HomePressMedia CorrespondenceHunting Act 'No Help to Foxes' - September 2006 (added 29.9.06)

Hunting Act 'No Help to Foxes' - September 2006 (added 29.9.06)



Hunting Ban not Helping Foxes

Western Mail 19.9.06

Peter Bunce dismisses a survey of farmers, which concludes that more foxes are now being wounded, without giving any real evidence other than the fact that the results do not fit with his views. (WMN, August 29).  In the numerous debates before the Hunting Act became law, the idea that shooting foxes was infinitely better than hunting them, was expounded by the various bodies seeking a ban.  The Middle Way Group questioned this view and commissioned a scientific study to test the likely wounding levels in a range of shooting regimes.

The results showed that wounding rates were much higher than previously thought.  It was therefore reasonable to assume that a simple ban on hunting with dogs, which does not have the capability of wounding, could not automatically be regarded as an animal welfare benefit.

The Middle Way study was heavily criticised by anti-hunting groups and further "research" was undertaken, which supposedly countered the MWG shooting study.  The results of this counter-study were given to certain MPs, presented at political meetings and quoted in the media.  Yet, while the MWG study was peer-reviewed and published in a scientific journal, the details of this counter-study have not even seen the light of day, let alone been peer-reviewed and published by a scientific body, despite assurances from as far back as 2003 that the report is "just about to appear".

So here are the facts.  The idea that shooting is always better than hunting was questioned by the Middle Way Group.  A study was then designed and commissioned to test this view.  A team of six scientists undertook that work and confirmed our doubts about the wounding levels in certain shooting regimes.  That work was then peer-reviewed and published, showing that it is regarded as scientifically sound.  Finally, in the recent farmers' survey, those people on the ground who actually undertake fox control confirm that fox wounding levels have increased since the Hunting Act came into force.

What more evidence is needed to convince people like Peter Bunce?
The Middle Way Group will continue to campaign for a genuine wild mammals protection law that can be supported by both hunters and non-hunters alike. Then hopefully politicians will stop listening to people who are as blinkered as they are bigoted.

James Barrington

Consultant All-Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group

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