Earlier this week an editorial appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch taking a strong and well-reasoned position in support of the House and Senate Bills (House Bill 695 and Senate Bill 202) that would make the inhumane practice of fox penning a Class 1 misdemeanor. We could never thank the editors of the Times-Dispatch editorial pages enough for their wisdom and courage in supporting our efforts and those of the Humane Society of the United States to outlaw this horribly cruel practice.
Their editorial received many comments from all the usual suspects who regard animals as nothing but tools for their own profit and pleasure regardless of the suffering and death that they cause. These commenters expounded at great length as they always do claiming that the foxes have places where they can escape (stretching the truth by a mile) and that the hounds really do not often kill the foxes (wonder why, then, the enclosures have to be restocked each year with thousands of new foxes) and (my personal favorite for its sheer nuttiness) that the foxes enjoy the chase. The latter absurd suggestion leads one to imagine just how much you yourself would enjoy being placed in an enclosure from which you could not escape with Bengal tigers which you would run from until utterly exhausted at which point you would be torn apart in their jaws. Sounds like a rip-roaring good time, doesn’t it?
These people are the group that we will have to contend with as the opposition as we work to get the legislators to take a courageous step in the direction of compassion and ethics for our state. They conduct themselves with no greater ethics in their efforts to lobby than they do in their treatment of defenseless animals. The patron of the Senate version of this bill, Senator Marsden is himself a hunter and one who believes deeply in the ethics of fair chase. He is appalled by the utter cruelty and lack of ethics of the people who engage in fox penning. We applaud his wonderful stand and will do all in our power to support him.
Fox penning is a stain on the honor and integrity of our state and an example of the thinking that animals’ suffering and death is to be disregarded entirely in favor of depraved human pleasure. It places the most miserable of human motives on a pedestal and attempts to make them sound positive. It is no different and no better than any other sort of animal fighting. The closing line of the Times-Dispatch editorial said it beautifully and I quote it here: “Humanity's dominion over the earth and its wildlife does not translate into a right to torture the beasts of the field.”
Please help us to protect these animals by calling and writing your senators and delegates and urge them to support these two bills. It is crucial to our living in a state with a heart and a conscience.
P.S. To those fox penners who will send comments in to try to get them published in our blog, save your efforts. I have no inclination whatsoever to allow you a forum on our organization’s blog. You have plenty of other places to spew your venom.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.