Chris Packham offers himself as human prey to ‘stop foxes being torn to pieces’January 4, 2019
In a bid to stop foxes ‘being torn to pieces’, animal campaigner Chris Packham offered himself as a hunt’s first human quarry.
The naturalist urged his local hunt in Hampshire, the New Forest Hounds, to switch to drag hunting, which involves dog tracking either a human runner or chemical scent.
He says their ‘trail hunting’ can still end with foxes being killed.
Hunts in some parts of the UK have faced allegations the blood sport has continued under the guise of trail hunting.
Chris 57, visited the hunt at Linwood, near Ringwood, Hants, on New Year’s Day and made a short film about how there is no place for it in 21st century Britain.
In the video, he spoke generally about fox hunting in the UK. There is nothing to suggest the New Forest Hounds did anything illegal.
He said: "Animals are still being hunted, torn to pieces by packs of dogs in the 21st century.
"I know it’s difficult to get your head around that, we work so hard with conservation. and here we are standing in a National Park, a place where millions of people come to enjoy the countryside and it’s wildlife.
"And yet others are out there tearing it to pieces with dogs. We’ve got to put an end to it.
"Please join me in 2019 to work harder than ever before to put an end to this horrible anachronism. There’s no place for this savagery in 21st century Britain."
The clip was viewed over 500,000 times and shared by over 20,000.
And despite his offer to be the hunt’s first human quarry, the 250-year-old hunt group declined, saying it would be impractical for their dogs.
Labour outlawed hunting foxes with dogs in 2004, causing NFH and other hunts to turn to trail hunting in which hounds chase an artificial scent, but critics believe the sport can still result in hunts chasing a fox accidentally or deliberately.
Chris added: "Fox hunting is a highly emotive activity which has no place in the contemporary environment – and everyone knows that.
"The law is constantly contravened. Foxes are being torn to pieces in people’s front gardens and pets are being chased.
"We have to make peaceful, democratic progress in ending this practice.
"It’s very difficult to monitor fox hunting and it’s also very difficult when things go wrong to get a successful prosecution."Police are under-resourced and have many other things to deal with.
"If hunts switched to drag hunting it would have a positive impact in public relations terms as well as having a positive impact on wildlife.
"I’m not saying it’s the whole answer but it would be a step in the right direction.
"If the New Forest Hounds did that, I would be happy to be their first human quarry."
A New Forest Hounds spokesman today said it would be ‘difficult’ to switch to drag hunting.
He said: "We thank Chris Packham for his offer of being hunted by the New Forest Hounds but we don’t think it would be practical.
"We spent a lot of time and effort in getting our hounds to switch to trail hunting. We think it would be even more difficult, perhaps even impossible, to get them to switch to drag hunting.
"It would go against 250 years of breeding."
Chris Pitt, deputy director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, added: "Wild animals, including foxes, hare and deer, are still being chased to exhaustion before being torn to pieces."
There is strong support for British wildlife being given robust protection from those who kill for sport
"How can we call ourselves a civilised nation when those who gain entertainment from attacking wildlife continue to go unpunished by the law?"
You can sign a petition supported by Chris here.
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