It is often suggested that hunting foxes with dogs is both a legitimate country sport and necessary to control fox numbers and so protect economic interests.
The Mammal Society is very concerned that a future repeal of the current law banning hunting with dogs would result in inadequate and anomalous protection of the welfare of wild mammals. It is, for instance, illegal to set a dog on a fox in captivity, but would be legal to do so in the wild. Similarly, it is illegal to set a dog on a badger, whether in the wild or in captivity, because this is considered cruel, yet it would be legal to do the same to a wild fox.
The Mammal Society sees no evidence to support the claims that hunting with dogs plays any significant role in reducing the levels of damage caused by quarry species in Britain.
The Mammal Society therefore believes that the proposed repeal of the ban on hunting with dogs would be detrimental to the welfare of wild mammals and, given the lack of evidence that it provides better control than other methods, is designed only to accommodate the specific interests of individuals who hunt with dogs.
The Mammal Society believes that Britain should be setting the standard for management of wild mammals. Where management is required, the most effective and humane methods should be used.