They bite babies, kill chickens, and have noisy sex. Why on earth would we want a cull of urban foxes?

There are no shortage of challenges facing children in our inner cities. Like bleak poverty and hunger in classrooms. But foxes? Give them a break

Share

Despite the unfortunate incident of the baby with the severed finger, I’ll always have vast affection for urban foxes, and have done ever since I was a teen in the 1980s.

Creeping home from nightclubs during trips to London, I first encountered that nocturnal world of flame-haired, mange-riven ne’er-do-wells. Foxes, everywhere, sniffing, scavenging, shagging, and essentially pleasing themselves.

Back home, where I grew up in Cumbria, the locals killed and mutilated them for sport. Sometimes as part of a charming family day out, sometimes as the downtime pursuits of those same Deliverance-style yobs at my school who loved badger baiting and shoving their ratty dogs into rabbit warrens to hear the death squeals. Ah, country ways. In London, the foxes went unbothered and I loved this.

“But I can hear them having sex!” urban dwellers love to whinge at me. Boo-hooing about fox-sex, of course, is a big sign that one needs to be having sex oneself a lot more. It might cheer you up. Personally, I quite like fox rutting noises. They’re a little zombie invasion.

“And they’re not even scared of us!” say tortured voices on phone-in radio shows. Actually, I rather love that modern foxy insolence. Recently, I spilled out of a taxi at dawn to find an enormous fox sitting on my front garden wall. “Oh, my God, look at you,” I mumbled as we stood 10ft from each other. “Look at me?” she seemed to sneer. “Look at you! Your make-up is smeared and you smell of tequila. You humans are so uncivilised. And growing in numbers, too. There should be a cull.”

“But, Grace, they killed my chickens,” says the usual team of Amelia Drippyknickers from their urban townhouses, utterly determined to live a homespun Cath Kidston life, knitting their own hummus and waving off little Noah and Boudicca to Montessori school with a fresh chucky egg for breakfast from their own hens.

Who knew urban foxes would see your homes as Foxy Nando’s? And not just the first time. But the second, third and fourth times you replaced the chickens, and the local fox took its dinner jacket to the dry-cleaners? Urban chicken people please go and sit with those “My Koi Carp Hell” pond people in Lockerbie, livid because the local otters saw their garden as an al-fresco branch of Nobu.

Of course, one of the main reasons foxes adore the city now is due to Britain’s idiotic bin policy. Nowadays, if one fills one’s bin and then dares to leave an extra bin bag beside it, it’ll sit for seven, 14, 21 days – or simply forever. This invites foxes to split the bag and drag the contents around the street, sometimes merely as a spot of light foreplay, before settling down to four or five hours of tantric sex-wailing. I’d see councils with ineffective refuse collection culled before gunmen and poison squads on my street killing wildlife.

So, this all said, the photo of last week’s bitten baby didn’t truly bother me. It’s sad, but it rarely happens. This is something one is never supposed to say out loud in a culture where all debate should be derailed by the story of one harmed child. Get out the guns, bring your pitchforks, a child was bitten. Of course, there are real and spiralling urban problems affecting kids every day which I do become upset about – like the growing numbers of small children in bleak poverty attending schools starving hungry each day. Here’s an actual epidemic affecting children. Culling welcome. Blind panic permitted. Knee-jerk policy allowed!

And if any government bid to kill off urban foxes is successful, how socially disruptive and divisive will these killing sprees be? Because, yes, many are outraged by pictures of a bitten baby, but many others won’t take kindly to pictures of neat rows of dead fox cubs, all small and fluffy and executed. PR-wise, when they’re little, they’re extra-adorable, just like the animals of Farthing Wood. Come and cull them if it’s your hearts desire, Cameron and Boris. The reaction may be a little feral.

Twitter or the Papacy:
only one winner

As the hunt begins to find someone more affable and charismatic than Pope Benedict XVI for the job of Catholic head-honcho, my feelings are that the job won’t be entirely difficult.

Literally any CV on the pile in which the applicant hasn’t been either in the Hitler Youth and/or widely involved during the 1970s to the 1990s in delaying and quashing investigations of child sex abuse would be a flying start. How was Joseph Ratzinger ever allotted this role in the first place? Rarely endearing – and vaguely similar in countenance to someone one might meet in an attic in a David Lynch movie – he then went on to re-affirm the worldwide ban on abortion and gay partnerships, while quashing any debate about priestly celibacy.

By 2013, it may have been a nice idea to entertain a debate about lonely priests and their requirements for a bit of companionship and chat, something to warm your feet on in bed, during their long God-loving lifetime. “Nein,” said Joseph. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, always certain. Then suddenly, the announcement: “I have repeatedly examined my conscience... I have come to the certainty that my strengths are no longer suited to the adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Reading between the lines, I am seeing: “I joined Twitter last December and, for the love of God, I’m getting nothing done now. I was up until 3am last night bickering with idiots and playing hashtag pun games. Goodnight Vatican City, Joseph has left the building.”

A new hero for the
good people of Valletta

Pop star and excellent dad Peter Andre has been appointed cultural ambassador to the capital of Malta. The residents of Valletta city – who have clearly never savoured his 1995 cod-reggae feelgood summer smash “Mysterious Girl” – are said to be “furious”, simply because Andre has no links with Valletta, and in fact only attended a music awards ceremony there recently. Ungrateful gits. Any more moaning and we’ll send you his ex-wife, Katie.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai  

China has exposed the fatal flaws in our liberal economic order

Ann Pettifor
Jeremy Corbyn addresses over a thousand supporters at Middlesbrough Town Hall on August 18, 2015  

Thank God we have the right-wing press to tell us what a disaster Jeremy Corbyn as PM would be

Mark Steel
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future