perhaps the upper crust types could try their hands at pig sticking .

    1. It’s importance is to distract people from the wrecking ball she and her fellows are putting though civil society.

  5. Killing wildlife in a barbaric and, to the animal, terrifying manner is, presumably, part of Theresa May’s ‘christian values’.

    1. The odious Blair used to dangle a possible ban on fox-hunting in front of his MPs on several occasions when he wanted to distract his party from more serious issues on which he faced a challenge. His deputy, John Prescott, hardly a supporter of the “toffs”, got it right when he said that 90% of the public did not care one way or the other until they were asked.

      1. Yes, I believe (as a Brit) that John Prescott was right – most people are indifferent about the issue. Actually, I think the proposal to rescind the ban on fox-hunting came not from May but Lord Mancroft: she was then asked about it and gave an honest answer. I’m not huge fan of May (e.g. I think her enthusiasm for grammar schools is misplaced) but I agree with Dave (#12 below) that she’s the only credible PM on offer and I felt a sense of relief when she took over from Cameron. I’m sorry to see her referred to as ‘odious’: I’m not sure that’s fair.

        1. As a ‘Murican, I’d take May over der Drumpfenführer any day of the week. I don’t agree with her politics; but at least she is “presidential” and sane and stable.

    2. The majority of the British public are, pleasingly, against it – or rather they are for the ban. The only reason she would dream of doing something as nakedly political is because there is no opposition party to speak of. It is a sop to the hard right of the Tories and an attempt to dampen the internecine warfare that always breaks out when a party is too comfortable. She has been going flat-out since getting the job to prove to her more rabid MPs that she’s a ‘proper Tory’, ie. a fantastically callous arsehole who’ll repeal a generally popular piece of legislation just for them.

      But ultimately she’s doing it because she can. Without a credible opposition party to hold them in check, and having gobbled up most UKIP(their only other competition on the right) voters the Tories are going giddy with power. Nor is there much sign that the electorally toxic Jeremy Corbyn(Labour) will step down, not even after he’s inevitably vapourised in the general election.

      As a taste of how terminal his leadership is, Tory party insiders have apparently been complaining to the media that Corbyn isn’t getting enough coverage.

      We live in what is effectively a one-party-state so the Tories can pretty much do what they like. The fact that most of us are against fox-hunting is irrelevant when May knows Corbyn has rendered Labour unelectable. She knows the public will put up and shut up as there’s no-one else to vote for.

      1. she’s doing it because she can. Without a credible opposition party to hold them in check, and having gobbled up most UKIP(their only other competition on the right) voters the Tories are going giddy with power.

        Or, from here in ‘Murica:

        she’s doing it because she can. Without a credible opposition party to hold them in check, and having gobbled up most UKIP(their only other competition on the right) voters the Tories GOP are going giddy with power.

        1. True that. OTOH, are the Dems as fucked as Labour? IDK, I live in Britain, but it seems like they are in a much healthier position than our main opposition party. The Dem’s candidate really should have won(did win the pop. vote), there are(apparently) potentially excellent leaders like Warren and Sanders who they can turn to, they aren’t hemmed in on all sides by other progressive parties eating into their votes…most importantly they aren’t eating each other alive over sectarian differences. They haven’t been infiltrated by a politically toxic far-left contingent who are openly contemptuous of the whole democratic process, and who barely seem interested in winning power at all.

          None of these things can be said of Labour – it can’t be overstated how unhealthy they are right now. Be grateful that you guys have a functioning opposition – they seem so much more credible than what we have here. (Admittedly, comparing any progressive party with Labour is going to make the former look very good.)

          1. I can’t comment on Labour, I simply don’t know enough. (News in the USA focuses on those in power.)

            Yes, I think the Dem.s are in a decent position (given that they are out in all branches right now).

            I certainly voted for HRC and was extremely disappointed (appalled, amazed, stunned) by the ascendance of der Drumpfenführer. Even with her faults (and my political disagreement with her) May would be a yuge improvement over Drumpf.

