From Mr Barry Miles
Sir, — Thank you for your report on urban foxes (News, 9 July). We need to be careful in our use of the term “vermin”. I find no such concept in creation theology. It is a term that we have invented to justify our readiness to jump too quickly to lethal measures for any creature we deem a nuisance to us.
There is biblical and theological backing for opposing non-lethal methods of fox management. The lives of all animals are not to be taken lightly. In Genesis 1, animals are described as “living souls” (nephesh chaya). This is obscured in most English translations of the Bible, because the Hebrew term has been translated “animals” or “living creatures”, despite the fact that when precisely the same term is used of Adam’s creation in Genesis 2.7 it is translated “living soul”.
There is also God’s covenant in Genesis 9.8: “I now establish my covenant with you [Noah] and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you — the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you — every living creature on earth.”
Thus, animals have a right to be here, and, as we increasingly destroy their natural habitats, we will have to learn to live in harmony with them in our urban ones.
236 Streatham Road
London SW16 6NY
From the Revd Kevin Scully
Sir, — I was concerned to see Anglicans portrayed once again as fluffy, fox-loving people. In the East End of London, foxes cause huge problems, not least by burrowing under homes and schools. Three rectories and church schools are blighted by these displaced scroungers.
The local authority acknowledges the problem, but does nothing to assist in their eradication. To that end, here in Bethnal Green, we are proposing to reintroduce an urban hunt, albeit with all the green and caring credentials one expects of a modern Church.
There will be no dogs, other than those being exercised in the churchyard at the time; the hunt will be mounted on pushbikes; and the kill will be executed by handlebar-mounted slingshots.
That should give the buggers a fighting chance.
The Rectory, Hereford Street
London E2 6EX