(Originally penned around March, the end of the Foxing season. Strap yourselves in, this is a biggy)
Drunting: The noble and traditional Old English act of getting inebriated in the countryside and setting a flock of beagles on a cute fuzzy thing for sport.
#1. I am neither for nor against!
#2. This has been such a hard piece to pen. There are still many untapped arguments out there but I simply can’t fit them in or they just aren’t humorous enough. This is already too long!
Oh my dear, Mother Nature. You humans. You can be a frightfully strange lot. Originally, I merely wanted to pen a small piece regarding the pastoral pastime of fox huntings (neither for nor against!) and offer up some light jollificating observances. But by golly the more I look into it the more confused I get and the further my imagery of the human psyche eludes me. Let me do some prelude and exposition first. But one word of context that must be spouted outright now, then remain at the forefront of your mind throughout the following is, BALANCE. You may proceed:
The Prelude/ Preface/ the Story So Far…
There I was enjoying a lovely elevenses of chaffinch jam on toast when a wide-eyed, dishevelled fox ran through my encampment defecating profusely as it went*. Then seconds after that a growling, mewling and howling horde of canine burst through the clearing, clearly on the foxes scent. Also defecating liberally as they went. Then seconds after that a host of horses charged after the hounds, so too, fouling flippantly as they went. But we’re not finished yet. A stampede of black attired gentlemen and ladies waving placards and improvised clubs came hurtling through the now dilapidated scene chasing the horsists!
The desecration! The destruction! The huge piles of doings! Since then I’ve had to move hovel!
* For those of you whom are unaware Fox poop stinks! Smells not dissimilar to the middens in hell. And I should know…I got very lost once**.
** Fabulous, fabricated, fabled creatures like myself don’t have a predetermined notion of heaven or hell, so we go where we please.
Yes I am a poor, humble, naïve, forest-dwelling goat boy living on the fringes of society, but something must be done. And Yes, I don’t fully understand you lot; but come now, an Englishgoatmans’ hovel is his castle! Only my oxen and pet hedgehog are allowed a bowel moment anywhere in my territory. It’s expected. And my poop scope and I can cope with it.
Now let’s quickly deal with some nonfiction about Fox genocide. Ahem, I mean, er, fox oppression:
The Hunt Today
Actual for-proper fox hunting, avec le chien, was banned in 2004 (actually coming into effect a year later). Long and short however, there’s still a tense, controversial and irrevocable dispute going on that will often be called into question, rearing its fuzzy orange head in the near future…very near future…it’s not going to go away any time soon. A bone of contention that sleeping dogs won’t lie with.
Now it’s worth noting that I’ve no idea if the dogs were set on the fox originally or merely came upon it by accident whilst out on a drag hunt*. It’s entirely plausible that it was coincidence rather than a pre-arranged bout of law infringement.
*Where a domesticated plebeian in the house liveries of the hunt master is coated in fox bile and made to run through the woods pretending to be a fox for the amusement of the hounds and drunken lookers on. This is the preferred and legal method today by the way…
However, hunting furry things in this manner today is still considered fair game in Northern Ireland, Canada and America just to name but a few places. By the way, tell an American he/ she can’t hunt anything at all, from wobbles to bears and even people, and he’ll laugh in your face then shoot it off.
A couple years after the ban and it was called into question again but it wasn’t given its full hearing time in parliament and rejected; since Teresa May has become president it came into question again but it was flat put down. But it will be called up again and often. If you want any further deets about this just enter relevant words into Go Ogle and there will be a plethora of hits provided to work your way through. But for now, just dally with the most recent polls to know where the UK stands:
- An opinion poll in May 2017 revealed overwhelming public opposition to hunting with dogs, including the repeal of the Hunting Act 2004. 64% of voters disagreed with the statement that “the ban on fox hunting should be reversed”, including 46% who “strongly disagreed”. Just 11% supported the repeal of the ban. The poll was published in the aftermath of the release of the Conservative Partymanifesto for the 2017 general election, which promised a vote on the repeal of the Act. Only 16% of Conservative voters want the ban overturned, with 50% opposed. – Wiki.
