In for the kill

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Animal rights groups are up in arms regarding David Cameron allowing a free vote to repeal the 2004 Hunting Act in England and Wales.

The fox is classified as a pest species. They kill lambs and poultry and most people accept a degree of control is required.

The question then arises about what method of culling is most humane.

The animal rights fraternity opted for shooting as opposed to the traditional fox-hunting with hounds.

Although the latter is more efficient it is non-selective, with old, sick and healthy foxes now on a level playing field.

Hounds either kill the fox outright or it escapes unharmed. It is akin to a terrier killing a rat – ie in seconds rather than minutes.

Shooting, even when carried out by an expert, does not guarantee clean culls.

Foxes escape wounded and endure suffering before succumbing to their injuries.

Hunting with hounds might not be the most efficient method of control but it is certainly the most humane way of controlling the rural fox population and leaving a healthy gene pool.

People go on about toffs in red coats. The social standing or dress code is irrelevant: the decision to reinstate traditional fox hunting should be based solely on animal welfare rather than ignorance and class prejudice.

William O’Donnell

Kings Park Avenue