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Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

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Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Currently having a bit of a disagreement via email with someone who we in the shooting community refer to as an "anti"
Basically, my "opponent" feels that pest control in the UK is unnecessary and nature should be left to its own devices. The conversation is largely focused on fox control, but is also spinning off into rabbit and even rat control. I am in favour of the above, she is not. Anyone here got any strong opinions on this?
Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:34 pm
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NemesiahPosts: 429Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 8:00 amLocation: Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

*SD* wrote:Currently having a bit of a disagreement via email with someone who we in the shooting community refer to as an "anti"
Basically, my "opponent" feels that pest control in the UK is unnecessary and nature should be left to its own devices. The conversation is largely focused on fox control, but is also spinning off into rabbit and even rat control. I am in favour of the above, she is not. Anyone here got any strong opinions on this?


I'm vegan so for me killing animals is an absolute no IF there are ways to protect yourself that don't involve killing the animal. Your own safety is always first of course, if there is a dangerous animal, sure, tranquilize it and relocate it (if it can be done and there are slim posibilities of the animal returning to CAUSE HARM), but if it is not a threat, why kill it? Also, what we call pests are just other species doing what they can to survive. We have to remember that we don't own the world, we share it, again, if a rabid dog threatens your community, put it down, but I falil to see how rabits threaten your life, and if it is a "They eat our carrots and lettuces" issue, we have the brains to keep our food safe and avoid killing animals, we should make use them to that effect and not just killing them because it is easier.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:12 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2959Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Greetings,

*SD* wrote:Currently having a bit of a disagreement via email with someone who we in the shooting community refer to as an "anti"
Basically, my "opponent" feels that pest control in the UK is unnecessary and nature should be left to its own devices. The conversation is largely focused on fox control, but is also spinning off into rabbit and even rat control. I am in favour of the above, she is not. Anyone here got any strong opinions on this?

The identification of foxes as pests is more down to farmers' concerns at losing chickens through "surplus killing", which occurs when a fox enters a chicken-coop and kills all the birds - because they can't escape - but eats one.

The problem is due to poorly designed/built coops - if this problem is addressed, the farmers wouldn't lose chickens in this way.

Since fox-hunting with horse and hounds has been banned in the UK, I'm not sure what form of pest control you support or why.

Personally, I see no reason for fox hunting as their impact on wildlife is minimal and is often welcomed with regard to controlling rabbits, voles and other rodents.

The prevalence of urban foxes has occurred due to destruction of habitat - we've got a pair of foxes which regularly visit our garden.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:05 am
australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4287Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Undoubtedly a species population needs to be controlled in certain circumstances, but there needs to be a bloody good evidence for i. If we're talking foxes (as hunting usually gets around to), then I'm of the opinion that it should be left to the devices of those who claim that foxes are pests (I don't see it myself. Expecting nature to conform to your plans is a little silly. You have animals foxes will hunt, don't be surprised if it happens. That's what foxes do.), eg, farmers. If farmers are worried about foxes harming livestock then they can do the dirty work, which I don't dispute they would. Preferably quickly, and with as little suffering to the foxes as possible. Rats? Just get some cats. Simple. Rabbits you can eat, so that's a pretty legitimate course of action.

I greatly dislike hunting for the sake of hunting. If you're going to kill an animal at least eat it afterwards.
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Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:32 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5002Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

I don't think it's entirely accurate to define what you call the shooting community as simple pest controllers. For a start, hunting is a sport.

My view is that if one applied a combination of compassion and practicality to the problem of the fox population, we wouldn't arrive at anything remotely resembling fox hunting.

What are the pro arguments?

Tradition. Isn't a good argument (see: the Old Testament).
Pest control. Isn't a good argument (many other, more effective and/or humane methods).

What else is there, really?

For me, it boils down to cruelty. Is it cruel to chase down animals with a pack of dogs and a barrel full of projectiles? I'd say undoubtedly.

All that said, her argument, nature should be left to its own devices, is wrong on the face of it. We're not the only animals who adapt their environment to suit their needs.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:02 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Sorry, I should have been more specific in my opening post. I am not referring to hunting with hounds. I never supported that and never will, and I'm glad it was made illegal. Also, I didn't mean to imply that the "shooting community" consists entirely of pest controllers. It doesn't even consist entirely of people who participate in field sports, more commonly referred to as "hunting" - target shooting also falls under the umbrella of "shooting community."

To make my position a little more clear, or at least add a little more detail to it...
As a shooting man, an SGC and FAC holder, my shooting consists largely of pest control for land owners and putting food on the table. Or on a plate, which I often like to put on the table.
With regards the latter, I'm not a vegan. I eat meat. This is my justification and I feel it is sufficient. I'm not really looking to discuss this side of it or defend it (although I will if anybody wants)

Addressing the (apparently) more controversial side of it, pest control, I offer the following -

Rabbits

Rabbits are shot (I'm speaking for my self here) with either a .22LR Rimfire or .17HMR rifle. I mention the details to counter any objections of unnecessary suffering to said rabbits.
The reason rabbits need to be controlled is, yes the carrots and lettuces objection which was referred to above, but that's not really the main reason. Crop damage is a significant problem, but not the main one. The main issues with a booming population of rabbits are damage to timber crops, hedge rows and livestock. Yes, rabbits indirectly cause the suffering and destruction of cattle. The warrens they dig are vast, cattle wander around stepping in them, break their leg(s) - usually the rears and have to be put down by a vet. This is obviously not desirable, and also causes more expense.

