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.