Lucy Jones has plunged headfirst into the bitterest dispute in Britain. Nothing is more astonishing than the virulence of the Great British Fox Debate. Before I make any further comment, I must declare an interest. I worked for ten years as a gamekeeper and have killed my share of foxes. I am therefore on the side of the Brutes. Reading between the lines, I conclude that Jones is, at heart, on the side of the Saints. She has nonetheless written a commendably impartial book.
Those who support fox control, in particular the hunting community, are on the defensive. They feel misunderstood and under assault, and their grievances are sometimes expressed intemperately. Hunt supporters have used violence – sometimes provoked, sometimes gratuitous. But the continual, extensive lawbreaking by hunt saboteurs during the 1980s and 1990s went almost entirely unpunished, and this is a powerful factor in making many country people feel that they have been placed outside the law, at the mercy of their urban detractors.
This is an exaggerated view but it is widely felt. It pales into insignificance beside the views and actions of those I may loosely term ‘fox lovers’. Jones gives both sides of the case. She goes out with the hounds; she goes out with the sabs. She interviews sabs, other