Charity angrily denies putting foxes in danger
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 September 2011
An animal welfare charity has fired back at pro-hunting campaigners who claim the organisation is putting foxes’ lives in danger.
The internet-only Fieldsports Channel claims to have footage which proves injured scavengers nursed back to health by the Pembury-based Fox Project have been released near a free range chicken run in woodland near Maidstone.
Presenter Charlie Jacoby says the predators will die as a result of the practice, either through being shot by angry farmers or through starvation due to them not knowing how to hunt.
However, Fox Project director Trevor Williams has angrily denied the allegations and says the footage on the site is of a foster pen that foxes were not released from.
He added: “The Fox Project does not have a fox release pen in Maidstone, nor do we release where there is vulnerable livestock. It’s illogical – why would we invest time and money raising infant fox cubs on the bottle only to release them where we might expect them to be shot or snared?
“We do, however, have foster pens situated in the broader area, where cubs are raised remotely by rural householders, farmers and smallholders in order to maintain their wildness prior to transfer to designated release sites.
“These pens can only be reached or seen by someone deliberately trespassing deeply onto private land and not by an innocent dog walker who just happens to have both still and video cameras on his person, and who knows precisely which publications might be interested in the results.”
The Fieldsports Channel is a half-hour weekly internet show about hunting, shooting and fishing in Britain.
Earlier this year TV property expert Phil Spencer, from Littlebourne, near Canterbury, was branded a “bloodthirsty killer” for shooting a deer in front of the website’s cameras.
Presenter Charlie Jacoby said instances of foxes being released near livestock happen “over and over again” in the countryside.
He added: “I am sure these organisations deliberately choose release sites next to a good source of food; other people’s pets and livestock.
“Releasing foxes in the countryside is nuts, releasing them next to a free-range chicken run is dangerously idiotic, and feeding them on dog food before you do so is just plain cruel.
“It’s not a nice thing to say but there are lots of foxes. Our responsibility to pets is to the individual pet but with foxes we are talking about wildlife. Our responsibility to wildlife is to the whole species, and foxes do not need restocking.”