It's also worth mentioning that all of England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) are officially classed as "rabbit clearance zones" and land owners are required by law to control rabbit populations on their land. There are penalties for not doing so, although I'm unsure as to how vigorously or consistently this is enforced.

Foxes

Foxes are shot (again I'm speaking for my self) with a .223 centrefire rifle and usually 40Grn ballistic tip bullet. I wont get overly technical with calibres and loads here, but this is a NATO cartridge and generates a massive amount of energy.
Foxes are controlled for the purpose of protecting livestock, usually smaller game and poultry. It's often said (I've heard it anyway, personally) that foxes don't do much damage. However, I've personally watched foxes spend considerable time pulling at each and every link in a fence around a chicken coop to find a weak one. They're not called cunning for nothing, and I admire their persistence. However, should they manage to get into a coop (or similar) - carnage. They can, will, and frequently do rip the heads off everychicken in there and not take a single one home to munch on. If they popped in, grabbed one and scoffed it, I doubt that many people would have such a dim view of the bushy tailed creature. Anyone who thinks this is an urban myth is mistaken, I've seen it happen.
It's all well and good to say "oh well just make your chicken coop like a fortress" but practicality needs to be at least considered.


These are just brief overviews of the arguments in favour of pest control, and it's important to note the word control - not eradication. I'm pretty sure that often, when I say "yeah I shoot" what people actually hear is "If it moves I want to murder it and continue to do so till they're gone from the face of the earth" - this is absolutely not the case. At all.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:42 pm
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Prolescum wrote:I don't think it's entirely accurate to define what you call the shooting community as simple pest controllers


It wouldn't be accurate and that's why I didn't. What I meant is that as a shooting man, I'm having a conversation on the subject of pest control.

My view is that if one applied a combination of compassion and practicality to the problem of the fox population, we wouldn't arrive at anything remotely resembling fox hunting.


Completely agree.


Tradition. Isn't a good argument


No, it's a shit argument.

Pest control. Isn't a good argument (many other, more effective and/or humane methods).


Pest control is a good argument. Assuming you're referring to hounds here though, in which case pest control is a shit argument as it's not effective and totally unnecessary. not to mention cruel. Yes, there are other more humane and more effective methods which I've gone into a little above.



For me, it boils down to cruelty. Is it cruel to chase down animals with a pack of dogs and a barrel full of projectiles? I'd say undoubtedly.


So would I. However, remove the hounds and add a very real necessity and there is a case to be heard.

All that said, her argument, nature should be left to its own devices, is wrong on the face of it. We're not the only animals who adapt their environment to suit their needs.


This is the only reason I've addressed your post directly, I was hoping someone would also have an opinion on her argument. It's basically "ah well, mother nature knows best" - she doesn't. Not always
The whole "yeah but that's just what foxes do" argument has never carried much weight with me. It's valid, in that it is indeed what they do. However, this is the problem. If they didn't do the things they do we'd likely not be having this conversation. Well, not with me anyway. I take no pleasure in shooting foxes, I can't eat them (well, I probably could but I don't) but having witnessed the carnage first hand, to me the case in favour of control is compelling. Ripping the heads off chickens and lambs for a giggle may well be "just what they do" - that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Spreading malaria is "just what mosquitoes do" but I don't see anybody not swatting the fuckers out of admiration or compassion.
Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:50 pm
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VivreUser avatarPosts: 351Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:05 pmLocation: dungeon of despair Gender: Female

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

I'm very distracted by the needs and wants for killing but like to refer to:

*SD* wrote:I was hoping someone would also have an opinion on her argument. It's basically "ah well, mother nature knows best" - she doesn't. Not always

I very much agree to her. There's an elementary trust into knowing that nature has well brought us to this point and will henceforth carry on alike. It's a principle of devotion/commitment. The Not always might be a bridge to meet.

But this shouldn't exclude the sight on a rather rational view on reality where 'nature' - our real enviromment - has been so heavily limited to function within assigned areas that an artificial 'care' to keep parts of it in 'healthy' balance can be a necessity.

For me the problem I see, is not to mix it with various ideologies and lobby-groups and stiff rule-settings that can't adopt easily to the developements (= quickly react on changed premises).

greets ~ V
Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:02 am
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Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2959Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Greetings,

*SD* wrote:Sorry, I should have been more specific in my opening post. I am not referring to hunting with hounds. I never supported that and never will, and I'm glad it was made illegal. Also, I didn't mean to imply that the "shooting community" consists entirely of pest controllers. It doesn't even consist entirely of people who participate in field sports, more commonly referred to as "hunting" - target shooting also falls under the umbrella of "shooting community."

