Farming Matters: Why protect foxes when they kill for sport?

Angry fox
Angry fox

Having personally witnessed the death and destruction foxes can cause, I have never quite understood why anyone would spend time and money repairing injured foxes with the intention of sending them back out into the wild again, instead of just taking the opportunity to humanely end their life.

I have simply lost count of the number of hens and young lambs we, or other farmers we know, have lost to these cunning animals.

If they were killing to feed themselves, as happens with many animals in nature, then there might be some understanding of their behaviour.

But there are so many examples of their killing sprees being carried out for sport.

We once were left with a barn full of dead point of lay hens. Not one had been eaten or taken away.

And one of our pet cats was also killed by a fox.

So when the hunting ban came in several years ago it seemed to me to be the ultimate irony, creating a situation where the killing sport that foxes enjoy is protected, while a sporting tradition which has been a part of the British landscape for generations is no longer permissible.

And it’s not only in the countryside that foxes can be problematic.

Increasingly they are popping up in urban gardens and sometimes even inside houses - and there have been reports of them attacking babies and small children.

Despite this, some townsfolk encourage the creatures by leaving out food and actively inviting them into their homes.

But although foxes may look like dogs, they are wild animals, and it is wise to remember that.