          2. News from your corner really scares the shit out of me. The western world really does look to you for example.

            What is happening right now seems utterly mental. And there’s a kind of ennui to America now isn’t there? A bit of complacency born of boredom at hearing about Drumpf. The politically engaged minority seem to be forced into the position of waiting for him to do something so mad and terrible that the whole of the public will unite against him, but even firing Comey doesn’t seem to have bothered the people who voted for him very much.
            It’s only a small number of people who seem truly concerned. From what I hear, everyone else is either exhausted, exultant or uninterested, which is pretty much what it’s like over here WRT Brexit.

          3. Your assessment is a pretty good one, I’m afraid — at least from my knothole.

            Virtually no one I know has admitted to voting for Drumpf; but then I am in a highly educated circle.

            Scares the shit out of me too.

            I wanted to vote for a third Obama term; but there’s that trouble with our Constitution …

          4. From conversations among my small circle of friends here in central Illinois, I sense, and feel myself, a paralysis of will that makes any political action on my, or my group’s, part utterly futile in prospect. We perceive that the democratic link between ourselves and those who are putatively elected to represent us is irreparably severed. These politicians do not know us; and we certainly do not recognize them as servants of the Republic.

            The dark devil’s circus playing continuously in Washington bears no resemblance to governance–even to governance of a dictatorial sort. It’s far closer to anarchy, I believe, than anything we’ve seen in U. S. history (and I would include the 1850s ‘decade of crescendo’ mad run-up to the Civil War).

            One of the most frightening aspects of this is the self-mutiliation of the Republican Party–the G.O.P, the Party of Lincoln, etc.–all in the decadent service of a president who really isn’t a Republican. HE’S REALLY NOT ANYTHING.

            Yes, I am a partisan: a lifelong Democrat in the old Roosevelt-Kennedy-Johnson line. But my definition of a Democrat is ‘someone who would vote for a Republican.’ I know a bit about Abraham Lincoln, and I suspect that were he a witness to the politically destructive behavior of today, he would be a staunch Democrat himself and quick to disavow the party that continues to claim his name despite professing NOT A SINGLE ONE OF HIS IDEALS, nor, for that matter, evincing any interest in his policies.

            The House is still divided: but now the roof is ready to cave in, and the creaking floor sits atop a sink hole of deep dimension.

  6. I’m strongly opposed to fox hunting but I’ll still be voting For May’s government in June and hoping for a landslide Conservative victory. She is the only credible Prime Minister and her party offers the only credible government.

    Jeremy Corbyn as PM? I’d dress up in a red fur costume and throw myself to the hounds rather than endure that.

    1. Indeed.

      Readers might be unaware of the subtleties of a “free vote”. These are uncommon. This is a vote where the government does not enforce a position. It is used primarily for two kinds of bills.

      1. there is considered to be an important individual moral choice for the MP, such as on the death penalty.

      2 the government is putting on a show as a sop to a constituency and doesn’t really want the measure to pass.

      I can’t read May’s mind but my money is on 2. The opposition will all oppose it, as will many Tory MPs and it will fail. May will claim credit with the pillocks who want this.

      1. I doubt whether it will even get to a vote. There will be so many more important things (e.g. Brexit) for the next government to deal with, trivialities like foxhunting will fall through the cracks and disappear.

        And yes, foxhunting is a triviality. I oppose it on moral grounds and I don’t want to see it restored, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. There are much bigger fish that need frying.

    2. Hi Dave,

      I (as a ‘Murican) am dismally ignorant of the Labor leaders. (Although I do hear the BBC (on US National Public Radio) nearly every day.)

      Can you please explain what is so bad about Mr. Corbyn? I’d genuinely like to understand.


      1. Ah ,that is the question ,for the past two years the right wing ,well all the press has been throwing all kinds of crap his way ,he is a decent hard working MP ,at bit like Bernie Sanders in his political outlook .
        I hope the labour party does win next month ,stranger things have happened ,look at last November no one gave the snatch snatcher a chance of winning.

        1. Your words direct to … wait, that doesn’t work at all. 🙂

          I too hope for a Labour win soon.

          Now if you could just invert the Brexit thing … Not that it’s really any of my business; but NATO and the EU (in my opinion) have been key to a (more or less) peaceful West since 1945.