But the hunt in all its splendour does still exist in some form or another. And certainly fox hunting with dogs still exists as publicly published lists of the many offenders and their court hearings testifies. How are our various Police Forces, er, Policing it by the way?
Anyhow, attractive and sexy arguments about it are rarer then hens teeth. It’s still the same old same old: ‘It’s a non-cruel traditional sport’ against the ‘It’s cruel, pointless and…other…etc…’
My Bipedal Stance
Just for the record I’m not one of your, ‘oh, fuzzy, cutey-wutey, foxy-woxy’ types. ‘He’s just trying to feed his widdle cubs’.
Likewise, nor am a ‘get off my land’ type, ‘they’re all nuisances and they’ll kill everything in the coup and just take one. Shoot ‘em on sight!’ type*.
*But just so everyone knows – Of course foxes only take one! One at a time! They don’t have a Bag for Life you know. They don’t have opposable thumbs! Mr and or Mrs Fox intends to take all of them. But many times out of a few they get disturbed whilst grocery shopping and they must escape. They can escape faster whilst not burdened with a mouthful of dismembered hen.
Anyway, onwards. I am not a stranger to this tradition, I am a long lived goat-man-thing and I have been very aware of this bucolic pastime ever since fat, rich, white men could sit up straight on a horse without habitually preening its mane for fleas. But it is only up until recently that I have been forced to voice any discouragement at all.
You see, Lord Tuffy Bumwhellp of Oxbridge and Twattinghamshire has been forced to expand the course of his (probably legal) hunts…dramatically. It was either that or his groundsmen will go bored and hungry this season. Not having any more paupers to shoot and little in the way of hikers to run down in his Land Rover, changes needed to be wrought. So, needs must when the devil has bugger all left to do.
However, I had no Me Mo. I had no facsimile. I didn’t even get the courtesy of a discouraging letter or knock at my hut flap.
All I get nowadays is a discordant bugle note piecing the veil of a rather happy recurring dream about Courtney Cox (before she had her face amputated and replaced with silly putty) and all of a sudden there’s the last frantic charge of the light brigade romping through my camp…through my pantry, through my veggy patch, my camp fire and my pet hedgehog…no pleases, no thankyous, no excuse us all …and excuse our dogs’ excrement. And our horses’ excrement. Nothing. Jot, not one.
Yes I disdain the foppery, for those of our more western readers who are more used to hunting with missile launchers, grenades and Gatling guns, please see hither:
[Insert Bill Bailey, Part Troll here] – I couldn’t find a decant clip sorry!
And I am with Sir Billiam of Wailey 100%. Could not have said it better m’sen.
What I do object to is being awakened at the ungodly hour of a quarter past second breakfast by a horde of joyriding delinquents in red, bugling out their new-fangled hit-pops through my f*&^ing hut! Either that or a band of irrational freedom fighters on a quest for revenge.
I’ve considered this conundrum long and hard. I am a true nature’s child. Born to be wild. I am Mother Nature’s emissary on Your Gods clean, green and fertile Engtain/ Britland/ UK-Dom/ America II/ or whatever. The question and argument is thus –
Fox hunting-barbaric and unnecessary? Or trad and sophisticated? Or more precisely:
Way of life, tradition, sport and recreation, sort-of pest control and untold jobs for the masses verses animal welfare, not killing cute things, stop being so rich and self-indulgent and…er, that’s it I think.
