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Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow

Foxhunting in the UK

Foxhunting in the UK is an extremely controversial issue and continues to be an ongoing debate; as sides clash about whether the laws should be changed. Foxhunting with dogs was made illegal in September 2004 (By a majority of 356 to 166 MP’s (BBC, 2017)) with the exception being that you can use up to 2 dogs to chase (‘flush’ or ‘stalk’) foxes out of hiding if the fox is causing damage to your property or the environment. However, it is still legal to trap foxes in both traps and snares (GOV.UK, 2017).

There are variety of opinions on this topic with many individuals believing that foxes are both vermin and predators. An important distinction to be made is that a group on horseback going on an organized hunt is very different to a farmer going out to hunt foxes because they are killing his livestock. Despite the law being in place there have been several accounts of the law being broken (which in reality, is probably much higher as many illegal acts go unreported).


There are alternatives to foxhunting. One example of this is “Drag hunting” or “draghunting” which is a form of equestrian sport, where mounted riders hunt the trail of an artificially laid scent with hounds.  As the scent is artificially laid, the route can be tailored to suit the riding abilities of the field. As it does not involve the hunting of live animals, drag hunting remained legal in England after the passing of the Hunting Act of 2004.

Below are some news articles about the foxhunting laws being broken:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15597082.Revealed__inside_the_secret_world_of_Scotland___s__illegal__bloody_fox_hunts/
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/crime/seven-men-on-trial-for-fox-hunting-around-north-yorkshire-1-8593622


The divide is still ongoing and will most likely continue for a long time as there is no clear cut solution and it is very difficult to police every fox hunt that goes on in the UK. 

Find out more regarding foxhunting using our references below:

https://www.gov.uk/hunting

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c0rep99p03kt/fox-hunting