          Drumpf’s (moronic) talk about upsetting NATO really annoys and worries me.

      2. I’m not a Brit, but from what I understand Corbyn is an enthusiastic promoter of Islamism and the worst of identity politics, and is in general a loony far-left ideologue. He regularly shares a stage with the UK’s Islamist hate preachers and Hamas advocates, and has participated in, and refused to do anything about, Labour Party events that were sex-segregated. He has refused to say that he would take any military action against ISIS. He wants to unilaterally abandon Britain’s nuclear weapons. There is a reason that polls show his party going to a historic defeat.

        1. Thanks for that. I don’t like those things; but then I don’t like much of the Tory platform either. As much as I love the UK (many visits, first cousins living in Oxon and Kent), and as much as I dislike and despise (and fear — his idiocy and instability) der Drumpfenführer, I guess I’m still glad to be here in the US.

  7. What about in a country like Australia where foxes are an introduced pest species?

    Heck, the local government here culls a couple of hundred kangaroos every year to help prevent road accidents.

    1. A properly organised cull is the polar opposite of hunting. In fact, farmers and landowners are still perfectly able to legally shoot foxes here in Britain as they are considered a pest, but that is a long way from what entails the hunt, which is a bunch of chinless wonders in archaic clothing on horseback, accompanied by thirty or so hounds (not ‘dogs’, ooh no, no, no; not exclusive enough, old bean), careering through the countryside, villages and occasionally towns with no regard for anybody’s personal property – as the law stood the hunters were fully entitled to charge through peoples gardens whilst in pursuit, and if the hounds happened to rip a pet cat or dog to pieces, under the law it was just too bad for the pet. Any damage to property, vehicles, etc. caused by the hunt (and horses can cause a shedload of damage) was also incidentso, and injury to people was a case of “You should have got out of the way, serf”.
      All of this merely to enable the hunt to chase a terrified vulpine for hours until it either went to ground – whereupon the huntmaster would have it dug out until the hounds could get at it – or became so exhausted it could run no more might sound like overkill, but there is something more important than killing foxes that the upper-class lost with the ban.
      As each hunt was owned by the local aristocracy – the Duke of this or Earl of that – it’s the ancient privilege of the ruling classes to trample the peasants underfoot with no repurcussions that they are desperate to regain; the fox is but an excuse to do so.

      1. I have occasionally heard the fox hunt issue described in terms of controlling the fox population, or in terms of endangering it. Neither makes sense. Foxes are as common in UK as raccoons are in the US and Canada. The number of them killed by horseback fox hunts is trivial compared to the population and cannot play a role in either endangering them or controlling them. To control them by these fox hunts would require so many hunts that the whole country would be trampled and the toffs bankrupted.

        1. Correct – it is nothing to do with wildlife management. Fox hunting is carried out for the amusement of its participants. The objection to it is that it is barbaric and cruel not that it endangers fox populations. If fox numbers need to be controlled, locally, then there are much more humane and effective ways of doing so.

          1. Yes, the fox population is controlled by traffic. We call it roadkill.

            Fox hunting as pest control is absolutely laughable.

        1. I posted this earlier, before i’d scrolled down and read all the conversations, sorry!
          I was led to believe that fox hunting was encouraged as a way of getting experienced horsemen to strengthen the cavalry.
          Because racing around trampling peasants underfoot was what the British Empire was good at…

  8. Jerry stated, “Maybe they should bring back bear-baiting, too.”

    Shhh…they’ll hear you.

    1. If not bear-baiting…how ’bout bear wrestling? Putin, Drumpf, and an healthy adult male grizzly locked in a cage. The men are permitted sumo-style clothing for modesty, and there’s a fresh water fountain; otherwise, the cage is empty. When only one of the three has a pulse, the lone survivor is permitted to return home to do whatever he wants.

      I’d pay to view that!




      1. NO contest — the grizzly will choke on its own vomit at first sight of his adversaries. And I think Putin has enough on Trump for the latter to tap out…

      2. Putin would kill Trump and feed him to the bear. Which would die of a Trump Overdose.
        That’s how I’d bet anyway.
        (I don’t know the details of Putin’s KGB career, but the odds of him having been taught how to kill someone bear-handed are a lot higher than for Trump.)

