Teagasc removes fox destruction webpage
10 January 2007
Further to an appeal by ICABS, Teagasc has removed a page from its website which recommended that farmers should shoot, snare and dig foxes out of the ground before killing them. The article also suggested that sending terriers underground after foxes is something to consider.
"We find this suggestion to be wholly offensive and wish to enquire if it reflects official Teagasc policy," ICABS stated in a letter to the semi-state farm advisory body late last year. "As you may be aware, the use of terriers and digging out is extremely cruel and results in horrific injuries to both foxes and terriers. This type of activity is normally the preserve of heartless hardcore hunters, including terriermen employed by foxhunts."
We also challenged a claim in the article that foxes are a major threat to lambs. We pointed out that ecologists around the world have found that foxes are not actually a significant threat. ICABS is grateful to Teagasc for eliminating the article from its website. Throughout 2007, we will continue to work to dispel myths about the fox, one of Ireland's favourite wild mammals.
The truth about Foxes and Predation
For years, foxhunters have claimed that foxes are a major factor in losses that occur on sheep farms. Here, we present a selection of quotes which reveal the truth behind this outdated myth.
"A great deal many allegations of lamb killing are based on insufficient or even non-existent evidence. When interviewing farmers, I found that in some cases, a dead, unwounded animal or the mere disappearance of a lamb were attributed to the work of the fox." Professor James Fairley (Zoology, UCG) in "An Irish Beast Book"
"I've worked at fox dens in all areas covering every aspect of prey possibilities. I've observed what adult foxes have brought in, I've analysed countless numbers of scats or droppings, and also the stomach contents of many animals. Game birds were insignificant, and so too were poultry, and the only two lambs I've ever found at dens were already dead before they were carried in. They were in fact carrion mutton." Zoologist, Dr AD Scott, BSc PhD MBOU
"No matter what people think, foxes seldom kill and eat young lambs." National Parks & Wildlife Service
"Starvation/exposure is the main cause of perinatal lamb deaths (accounting for 57% of losses in the first week of life). The important factors include sick ewes, exhausted ewes, lack of milk, mastitis, desertion, weak lambs after a difficult birth, under and overweight lambs and exposure to cold, wet and windy weather." Teagasc
"There is no evidence that foxes need to be controlled...no method of fox control has had an impact on the fox population." Professor Stephen Harris, Bristol University
“The pro-hunting argument that fox hunting is an essential form of pest control has been completely shattered. This new research proves what we have said all along – that fox hunting is essentially carried out for recreational purposes. It is cruel and unnecessary.” John Rolls, RSPCA