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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 October, 2004, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
West: Fox hunting
Dave Harvey
Dave Harvey
Politics Show West

Fox hunt
An alternative to an outright ban on fox hunting has been proposed

Public response to Politics Show West's programme on fox hunting has been overwhelming. Dave Harvey reports.

"What do foxes do? Ask yourself that! Nothing"

"There is absolutely no defence for chasing an animal and killing it for pleasure."

Which was the 14-year-old girl, which the rural Tory voter?

Yes, Netty Simon, 14, is an enthusiastic hunter with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt.

Geoff Leonard has always voted Conservative, until now: "Shame on the Conservatives for pledging to repeal any hunting ban."

Thorny issue

This row splits the country, and even the countryside, in the most unpredictable ways.

154 people sat down and emailed us at the Politics Show West this week, you could be number 155.

Have your say

But first, read more from the intelligent, unexpected but welcome emails.

From a rare breed sheep farmer, Kate Elliott in North Somerset:

We have a lot of foxes here.

In 2001 when the hunt could not hunt I went into a field one morning and found my best ewe with her hip ripped out by an undispersed litter of foxes, still alive.

The huntsman, even though he was feeding the hounds at the time, dropped everything and put her down.

Her daughter, her mother and her mother's ram lamb all pined and died as a result.

I lost friends and about 600 worth of sheep.

If the hunt goes, who will disperse the litters, shoot my old ladies in their fields when they can not go on.

On the other hand ...

Yet other viewers, many of them rural people, some farmers, say it is a myth that foxes rampage the countryside slaughtering sheep and chickens.

Take Ian Stow, in his own words, "a semi-retired professional person living in a rural area".

Firstly, only 0.4% of lambs are lost due to fox predation.

Secondly, in the Highlands of Scotland only 1% of lambs are lost to foxes whilst 24% die from hypothermia, malnutrition, and still births.

Ian has done his homework, but can his cool words argue with Britta Francis, who would lose her job as a groom?

"A ban would be a huge mistake", writes Britta, "let the countryside people run the countryside, they know how it works".

Divides villagers

But you guessed it, for every villager who swears the country wants to keep hunting, there is another who would argue across the village green.

Bean Moore, for instance, says hunting is an insignificant part of country life.

I can see why Hunters enjoy going off into the countryside on their horses.

I am sure there is a very pleasant social aspect to the whole scene.

However why they then have to trudge through our countryside frightening all wildlife that happens to be in their way is beyond me.

It is a row that will run and run.

Politics Show took viewers' emails back to Exmoor, to get some answers from campaigners on both sides of the fence.

Including the view of many who say whatever the merits, it is time to call time: "Of course hunting must be banned", writes Susie Moore.

"The majority of the population supports a ban as does Parliament."

What about you?

Have your say

Politics Show

Politics Show West wants to hear from you.

Let us know what you think. That is the Politics Show, Sunday, 17, October, at 12.30pm.

Have your say

Join David Garmston on Politics Show West on BBC One on Sundays at 12.30pm.


Send us your comments:

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Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.



SEE ALSO:
Meet presenter David Garmston
21 Feb 03  |  Politics Show


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