Hunting in the Prose
Many Britfolk would have at least hummed along with this at some juncture in their lives –
A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go;
Pull up your socks and chase the fox
A hunting we will go…Thomas Augustine Arne-1778
A very old, fun and dainty little traditional tune about being British. Or something quite similar. For those of you still none the wiser as to what hunting is all about then allow me to inform, expand and quite possibly embellish –
Yes the daft, scavenging, canine beasties’ (Vulpes vulpes-Red Fox) numbers need to be kept under control. ‘They’d wipe out the whole chicken species just for something to do!’ Indeed. But more importantly, hunting gets you out in the sun shine…well, out under the grey skies and drizzle of New Brexitland…you get to meet up with your mates, ride a great charger, dress up like a box of Quality Streets and get leathered in the countryside. Sublime!
Early humans (Homo erectus) hunted animals for food way back some 1.8 million years ago, when we all had beards and Jebus hadn’t quite been invented yet. Likewise, back in ye old days most predators had to be hunted; as today in lost Amazonian tribes or Nomadic Saharan clans for instance, it’s simply a case of – if you don’t hunt the sabre-toothed lion, the sabre-toothed snake and the sabre-toothed pterodactyl, then they’ll hunt you. And all of your children, and your livestock. And your drinking buddy. And your pet sabre-toothed hedgehog.
And evidence indicates that hunting with the use of dogs can be dated back to betwixt 2000-3000BC. But Fox hunting for reals, as we now know it, greatly took off in 18thC when men all wore dresses and women weren’t allowed an opinion on anything.
It could be said that foxes wouldn’t be such a problem if human types hadn’t expanded their territories and agricultural so vastly. Foxes need somewhere to live and behold, food is laid out ready for them in convenient little wooden boxes with crap wire round them. All Mr foxy needs to do is dig under said hen-prison and the day is his. But not the chickens’. Either that or Foxy finds nourishment in discarded take away boxes on the city’s streets (foxes don’t have to be drunk to eat donner kebab meat).
The hunt business is huge with generations of families having worked the yards, the kennels and the stables etc for hundreds of years. Recent numbers detail a good 12,500 people in Britain today being employed in some capacity of and for the hunt.
Now hear this-
The denominator here is also known as the “Labour Force” or the “Economically Active Population”. In the three months to February 2017 there were 33.4 million people in the UK labour force and 1.56 million people classed as unemployed. These figures gave an official UK unemployment rate of 4.7%. – Probably Wiki
Hmmmm, 4.1% doesn’t actually sound that much. 1.56 mil sounds preposterous. Surely it’s a great idea to not add to those hideous figures?
And what will come of our disowner ship of the rest of the continent? Brexit or some such? Not sure how that’s going to work, meddling with tectonic plates and such. There may be trouble ahead. Then who’ll gives a toss about foxes? Not I.
It could be argued that fox hunts don’t actually impact the fox numbers that dramatically anyway, if anything they serve to bolster their numbers as competition between species members are equalized because territory and chuck huts are not as in great demand. But then surely what’s the point in foxhunting if it doesn’t sort out the problem? But then again, who cares if only a microscopic portion of the fox population is being subject to terror and hell on earth if there’s still plenty of cute furry things still a-roaming?
Apparently if the fox is caught in the jaws of a hound it suffers only for a few seconds, there’s lots of footage on an internet that shows how quickly and easily a pack of hounds can do this (although I don’t recommend it for family viewing time as it’s not for the feint hearted or veganistic). Furthermore the average time frame from when a fox is spotted to when its various bits of anatomy are scatter liberally about the countryside is a mere 17 seconds.
But still, Questionable practices if there’s still a fox problem in the area.
Yes, it’s possibly cruel. But so is nature – Tsunamis, earthquakes, Rolf Harris. And nobody is truly accountable.
Against the Hunt/ And in the Green Corner…
In my mind, and I’ll state the obvious again, so a pinch of salt maybe required, I am naive…One whole fox. Upwards of 12 hounds, bred and trained since birth to track, chase and dismember the aforementioned prey. A flock of indulgent, drunken fat, rich, white folk on horseback. Horses bred and trained from birth to bear such slothful degenerates on their noble backs whilst not hoofing to death previously mentioned quadrupedal minions. Either that or several firearms of differing calibre but all made with one purpose on the agenda. I put it to you, what’s in in for the fox?
