Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Hunting with Dogs

This particular fox has a lair the size of Walthamstow tube station

UPDATE : Oops !  : There’s a major error in this blog. Sorry !

Kate Hoey is of course not a Tory at all but is the Labour MP for Vauxhall (Can’t imagine there’re all that many packs of hunting beagles there btw !). Not that it’s entirely clear which party she belongs to from her website without delving around a little.

That doesn’t change the sentiment of my post – but does of course change the politics – not really to Labour’s advantage either, since this little outbreak of hunting ‘news’ does now seem entirely Labour created one way or the other.

So I guess sometimes you lose some. I think I’m a little off the mark here. I’m just glad I’m not a ‘real’ politician – I’m sure the press would have a field day if I was in parliament and made a mistake like this (and who could blame them). Forunately I’m just a blogging amateur – It does make me realise how difficult a job politicians do though with people waiting to trip them up and pounce on any error at the drop of a hat. Remember that they’re only human – like the rest of us.

In the meantime I read a different take on the recent flurry of blood sports politics at Penny Red : The Boys Who Cried Fox .

I find it interesting that someone who essentially has the same opinion as me on hunting (not really interested), can come to such a different outcome. I can’t help but wonder though whether in writing her blog Penny Red has (like me) drawn even more attention to something which perhaps should not be centre stage when there are so many other competing concerns.

I leave the original article intact so you can see how fallible I am :

It’s boxing day and supposedly up and down the country the nation engages in its traditional countryside activity. Sabotaging hunts !

Well supposedly. Funnily enough though I’ve never seen a hunt or a saboteur, or any hounds. I do hear people shooting from where I live in South Bedfordshire (but which I actually think is coming from Buckinghamshire just a few hundred yards away). I don’t know what they’re shooting – nor whether it’s live or inanimate.

To be truthful I don’t really care either. I don’t have much of a position on hunting myself. I eat meat (quite a lot these last couple of days) and feel that it’s morally right to do so – if it’s good for a tiger then it’s good enough for me.

It doesn’t seem radically more inhumane to me to hunt an animal rather than merely slaughter it. (Which could of course be an argument for vegetarianism – but not for me !)i

However …

It’s very clear to me that lots of people – and I mean LOTS AND LOTS of people really DO have a strong position on hunting – they think it’s barbaric, and support the existing ban on hunting with dogs – and many would like to see this extended further.

The ban on hunting with dogs does not as far as I can see, cause any inconvenience to me, or my family – or indeed to anyone I can think of. Sure some people say their livelihoods are threatened by the removal of hunts – but I did say that I’ve never seen one on 40 odd years didn’t I ? – so exactly where they are is a mystery to me.

It also strikes me that hunting is one of the activities that looks pretty lame when you strip it back to it’s bare bones. – You get loads of people to dress up in poncey clothes, ride horses around the country side with loads of dogs, and find a fox that the dogs can kill. It’s called ‘sport’ so I’m told.

Well call me old fashioned, but I always thought sport was about evenly matched competitors – We have 11 people v 11 people for instance in a football match, not 2 versus 87 (and a few animals with sharp teeth); in boxing we tend to have two people of equal size fighting each other – rather than one really small one, against 4 or five really big ones with clubs.

So even though I’ve no strong feelings on bloodsports, I’m politically minded to side with the anti-hunting lobby – for two reasons – Firstly it would seem that this is the overwhelming feeling of the majority of the country; and secondly I think it odd that anyone really gets a kick out of it. A bit weird in my own humble opinion.

[Error – Kate Hoey is a Labour MP ] Which I think makes it even stranger that we constantly get the Conservatives telling us they’ll repeal the legislation on hunting with dogs (see for instance this article by Kate Hoey MP Kate Hoey: Hunting long and hard for any sense in this flawed law or the website of the pro-hunting group Countryside Alliance. They just can’t seem to help it – even David Cameron’s first ever speech in parliament spoke of Hunting with dogs – (source BBC website Minister Hilary Benn fights to keep hunting ban ). What I can’t understand is “Why ?”

Don’t get me wrong I can see two sides to these arguments – Anti-hunters for instance say that Humans are the only animals that kill for fun – well they can’t have met my cat Josephine, who is, as well as being a loveable bundle of fluff, also a sadistic killer – her favourite species for torture being common frogs, although she’s seen off a few sparrows, and a harvest mouse or two as well. None of which compares to the gory mess left by what seemed to be a pair of wild foxes in the rabbit hutch of a school I used to teach in.

And I can understand that sometimes foxes may need to be killed.

So why don’t you shoot them ? It’s quick, it’s cheap, and it’s a lot easier than putting a pink coat on and riding with a load of yapping beagles.

Why do the Tories want to repeal the hunting ban ? Why do they think that will be popular ?

