Myths and Truths

Sadly foxes incorrectly get blamed for a lot of things and wrongly labelled as pests. Here are some of the myths de-bunked.


Myth : Some people claim that the fox population needs to be controlled.


Truth :  

The fox population is self regulating depending on a number of factors ie available food & territory etc.

If a fox is killed or removed from an area, then another breeding pair move in, so therefore removing foxes just encourages more.

This is one of the reasons why hunters love to hunt foxes, you kill one fox and its replaced by another to hunt again, also why fox hunting is such an ineffective control method.

Due to and increase in illegal hunting, trophy shooting, snares, traps, laid poison, loss of habitats, food sources, road traffic accidents, there has been a sharp decline in the rural red fox population.

It has also been reported an increase in illegal fox hunting, shooting and snaring purely out of spite, resentment and protest by hunters and shooters who are strongly against the hunting with dogs Act.

Without the created myth of the fox population needing to be controlled, Fox (trail) Hunts wouldn’t exist.


British Trust Ornithology survey


Myth : Hunting with hounds is the best method to control foxes.


Truth : Hunting with hounds is actually a very poor method to remove foxes. Hunts are very ineffective and have very little impact on fox numbers. But what foxes are killed by hunts, its the cruel unnecessary barbaric method used that is most controversial.


There has been a number of cases where hunts have actually imported foxes from other areas or captured and reared them in order to have something to hunt.

If foxes need controlling as hunts wrongly claim, then why are hunts rearing foxes to hunt.


The Westminster Government’s inquiry into Hunting With Dogs, concluded:

The overall contribution of traditional fox hunting, within the overall total of control techniques involving dogs is almost insignificant in terms of management of the fox population as a whole.


Foxes do not need controlling, however, If deemed necessary and proven guilty without doubt that a particular fox is causing a problem with-in an area for the fox to need dispatching, this should then be done humanely by a qualified, trained and licensed shot marksman. Regulated, licenced, approved and policed correctly.


Myth : Foxes like to kill chickens for fun.


Truth : Foxes can sometimes take chickens and kill more than one to store and eat later. Fox-proof chicken coops are widely available for responsible owners to protect their chickens.


If foxes find or kill more than they can eat at one sitting, they bury (cache) their food in shallow holes 5-10cm deep to eat later and if undisturbed will return for any other kills.

This is thought to prevent the loss of their entire food supply in the event that another animal finds one of the stores. This noble trait is responsible for the myth that foxes ‘kill for pleasure’ rather than food.

Farmers/chicken keepers are fully aware of this fact but seem to like to keep this myth going.


Myth : Some people claim foxes are vermin and pests.


Truth : Foxes help keep the natural balance of nature. They help control the population of mice, rats, rabbits. Without the fox (one of our only remaining large predators) we would be over run with mice, rats and rabbits.

Foxes save crop farmers £millions in lost damaged grain.


Myth : Foxes are a problem to lambs.


Truth This myth that has already been repeatedly debunked by scientific studies, which DEFRA accepts.

According to Defra (2004) …. 95% of lamb loses are due to : abortion and stillbirth; exposure and starvation; infectious disease and congenital defects; poor husbandry.

The remaining 5% are due to predatory killings from : Dogs, birds of prey and maybe foxes etc.

A study of two Scottish hill farms found that less than 1% of lamb losses could be confidently attributed to fox predation. A fox may take a sick lamb which have been abandoned by its mother. A healthy lamb being protected by the mother ewe would have little chance of killing a lamb.

Foxes sometimes feed off carcasses let rotting in the fields by farmers, which could also explain why a fox seen to be feeding off/carrying a carcass could be wrongly blamed and mistaken for the actual killers.


Despite repeated requests for farmers and small holders to provide video evidence of the “actual killing of a lamb by a fox” , there has been very little evidence provided to back up this myth claim that foxes are actually a problem to lambs.



Myth : Foxhunters claim that hunting with hounds is the most humane method of killing foxes. They claim that the fox is either killed by a quick bite to the neck or escapes unhurt.


Truth : This false claim has been dismissed by a study of foxes killed by hounds above ground and submitted for post-mortem examination indicated that the animals died from profound trauma inflicted by multiple dog bites rather than a quick bite to the neck. Hunting with hounds did inflict suffering, stress, pain and trauma both in the chase and kill.

(Ref : Fox Management IFAW Biological Sciences, University of Bristol & Environment Department, University of York)


Myth : Foxhunters claim they remove diseased and sick foxes thus helping to maintain a healthy fox population.


Truth : When hounds are hunting they are unable to determine between the scent of a healthy fox and a sick fox. Hounds don’t suddenly choose to follow a trail as it might be a sick fox. This is an ridiculous fake claim that hunters make.


Myth : Foxes spread diseases.


Truth : Foxes carry no more disease than any other animal. Hunting hounds infected with bTB are the biggest risk to bio-security.




Most of the public are unaware that fox hunting continues today despite there being a ban. Hunts continue to flout the law, making a mockery of our legal system and conning the public, police and courts.

Law enforcement agencies are often accused of turning a blind eye and failing to uphold the law and prosecute offenders despite strong evidence.

85% of the public are against hunting (foxes, deer, hares) but our hunt loving government chooses to ignore this fact to pander to the small majority of their pro-hunt voters.




Fox Management Conclusion


Humane Control:

The fox population does not need to be controlled, as foxes are self-regulating.

Rural fox numbers have not increased. Reducing the fox population would have a negative effect on the balance of nature and an increase in the number of rats, mice, rabbits.


If deemed necessary and proven guilty without doubt that a particular fox is causing a problem with-in an area for the fox to need dispatching, this should then be done humanely by a qualified, trained and licensed shot marksman. Regulated and policed correctly.


Other humane methods which should be considered, are birth control pills, which prevent the vixen coming into season and can be administered through food.



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