Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024

It’s No Time To Be Ambivalent

It’s my belief that if foxhunting ever becomes extinct in the United States, it won’t be from an all-out ban, like the one imposed in England in 2005. I think foxhunting’s demise will be the ever-tightening restrictions on dog ownership that will eventually make it impossible to maintain a pack of hounds.
   
PUBLISHED
WORDS BY

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s my belief that if foxhunting ever becomes extinct in the United States, it won’t be from an all-out ban, like the one imposed in England in 2005. I think foxhunting’s demise will be the ever-tightening restrictions on dog ownership that will eventually make it impossible to maintain a pack of hounds.
   
Mandatory spay/neuter laws, prohibitive registration fees, limitations on the number of dogs an individual can house—these are the proposed laws that would quiet our foxhound packs. The war against foxhunting in the United States isn’t the loud, rancorous fight it was in England; it’s a quiet war of attrition waged by animal rights groups.
   
But it’s not as easy as saying “You can’t regulate our dog ownership,” because there are dog owners out there who need to be regulated—the puppy mills, the dog-fighting rings, the hoarders. Michael Vick’s well-publicized dog-fighting activities have given the animal rights groups much ammunition to tug at the heartstrings of the public. Animal control officers do need some legislative clout behind them in order to
protect animals that are truly being abused. I don’t think there’s a foxhunter out there who would disagree with that.
  
The problem is the fine line between the two. How do you prevent the mistreatment of dogs and yet preserve the rights of dog owners? Foxhunters aren’t the only ones grappling with this conundrum. The American Kennel Club website (www.akc.org) has a section called “Government Relations” that does a good job of tracking proposed state and federal legislation that affects dog owners. Organizations such as the National Animal Interest Alliance Trust (www.naiatrust.org) and the National Animal Interest Alliance (www.naiaonline.org) are focused on promoting responsible animal care, ownership and use.

Foxhunters need to get involved with organizations such as these and present a united front with other groups who are fighting for responsible, rational animal ownership. Legislators need to know that huntsmen aren’t Michael Vick. Work to educate them about how your kennels are run and the differences between responsible and irresponsible ownership.
   
Animal rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are brilliant strategists and effective at swaying public opinion. Why can’t foxhunters fight fire with fire? You don’t need a public relations firm to recruit supporters in your community; you have the best ambassadors possible—the hounds. Making sure residents in your area know that your hunt’s hounds are well cared-for, happy and full of joy will go a long way in getting them in your corner. Doing community outreach can only help—perhaps have an open house at the kennels or participate in the town parade.
   
Being proactive is the only way foxhunters will preserve their sport. The time to get involved and take action is now, before it’s too late.

ADVERTISEMENT

Molly Sorge, Assistant Editor

Categories:

ADVERTISEMENT

EXPLORE MORE

Follow us on

Sections

Copyright © 2024 The Chronicle of the Horse