Like most animal activists, I was delighted to hear the news on January 16th 2015 that Fox hunting would soon be prohibited in the Grand Duchy!
From 1st April 2015 there would be a complete ban on fox hunting in Luxembourg!
It has been just over a decade since England and Wales banned fox hunting with hounds, but this legislation is currently up for review with the coming general election and a "Complete" ban in the U.K seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. So I couldn't help but rejoice at the Luxembourg ban with the hope that other European countries would follow our lead!
However, it wasn't long before the hunters were deeming the new legislation, "irresponsible" and citing their own list of "potential scenarios" and "possible outcomes" if the new legislation was implemented. I say,"potential scenarios", because, thus far, the hunters do not have any factual arguments to oppose the new law. Their arguments range from, " What if there was an increase in tapeworm infections in foxes?"to,"What if foxes became rabid?" (Luxembourg has been rabies free for over 10 years, despite our "open borders".
At a press conference, the Secretary of State for the sustainability ministry, Camille Gira, gave 3 main reasons for the complete ban:-
1) In the past 15 years the number of foxes in Luxembourg has declined from 5,802 to 2,504 - some 57%.
2) Fox meat is not consumed and therefore fox hunting has no benefit to the public.
3) Rabies was eradicated from the Grand Duchy more than 10 years ago.
However, this has not been enough to appease the hunting community who have joined forces to launch a petition against the ban. The petition requires 4,500 signatures to force a debate in parliament on the subject. According to the wort.lu, Georges Jacobs - President of the FSHCL said that the government had "misrepresented" facts about fox hunting and the dangers posed by the animals. Dangers - really? For Monsieur Jacobs and his supporters, here are a few facts about foxes that they appear to be unaware of:-
1)The red fox (Vulpes Vulpes) is the most widely distributed wild carnivore with an average age span of 3-5 years in the wild.
2) Foxes are omnivores. The bulk of their diet consists of rodents,rabbits, insects and fruit.
3) Foxes help to control populations of rodents/rabbits making them an ASSET to arable farmers. In the U.K alone they are estimated to save farmers 7 million GBP .
4) Most fox deaths (60%) are caused by road accidents.
5) In size, most red foxes are a little larger than a domestic cat. Therefore they do not have the physical capability to kill larger farm animals such as cows, pigs and sheep. It is estimated that fewer than 1% of lambs are killed by foxes annually.
6) Foxes do not kill for pleasure. They will only kill what they need and cache the remainder of the food for winter.
7) As the fox is territorial, efforts to control the population are pointless. If a fox is killed, another fox soon moves in to the unoccupied territory.
8) Since the hunting ban was introduced in England and Wales in 2004, there has been no change in the fox population.
Whist the hunters would like you to think otherwise........Fox hunting has "Never" been about controlling the population of foxes. It is a recreational and "barbaric sport" which has no place in today's society. Why kill an animal that poses no threat and provides neither sustenance nor clothing? As Camille Gira highlighted,"We humans are not the only creatures that have feelings and feel pain."
All hunting is inherently inhumane, unnecessary and unfair, whilst the hunter is armed with a rifle, the animal is utterly defenceless. We would not condone such behaviour in the human animal kingdom, indeed we would define it as murder.
However a ban on Fox hunting, is a big first step in the right direction and the Luxembourg government should be applauded!
If you are in agreement, please VOICE your support for the ban and spread the message to others! You can sign up to the Face book group -https://www.facebook.com/Luxforfoxes
As Gandhi once said,
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it's animals are treated."
Luxembourg is a great nation, now is the time for us to lead by example!