Tuesday, 17 June 2008

BBC correct to show fox being shot

I watch the BBC local news programme 'Spotlight' on a fairly regular basis and this particular story came up on yesterday evening's edition. It was all about someone in our countryside keeping free range hens but being visited during the daytime by a fox and helping himself to a tasty meal or two. The owner asked a man, a professional crack shot, to come and dispatch said fox if it decided to come visiting again. It returned, grabbed a hen, then a single shot rang out and the fox was killed instantly. Now I'm not sure why the decision was made to run this particular story but the BBC are to be congratulated on filming the whole thing.

On a personal level I really like foxes (and any wildlife for that matter) and I also hate guns and could never contemplate owning one. But I am a realist and accept that certain members of the animal kingdom have to be controlled. Providing this control is carried out with the very minimum amount of suffering and by an absolute expert in the craft then I have no problem with it.

I suspect that there was some debate by the programmers regarding how much to show and it did come with the expected warning that it might be upsetting for some. But for my money the BBC were absolutely right to show the reality and as I say it was an absolutely clean shot, the fox would have been totally oblivious to what was going to happen. I'm pleased that viewers could witness the reality of these situations, foxes do on occasion have to be taken out. There is a myth that foxes are only abroad during the night. Not so. In this instance the fox came visiting in broad daylight while the hens were out.

Incidentally although the fox had the chicken in its mouth when it was shot the bird was hardly marked and happily survived the ordeal.

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