Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Fox Hunt, Part I

Now, this is something I have issues with!

fox hunt from Powderham Castle England
Fox Hunt out of Powderham Castle England
Using scenthounds to track their prey when hunting dates all the way back to the Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians; it was known as venery. All over Europe the Greek and Roman influenced countries have had very long traditions of hunting with hounds. Hunting using Agassaei hounds was very popular and wide spread in Celtic Britain even before the Romans arrived introducing the Castorian and Fulpine hound breeds which they were using to hunt prey down with. Norman hunting traditions were brought over to Britain with William the Conqueror along with the Gascon and Talbot hounds.  

horses and ponies on fox hunt
Fox Hunt includes Children
To the peoples of Europe foxes were beasts of the chase by medieval times along with the red deer - the hart and hind, martens and roes. The earliest known attempt to hunt foxes with hounds took place in Norfolk England, 1534 with the farmers first pest control attempts they began chasing foxes down with their dogs. In the late 1600's came the very first use of hound packs specifically trained to hunt foxes, the oldest fox hunt being more then likely in the Bilsdale, Yorkshire. By the end of the 1700's, deer hunting was in a severe state of decline because they'd been hunted close to extinction so the government created the Inclosure Acts which brought in built fences to separate the wide open land into fields, then the deer forests were cut down so arable land increased. With the start of the Industrial Revolution people moved out of the country in favor of growing towns and cities to find work. Roads, rail and canals began splitting hunting country up but in the process made hunting, in general, accessible and more widespread. Shotguns were improved during the 1900's for the shooting of gamebirds and that became a more popular sport among the rich and idle. Fox hunting developed still further in the 1800's when Hugo Meynell created breeds of hound and horse to address the new geography of rural England and the hunting continued.
english foxhound
Fox Hound, developed to hunt down & kill foxes for the pleasure of the rich and idle
red fox for fox hunting
Victimized for centuries and still today
To protect Pheasants for these sport hunters gamekeepers culled foxes almost to extinction in many areas all over England this caused huntsmen to improve their coverts to preserve their quarry. The Game Laws were relaxed in 1831 this meant anyone could get a permit to take rabbits, hares and game birds.

In Germany Hermann Goring first banned hunting with hounds with an initiative on July 3, 1934. In '39 the Nazi elite extended the ban to include Austria after Germany's annexation of the country. Bernd Ergert, director of Germany's hunting museum in Munich said that the aristocrats were understandably furious but they could do nothing about the ban given the totalitarian nature of the regime. 

At least he did something right!

The Masters of Foxhounds Association of America states that an Englishman Robert Brooke was the first to import hunting hounds to America by bringing his pack with him into Maryland in 1650 when he imported his horses with a pack of foxhounds. Around this same time European red foxes were being introduced into the Eastern seaboard of North America for the purpose of hunting and killing them for sport. The very first organized hunt was for a group rather than a single person and was started by one Thomas, 6th Lord of Fairfax in 1747. 

In the United States Presidents George Washington  and Thomas Jefferson both kept packs of fox hounds before and after the American Revolutionary War and very likely used them to hunt and kill foxes.
red fox jumping in field
Imported Victim of Bloodthirsty Fox Hunts
Australia has proven itself particularly bad for when the European Red Fox was introduced it was established solely for the purpose of fox hunting in 1855, so the native animal populations have been very badly affected since that time seeing the extinction of, at the very least, 10 species attributed to the proliferation of foxes imported deliberately. Fox hunting still continues in Australia with thirteen clubs that have over 1000 members that are still hunting with horses and hounds in the state of Victoria alone. This results in somewhere around 650 foxes being killed annually in Victoria as compared with over 90,000 shot over a similar period in response to the State government bounty that is offered.
Victoria, Australia fox hunt
Victoria, Australia Fox Hunt
Next I will offer more information about this atrocious sport that I feel is utterly repulsive. I can't help but wonder if Mrs. Wallis Simpson was 'put off' by this sport or not.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. I am very grateful for your comment and please leave a link.