Monday, March 14, 2011

Fox-hunting in London

Yesterday's incident of a fox calming walking across the cricket ground at Twickenham in front of 82,000 spectators has re-ignited the whole foxes in urban areas debate. Last summer, two baby sisters were seriously injured after being attacked by two foxes at their home. Though such an attack is extremely rare, Hackney council went as far as to distribute leaflets through people's doors advising them to close their windows at night (which you'd think anyone living in Hackney would do anyway).

Apparently only 16% of foxes live in urban areas, a statistic I find hard to believe, as I hardly ever saw a fox when I lived in the country and see them on a daily basis in London. They are hardly a pestilence or something to be afraid of, yet their growing urban numbers, their lack of fear of humans and usual media hysteria about one or two isolated incidents has perhaps presented them as something of a problem.

The sport of fox-hunting was officially banned in 2004 (though it still occurs), but why not introduce it in cities such as London? Since the ban, the country set are no doubt sitting around twiddling their thumbs on a weekend, with only pheasants to shoot, but let them come into the cities, with their horses (who'll be good at jumping garden fences and walls) and hounds, and have them hunt foxes to keep their numbers down (after all, culling happens all the time with other animals – Richmond Park, for example, kills hundreds of deer on a yearly basis). It could be the new urban extreme sport.

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