Fox hunting has been back in the news lately as efforts in Great Britain to loosen a 10-year ban on the sport were recently scuttled.

Prime Minister David Cameron was recently forced to back off attempts to allow more than two hunting dogs, currently allowed under law. Traditionally, hunters use a pack of hound dogs to track down foxes, which are rarely killed. But when enough members of Parliament said they would not go along with the plan, Cameron canceled the vote. 

Animal rights activists view the sport as cruel and unnecessary, which led to a nationwide ban in Great Britain in 2005. They had protested the proposed changes, which led to the groundswell of opposition.

Hunting groups, meanwhile, heralded Cameron’s attempt to loosen the regulations on a sport that has been practiced for centuries going back to ancient Egypt and the 16th century in Europe.  

In the United States, the first hunting hounds were introduced around 1650, about the same time red foxes brought to the eastern seaboard for hunting purposes. Today red foxes are not viewed as that much a nuisance and coyotes often take care of the problem.

When the hunting ban was debated in England in 2004 and 2005, it heavily divided the country between rural dwellers who saw the sport as traditional and urban residents who viewed it from an animal welfare perspective. The polarizing nature of the debate was clearly still evident recently as hundreds of protesters gathered to voice their dissent with attempts to alter the law.

© Andychittock | Dreamstime.comFox Hunting Photo