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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sport of Fox Hunting !!! What is Valour

Have you heard of Beagling and of Ashford Valley Hunt ?  Read this Thirukural  (no. 772) which speaks of valour.

It means ‘it is more valourous to hold the dart that missed an elephant than the one which killed a hare in the forest’.

To most of the Western World, traditional things of other countries are barbaric – ‘jallikattu’ is no sport.   Beagling is the hunting of hares, rabbits, and occasionally foxes with beagles.  Beagle is a pack of hounds followed on foot.  It is stated that this is enjoyment of hunting by fox hunters who have retired either due to injuries or had lost the agility to ride horse but still want to enjoy hunting. 

Fox hunting is a sport – a social ritual.  Hounds enter bushy areas where the unsuspecting foxes would lay during daylight.  The pack of hounds follow the scent of a fox and terrorise them out – the riders follow with their athletic skills.  The fox running for its ife could take refuge in underground burrow or get killed by the hounds or get hunted.  Besides hounds,  some times terriers are also used to flush or kill foxes that hide in underground as they are small enough to pursue in the narrow earth passages.

Fox hunting is described as an activity of tracking, chasing and sometimes [! !]  killing fox -  traditionally a red fox, by trained fox hounds or other scent hounds and a group of followers led by a master of foxhounds, who follows on foot or on horseback.  Its origin are traced back to 16th century UK and is practised in many parts of the World like Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and USA.  In some parts even fire arms are used.  The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a small omnivorous predator, active around twilight, living in burrows. They can run close to 50 kmph.  The american cousins tend to be bigger. 

The Ashford Valley Hunt is a United Kingdom fox hunt, with hunting country in Kent, England.  The hunt was formed in 1873 from the combination of four private harrier packs, which amalgamated under a single master as the Ashford Valley Harriers, hunting predominantly hares but also occasional foxes. After the First World War, the pack began to hunt foxes only and renamed itself the Ashford Valley Foxhounds.

This Sport was banned in Scotland in 2002 and in UK in 2004.  Supporters say that it is pat of rural culture and useful for conservation and pest control.  For animal   welfare groups, this is not a sport but unfair and cruel killing of animals.  The chase itself would cause fear and distress and killing is gruesome as the small helpless animals get torn to pieces.  They say that animals should also enjoy some basic rights.  

The Hunting Act 2004  is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The effect of the Act is to outlaw hunting with dogs (particularly fox hunting, but also the hunting of deer, hares and mink and organised hare coursing) in England and Wales from 18 February 2005.   That is on record but in 2008, it was reported that record numbers turned out for the Boxing day hunt – the crowd was reported to be more than 300,000.  Pro-hunt groups renewed calls to repeal the 2004 Act with signature campaign.

சிரமறுத்தல் வேந்தருக்கு பொழுதுபோக்கு மற்றவர்க்கோ உயிரின் வாதை"  (Beheading is entertainment for Kings but it is pain of life for the victims)

Regards – S. Sampathkumar


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