Internet media giant, Unilad, with over thirty-eight million followers on Facebook, has drawn attention to the issue of fox hunting in Scotland in a new documentary titled “The Hunt.” The video is the first in a series titled “The Dark Side of Britain.”
“The Hunt” follows a group of fox hunting saboteurs, including Grampian Hunt Sabs member, Kevin Newell. Newell and other activists attend hunts to ensure that those participating remain within the law. Despite the Scottish law against hunting foxes with dogs, brought in in 2002, the Unilad documentary proves that the practice still takes place in the country today.
“The worry is if they repeal the act and make fox hunting legal again, it will just give fox hunters the green light to murder,” Newell told Unilad. “We are just everyday people who are sick and tired of those people getting away with it so we put ourselves, our liberty and our lives every weekend on the line to try and save these animals.”
Whilst many of those who hunt foxes maintain it is a form of “pest control,” vital to keep the population of foxes down – others disagree. Chris Luffingham, the director of policy, communications, and campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports believes that fox hunting “achieves nothing.” The league has received around 550 reports of illegal hunting practices since the beginning of last autumn.
“Why do it?” Luffingham asks. “The only reason you can possibly come up with why people maintain this practice is because they enjoy fox hunting. They enjoy chasing it and seeing it being killed at the end. There is no other reason.” He adds, “just because something is traditional doesn’t mean to say it should be continued.”
However, according to animal rights group PETA, eighty-five percent of the UK population do actually oppose fox hunting. Other hunting practices, such as game shooting, are also unsupported by the British public. In April, a YouGov survey revealed that seventy-four percent of Welsh citizens opposed the sport and felt it should be made illegal.
Recently, the British government has been supportive of animal rights. “Animals are sentient beings who feel pain and suffering, so we are writing that principle into law and ensuring that we protect their welfare,” the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said in a statement last year.