    2. Apart from the poor Foxes they hunt Hares as well ,Hare Coursing they call it ,it is against the law but it still goes on .
      Same as dog fighting .

  9. Why not go back to some of that Christians and lions thing. Love to see the kitties get the upper hand.

  10. Why does Teresa May deserve the label ”odious”? Is this a response to her honouring the result of a democratic vote on Brexit? I do not completely agree with her, but but in as far as left/right distinctions are meaningful, her personal views are way to the left of the Democrats in the USA.

    1. I agree completely. As far as I’m concerned, the label ‘odious’ is far better applied to an Opposition leader who has a long track record of associating with terrorist groups, and his Shadow Chancellor who’s happy to speak at a political rally backed by Soviet flags and portraits of Stalin.

    2. Among many reasons for calling her odious, one is her campaigning for remaining in the EU but now being more zealous than even Nigel Farage for Brexit.

      Another is her robotic catchphrase Strong and Stable…

      Thirdly her grandstanding about deporting an Islamic hate preacher which she could have done easily without posturing and picking pointless fights with the European courts.

      Fourthly, her attempt to trump e UK constitution and trigger Brexit without letting parliament have a say.

      There is more.

      1. Well, there’d better be more, because your current rap sheet doesn’t add up to much!

        The UK as a whole voted for Brexit, May is committed to delivering it. You may not like it, but that’s democracy.

        Don’t all parties use “robotic” catchphrases at election time? Is “For the many, not the few” any less robotic?

        Fortunately, Brexit means we won’t have to worry about European courts for much longer. A day I look forward to with great pleasure. I don’t much care whether the deportation of a hate preacher is accompanied by “grandstanding”, so long as the individual in question is removed from British soil.

        Whether Parliament has a say or not on Brexit is a procedural technicality. We voted to leave the EU, and we’re leaving, barring the unlikely event of the Lib Dems forming the next government.

        1. “Whether Parliament has a say or not on Brexit is a procedural technicality. We voted to leave the EU, and we’re leaving…”

          Well a bit more than a procedural technicality! The British people did vote – narrowly – to leave the EU but the question voted on was a simple yes/no and gave no-one a mandate for exactly what the terms of our withdrawal and post-withdrawal relationship with the rest of the EU should be. Whichever of the different possible versions of Brexit we end up getting will have huge ramifications for Brits at home and abroad (not to mention many EU citizens currently living in the UK)and the idea that Parliament should not have a proper scrutiny of whatever is agreed but should simply allow May to pus things through under executive prerogative is extremely undemocratic.

          I would also suggest that May’s efforts to characterize any dissent from her government’s Brexit plans as unpatriotic political game playing is itself highly offensive. The nearly 50% of voters who supported the remain campaign have an absolute right to have their voices heard still and just as the losing side in a general election is entitled – and expected – to oppose the government there is nothing to say that those who wished for the UK to remain in Europe can continue to campaign either to reverse the decision (very unlikely) or at least to press for what they see as the best possible post Brexit relationship with the EU.

          When the Courts and the House of Lords have gone about their constitutional duties in relation to Brexit, May and her supporters have reacted with language that is highly damaging and inappropriate and aimed at undermining public support for and understanding of the processes for the full and fair scrutiny of the government of the day.

          Also on the rap sheet against Mrs May is her persistent attacks on the Human Rights Act and her readiness to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment through the use of inflammatory language.

        2. We only had a referendum, a chance for the public to register their preference. The government was neither obliged nor committed to act on the result which, by the way, was not voted for by the UK ‘as a whole’. We’re not all xenophobes in Blighty.

          1. Yes, there was definite political sleight of hand here.

            As Grayling notes, “the 51.9% vote for Leave represents 37% of that total electorate, representing about 26% of the total population.”

            Similar levels of support for better terms for junior doctors are dismissed by the same government as “a minority view”.


        3. The UK as a whole

          What is this thing? The UK has been fragmenting for decades and I doubt it’ll still exist as a political entity ten years from now. The biggest question is whether the North of England will split from the South after Scotland secedes.