To make my position a little more clear, or at least add a little more detail to it...
As a shooting man, an SGC and FAC holder, my shooting consists largely of pest control for land owners and putting food on the table. Or on a plate, which I often like to put on the table.
With regards the latter, I'm not a vegan. I eat meat. This is my justification and I feel it is sufficient. I'm not really looking to discuss this side of it or defend it (although I will if anybody wants)

Perhaps I should also point out that I don't have a problem with "game" hunting - ie, for food rather than "fun". A former classmate, who was a scout, used to hunt rabbits with a bow and arrows as part of "living off the land" when he went camping.

*SD* wrote:Addressing the (apparently) more controversial side of it, pest control, I offer the following -

Rabbits

Rabbits are shot (I'm speaking for my self here) with either a .22LR Rimfire or .17HMR rifle. I mention the details to counter any objections of unnecessary suffering to said rabbits.
The reason rabbits need to be controlled is, yes the carrots and lettuces objection which was referred to above, but that's not really the main reason. Crop damage is a significant problem, but not the main one. The main issues with a booming population of rabbits are damage to timber crops, hedge rows and livestock. Yes, rabbits indirectly cause the suffering and destruction of cattle. The warrens they dig are vast, cattle wander around stepping in them, break their leg(s) - usually the rears and have to be put down by a vet. This is obviously not desirable, and also causes more expense.

It's also worth mentioning that all of England and Wales (not sure about Scotland) are officially classed as "rabbit clearance zones" and land owners are required by law to control rabbit populations on their land. There are penalties for not doing so, although I'm unsure as to how vigorously or consistently this is enforced.

The irony of the need to "manage" rabbit populations is due to agriculture and the associated persecution of its natural predators - foxes and birds of prey - by farmers.

Following the winnowing of the population - by some 99% - through the myxoma virus in the UK, there was a major recovery of various flowers and even open woodland, along with various species of associated insects and small mammals that depended on these.

*SD* wrote:Foxes

Foxes are shot (again I'm speaking for my self) with a .223 centrefire rifle and usually 40Grn ballistic tip bullet. I wont get overly technical with calibres and loads here, but this is a NATO cartridge and generates a massive amount of energy.
Foxes are controlled for the purpose of protecting livestock, usually smaller game and poultry. It's often said (I've heard it anyway, personally) that foxes don't do much damage. However, I've personally watched foxes spend considerable time pulling at each and every link in a fence around a chicken coop to find a weak one. They're not called cunning for nothing, and I admire their persistence. However, should they manage to get into a coop (or similar) - carnage. They can, will, and frequently do rip the heads off everychicken in there and not take a single one home to munch on. If they popped in, grabbed one and scoffed it, I doubt that many people would have such a dim view of the bushy tailed creature. Anyone who thinks this is an urban myth is mistaken, I've seen it happen.
It's all well and good to say "oh well just make your chicken coop like a fortress" but practicality needs to be at least considered.

As I pointed out earlier, the "killing spree" is a form of "situational behaviour": the fox is "trapped" in a "kill" response by the fact that the chickens don't flee (they can't).

This is easily understood by the old "sport" of "ratting", where a terrier was released into a enclosure where a hundred rats were held and timed to see how long it took to kill all of them. Because the rats couldn't escape, the same thing occurred - the terrier was stuck in "kill" mode until all were dead.

This sort of occurrence is called "situational behaviour" (or, sometimes, "situational violence") - in humans, it's most famous example is the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was written about by the lead psychologist in his book, Zimbardo [2008] The Lucifer Effect.

This is why I pointed out that the problem can only really be addressed through a properly designed/built chicken coop. It's the ease with which foxes can access food in human environments that also contributes to their not being forced to hunt more, if not exclusively, in the wild.

*SD* wrote:These are just brief overviews of the arguments in favour of pest control, and it's important to note the word control - not eradication. I'm pretty sure that often, when I say "yeah I shoot" what people actually hear is "If it moves I want to murder it and continue to do so till they're gone from the face of the earth" - this is absolutely not the case. At all.

I'm sure no-one was thinking that of you or, indeed, your fellow pest controllers.

This is the only reason I've addressed your post directly, I was hoping someone would also have an opinion on her argument. It's basically "ah well, mother nature knows best" - she doesn't. Not always
The whole "yeah but that's just what foxes do" argument has never carried much weight with me. It's valid, in that it is indeed what they do. However, this is the problem. If they didn't do the things they do we'd likely not be having this conversation. Well, not with me anyway. I take no pleasure in shooting foxes, I can't eat them (well, I probably could but I don't) but having witnessed the carnage first hand, to me the case in favour of control is compelling. Ripping the heads off chickens and lambs for a giggle may well be "just what they do" - that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Spreading malaria is "just what mosquitoes do" but I don't see anybody not swatting the fuckers out of admiration or compassion.

I would disagree with you, *SD*, regarding your take on "Nature knows best".

