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Foxes not main killer of lambs

WHERE to begin in response to Howard Hutchins's rather misguided and, dare I say, frivolous 'Foxes deserve to be hunted' (Letters, August 24).

Mr Hutchins, like many others before, has pulled out the pro-fox hunter's favourite trump card -- lamb predation by foxes.

If Mr Hutchins had considered doing even a very small amount of research, he would quickly find that lamb mortality by foxes accounts for around 1pc of deaths.

And even this figure is debatable, as many lambs supposedly killed by foxes were dead long before the fox came along

The real figure probably rests at about 0.4pc.

To put this in perspective, if a farmer has the fortune to have 1,000 new lambs in a year, only about four of those may be taken by foxes.

Mr Hutchins's other, and just as weak, argument, is that foxes kill native ground creatures slowly and mercilessly.

What the fox is doing when it catches and releases its prey is called skill-honing.

Mr Hutchins should also know that many of those native ground creatures are considered pests to our old friend, the farmer, due to their destruction of his precious crops and feed.

It could easily be argued that the fox is a friend of the farmer.

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Mr Hutchins's contention that foxes die "virtually instantaneously at the teeth of the hounds" would be hilariously ill-conceived if it weren't such a dangerously common and worrying belief.

Jason Penn
Galway


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