The Full English Exposé teaches you more about the English speaking world, so you can be confident you know what you are doing, and you don’t do or say the wrong thing, and don’t get egg on your face.
This edition of the podcast we’re helping make sure you don’t get egg on your face, with the Full English Exposé, all about Fox Hunting.
The British Fox Hunting Ban
The British tradition of fox hunting with hounds, horns, horses and huntsmen sporting their distinctive red coats is facing a threat.
There are now laws restricting fox hunting because people care more about animal rights. Lots of people, especially in the countryside, want to hunt foxes as we have done historically, and as they do in many other countries, like France and the United States.
In traditional fox-hunting, people who owned the horses and hounds dress up in their red jackets, get together and ride around the countryside with a pack of dogs, finding foxes for their hounds to chase and rip to shreds. People come to watch, and it is popular on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas.
It is called a blood sport, and many think it is cruel to the foxes. People who like fox-hunting argue that fox hunting is part of their culture. Fox hunting is often seen in our culture, history and literature. You’ll find pictures of the hunt in countryside pubs. There are folk songs like ‘The Noble Fox-Hunting’, and pop songs like ‘Hounds of Love’ by Kate Bush. You’ll find it in books, like ‘Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man’ by Siegfried Sassoon and a scene in ‘Brideshead Revisited’, by Evelyn Waugh. It’s often shown in films and TV programs, like Downton Abbey. Fox Terriers are now popular family dogs, but, were bred to chase foxes out of holes as part of the hunt.
Fox hunting also helps the economy and provides jobs. Some argue they are also carrying out a pest-control service, as foxes are blamed for killing farm animals, but studies show it is not a very good way of controlling fox numbers .
Hunting foxes with packs of dogs is illegal, but the hunt does still regularly meet up. Sometimes the dogs follow a scent trail left by a person. Sometimes the pack is used to flush a fox out, to be hunted with birds of prey.
If the hounds find a fox, though, they often kill it, to the delight of the hunting party. Some people say this is done on purpose, but this is hard to prove. ‘Hunt saboteurs’, usually from animal rights groups, will watch hunts and record if they break laws, disrupt and sometimes sabotage the hunt. This can lead to argument and hostility.The laws go too far for the hunt supporters, and don’t go far enough for others. Even Tony Blair, the Prime Minister who brought in the laws, claims it is “banned and not quite banned at the same time”.
Many people still hope that the laws will be changed back so their dogs can tear foxes apart legally again. This seems strange if you’re ever in the English countryside, and see how friendly people are, and it’s something you should bear in mind if you are, indeed, a fox.