A Wildlife Photographer Shared This Beautiful Picture To Put People Off Fox-Hunting
Richard Bowler told BuzzFeed News that fox-hunting "is no different to dog-fighting".
This photo has been widely shared online since wildlife photographer Richard Bowler posted it on Twitter with the hashtag #KeepTheBan.
Bowler, 46, lives on the edge of the Berwyn moors near Corwen, north Wales, with his partner.
He cares for three foxes, none of whom can be released into the wild. There are two adult vixens called Rosie and Fen, and Hetty, a cub, whom you can see above.
"Both Rosie and Fen live in a large enclosure on the edge of our woodland," Bowler told BuzzFeed News. "Hetty is still young and lives in the house with us, although she also has a large enclosure in one of our paddocks to run around in and play."
He said the time he has spent with foxes at home and in the wild has made him realise how intelligent and sensitive the animals are.
As a result, he is strongly opposed to fox-hunting.
He told BuzzFeed News it's "no different to dog-fighting".
"No one would dream of setting a pack of dogs on my terrier so why foxes?" he said. "If anything they are more intelligent than dogs."
He claimed the arguments in favour of fox-hunting are untrue. He said foxes do not kill for fun: "It's certainly true that if given the chance a fox in a chicken coup will kill all the chickens. He'll then stash every carcass for later. Foxes have the ability to think ahead and plan for lean times. When a chicken owner finds dead chickens it's because he has disturbed the fox, not that it has killed for fun."
As a chicken owner himself, Bowler said it was the responsibility of the owner to keep them safe, because "no fox carries wire cutters or can pick a lock".
He also said government figures show that most lamb fatalities come down to "poor husbandry and adverse weather conditions". He added: "Certainly a fox will scavenge a dead lamb, but I have yet to see any credible photos or video of fox predation on healthy lambs, which you would expect if it was common practice for foxes."
He questioned why fox hunts, which are "meant to kill sick and old foxes only", have "terrier men following ready to dig out any fox that manages to go to ground and evade the hunt".
Bowler said the reaction to his viral tweet has had a few negative responses, but they were from people "not aware of the fact that Hetty was born in captivity and so would not ever be released".
He added: "I agree that it would be wrong for a wild fox cub to get so bonded to people as it would only end badly for the fox in question. Neither do I recommend a fox as a pet – they can live 10–14 years in captivity and once bonded to you it would be very hard to re-home and impossible to release. I certainly could not have kept one in my old 9–5 job and met all of a fox's requirements."