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Is fox hunting ethically correct?

Before I begin I would like to tell you my point of view on this issue so that you will notice the bias when it appears: I am against it.

Here in the United Kingdom fox hunting continues to happen. Packs of dogs leading people riding horses continue to relentlessly hunt foxes. This, many hunters claim, is done for the "removal of a pest". Yet many people I know personally enjoy every moment of it! They say "if you're going to work why not make it fun" or something else along those lines. Some have even gotten upset with how I disagree with what I see as a violent murder instead of their view as an enjoyable sport.

In fox hunting a man will often go around the area before the beginning of the hunt and block up the foxes dens. Once the hunt starts the foxes will attempt to flee from the dogs by entering the nearest den they know of. These dens are, of course, closed. This forces the fox to continue fleeing from the pack of dogs at its heels. Should the fox find a burrow or den and manage to enter it then someone called a "terrier man" will attempt to flush out or dig out the fox.

Why do I find that cruel? One reason is because foxes are built for speed, not endurance. They will outrun the dogs for quite sometime before losing their energy and being descended upon by the pack. Another is because we are killing and animal that we consider a "pest" and yet is a natural part of the ecosystem here. Wolves were a "pest" in the United States and look at what happened to them, hunted to near extinction! Is it right to kill a fox because it's hungry and we're building on top of its den and putting farms around its home? Is it right to kill anything on such grounds?

What do you all think about this issue? You have heard my overly biased view and it is up for discussion.

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    Nov 29 2011: They remove so-called pests, but in doing so they remove precious predators to other pests, which are not fun to hunt.
    So the pest thing is no valid reason. They just like the horses, the dogs, the outfits, the horns...

    I'd be lying if I said hunting animals, or violence, wasn't something I found quite exciting. So I understand, though I wish they had more productive ways of seeking this excitement.
    • Nov 30 2011: But what is it you define a pest as?
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        Dec 1 2011: A pest is a species that is successfully spreading at the expense of human comfort.

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