BAN FOXHUNTING!…but what about the dogs?

We were watching Crufts on TV the other night <insert sarcastic comment here – I can’t be bothered thinking of one>, and they did a report on the impact a foxhunting ban would have on the hounds. It was very interesting, and made me stop and think, which is always a good thing.

My view on foxhunting is pretty simple, it should be banned, it’s barbaric and no longer required as there are many more humane methods of keeping the fox population down. The main focus of the report was the impact an immediate ban would have on the packs of fox hounds that are kept and bred specifically for foxhunts. Figures varied but a rough estimate of around 20,000 pack hounds exist in Britain. So what would happen to these dogs if foxhunting was banned?

Pack hounds are bred and brought up in packs (kinda obvious ain’t it) and, as such, are unlike most dogs. They have no territory, their identity coming from the pack. These dogs would have a difficult time surviving without the pack, as they rely on the pack community and social interaction to develop. Their owners wouldn’t pay for their upkeep (most are homed in specialist kennels) as they wouldn’t be able to hunt with them.

So, ban foxhunting, and the problem shifts from the well-being of the foxes, to the well-being of the pack hounds, 20,000 of them. You can’t put that number of dogs to sleep (and it would contradict the animal rights activist main aims) – interesting dilemma isn’t it! They did talk briefly about drag hunting (where I think they use a stuffed toy, or something, and drag it round fields behind a horse or 4×4) but you must have the correct terrain and there are only a few drag hunting sites in Britain, no where near enough to keep 20,000 dogs busy.

The obvious answer – well obvious to me – is to stop breeding and developing pack hounds now. Eventually pack numbers will dwindle, foxhunting can stop, and both sides will have plenty of time to prepare and plan alternative methods of fox control, and the pack hound breeds can be developed for other purposes.

Obvious? I hope so, I’m sure it has many pitfalls. Getting two sides, so vehemently opposed, to agree being the main obstacle. The activists want foxhunting banned now, the huntsmen are concerned about the knock-on effects, and argue about their rights.

And for that reason alone, this type of argument will continue to rage – how do you argue against someone’s belief system and how they perceive their rights? Why can’t everyone see the ‘other’ side?

Anyway, I think MY plan will work. Or maybe I should stop thinking about it and do something.