OUR sympathy with hunting has never been in question; we have, indeed, not seldom been rebuked for our support of a characteristically British sport by those who wish to see it abolished. That being so, we are the more free to point out that the killing of foxes appears no longer to be a main purpose of hunting, a fact which is a serious matter for poultry-keepers in particular, and for the country in general, when eggs are 5½d. each and chickens, 2s. 4d. a pound. The pages of our contemporary Poultry witness to a rising indignation of which the M.F.H. [Masters of Fox Hounds] will do well to take account. Many parts of the country are now so overrun with foxes that poultry-keeping is made extremely difficult, and the hunts do little or nothing to keep the foxes down. We have been at the pains to analyse the reports of hunting published in the Times for twelve consecutive days. The reports number 78, from 26 hunts. The total number of foxes killed was 23, that is to say, it takes more than three days hunting to kill one fox. On 58 occasions out of the 78 there was no kill. The more fashionable hunts are the least effective; the Cottesmore and the Quorn, which divide between them the finest hunting country in England, hunted for ten days and killed only two foxes. Hunting, in fact, is being supplanted by mere riding to hounds. Not many years ago a Master of the Cottesmore, on arriving at a cross-roads meet, found a fox dangling lifeless from the sign post, a hint from the farmers of the district that he was not killing enough. When poultry-keepers at last combine to take action it will not, we think, be of so delicate a nature.
The Church Times digital archive is available free to subscribers