22 May 2000
‘Farmers overplay fox damage’

AN OFFICIAL inquiry into foxhunting will says farmers overestimate the size of the fox population and its effects on livestock, reports The GuardianThis will be seized upon by anti-hunt campaigners who want the government to ban hunting with dogs.

But supporters of fox-hunting will receive a boost when the Burns Inquiry also reports no conclusive evidence that pursued foxes suffer.

It will also conclude that the impact of hunting on lowland areas in extremely small, but has a profound effect in upland areas.

A paper commissioned from Professor Patrick Bateson finds no conclusive evidence of permanent damage to foxes during the chase, claims The Guardian.

And research from three universities finds that only 3% of lambs are lost to foxes while farmers say they lose 18%.

The inquiry is also expected to say that a comparatively small number of jobs, between 666 and 4633, would be lost if hunts were disbanded.

The Burns Inquiry is due to publish its findings next week.

It was set up with the stated aim to remove some of the emotional heat and increase debate on fox-hunting.

  • The Guardian 22/05/2000 page 1