IT IS hard to believe that this time of year “hunting’s dirty secret” is about to take place.

Unbeknown to the majority of the public it is estimated that in the region of 10,000 fox cubs may be illegally killed during the season.

Since the Hunting Act 2004, this is often known amongst the hunting world as ‘autumn hunting’, ‘early morning rise’, ‘hound walk’ or even ‘early morning social cycle ride’, but what really takes place is the tearing to pieces of young fox cubs.

This time of year, fox cubs are still with their mother and it is difficult to understand how hunting people have called tearing them to pieces a sport.

So why is this taking place?

Although hunters say that the killing of wildlife comes naturally to fox hounds it can been seen that this ‘dirty secret’ is a large part of training hounds to kill.

This training is clearly described in the book Fox Hunting, The Duke of Beaufort, 1980 “cub – hunting completes the education of the previous year’s entry of hounds and makes a start on the education of the young and unentered ones – never lose sight of the fact that one really well beaten cub killed fair and square is worth half a dozen fresh ones killed the moment they are found without hounds having to exert themselves in their task”.

Surely this brutality has to be stopped, and this relic of wildlife cruelty thrown into the dustbin of history.

It also should be noted that it appears at the very public Boxing Day and New Year hunt meetings in towns.

Hunts are seeking a cloak of respectability from the public. Now that this ‘dirty secret’ has been revealed can they really wear that coat and truly feel respectable?

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