Left to its own devices, Nature - like water - would find its own balance.

The problem occurs with mankind's unbalancing of Nature through clearing land for agriculture, destroying ecologies and, in the process, creating problems for himself.

The prey population "sine wave" curve is "tracked" by the predators' "cosine wave" curve in a natural harmony - which is then disrupted by man: agricultural crops provide vast food sources resulting in population increases in prey (almost exclusively herbivorous) species whilst persecution of predatory species creates a "perfect storm".

After all, the various plagues of locusts in Africa occur because there are vast food resources in the form of crops which results in a population explosion. Similar scenarios occurred with rabbits reaching a population of 100 million in the UK prior to the myxoma virus through a combination of crops as food sources and the persecution of natural predators.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:07 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5002Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

*SD* wrote:Pest control is a good argument. Assuming you're referring to hounds here though, in which case pest control is a shit argument as it's not effective and totally unnecessary. not to mention cruel. Yes, there are other more humane and more effective methods which I've gone into a little above.


I'm going to think about that for a time, as I don't want my gut reaction to drive my opinion.

All that said, her argument, nature should be left to its own devices, is wrong on the face of it. We're not the only animals who adapt their environment to suit their needs.


This is the only reason I've addressed your post directly, I was hoping someone would also have an opinion on her argument. It's basically "ah well, mother nature knows best" - she doesn't. Not always
The whole "yeah but that's just what foxes do" argument has never carried much weight with me. It's valid, in that it is indeed what they do. However, this is the problem. If they didn't do the things they do we'd likely not be having this conversation. Well, not with me anyway. I take no pleasure in shooting foxes, I can't eat them (well, I probably could but I don't) but having witnessed the carnage first hand, to me the case in favour of control is compelling. Ripping the heads off chickens and lambs for a giggle may well be "just what they do" - that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Spreading malaria is "just what mosquitoes do" but I don't see anybody not swatting the fuckers out of admiration or compassion.


I know it might be beyond your purview, but could you quickly list the alternative methods of controlling foxes?
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:07 pm
FrengerBloggerUser avatarPosts: 831Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:50 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Thought I'd jump in here, for reasons that aren't even interesting.

*SD* wrote:To make my position a little more clear, or at least add a little more detail to it...
As a shooting man, an SGC and FAC holder, my shooting consists largely of pest control for land owners


Personally I wouldn't consider a fox a pest. Maybe my definition is wrong here, but I consider a pest to be something that is fast multiplying and usually itchy. Like fleas for example. The thing is with pest control in this example (flea) is that the population doesn't suffer and to an extent, it is likely the individual doesn't suffer either as they don't have the capacity to be aware of their own existence.

Now, without being too sentimental, foxes are just about the most beautiful animal we have (Britain) and I find any act which reduces their number to be something of a crappy thing to do. More on this later.

and putting food on the table. Or on a plate, which I often like to put on the table.


I also put food on a plate, but then I sometimes put the plate on my knee if I'm sitting in my garden or somthing.

With regards the latter, I'm not a vegan. I eat meat. This is my justification and I feel it is sufficient. I'm not really looking to discuss this side of it or defend it (although I will if anybody wants)


I'm a vegetarian for the sole reason that I disagree with the conditions animals are kept in. As for things like milk and eggs, I rarely have them but when I do, I buy from local farms which I know are ethical.

I think a pretty good case can be made for a vegan lifestyle in all instances, but, as your dinner has had a natural life, I feel no need to press this.

Addressing the (apparently) more controversial side of it, pest control, I offer the following -


Cool.

Rabbits

Rabbits are shot (I'm speaking for my self here) with either a .22LR Rimfire or .17HMR rifle. I mention the details to counter any objections of unnecessary suffering to said rabbits.


I know nothing about guns, for all I know, they could be either a potatoguns or tanks.

The reason rabbits need to be controlled is, yes the carrots and lettuces objection which was referred to above, but that's not really the main reason. Crop damage is a significant problem, but not the main one. The main issues with a booming population of rabbits are damage to timber crops, hedge rows and livestock. Yes, rabbits indirectly cause the suffering and destruction of cattle. The warrens they dig are vast, cattle wander around stepping in them, break their leg(s) - usually the rears and have to be put down by a vet. This is obviously not desirable, and also causes more expense.


In terms of crop damage, it's no secret that tons of food each year is wasted because it doesn't look pretty enough.

bbc wrote:Its study claims (Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not) that up to 30% of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance


Crop sauce

Now, I would suggest that Rabbits don't damage anywhere near 30% of the crops we grow, so my suggestion is to concentrate on getting people to be less picky about the shapes of their potatoes instead of killing a hungry lagomorph.

In terms of damage to farmland, that one's new to me, so I'll have to have a look into that before commenting.

Foxes

Foxes are shot (again I'm speaking for my self) with a .223 centrefire rifle and usually 40Grn ballistic tip bullet. I wont get overly technical with calibres and loads here, but this is a NATO cartridge and generates a massive amount of energy.


This is DEFINITELY a potato gun.