          1. Yes, and there are noises that now Northern Ireland wants it’s own Brexit from the Brits and join up with the Republic of Ireland. Haha!

      2. Yes, there’s plenty more. Another aspect is her spineless, craven courting of our most repulsive tabloids, and her inability to stand up and condemn the revolting, fascistic headlines they have trotted out over the last eight or nine months.

        Because of that, because of the hypocrisy of her stealing outright a Labour policy on energy bills that a few years ago her party were decrying as disastrous, dangerous, communist, etc., because of her complete refusal to even try to live up to the vaporous touchy-feely liberalism of her acceptance speech back in June, and because of many other things, she has been a huge disappointment to anyone who was misled into thinking that she was at least principled.

    3. Labels like that are used freely for conservatives on this site, interspersed with calls for civility.

      1. They are freely used for left-wingers too, eg. the illiberal left.

        Provided the people in question are odious the label is used. It’s not a conspiracy or a vast inconsistency. You notice instances of right-wingers being negatively labeled because you presumably skew right, others notice the same thing regarding leftists because they skew left. Truth is this website is pretty good at avoiding blanket ad-hominems.

  11. It’s likely she just wants to be on the side of the upper classes, to show that while she does not ride to hounds, she is “one of them”. Poor thing, no title –
    Why can’t people,when in doubt, support LIFE instead of the default being “let’s kill it”.
    Not that an American can talk, look at those trump princes, getting off on shooting African wildlife. The photos of them cradling their latest dead cheetah or displaying a severed elephant tail can not be beat for disgusting.

  12. Anybody with strong feelings about fox hunting should read Roger Scruton’s book “On Hunting,” which presents some of the best arguments in favour of the practice. In particular, since foxes are vermin (in the technical sense, not the moral sense) that prey on poultry, farmers have no incentive to protect them, and generally snare or poison them. The institution of fox hunting gives farmers an incentive to tolerate foxes on their properties, since they are compensated for doing so. Moreover, a fox hunt pits a fox against its natural enemy (the hound), and the success rate for the fox is actually quite high. On top of that, fox hunts follow strict rules that allow the fox an opportunity to escape and prevent hunting of pregnant vixens, etc. Finally, while being killed by a pack of hounds sounds terrible, it a far more humane way to kill an animal than what we routinely do to livestock (especially pigs and cattle). Whatever you think about fox hunting, the realities of livestock farming are far worse.

    Looking at fox hunting from a purely consequentialist perspective, it is unclear that it is worse than the alternatives. Moreover, wild foxes that are exposed to seasonal hunts (but not snares and poisoning) live far better lives than most domestic livestock (chickens, pigs and cattle generally live miserable lives). It strikes me that most people simply have a problem with the fact that some people take pleasure from hunting. I think that’s a misplaced moral concern.

    1. It might be more straightforward to come up with pro-fox farm policies that apply everywhere rather than using cumbersome fox hunts that affect only maybe 0.01% of foxes. Or less.

    2. I’m from a rural part of Ireland where fox-hunting is a seasonal affliction and I can there you right now there is nothing humane about chasing an animal to the point of exhaustion and tearing it apart. There’s nothing humane about digging a terrified animal out of its hiding place using terriers and either throwing it to the hounds or smashing its body with a spade or shovel. There is nothing humane in the treatments of hounds too old to hunt (about 7/8)- who are then deemed useless and killed (not suitable as pets apparently, huntsmen will get misty-eyed over the idea that a hound might no longer get to hunt and deem it ‘preferable’ that the animal is killed instead. Proper nonsense). There is nothing humane in hounds killed by cars or trains. There is nothing humane about out of control hounds tearing pets to pieces in front of of screaming children. There is nothing legal about a hunt trespassing on private land in pursuit of a fox (this happened in my father’s case, despite signs everywhere saying all his land is protected) sending his cattle half mad with panic in the process.
      It’s a stupidly outdated mode of cruelty that has no defence, and no place in a modern society. Farmers can fox proof poultry houses and runs- like my brother has- and never lose a single chick. Whataboutery regarding farm animal welfare is a cheap scoring point. If we agree that some farm animals live poor lives, then the solution is to IMPROVE the quality of their lives, not use it to justify the barbaric practice of fox-hunting to hounds.

