What are your views?
I mean you might think you wouldn't need a vet to know that a creature ripped apart alive would die in agony, but just in case you do. Their obsession with fox hunting is emblematic of a larger truth about Tories, I think...namely that it doesn't matter who suffers, their "right" to do exactly what the hell they like overrides the happiness, health and very lives of plebs...ahem, I mean foxes. Tally fooking ho.
Vets say hunted foxes die in agony
Harrowing evidence that foxes and hares killed by dogs suffer painful deaths has dealt a blow to pro-hunt supporters who claim that blood sports are not cruel.
Tomorrow the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, will announce that the Government is to table a Bill offering a range of options on the future of hunting. The pro-blood sports Countryside Alliance was hoping that the lack of evidence of cruelty would help its campaign.
But independent forensic evidence by university veterinary surgeons on foxes killed by hunts and hares caught by greyhounds during coursing show that it is extremely rare for hunted animals to be killed instantly.
Post-mortems commissioned by the Home Office inquiry into hunting - and seen by The Observer - show no evidence to support claims by hunt supporters that foxes are killed by a 'quick nip to the back of the neck' and finds that in many cases foxes are disembowelled first. Five of the 12 hares killed were pregnant, and all had their necks broken by humans after bites by greyhounds had failed to kill them.
Independent vet Professor David Morton, who heads the department of biomedical ethics at Birmingham University, has examined the post-mortems carried out by vets from Bristol and Cambridge universities. He said: 'The fact that none of the animals died instantly clearly shows that they would have suffered. But probably more important is the mental distress these animals would have suffered before they were killed or caught.'
Vets from Bristol University examined the corpses of four foxes killed by hunting. Two of the foxes were shot, having gone to ground. Although the first fox hunted in Cotswold Park near Cirencester was killed by a single bullet, the post-mortem examination found evidence of 'trauma before death'.
The second fox hunted on Salisbury Plain had to be shot twice. Having gone to ground a terrier with a radio collar was sent down, and after 25 minutes of digging the fox was found. The first shot went through the animal's shoulder and failed to kill it, so another shot was required.
But the post-mortem of the fox found it had suffered from multiple bite wounds on the face and the top of the head, damage to the right eye, and bite wounds round the throat.
In both cases where the fox was killed above ground by hounds, evidence was found of 'profound trauma'. In neither case was there major damage around the head or neck, as pro-hunt supporters claimed. The post-mortems showed the foxes had been attacked around the rib cage with the heart, lungs and stomach bitten. Morton said: 'In one case, the fox probably died from suffocation which might have taken several seconds, and in the other, where the heart was severely damaged, it looks the fox would have been attacked while upside down or on its side.'
But the post-mortems of animals killed in hare-coursing paint an even more disturbing tale of animal cruelty. The 12 post-mortems by vets of Cambridge University show that it is probable that 11 of the hares were not killed by the greyhounds despite suffering severe injuries through bites. The vets concluded that their deaths were likely to have been caused by men breaking their necks after they had been caught.
The hares' agonising deaths were revealed in The Observer in March when hidden film was taken of the premier hare-coursing event, the Waterloo Cup, attended by members of the Burns inquiry team. In some cases, men made several attempts to break the hare's neck after greyhounds fought over it.
This latest evidence of animal cruelty comes as an investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare revealed how the Royal Beaufort Hunt - used by Prince Charles, his sons and Princess Anne - has been breaching the rules of hunting. Hidden cameras filmed how an employee of the hunt had been rearing fox cubs for hunting. Animal rights groups want legal action to be taken against the master of the hunt, who include Captain Ian Farquhar, a close friend of Prince Charles.http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jun/11/hunting.ruralaffairs?CMP=share_btn_fb