Foxes are controlled for the purpose of protecting livestock, usually smaller game and poultry. It's often said (I've heard it anyway, personally) that foxes don't do much damage. However, I've personally watched foxes spend considerable time pulling at each and every link in a fence around a chicken coop to find a weak one. They're not called cunning for nothing, and I admire their persistence. However, should they manage to get into a coop (or similar) - carnage. They can, will, and frequently do rip the heads off everychicken in there and not take a single one home to munch on. If they popped in, grabbed one and scoffed it, I doubt that many people would have such a dim view of the bushy tailed creature. Anyone who thinks this is an urban myth is mistaken, I've seen it happen.
It's all well and good to say "oh well just make your chicken coop like a fortress" but practicality needs to be at least considered.


I too have seen the carnage left behind by foxes, it's quite a sight. However, there are more humane ways of pretecting against foxes.

fox website wrote:The vast majority of chickens in Britain are raised in battery conditions and foxes are the least of their problems. Losses of free-range hens are generally low, and protective measures such as electric fencing further reduce these losses. People who keep a few chickens for their personal use suffer no losses from foxes if they are securely housed and not left out at night.


Chicken Sauce

There are also other measures such as hanging human hair around the pen and even urinating to mark your territory. I would recommend checking for nettles first as that could be an eye watering experience.

Also, in relation to killing all but only taking one, that is actually a rather good tactic, they kill while they can, eat what they need then return for the rest. By that point however, I'm sure the remaining have been removed.

These are just brief overviews of the arguments in favour of pest control, and it's important to note the word control - not eradication. I'm pretty sure that often, when I say "yeah I shoot" what people actually hear is "If it moves I want to murder it and continue to do so till they're gone from the face of the earth" - this is absolutely not the case. At all.


I know you may not think this, but what are you doing to monitor fox populations, how do you know your actions are NOT having such a dramatic effect? Pair this with a gradual loss of natural habitat and in several years, we could be looking at an actual population problem. Remember, you're not just shooting foxes, you're actively blocking a good food source from them.
Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:46 am
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Prolescum wrote:I know it might be beyond your purview, but could you quickly list the alternative methods of controlling foxes?


Firstly, I'm really sorry - I completely forgot about this thread! I was just trying to catch up with the boards and had a dig through to see if there was anything I fancied chipping in on and found it!

Don't know if anyone is still interested in this discussion, if not then I get it as the thread is now years old, but if you do then I'll do my best not to forget about it for......years (again)

So Prole, to answer your question - there aren't really any non lethal means of controlling fox populations. They can be trapped of course, but then what do you do with them? Releasing them somewhere else is impractical to the point of absurdity, that's IF you could find some huge chunk of forestry (eg) uninhabited by humans. If you can't, you're just moving the problem on elsewhere.

I do want to take the time to point out, again, that I don't get some sick kick out of shooting foxes - but I do see the need to control (key word there) the populations, as with many other species.

Frenger - I'll try to reply to your post now, might take me a while as there's quite a bit to address!
Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:49 pm
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Frenger wrote:Personally I wouldn't consider a fox a pest. Maybe my definition is wrong here, but I consider a pest to be something that is fast multiplying and usually itchy. Like fleas for example. The thing is with pest control in this example (flea) is that the population doesn't suffer and to an extent, it is likely the individual doesn't suffer either as they don't have the capacity to be aware of their own existence.

Now, without being too sentimental, foxes are just about the most beautiful animal we have (Britain) and I find any act which reduces their number to be something of a crappy thing to do. More on this later.


The definition of "pest" isn't really that important, it's more about justifying why I do what I do. "Pest" is somewhat a subjective term, you can consider just about anything a pest if it either causes you some kind of problem or pisses you off. Creationists, for example :)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and cuteness is utterly irrelevant. Rabbits are far cuter than foxes. But that's subjective too. But I digress, I know what you mean and rest assured when I'm just out and about and see a fox playing with its cubs in a field I don't think "FUCK IT I FORGOT MY RIFLE!!!!"
However, when a landowner calls me telling me how he's lost numerous lambs to foxes and asks me if I will help him - it's a different story. Most farmers (for example) will have what they consider to be an "acceptable loss rate" - this doesn't have a specific number, it's more of an "enough is enough, this is costing me money and needs to be curbed" kinda thing.

Frenger wrote:I'm a vegetarian for the sole reason that I disagree with the conditions animals are kept in. As for things like milk and eggs, I rarely have them but when I do, I buy from local farms which I know are ethical.

I think a pretty good case can be made for a vegan lifestyle in all instances, but, as your dinner has had a natural life, I feel no need to press this.


I'm right on board with animals being kept in the best possible conditions at ALL times. I don't buy any animal product from supermarkets (as in food product) - all locally sourced eggs, milk (yes you can do that too but it depends on where you live I guess)

I think there is NO case to be made for a vegan diet/lifestyle at all - ever. But that's a whole other debate really. Which I don't mind having but I'd insist on a new thread because this one isn't the place for it.


