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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Letter from Mr Fox

Dear Hunters and Supporters thereof,

It appears that a recent government ban to stop hunting me, has caused quite the commotion in the press and with both pro-hunting and anti- hunting groups alike.

I have watched the arguments  play out from a far, but, as I now understand a Petition has been launched against the governmental hunting ban , I feel it is an opportune moment to formalise my own view point.

As The Secretary of State for Sustainability Ministry, Camille Gira, pointed out, there has been a 57% decline in Luxembourg's' fox population over the last 15 years. To be precise, our numbers have decreased from 5,802  to 2,504. 

As Hunters, you have stated that fox populations will increase exponentially when the ban is imposed. I therefore wanted to bring to your attention the findings of the Independent Mammal Society in the U.K from 2001- 2002. As you may recall, during this period there was a Foot and Mouth outbreak in the U.K and fox hunting was banned. The Mammal Society ( an Independent Scientific Society with no corporate policy on hunting) concluded that the fox population decreased during this period despite the hunting ban.

At the time, Stephen Harris - Mammal Society Chairman was quoted to say, " (This) is the first scientific study on the impact of hunting on fox numbers, and it shows clearly that hunting plays no role in regulating fox numbers."

Indeed, as us Foxes are territorial creatures, hunting us is often counterproductive and pointless. If a fellow fox is killed, another fox  will occupy the vacant territory within 3-4 days.
This brings me, quite conveniently, to another 'concern' hunters have mentioned, the potential spread of disease when the ban is introduced. Once again, to quote Minister Gira, "Rabies was eradicated from the Grand Duchy more  than 10 years ago." 

Echinococcus Multilocularis  or Fox Tapeworm, as it is more commonly referred to, is also extremely rare. According to; "Scarcely 10 new cases are recorded in Europe each year per million persons." Another study conducted by Professor Dr Peter Kern of Ulm University Hospital stated that between 2001 - 2005 between 6-17 people were reported with Fox Tapeworm in Germany.  Culling is a very ineffective and counterproductive way of managing this disease. As mentioned previously, foxes are territorial and  groups will move when an area  is hunted,  facilitating the spread of any disease.

The last group who need to hunt me and my kinfolk are Farmers with livestock concerns. I cannot dispute that we foxes do take lambs. However estimates of annual lamb loss in the United Kingdom due to predators are around 5% per annum. Whilst 95% of lamb losses are due to farm husbandry practises.

Indeed establishing whether a fox was responsible for killing a lamb is extremely difficult as foxes are often blamed for killing a lamb when we have merely found  it dead or dying already.

Foxes belong to the dog family (canidae) and like dogs we use similar facial expressions and body postures. We are not vermin or 'Killers', we are gentile creatures who help control rabbit and rat populations. On average we save British crop farmers £7 Million per year.

So, before you sign the petition to 'Stop' the Fox Hunting ban, please consider  these points and spare some empathy for our species. We are all sentient beings who want to be happy. Foxes are not a commodity used for Meat or Fur, killing us is merely conducted in the name of  ,so called, 'sport.'

Please keep the ban and support Foxes in Luxembourg!

Yours sincerely,

Fantastic Mr Fox

N.B - I appreciate that many of these Statistics come from the United Kingdom. However they have statistics available due to the current fox hunting ban.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Petition 478 and the benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Many of you will have seen recent articles and information on Public Petition 478 in Luxembourg!

Indeed, I have been extremely active in promoting the petition both off and online.

When I started the Petition 478 Facebook page, I was abundantly aware that it would attract what we refer to as 'Trolls.' Individuals who only have negative comments to make and, from those comments I have read, seem to be ill informed of what the Petition is requesting and why!

So here is a "shortish" summary regarding Petition 478 and why many of us believe it is important.

Petition 478 is asking the Chambre des Deputes to PROMOTE Vegetarian and Vegan diets. We are not suggesting that there is a mandate OBLIGATING people to eat Vegetarian/Vegan, indeed we are lucky enough to  live in a Democracy where people are free to choose what they do and don't eat.

However Plant based diets have proven to have multiple benefits for our health, the environment, animal rights and world hunger. Important issues for society today and topics that those in power should draw attention to, particularly as it can save governments and tax payers millions of Euros per year - but I will get to that in a minute!

If you are a meat eater, Petition 478 will not effect your daily choices in anyway. It's goal is to inform and educate, not create a nation of Vegans (although I personally would LOVE that.)

As I mentioned, there are many benefits of a plant based diet, here are just a few:-

1) According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet rich in vegetables can:-

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Reduce Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Prevent certain types of Cancer
  • Lower the risk of Digestive problems
  • Prevent and even reverse Type II Diabetes
  • Reduce Blood sugar levels 
  • Aid weight loss - Vegetarians (in general) tend to consumer fewer calories.
You can learn more about the health benefits by reading, "The China Study" or Watching, "Forks over knives." 

2) I think most of us are in agreement that our planet is ill and that Global Warming is a Major threat to it's future existence. However, did you know that the animal agricultural industry contributes 50% more greenhouse gases than planes,trains, cars, lorries and ships combined?

In fact, an article in the Scientific American revealed that the amount of beef the average American eats per annum, creates as much Greenhouse gas as driving a car 1,800 miles. That's just one average American, so multiply that figure by 320 million! You can do the maths.

The Smithsonian institute reported that every minute the equivalent of 7 football fields is bulldozed to create more room for farm animals and the grain that feeds them. More often than not, that land is in areas of preservation e.g Amazon rain forest where species are endangered or under threat. The Amazon and other forests are the 'Lungs' of our planet, we are dependent on them for our future existence - Why would we Sabotage them? It makes absolutely no sense!?

3) According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) more than 1 billion people on Earth are living in poverty. Increased Poverty leads to an increase in Malnutrition. At the World Food Summit, Dr Kay Killingsworth explained that the problem was NOT insufficient food production but INEQUITABLE distribution.

More than 1/3rd of all grain production in the world is being fed to livestock and this figure is increasing due to the growth of factory farming. That grain, and the livestock it is being fed to, require billions of litres of water per day.

If we reduced our consumption of meat, it is conceivable that there would be enough food and water to feed the ENTIRE world's population NOT only the developed countries!

4) The last reason I want to give for Promoting plant based diets, and the most controversial one,  is closest to my heart and the reason I am a Vegan today - Compassion for all living beings!

As Paul McCartney famously said,
"If Slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian." 
 You can watch the film linked to that quote here, but I warn you, it's not for the faint hearted.

2 Billion animals are tortured and killed each week so that consumers may eat their flesh. These animals feel pain and fear, just as we do, and most are kept in the cruelest and most unsanitary of conditions.

It would be hypocritical of me to save, "I love animals," and then eat one. So I, personally, choose to have the same compassion to farmed animals as I would my dog, cat or any other companion animal.

For more information on this topic, I would suggest to visit PETA or Mercy for Animals. If you are really brave, try watching 'Earthlings' and then sitting down to a steak dinner......

I hope that this blog has provided you with some' Food for Thought' (pun intended) and that you have a better understanding of Petition 478.

Please take the time to read the Petition and , if you are so inclined, sign the online form.

Your single action will make a world of difference and I'll leave you with one very famous Vegan's thoughts on that point!