The Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals extends its prayers and best wishes for a full recovery to the two babies who were recently attacked by what appears to be a young fox. We also express our sympathy for the parents of the children.
Fox attacks on humans are almost unknown, and the recent attack seems to be the first confirmed serious attack on a human. Nonetheless, some sections of the media now seem to be encouraging war on urban foxes, although polls show that the general public remains firmly against a cull.
ASWA believes that a cull of urban foxes would be misguided, unethical and counter-productive. The lives of animals have value in God’s eyes and are not to be lightly taken, and as urban areas increase in size it becomes increasingly important for humans to live in harmony with wild creatures without detriment to them or ourselves.
In the case of foxes, culling has been tried and all wildlife experts agree that it does not work, because foxes regulate their own population according to the availability of territory and food. Culling merely results in increased breeding to make up the numbers lost. The number of urban foxes has been more or less stable for decades, but they are now bolder and more visible because of encouragement by humans and the availability of poorly managed food waste. We need to remember that foxes are wild animals and not pets, and they need to know what is off limits to them. Foxes that come into or too near your house can be trained to be more wary by hand clapping to frighten away or even a water pistol or hose. Charged with the duty of care for God’s creation, we need to adopt an appropriate relationship with foxes which is both to their benefit and ours. To this end we recommend as authoritative and comprehensive the Bristol City Council publication “Living With Foxes”*, which has been adopted by The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers. We believe that the good practice recommended therein provides sound precautions against both the sadness of another attack on humans, however unlikely, and uninformed calls for the wholesale slaughter of our urban foxes.
A Daily Mirror article at www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/06/08/the-rise-and-rise-of-vulpes-vulpes-115875-22318195/ is also very informative.
See also Church Times (July 2010) – http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=97331
Further information from:
Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals
Email: AngSocWelAnimals@aol.com Tel: 01252-843093