But hunt saboteurs, whether they want to be scary and intimidating or not, are. Rural terrorist’s in fact. If you dress all in black, hang together in big groups wielding sticks and obscuring your faces with balaclavas and ski masks then you are a potential threat to right thinking humanoids. And their horses. There’s plenty of scenes of outright battle on the sets of Emmerdale farm, check it out on Your Tuba. Not nice. Hopefully it won’t catch on.
Arguably, and possibly rightly – hunting is cruel. Yes it is, but then stoving in the heads of a whole coop full of tasty chickens is too. Nature’s way I’m afraid. Each chicken would have only taken seconds to slay. It’s not like Mr Fox is targeting children, Orphans or puppies. Is it?
‘The Fox Hunt’ is just a show of hedonism and superiority in a class war which will perpetuate until the dawn of a new world. Yes it probably is, but you humans aren’t going to change your ways any time soon. And since the ban the aesthetics of the thing have endured.
To my naïve mind, yes it probably is all of those things. Because I have rams horns on my head and don’t have a single penny to my name. I don’t even own a wallet. So what the f**k would I know?
Two Tribes Go to War (Here’s What I Know)
For billions of human days hunting has required skill, experience, knowledge of the territory and prey. We humanoids love meat. Proteins, fats, oils and salts, we even have special organs and digestive capabilities to process such rejuvenating delectables. Protein allows us to explore, scale greater heights plumb greater depths, think better thoughts with bigger, better brains and generally be all round bad ass and superior to everything else on the planet. Granted. We rule.
If you take bigger risks, and make bigger efforts to take down bigger healthier prey then you deserve to succeed and progress to the next level and so does your immediate and future generations of family…and possibly the rest of your tribe.
Did you know, there are still indigenous tribes, predominantly in deepest Africa, Australia and Brazil, cut off from the rest of the world (except of course for, The Attenborough), who still hunt their nourishment with rudimentary gear and still get to eat. They still get to reap the benefits of juicy, delicious beasts.
For a very fine example; Initiation for a newbie warrior-huntsmen of the Sand People of the Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa, a young man-boy is to track, chase and eventually exhaust and slay a caribou or some other noble and sinewy creature.
When he’s dealt it the death blow, he anoints himself with the blood of the creature/ his quarry then proceeds to say a big ol’ blessing not only for his kin, and probably newly acquired wife, but more importantly for the thing that is now exhausted and bleeding, very gracefully mind, at his naked, bruised, torn, exhausted and cut feet. Utter respect for the animal. They both went through the same ordeal. Man pitted against nature. And in this instance man, all on his tod, won and will probably survive until the next encounter.
Rainforest; offering to mother prior to the hunt:
Initiate and family have to eat. Deer or other mammal thingies need to eat green things. Circle of life. Nature at its best. Everything within reason. Don’t take more then you need or that you can either process, store or digest. Equilibrium. BALANCE.
One of my uncles started his training in gameskeepering at a staggeringly early age; not with a telescopic sight, or infrared night vision goggles. Not with a troop of mercenaries, and a jolly-hockey-sticks-what-ho, band of 3-sheets-to the-wind, oh-my-little-Chelseannette-has-just-graduated-with-5-Stephen Hawkins-star-A-levels…but with a stick. Just a stick. One more time. A stick. Just an ordinary every day, pick it up while you stroll around the country side stick. When a similarly aged boy of his acquaintance flushed a rabbit out of its lair in the bushes or cave or what have you he’d bop it on the head with said bopping apparatus. End of. Supper. It was war time too no less. But let’s stick to the point. I’ll come back to that another time. Let’s just say the word ‘rationing’ and move on.