I don’t really know what the polls say on this issue – but it seems fairly clear cut to me. A few people have (to me inexplicably) strong views in favour of hunting. Considerably more have very strong views against. Most people though don’t feel strongly about the issue – but would tend to side with the anti-hunters – their argument does seem to make more sense.

I’m fairly sure that repealing the ban on hunting with dogs wouldn’t be greatly popular, and would be quite a vote loser for the Conservatives.

Which is why despite my ambivalence I’m very firmly in the Anti-Hunting camp.


December 26, 2009 - Posted by | politics | , , , , ,


  1. […] This post was Twitted by northernheckler […]

    Pingback by Twitted by northernheckler | December 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Good for you!

    I hope and pray that the Hunting Act is not repealed or otherwise undone. We British led the way in banning the slave trade and in banning slavery in the Empire, we led the way in banning bear baiting and cock fighting, and we led the way in banning hunting and hare coursing. We must continue to make progress and not let our civilisation take a backward step. And, besides, if Cameron, Hague, Herbert, etc., think that repeal would be a vote winner in rural areas, they are very much mistaken.

    And please don’t forget the vile ‘sport’ of hare coursing –

    Comment by notoharecoursing | December 27, 2009 | Reply

  3. You are right. Foxes can be shot accurately and humanely when necessary. I would say there is no case for repeal. Hunt numbers are up all over the country. Drag hunting is legal. The sense of community, pageantry, heritage, and jobs are all still intact and yet some people can’t manage to enjoy themselves unless they are terrifying and killing animals.

    Please – if you support the hunting act, get your name on the R.O.A.R. (Register Online Against Repeal), an ‘all party’ list at:

    Comment by mhayworth | December 27, 2009 | Reply

  4. The problem is when I lived on a large farm, the people got hurt falling off the old horse more then often pissed, others of course took it seriously and the dogs and the foxes normally ended up dead. I use to make a few bob as a youngster from cutting off the tail or Brush, then I moved on to shooting the badly hurt dogs and the fox which would sometimes live for hours without legs and in pain. On one hunt I had to put down three badly hurt dogs and a female fox which obviously had cubs.

    Is it wrong well not if your a farmer because foxes kill, but then again without foxes we have more rabbits, rats and mice.

    But to kill an animal for fun sport, not so sure about it, I use to also help out on the estate with culling deer, they said it was culling, again my job was to shoot any animal which was hurt and not killed.

    Well i was brought up on an active farm in which we’d kill a sheep or a lamb for meat, we cure meat, so death was all around, but again to kill for pure fun seems odd to me.

    Comment by Robert | December 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Robert,
      Could we use your comments on our website? Check it out at:

      If you agree, you could click the ‘contact us’ tab on the site and let us know if it would be o.k.

      Comment by mhayworth | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. “to kill for pure fun seems odd to me.”

    You’ve got it in one, Robert, but do Cameron, Hague, Herbert & Co. get it? I fear not.

    Comment by notoharecoursing | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  6. Anyone can use my comments, because they are comments.

    Comment by Robert | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  7. I do not mind, like everyone we all have our pet hates, for me it’s killing animals for sport or so called fun. we forget really that animals kill for food to live, and we have lost reality to some degree that animals are still around to give us sport.

    Comment by Robert | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  8. I know. I get so angry everytime I see someone write that a fox has ‘murdered’ their chickens – as though that would be an excuse to go foxhunting. If I gave our neighbourhood foxes 10 steaks, they wouldn’t take them all at once (because they can’t carry them all). They would come back over time and take each one and bury it or let the rest of their family have the others.

    The fact that the fox rarely has a chance to ever come back and retrieve the other chickens makes people believe that they have just killed them for fun. I don’t know why anyone raising chickens wouldn’t look this up online or in a book anyway! Many animals cache their food in this exact same way.

    Comment by mhayworth | December 28, 2009 | Reply

    • My cat certainly kills for fun – really enjoys it – I’m fairly sure foxes do too. Not a single one of those rabbits I mentioned was eaten

      Comment by northernheckler | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  9. I’ve never known foxes to ignore food for any length of time but then I’m in a town on the edge of the countryside so maybe ours behave differently.

    Comment by mhayworth | December 28, 2009 | Reply

  10. I use my dogs to flush and chase deer on my farm in devon. I do it to disperse them. It’s a non lethal way to reduce the damage they do to my coppiced woodland.

    Under the Hunting Act it is only legal to flush deer if steps are taken to shoot them as soon as possible.


    Comment by Giles Bradshaw | December 30, 2009 | Reply

    • I’ve not got a clue really, however …

      I’d suggest if you’re not going to shoot them you’re not actually flushing them – you’re, well, herding them – effectively using your dog as a reverse sheep dog (only with deer instead of sheep)

      What sort of damage do they do ?

      Comment by northernheckler | December 30, 2009 | Reply

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