The Fox Hunting Debate


I grew up veggie in North Wales, so debating with friends who were from farming,  pro-fox hunting families questioning my vegetarianism was part of the reason that pushed me to go vegan when I was 15. Anyway, a fair few of my facebook friends are still farmers, pro-fox hunting and this last two weeks I’ve been in this long debate over the issue. You can tell tensions are high, but have really valued the chance to hear people’s experiences and re-visit this part of my past.

Fox hunting began with groups of farmers going out with their dogs and attempting to kill ‘the problem’ fox that had been daring enough to kill one of their domesticated animal ‘property’ the night before. Soon after it became a sport associated with aristocracy. Artificial dens were built into the land to keep the fox population artificially high. Foxes were even exported to Australia and New Zealend so they could be hunted there.

Today there’s supposed to be a ban in place that outlaws hunting with dogs, but fox hunters simply came up with a new name called trail hunting where they say they’re either chasing a person riding with a strong scented rag or they laid a scent trial the night before that hunters have to find.

What’s sad is those people who are anti-fox hunting get duped into defending the purposeful killing of foxes, and think they’re defending a harmless pretend game, all the while the hunting community can try to claim numbers at these events represent a will to repeal the ban entirely.

2 legitemate options are open to previous fox hunters who want to enjoy the thrill of the chase:

Drag Hunting, a legitimate sport created in the 1800s which was not intended to mimic animal hunting and is done well away from fox habitat. These have their own clubs with courses chosen for their most enjoyable riding, like race car tracks. A well scented drag is pulled along the ground so that there is no chance of the hounds losing their way and riders have to keep up at a good speed.


Clean Boot, or Bloodhound, Hunts are the easiest to distinguish. The clue is in the name. Bloodhounds. A clean boot hunt uses bloodhounds, as opposed to foxhounds, to chase a human quarry. The bloodhounds search for the scent of running people (one or more runners) who will reward them at the end with praise or treats. This type of hunting is also known as “hunting the clean boot”, and it had already been in existence for many years prior to the hunting ban.



Terrier men digging out foxes for the hunt – Jan, 2019

Credit to North Wales Hunt Sabs, Herefordshire Hunt Sabs & Scum Remover Podcast.



Labour Councillor Lewis Keen on Fox Hunting | Scum Remover #6

Original MP3

In which Gizzie Rascal speaks with Lewis Keen, a Labour councillor for Exeter. When not handling issues in the city, he’s out dealing with issues in the countryside. By disrupting hunts. We talk about how sabbing and being a councillor interact, Labour and the Hunting Act, and different approaches to the police.

Thank you to Cistem Failure for permission to use “The Hunt” as the closing song. Find them on bandcamp here:



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