Frenger wrote:I know nothing about guns, for all I know, they could be either a potatoguns or tanks.


Then I won't bore you with the details, but assure you every calibre I've mentioned is far in excess of what is actually required for humane dispatch!

Frenger wrote:In terms of crop damage, it's no secret that tons of food each year is wasted because it doesn't look pretty enough.


Super true. Ridiculous, isn't it? I don't mind what shape my carrots are. I often buy the wonkey ones that have penises.

Frenger wrote:Now, I would suggest that Rabbits don't damage anywhere near 30% of the crops we grow, so my suggestion is to concentrate on getting people to be less picky about the shapes of their potatoes instead of killing a hungry lagomorph


They genuinely do - you would be amazed. Plus, suggesting that this might not be the case isn't really an argument, it's an appeal to incredulity. As someone who's been dealing with these issues for years, I've seen it - it IS the case. As for the spud shape - completely agree with you, people are rather pathetic at times.

Frenger wrote:This is DEFINITELY a potato gun.

:lol:

Frenger wrote:I too have seen the carnage left behind by foxes, it's quite a sight. However, there are more humane ways of pretecting against foxes.


OK, let's deal with the word "humane" for a second. I think you're using it to mean "non lethal" when that isn't what it means. Humane is to minimise, or even eliminate unnecessary suffering. The fox does not suffer, at all when I shoot it. It's INSTANT lights out - I mean fucking INSTANT.

As for protecting against them... you might want to fill me in there. Remember foxes don't just target chickens, it's lambs as well. There really isn't much more a farmer can do to protect lambs out in a field. Often they will lamb inside, and turn them back out once the new born are up on their feet but that doesn't grant immunity by any means. Lambing inside is done for convenience mostly and they have to be turned out as soon as possible as that is where they're going to be living.

With regards chicken coops etc, there are also practical realities to consider, I mean how far are you going to go to fox proof (easier said than done btw) a chicken coop?

Frenger wrote:There are also other measures such as hanging human hair around the pen and even urinating to mark your territory. I would recommend checking for nettles first as that could be an eye watering experience.


I appreciate your humour! However, this doesn't work. It really, really doesn't. I know people who've tried it. Carrier bags, hair, I know one woman who even bough lion piss online after reading about how it totally repels foxes and the chickens could sit there taking the piss out of the foxes because they wouldn't dare come near! I set up the camera, the fox didn't even sniff the stupid piss. Just straight into tugging at the fence, they'll keep going til they either break it get under it. Eventually after having all but six of her chickens murdered she rang me in floods of tears - said she knew what had to be done but asked if I could do it while she was out because the fox was just "doing what foxes do"

As I said up thread, yup, that sure is what foxes do. Doesn't mean it isn't a problem.


Frenger wrote:Also, in relation to killing all but only taking one, that is actually a rather good tactic, they kill while they can, eat what they need then return for the rest. By that point however, I'm sure the remaining have been removed.


Yup, it's a fantastic tactic! Again, that doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Plus, while I can't immediately prove this, I doubt the aim of the mass murder is to stock the larder for a rainy day! They enjoy killing, as does most of nature. Death is everywhere in nature. It's just about the most brutal shit there is! Practically everything is trying to kill something.
However, it's not so fantastic for the people paying the bills and raising the animals. Quite often as an innocuous hobby/pastime too (in the case of chickens mainly)


Frenger wrote:I know you may not think this, but what are you doing to monitor fox populations, how do you know your actions are NOT having such a dramatic effect? Pair this with a gradual loss of natural habitat and in several years, we could be looking at an actual population problem. Remember, you're not just shooting foxes, you're actively blocking a good food source from them.


I don't quite understand the last part of that, maybe you could clarify?

As for monitoring populations, oh yes indeed and this is commonplace. Not just on a personal, local level but on a national scale by various organisations including BASC )of which I am a full member) and I believe DEFRA do it too.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:37 pm
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Grumpy SantaPosts: 382Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Might as well add my two cents, but I doubt if I could get even that much for it.

First of all, nature doesn't "know" shit. You have an entire ecology that evolved together with naturally adapted checks and balances in place (until we came along that is). And that there is the crux of the problem... in most cases we came along and screwed things up. So to try and make things "better" (for us, obviously) we screw them up further and then wonder why there are "pests" in species that were never pests before we were there to be pestered. We encroach on their habitats, pushing them into smaller and smaller areas, we remove or alter the fauna of the region screwing up relationships between species and before you know it something suddenly becomes a pest.

Well, I kind of wandered off there, sorry.

As far as what to do about "pests", it varies of course in my opinion. For example, when deer were becoming more and more of a pest in Yellowstone it turned out that reintroducing wolves as predators was key to not only controlling the deer but restoring much of the area back to balance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q In other areas, such as the Channel Islands off California the introduction and prevalence of feral pigs was decimating life there and pushing the Channel Island fox towards extinction. Eradication of the feral pigs turned out to be the necessary step to restore balance there and effectively save that little, rare fox from extinction.