      1. Also the hilarious notion that hounds recognise pregnant vixens and decide to disengage? Hounds don’t give a damn if a vixen is pregnant or not, there is no escape for an animal when caught, it is literally torn to shreds, vixen, dog fox, cub, makes no difference to a hound. Nobody, not even the whipper-in, can stop them.

    3. “It strikes me that most people simply have a problem with the fact that some people take pleasure from hunting.”

      Well, why these people who enjoy killing animals get jobs in slaughterhouses? They probably will then live less frustrating lives.

    4. Scruton – the man who said
      “Don’t believe everything Richard Dawkins says –
      Richard Dawkins and his followers have recycled the theory of evolution not as a biological theory but as a theory of everything – of what the human being is, what human communities are, what our problems are and how they’re not really our problems, but the problems of our genes: we’re simply answers that our genes have come up with, and it’s rather awful to be the answer to someone else’s question, especially when that thing is not a person at all. Nevertheless people swallow that.”
      Zero respect for him & his views…

    5. “Finally, while being killed by a pack of hounds sounds terrible, it a far more humane way to kill an animal than what we routinely do to livestock (especially pigs and cattle).”

      That’s too absurd to let stand.

      Being chased, terrified, to exhaustion and then torn to pieces while alive is more humane than a hammer to the head and instant death?

      I’m not defending typical (USA) livestock practices; but that (quoted) statement is ridiculous.

    6. The institution of fox hunting gives farmers an incentive to tolerate foxes on their properties, since they are compensated for doing so.

      You’re forgetting that a high proportion of farmers don’t own the land they farm, but rent it. It is common (and deeply resented) for landowners to insert clauses into the lease requiring permission for the hunt to pass.

      It strikes me that most people simply have a problem with the fact that some people take pleasure from hunting. I think that’s a misplaced moral concern.

      And on that point we differ completely. People who take pleasure in torturing animals in an elaborate ritual are exhibiting some deeply worrying personality traits.

      1. “People who take pleasure in torturing animals in an elaborate ritual are exhibiting some deeply worrying personality traits.”

        That very probably goes for a good number of opponents to fox hunting as well.

        Horseback fox hunting in Germany was completely banned as cruel and inhumane by Hermann Göring in 1934/36 (and has not been revived after WW II). [not correct in all aspects]

        1. Oh there are definitely some psychopaths in the animal rights movement too. But I suspect rather more in the fox hunting fraternity.

          1. I’ve had more dangerous weapons used on me or ridden at me by hunt followers than by sabs. Also, the proportion of vegetarians-by-conscience in the sabbing community was always pretty high when in the general population it was vanishingly low.
            If the police hadn’t spent so many decades extremely biased against sabs, then the statistics on GBHs between sabs and hunt followers would be useful. If fox hunting does come back, the hugely increased availability of personal video recording machines will change the stats next time round. When I was active in the 80s, SOP for the followers was to smash any video camera as soon as they saw it.

  13. This may be too awful to be true, but what if the issues are connected? What if May favours Brexit in order to make it easier to bring back fox hunting?

    I know the EU didn’t technically prevent it, but being part of an international club makes it just a shade harder to stare down peer disapproval.

    1. I doubt if Theresa May cares one way or the other on a personal level about fox hunting. This is a political statement to those people who hanker for a nostalgic vision of England.

      It has nothing to do with the EU btw. On most animal welfare issues, the UK is quite progressive in comparison with some of the other members of the EU e.g. on veal crates, poultry farming, livestock transportation, bull fighting…

  14. I sincerely hope that this report is accurate and it is the small furry Fox and not Liam Fox MP.
    Although on second thoughts…..

    1. Or we could institute an alternative to placate hunting enthusiasts – ‘Hunt-hunting’. Stick Jeremy Hunt in a field, slather him in fox pheromones and give him six seconds head start.

