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Question Of The Day

Should We Kill All the Urban Foxes?

"I think we should put them into meat, instead of the horses."
February 12, 2013, 3:00pm

Photo by Brian Valentine

Last week, a conniving fox entered a family house in south east London. The sly, treacherous fox, not happy with just breaking and entering, then proceeded to chomp at the hand of Denny, a 14-week-old baby. By the time Denny’s mother arrived on the scene, a finger had already been disembodied and "the baby's hand was in the jaws of the fox".

The incident has provoked calls, led by Denny’s father, to cull urban foxes. According to him, things that are both pesky and eat babies' hands, probably shouldn't be allowed to freely roam the streets. But while it would stop traumatic experiences like this happening again, killing off London’s population of foxes would be expensive and hard, not to mention a little bit cruel. We might not lose any more fingers, but it might upset the inner-city eco-system or something. We asked some urban humans what they think about killing animals for safety.

David, scientist: I don’t really think so; I think the danger is quite low. I haven’t ever been attacked and I don’t know anyone who has so no, definitely not worth killing them all.

VICE: What about fox hunting for sport?
Personally, I don’t like the idea, but I guess people should have the choice. I just disagree with people ripping animals apart.

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Are you a vegetarian then?
No, I suppose that’s contradictory then

Us neither, thanks David.

Hattie, stylist's intern: That’s a tough question; I can see both sides of the argument, but it depends where you live.

Um, the urban areas.
We shouldn’t kill them, but I think we should try and get rid of them somehow. Collect them all up and put them in the forest maybe.

Imagine if a baby wandered into that forest by accident… Would you protest against them being killed?
Nah, I don’t protest about anything, but I would be upset if they killed them all off. You can kill rats off though.

Thanks, I'll bear that in mind.

Steve, computer technician: Culling the entire fox population in cities because of just a few attacks is not fair. It’s not the way to go.

You might feel differently if it had been your finger.
Maybe, but foxes don’t usually attack grown men do they?

They might… What animal would you cull instead?
Rats, they're horrible. Right.

Mike, graphic designer: I've been thinking about this a lot actually.

Ok. What about it?
I think we should put them into meat, instead of the horses.

Chewy. So we shouldn't ruthlessly slay them?
Let’s just not cull anything.

Nothing?
Ah, fucking hell, I hate rats.

FYI everyone – foxes eat rats.

Previously – Hey, Did You Hear the Pope Resigned?