Foxes: control, hunting and economics
Foxhunting in the UK illustrates many of the social complexities surrounding attitudes to pest species and to hunting. The acceptability of foxhunting and other control methods depends on foxes’ economic impact and on other aspects of their value, including hunting for sport. Attitudes differ markedly between rural and urban people: in cities people are less tolerant of killing foxes, particularly if the motivation is sport. The economics of fox control suggest that its rationality from a purely monetary perspective depends on the type of landholding. Mounted hunting, of the form illegal since 2005, continues to provoke heated debate, which centres on the ethics of the legitimate use of mammals. The interdisciplinarity necessary for understanding arguments about foxhunting, and the incommensurable quality of the different elements that must be considered, have instructive parallels with human–predator conflicts worldwide.
David W. Macdonald
Paul J. Johnson
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