Research into wounding rates associated with shooting foxes, commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Middle Way Group, has passed its peer-review process and is due to be published this year in a respected scientific journal.

The study, Wounding Rates in Shooting Foxes, by Dr Nick Fox et al (2003), shows that wounding levels from shooting are higher than previously claimed. Following rigorous scrutiny, it will be published in the journal Animal Welfare.

Lembit Opik MP, co-chair of the Middle Way Group, says: “Shooting has been widely supported by anti-hunt groups as the humane alternative to hunting with dogs. [Anti-hunt groups] have criticised our study because it significantly undermines the animal welfare arguments for a ban. But the acceptance of the study by impartial referees means that it must now be regarded as firm scientific evidence.

“It clearly shows that a hunting ban, and the inevitable increase in the use of guns, will lead to greater animal suffering in the countryside.”

Dr Fox’s study involved 199 shooters in England, Scotland and Wales shooting at 1,970 paper foxes. While the best guns wounded one fox for every 10 killed, others — even when adhering to government guidelines — wounded 13 for every 10 killed. Worse still, guns who did not follow guidelines (which are not mandatory) wounded up to 10 times more foxes.

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which supposedly countered the Middle Way Group’s findings, has still not been published or peer-reviewed.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (13 January, ’05)


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