Saturday, September 19, 2009
Hunting - The Facts
Hunting with hounds is the natural and most humane way of controlling the population of all four quarry species.
* Wild animals are used to hunting and being hunted. They are adapted to it by evolution.
* What might be a devastating experience for man or domestic pet is part of normal daily life in the wild. Wild animals lack the complex brain and mental abilities necessary to perceive the human concepts of fear and death. For the major part of any hunt the quarry is under no abnormal stress.
* Stress in the short final stage of a hunt is equivalent to no more than that of strenous exercise. The kill, if it occurs, is almost instantaneous and above all certain.
* Hunting leaves no wounded or damaged survivors.
* Quarry that evade hounds rapidly return to normal activity.
* Hunting performs a vital search and dispatch function for the weak and the sick.
More Facts about Hunting with Hounds
Hunting performs a vital search and dispatch function whereby the weak, the sick, and the injured are discovered and quickly dispatched.
No other method of culling performs this function. Hunting uniquely reproduces the natural selection process whereby weak and sick animals are culled in direct relation to their debility, thereby promoting the health and vigour of the species. Hunting leaves no wounded or damaged survivors.
Death in the wild, in the absence of natural predators and without hunting, involves pain, sepsis, gangrene, starvation, hypothermia, for days or even weeks before death finally supervenes.
The sporting or recreational element of hunting is irrelevant to the welfare issue except in that it pays for this particular method of humane control.
It is totally immaterial to the hunted animal whether opponents or proponents of hunting regard it as sport. Hunting must be judged solely on what is best for the welfare of the quarry species not by misguided anthropomorphism or moral prejudices.
There is nothing intrinsically or morally wrong in using a pack of hounds to hunt wild animals, a fishing rod to catch a fish or a shotgun to kill pheasants.
On the contrary hunting with hounds is entirely natural to the quarry species and does not use any alien human technology for which the quarry has no natural defence. After initial flight hunted animals appear remarkably unconcerned and simply keep ahead of the hounds whose pace is determined by the scenting conditions. Quarry that evade hounds rapidly return to normal activity.
A pack of hounds is essential for hunting.
The suggestion that it would be fairer to use a single hound - one against one, is to totally misunderstand the nature and purpose of hunting. A single scenting hound would be quite unable to find, let alone hold the scent of the quarry during the tracking phase of a hunt.
As it is, some 80% of foxes detected elude hounds due to the scent being lost.
Foxes and the other quarry species are not hunted to the point of physical exhaustion and collapse.
Rather to the point, while still capable of running hard, they are caught by the more durable hounds and usually because they make a mistake. The average pace of a hunt often amounts to little more than a brisk walk.
The kill is almost instantaneous by breaking the neck or crushing the thorax, made possible by the considerable power to weight ratio and height advantage of the hound over three of the four quarry species. The actual cause of death is largely academic; what is important is how quick and how certain. The subsequent dismemberment of the carcass, if it occurs, is of no consequence to the dead animal. Deerhounds do not attack their quarry but bring it to bay.
Natural biological control of foxes and the other quarry species will not occur until lack of food and diseases resulting from overpopulation, are so extreme as to suppress reproduction activity or cause widespread mortality.
This clearly does not represent a healthy and vigorous wildlife species. Furthermore the population level of foxes, at which this so called natural control might occur, would bring about levels of predation totally unacceptable to farmers and the overall balance of other wildlife.
To state that hunting is "not acceptable in a civilised society" is to totally misunderstand wildlife.
Wild animals do not live in civilised society and those people who would put them there do them no favour whatsoever. It demonstrates a profound ignorance of the true role of hunting in wildlife management and animal welfare.
No hunting person kills or culls animals for pleasure.
Hunting has to be carried out to preserve the health and vigor of wild animal populations that are without natural predators in our present day countryside. Man has a responsiblilty to manage the countryside he has created and the wildlife populations therein. Laissez faire will not do.