Hunting has been a major discussion topic in the UK recently (July 2015), so for the purposes of this myth we are focusing mainly on fox hunting. We would like to expand this section to include information about hunting common in different countries, however, so please get in touch if you have any information or feedback. You can comment below or contact us directly. Thanks!
Although the fox hunting lobby justifies hunting as necessary for wildlife conservation and population control, foxes do not have as great an impact on game and wildlife populations as once thought.
Most hunting is carried out purely for ‘sport’ and official figures show the effect on conservation to be very small. For example, prior to the ban on hunting with dogs in the UK in 2004, hunting accounted for a very small percentage of foxes, deer, hare and mink killed in Britain, and had no knock-on effect on spring breeding numbers. In fact, it has recently become apparent that many hunters actually breed or manage wild animals’ habitats specifically to encourage population growth for hunting. A man linked to the Middleton Hunt in Yorkshire was recently discovered raising kidnapped fox cubs in a barn. It is suspected his intention was to release them for hunting.
On the other hand, noise and other disturbances caused by hunts can actually interfere with breeding and the life cycles of vulnerable animals such as birds, otters and badgers. Even in certain cases where culling of animals such as deer may be necessary to control numbers, the distress and pain suffered by hunted animals makes this a cruel and unjustified means of achieving this end. More effective alternatives could be used, such as sterilisation.
Finally, hunting is not only cruel to the victim – who often dies a slow, painful death; ripped apart by dogs or bleeding slowly from a bullet – but also to the horses and the dogs used. Both often suffer injuries during the chase. In addition, healthy dogs are often put down after only six or seven years of work, being considered past their best and no longer required.