Letter: Supporters rally to defend a well-loved scavenger

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The Independent Online
IN NEARLY 30 years of campaigning against bloodsports I have rarely encountered an article with so many errors of fact as Ross Clark's profile of the fox ("He's a cute little creature, but he's for the chop, one way or another", 1 November).

While with the League Against Cruel Sports from 1971 to 1997 I never heard a member describe foxes as "vermin" or advocate the killing of foxes. Mr Clark also makes the ludicrous claim that "foxes are unused to daylight", then later says that foxes sun themselves in gardens! Foxes prefer the night because of persecution by people who make a sport out of killing animals.

A fox's den is called an "earth", not a burrow! And hounds follow the scent secreted from glands in the paws of foxes, not from the anal glands of males.

When myxomatosis almost wiped out rabbits in the 1950s, rural foxes did not turn to chickens. They merely preyed more heavily on Britain's most prolific mammal, the field vole. Mr Ross also libels "pest control specialists" by claiming that they poison foxes. Poisoning foxes is a criminal offence. Few local authorities now regard foxes as serious pests. Most of them refer complaints about foxes to the Fox Project, which assists householders with the odd troublesome fox by the use of humane, non-lethal deterrence.

Finally, he is quite wrong to state that foxes are destined to "remain shunned by most". Polls show that the fox is one of the British public's favourite wild animals. It is only the small minority of bloodsports fanatics and those few sheep farmers who need to find a scapegoat for bad husbandry, that continue to vilify the fox.

JOHN BRYANT

London SE18

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