Reintroducing fox-hunting and repealing the 2004 Hunting Ban is simply not necessary. Surely the animal welfare case must outweigh any endorsement: it is an issue that ought to dispel any counter-argument. From a political perspective, it is an own goal for the Tories – it only appeases the most archetypal and retrograde MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg – people who are completely detached from the electorate. It would alienate rather than attract more potential and existing voters, and it would send the Prime Minister’s already precarious approval ratings tumbling.
Fox hunting is endorsed by individuals without a sense of moral decency and those with a tarnished conscience. It is morally indefensible to kill for pleasure. Advocates will argue that “you’re not complaining when farm animals are killed”, but the difference is that killing farm animals has a purpose: food. There is moral justification when you realise that we need to sacrifice farm animals in order to survive, but with hunting it just causes shivers. People do not eat foxes – those who hunt are solely interested in their fur. Hunting for pleasure should always be frowned upon.
There is a perception that foxes are the only animals to suffer from fox-hunting. The reality is that this is completely false. It is more humane to lamp a fox – using a bright light to distract the fox and then shoot it rather than sending a pack of vicious hounds down a hole with the intention of killing foxes. Hounds are trained relentlessly in order to ‘expertly’ kill the foxes. If they fail to meet the grade, they face being culled. Dogs shouldn’t be put into training camps – they should be domesticated as family pets or taken care of in dog sanctuaries. Even when the hounds undertake fox hunting, they are endangering themselves.
Another myth that is associated with foxes is that they are perceived to be an agricultural pest. There are minor individual cases of foxes sneaking into chicken coups, but nationally they do not pose a problem. Something of which was invaluable to the Blair government in creating the 2004 Hunting Ban was the Burns Inquiry. Although conducted in 2002, the Burns Inquiry concluded that ‘there is no evidence that foxes need to be controlled’, supported by research conducted by Bristol University, a research based Russell Group institution. Research of that magnitude speaks volumes, and it is difficult to disagree with facts gathered by leading researchers.
We wouldn’t be debating the issue of fox hunting if the Tories didn’t decide to advocate it. It has resurfaced to the political agenda following the abandonment of the planned free vote in 2015. Politics is about engaging the electorate, and the electorate is currently more concerned with the future relationship with the EU post-Brexit, how much funding the NHS will be promised, education reforms and economic stability. Put simply it is not a vote winner, but due to the lack of opposition posed by Labour, the PM has a free hand since support or opposition towards fox hunting will not affect the result. Something which hasn’t been covered by the liberal media is that fox-hunting is an electioneering tactic designed to minimise the impact of the perceived #LibDemFightback in the contentious, affluent, rural constituencies such as Richmond Park and Kingston to name but a few. A bit of advice for the PM would be to dispel the Conservatives with the aristocratic past of fox hunting and concentrate on being a “bloody difficult woman” to EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
Fox hunting is an incredibly cruel sport, far from being entertaining. It only satisfies heartless elites, detached from 21st-century society. It doesn’t benefit the hounds and it clearly doesn’t benefit foxes. If people oppose foxes that strongly, shoot them – at least that is more humane. Supporters should be appalled to endorse something as despicable as the prolonged suffering fox hunting truly is. The case for animal welfare surely outweighs any short-term political advantage the Tories may gain.