I'm of the opinion personally that if the species is an invader and especially if it's due to human error then it should be eradicated from the region where it simply doesn't belong because of how badly the ecology is thrown out of balance. If you're dealing with native species then you need to look into what is causing the species in question to become a "pest" and consider ways to fix that problem instead of taking it out on the native species.
Scientists don't believe. They conclude based on evidence.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:11 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2959Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Greetings,

With regard to controlling the population, TSR (trap/spay/return) is an effective means of controlling feral cat populations - there's no reason it couldn't be used on foxes.

It's important to focus on females rather than males - TNR (trap/neuter/return) - as castrated males can't hold their territories against intact males. Of course, it's the females that give birth - it only takes one male to get her pregnant.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:18 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Grumpy Santa wrote:Might as well add my two cents, but I doubt if I could get even that much for it.

First of all, nature doesn't "know" shit. You have an entire ecology that evolved together with naturally adapted checks and balances in place (until we came along that is). And that there is the crux of the problem... in most cases we came along and screwed things up. So to try and make things "better" (for us, obviously) we screw them up further and then wonder why there are "pests" in species that were never pests before we were there to be pestered. We encroach on their habitats, pushing them into smaller and smaller areas, we remove or alter the fauna of the region screwing up relationships between species and before you know it something suddenly becomes a pest.

Well, I kind of wandered off there, sorry.

As far as what to do about "pests", it varies of course in my opinion. For example, when deer were becoming more and more of a pest in Yellowstone it turned out that reintroducing wolves as predators was key to not only controlling the deer but restoring much of the area back to balance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q In other areas, such as the Channel Islands off California the introduction and prevalence of feral pigs was decimating life there and pushing the Channel Island fox towards extinction. Eradication of the feral pigs turned out to be the necessary step to restore balance there and effectively save that little, rare fox from extinction.

I'm of the opinion personally that if the species is an invader and especially if it's due to human error then it should be eradicated from the region where it simply doesn't belong because of how badly the ecology is thrown out of balance. If you're dealing with native species then you need to look into what is causing the species in question to become a "pest" and consider ways to fix that problem instead of taking it out on the native species.



No, you didn't wander off so no apology is necessary, you're quite on topic. Whilst you're correct in saying that we (humans) encroach on nature (although I'd argue we're as much a part of nature as anything else) it's often overlooked that we, as a species also need to get on with our shit (for lack of a better way of putting it).

I live in the UK and fox do not have a natural predator (unless you include humans)
Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:32 pm
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*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

With regard to controlling the population, TSR (trap/spay/return) is an effective means of controlling feral cat populations - there's no reason it couldn't be used on foxes.

It's important to focus on females rather than males - TNR (trap/neuter/return) - as castrated males can't hold their territories against intact males. Of course, it's the females that give birth - it only takes one male to get her pregnant.

Kindest regards,

James


VERY effective indeed! Except.... here vets will spey (or neuter for that matter) feral cats for free under the TSR scheme. There IS a reason it can't be used on foxes and that reason is - who gonna pay? You can't rock up to a vet clinic with a captured fox and get it speyed/neutered for free. If I'm incorrect here I'd appreciate sauce. Even if I am incorrect I don't know who you expect to actually carry out this work, it would prove expensive even if vets would sterilise for free.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:36 pm
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Grumpy SantaPosts: 382Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

*SD* wrote:
Grumpy Santa wrote:Might as well add my two cents, but I doubt if I could get even that much for it.

First of all, nature doesn't "know" shit. You have an entire ecology that evolved together with naturally adapted checks and balances in place (until we came along that is). And that there is the crux of the problem... in most cases we came along and screwed things up. So to try and make things "better" (for us, obviously) we screw them up further and then wonder why there are "pests" in species that were never pests before we were there to be pestered. We encroach on their habitats, pushing them into smaller and smaller areas, we remove or alter the fauna of the region screwing up relationships between species and before you know it something suddenly becomes a pest.

Well, I kind of wandered off there, sorry.

As far as what to do about "pests", it varies of course in my opinion. For example, when deer were becoming more and more of a pest in Yellowstone it turned out that reintroducing wolves as predators was key to not only controlling the deer but restoring much of the area back to balance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q In other areas, such as the Channel Islands off California the introduction and prevalence of feral pigs was decimating life there and pushing the Channel Island fox towards extinction. Eradication of the feral pigs turned out to be the necessary step to restore balance there and effectively save that little, rare fox from extinction.

I'm of the opinion personally that if the species is an invader and especially if it's due to human error then it should be eradicated from the region where it simply doesn't belong because of how badly the ecology is thrown out of balance. If you're dealing with native species then you need to look into what is causing the species in question to become a "pest" and consider ways to fix that problem instead of taking it out on the native species.



No, you didn't wander off so no apology is necessary, you're quite on topic. Whilst you're correct in saying that we (humans) encroach on nature (although I'd argue we're as much a part of nature as anything else) it's often overlooked that we, as a species also need to get on with our shit (for lack of a better way of putting it).

