This is nothing to do with my work at all, and just a personal issue. Fox hunting is being discussed a lot, especially on social media. Firstly due to the Conservative party’s pledge to overturn the 2004 Hunting Act. Secondly due to perceptions that the SNP MPs may abstain on the vote due to it being an English and Welsh matter, and not directly affecting Scotland (so long as a Scottish fox knows where the border is I guess).

Within these debates it is implied that fox hunting has somehow been banned, both in Scotland and England. This is not the case. The Hunting Act 2004 and the Protection of Wild Mammals Act (2002) prohibit hunting with hounds. Or more precisely the use of hounds to kill the fox (or other mammal). It is legal to use hounds to flush out the fox to be shot in Scotland and hunting still persists. Hunting with hounds remains legal in Northern Ireland.

Whatever the decision of MPs (whether to vote or not and how to vote), fox hunting is legal. It is the method of ‘the kill’ which is the matter under debate. Also relevant to those who may argue to overturn the Hunting Act for countryside management purposes.

Fox hunting is ‘alive’ and well. We need to be careful with our use of language.

Useful material here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30940176

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