Chase pen fox, coyote, and raccoon hunting resemble dogfighting more than hunting
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana––The Louisiana House of Representatives on May 12, 2014 voted 68-16 in favor of a bill that declares “fox pen hunting is part of the folklife heritage of the state and, as such, should be preserved in order to help maintain the folklife culture.”
Introduced by Representative Sherman Mack (R-Livingston), the bill after passage by the House was assigned to the Louisiana Senate education committee, and on May 15, 2014 was scheduled for consideration.
Chase pen fox, coyote, and raccoon hunting may resemble dogfighting more than hunting in open habitat. Though participants insist the animals upon whom packs of hounds are set are rarely injured, resupplying the pens with animals is a business of significant size, and has repeatedly been linked to the spread of rabies and other wildlife diseases.
1,200 foxes per year killed in Virginia chase pens
The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries in June 2013 heard testimony that about 1,200 foxes per year are killed in Virginia chase pens.
The July 24, 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association described the death of William Edward Small, 20, a North Carolina native and Florida resident, who according to relatives was involved in trapping raccoons and “using them as live bait during dog training exercises.”
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources in October 2010 acknowledged that, “The incidence of various diseases and parasites between captive and wild animals is increased within enclosures and poses a significant threat both to the health of the wild animal population and to humans. The raccoon strain of rabies was transferred to Mid-Atlantic States from a shipment of raccoons by private hunting clubs; coyote-variant canine rabies was transferred to a Florida pen from Texas.”
10 other serious diseases can be introduced through chase pens
The Indiana DNR report went on to identify 10 other serious diseases which also might be introduced by translocating wildlife to be hunted in chase pens.
But despite recognizing the mayhem and the health risks, both Virginia and Indiana continue to allow chase pens, as does Louisiana.
The Georgia Senate in March 2014 rejected a bill which would have allowed raccoons to be trapped to supply chase pens, while the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in October 2013 impounded six bears who had been used in “baying” competitions, an event differing little from medieval bear-beating.
The Humane Society of the U.S. had complained about the “baying” competitions three years earlier. Blogged HSUS president Wayne Pacelle, “Handlers released dogs who successively attacked a tethered bear for hours. The supposed goal was for the dogs to corner the bear and keep her still, or ‘at bay.’ In reality, the dogs barked furiously at the terrified bear, jumping on her and biting her face and legs––and the bear fought back, swatting at the dogs. While similar spectacles take place in Pakistan, South Carolina was the only state in the U.S. known to host these cruel events.”
The bears were transferred to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado.
(See also Pack hunters struggle to explain how setting dogs on wildlife differs from dogfighting; Trapper died from undiagnosed rabies, transmitted rabies via organ donation; Indiana to allow chase pens; and Operation Foxote brings chase pen busts in three states.)
Serafima Yan says
Shame on those states, incredible cruelty to animals should never be considered as “Culture”. That has nothing to do with culture, but everything with profit.
Deborah Turner says
The states that are strong in fox hunting will defend the cage fights because they do not want to risk the banning of their beloved fox hunts. Even though fox hunting could be done by laying down fox urine instead of chasing the actual fox, again they say it is their heritage and only rarely does the fox get injured. Rarely is still unacceptable when a large pack of dogs corners and tears up a fox. Saying it is part of their heritage and culture is the same excuse that was used for defending cock fighting. It is amazing to me that the same bloodthirsty individuals can continue to use this excuse. Or, how about “fighting is in their nature”? If that excuse was valid, how bout we take all these people and throw them on an island fitted with cameras and let them try to survive together. After all fighting is in their nature…Then they could quench their thirst for blood sports on themselves and watch it on TV. – hunting is one thing and I am not against hunting per se, but a humane death should be humanity’s responsibility to other species we share this planet with.
Jamaka Petzak says
In some nations which touted themselves as the greatest on earth, such “spectator sports” as bear-baiting and execution by beheading, drawing and quartering, etc. were immensely popular for hundreds of years; the same argument could have been used vis-a-vis these spectacles of suffering and death. This nation needs to progress beyond regional displays of ignorance and violence.
Julia Lewis says
I’ve never heard of fox pen hunting, only hunting foxes the way we do in the UK, which is chasing them across open countryside on horseback with a pack of hounds. A lot of the time they get away.
This sounds very cruel because it doesn’t give the fox a chance.
Jean Gerrard says
What a pathetic and totally selfish response …. Slavery used to be part of ‘culture’ too – doesn’t mean it’s acceptable now does it???? Stop trying to justify your barbaric, blood lusted greed by such limp and untrue statements.
Kelly Osborn says
The state of Wisconsin uses this heritage argument to generate support for the profitable hunting and fishing industry (which funds 65% of the DNR’s budget). Churning butter, chopping wood for fuel and sewing our own clothes are truly part of our folklore. Where’s the big push to teach kids these essential skills before they are lost to history? Oh, right…there’s no money to be made with those folk activities.
mack k says
Slavery was once part of “folklife culture” too…some traditions need to come to an end once people become intelligent enough to realize their harm.
KL Anderson says
Virginia State Senator Marsden assured me ~12 months ago- that his bill to outlaw fox pen ‘hunting’ (the foxes are just slaughtered by those dogs)- had passed with a large margin. I thought this now came under ‘animal cruelty’ laws in Virginia-
Merritt Clifton says
The Marsden bill slowed down the expansion of the chase pen industry at the expense of protecting the monopolies of those who were already in it. According to the Humane Society of the U.S. summary, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on April 8, 2013 signed a bill “that will restrict and ultimately phase out state-licensed foxhound training preserves, enclosed properties where the foxes are used as game in foxhound training exercises and staged competitions…Virginia is home to 36 licensed training preserves, primarily in the southern part of the state. Those businesses will be allowed to operate for up to 40 years, with a statewide moratorium on the practice slated for July 1, 2054,..The bill also limits the number of foxes stocked in pens to a maximum of 900 a year.”
Allowing 900 foxes per year to be mauled to death by dogs for the next 40 years does not look like much of a victory from here.