Furthermore, from what I can tell, all the be-horsed fox slayers are largely vegan or veggy who just want to be seen in public spending their abundance of leisure moneys on frivolous activities; People who wouldn’t know a fox trifle if it splatted them in their face. And the rest only touch meat that has been reared, butchered and cooked by someone else. And all the fox activists are vegetable and non-meatiest folk too who wouldn’t know the pointy end of a hunting spear if it poked them in the behind. And piscarians? Just bugger off. Go reconsider your fundamental life principles. So what, the fish just passes away peacefully in its sleep just after it’s coated its self in beer batter and checked itself into the nearest chip shop? There’s principles, then there’s misguided and then there’s just plain deluded…anyhoo…
The only people who don’t seem to mind eating real food and real meat caught, shot and prepared by themselves are the groundlings – the gameskeepers, hound keepers and horse stabilizers.
Solution. If You Could Call It That. If There Is Such A Thing. Which There Probably Isn’t…
So basically it’s a case of and it all boils down to:
Way of life, tradition, sport and recreation, sort-of pest control and untold jobs for the masses VERSES animal welfare, not killing cute things, stop being so rich and self-indulgent and…er, that’s it I think.
Equestrians need to eat their veganistic twigs, fluff and grit; houndsmen/ doggists need to eat their chum and feed their rabid killers on orphans and immigrants; horses need to eat their porridge and feel superior to everyone else. Granted. Totally with you on that. Nature’s way. Mother’s way.
But I say again and with even more vigour than previous – 5 billion hounds, a cavalcade of horse and a bevy of wine cellars buttoned up in red coats. Is that balance?
Each piece of the paradigm is important and has bearing I’m sure. Even today it could be argued – if the pest control side of things actually worked. However…One horse, one gun, one man. Even that’s over kill…surely? Why not give the dog the gun? Now that’s a sport! NO, even better! Give the fox the gun and the horse has to ride the man!!!! The dog may drink tea and spectate quietly with me. But no pooping. BALANCE!
Ahem…But I am a gracious goat persons, I am not without tolerance and understanding. I can be reasoned with. I propose this…well I have a session of suppositions actually:
Number one, which ever red coat or red coats’ minion shoots the fox, he then has to eat the fox there and then. Raw. And none of his cognac-addled mates can go home for sherry and truffles until he’s finished every last morsel.
Either that, or whoever’s hound takes the initial throat wrenching bite out of the caught creature, the owner has to then eat his dog. There and then, or else none of his hoodlum idiot friends can go home for sherry and dolphin bits. Balance!
And if the owner doesn’t want to eat his hound then I get to shoot all of you with my newly procured M4 Carbine and no one is allowed back for pheasant trifle and swan salad. And if a fox comes and poops anywhere near my larder one more time it’s going to get it too. Or I’ll just beat it to death with a soiled beagle.
Secondly, how about one of the demonstrators, an urban radical opposed to the idea of cute cuddly things being chased, volunteers to be greased up in fox juice then runs around the countryside flapping his arms about while a horde of bagels lollops after him. His silly ski mask friends can watch and cajole him along. Everyone’s enjoying a bit of harmless fun in the countryside, together. A bit of exercise, a bit of socialising – all classes together mind-and with healthy volumes of booze all round. Sorted. And plus if anyone dies in the proceedings its less people in the world to moan about the hunt, for or against or otherwise.
Thirdly, and this is my favourite, I’m very much leaning towards this one in fact. BALANCE. Equilibrium! Everything in order…Every time anyone shoots at a fox (whether it’s a hit or a miss), I get to shoot at them with my newly procured M4 Carbine. Similarly, next time an activist takes a swing at or lobs a petrol bomb at someone just doing their job or trying to have a bit of fun, then I get to shoot them in their Super Dry Ski-masked face and their Apple Mac at point blank range…
…In fact, f*&k the fox, if any of you trample my hut once more all of you are gonna get the full magazine in to your bulbous, pompous, feckless, self-serving, self-assured, presumptuous, righteous arses!
Huh, calm…breathe…drink wine…Fox poop stinks damnit!
Fair enough? Good. Now say hello to my little friend!