Friday, 6 August 2010

Fake fox hunt - does it add to fox hunting debate?

I was saved by my own laziness from posting the story about fox vigilantes in Victoria Park. This story in the Guardian contains a film explaining how it was all a hoax. The expose film is funny - including a dog disguised as a fox - but did the lesson learned have much to do with fox hunting?

Those behind the hoax said that that was their intention - to raise awareness of the possible unbanning of fox hunting.

It is pretty straight forward stuff, but there is a glitch of sorts. East London Labour MPs were big fans of banning fox hunting on the grounds of its cruelty. But if you asked them about this 2003 Government sponsored report: "Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing - Part 1: Red Meat Animals" - taking a look at the halal (Muslim) and shechita (Jewish) slaughter methods (beyond paragraph 194) - they suddenly changed their tune. Cruelty to animals was not such a big deal after all. Except for Tony Banks who said halal slaughter should be banned and - as the 2005 election approached - announced that he wouldn't be standing in West Ham again.

Could his decision have had anything to do with Tony Blair's response to Oona King on the issue of banning halal slaughter?





It's pretty obvious why MPs in East London are not going to call for a ban on halal or shechita slaughter. But people who are passionate about the problem of cruelty to animals seem to be as silent as their MPs when the communities affected have religious grounds for their actions - despite the numbers of animals suffering being much greater.

The report said that it could take up to two minutes for cattle to die when their their throats are cut.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from the report:

195. When a very large transverse incision is made across the neck a number of vital tissues are transected including: skin, muscle, trachea, oesophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins, major nerve trunks (e.g. vagus and phrenic nerves) plus numerous minor nerves. Such a drastic cut will inevitably trigger a barrage of sensory information to the brain in a sensible (conscious) animal. We are persuaded that such a massive injury would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes.

196. Additionally, on one visit, we observed the slaughterman place his hand into the neck wound of cattle immediately after the cut had been made, presumably to try to ensure the free flow of blood from the severed carotid arteries (see ‘occlusion’ below). This procedure in itself is, in our view, likely to cause further unnecessary pain and distress and is also unlikely to achieve its objective.

May be the bigger issue is how often hoaxes like the fake fox hunt are played on the media and are not exposed because they suit the purposes of the hoaxer. Also, it'll be interesting to see how many other newspapers bother pointing out that the story was a hoax.

Does this compete with the 1980s Bear of Hackney Hoax?

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