      1. The bigfoot hunter tried this and it didn’t work for them (substituting monkey pheramones of course).

        Better luck next time.

  15. This is not a vote winner, but it is throwing something to a certain section of the rural vote. It would be a free vote, so each constituency will be able to pester their MP – I hope to get them to vote against. Besides, why are they going to waste time on this when the world is burning?

    There is only one issue that matters, climate change.

  16. I know of three reasons why such matters are being brought up:

    1) genuine concern.
    2) virtue signalling.
    3) distraction.

    Without knowing details of British politics, “Fox Hunting” isn’t the kind of thing that appears to be on people’s minds at the moment.

    Perhaps May wants to foreground an iconic conservative item, something from the day’s of yore, along the lines of “Make Britain Great Again” to emotionally speak to conservatives; to make her conservative profile more visible. Perhaps it isn’t even really about fox hunting at all, but about May showing herself as part of a british class — for any other reason: for her career, or for improving relationships with political forces for something else (Brexit negotiations?)

    And finally, distraction. Some topic out of nowhere that sparks a heated discussion are fabulous to push important matters and unpopular decisions off the first page of tabloids.

  17. Fox hunting is not banned in Britain. If you’ve got a gun, you are entitled to go out and shoot them (provided you do it in accordance with our firearms laws). You can also trap foxes, poison them or probably even beat them to death with a club if you can get close enough.

    What is banned is the hunting of foxes (actually any mammal except rabbits, rats and hares) with dogs. In fact, to me it seems even more tightly defined than that: what is banned is the hunting to death of foxes with dogs. It seems you are allowed to chase foxes with dogs because the hunts still ride out on drag hunts and they still occasionally end up chasing (and sometimes killing) real foxes and yet people don’t seem to get prosecuted very often because of it.

    The fox hunt (in the sense of people on horseback with bugles chasing a pack of hounds chasing something – not necessarily a fox) is apparently more popular than ever at the moment. I wonder if the fact that hunts are less likely to involve real foxes actually increases their popularity. There must be a lot of people who would be attracted by the idea of a chase in the country on horseback but who are repelled by the idea that a fox has to die for it.

    I really don’t know why Theresa May has brought this up now. The original bill for the ban cost huge amounts of political energy and time. There are vastly more important things that need to be done in parliament in the next five years. I donut if this will change anybody’s vote, but she already has an image problem and this won’t make it any better.

    1. What is banned is the hunting of foxes (actually any mammal except rabbits, rats and hares) with dogs

      Pretty sure my list of exclusions should include humans too.

      1. IIRC, the real reason mounted-foxhunting-with-hounds was banned is that certain @ssholes decided it was the sport of the rich (which aint necessarily so). Note that the law does not forbid killing foxes (or other mammals) with clubs, poisons, traps, or systems a lot more painful and cruel (not to mention efficient) than chasing them with dogs.

        I notice that there’s no ban on hunting mammals from horseback with trained pigs. Think about that.

  18. Anyone who revels in hunting animals for”sport” is imo a Psychopath, and this particular Psychopath thinks it fits her image “of working for everyone in the country” to do so in £1100 Leather Slacks and diamond studded Shoes.I also wouldn’t put too much faith in Opinion Poles paid for by the Billionaire owned Corporate Press.

    1. Opinion Poles

      If we’d had a few more of them, perhaps the Brexit vote would have gone the other way.

  19. Bringing back the hunt will no doubt bring out the hunt saboteurs, animal lovers who are determined to make the hunt as difficult and unpleasant as possible by banging drums, blowing horns and generally causing mayhem.

    Good luck to them.

    1. For sure it will. For the last few years such people have been mostly pursuing vivisectionists and the more abusive farmers, but they’ll be happy to get back to sabbing.

  20. They’re not about to bring back bear (or bull) baiting; why, that was a sport of those unenlightened, filthy COMMON people!

        1. I recognised Dave as running a false-flag operation while he needed the LibDems support. The steel fist was still there under the velvet glove.

  21. Most of the poor fools who vote to leave were swayed by the lies farage and bojo came out with ,300 million more for the NHS .
    I think if a second referendum were held a lot of leavers would vote remain .

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