I live in the UK and fox do not have a natural predator (unless you include humans)


Are the foxes native to the UK? If so, it's likely that their controlling factor was the abundance of prey if they're actually not being hunted themselves by eagles or the like.

Yes, we're a part of nature, but keep in mind that we are also, for all intents and purposes, an invasive species. No, I'm not saying that we should eradicate ourselves even though that would indeed "fix" the environment. It's far to inconvenient. ;)

So the foxes are at the hen houses, eh? OK, the real question is why? What makes the hen houses ideal targets for the foxes? Not enough natural prey? Hen houses too easy of a target? Is it really so difficult to make a fox-proof hen house? Is it other farm animals being attacked? It's challenging to look at it from all angles when you don't have enough information...

Completely removing the apex predator from an area rarely goes well in the long run, the ecology always tends to suffer in one way or the other.
Scientists don't believe. They conclude based on evidence.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:22 pm
*SD*User avatarPosts: 128Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

Grumpy Santa wrote:Are the foxes native to the UK? If so, it's likely that their controlling factor was the abundance of prey if they're actually not being hunted themselves by eagles or the like.

Yes, we're a part of nature, but keep in mind that we are also, for all intents and purposes, an invasive species. No, I'm not saying that we should eradicate ourselves even though that would indeed "fix" the environment. It's far to inconvenient. ;)

So the foxes are at the hen houses, eh? OK, the real question is why? What makes the hen houses ideal targets for the foxes? Not enough natural prey? Hen houses too easy of a target? Is it really so difficult to make a fox-proof hen house? Is it other farm animals being attacked? It's challenging to look at it from all angles when you don't have enough information...


Yes they are native rather than invasive. Foxes have more than enough natural (chickens are also natural btw but I think I know what you're getting at here) prey - have you any idea how vast the rabbit population is? I've covered this in earlier posts but just to make sure - the entirety of England and Wales are "legally" classed as rabbit clearance zones - meaning landowners are legally obliged to control rabbit populations on their land - that's how huge the rabbit problem is - it was made LAW. So why doesn't precious mr foxy woxy scoff more rabbits? Because they're rapid. Fast as fuck. So of course fox will go for the easier meal (not blaming the ginger one there) and massacre hens confined to a usually small building. Or the weak newly born lamb who has no hope of defending itself. Fox want to eat, as do we all, however they are unnecessarily murderous bastards. I don't even dislike the things, but they are a problem among farming communities.

It is surprisingly difficult to fox proof a hen house, fox have a lot of fun just in the challenge of getting into it. Please keep in mind I can demonstrate this to you! I don't want fox to become extinct, the population (around here at least) is at an ok ish sort of level, haven't shot one since february despite seeing many out and about.

I understand its an emotional subject, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable just thinking about it. But nature isn't the "wind in the willows" many people love to believe it is. And no I'm not accusing you of that, but many do.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:35 pm
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Grumpy SantaPosts: 382Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: Pest control in the UK (and anywhere else)

*SD* wrote:
Grumpy Santa wrote:Are the foxes native to the UK? If so, it's likely that their controlling factor was the abundance of prey if they're actually not being hunted themselves by eagles or the like.

Yes, we're a part of nature, but keep in mind that we are also, for all intents and purposes, an invasive species. No, I'm not saying that we should eradicate ourselves even though that would indeed "fix" the environment. It's far to inconvenient. ;)

So the foxes are at the hen houses, eh? OK, the real question is why? What makes the hen houses ideal targets for the foxes? Not enough natural prey? Hen houses too easy of a target? Is it really so difficult to make a fox-proof hen house? Is it other farm animals being attacked? It's challenging to look at it from all angles when you don't have enough information...


Yes they are native rather than invasive. Foxes have more than enough natural (chickens are also natural btw but I think I know what you're getting at here) prey - have you any idea how vast the rabbit population is? I've covered this in earlier posts but just to make sure - the entirety of England and Wales are "legally" classed as rabbit clearance zones - meaning landowners are legally obliged to control rabbit populations on their land - that's how huge the rabbit problem is - it was made LAW. So why doesn't precious mr foxy woxy scoff more rabbits? Because they're rapid. Fast as fuck. So of course fox will go for the easier meal (not blaming the ginger one there) and massacre hens confined to a usually small building. Or the weak newly born lamb who has no hope of defending itself. Fox want to eat, as do we all, however they are unnecessarily murderous bastards. I don't even dislike the things, but they are a problem among farming communities.

It is surprisingly difficult to fox proof a hen house, fox have a lot of fun just in the challenge of getting into it. Please keep in mind I can demonstrate this to you! I don't want fox to become extinct, the population (around here at least) is at an ok ish sort of level, haven't shot one since february despite seeing many out and about.

I understand its an emotional subject, it makes a lot of people uncomfortable just thinking about it. But nature isn't the "wind in the willows" many people love to believe it is. And no I'm not accusing you of that, but many do.


Well this certainly is interesting. Let's say people eradicate foxes because chickens. Now the rabbits, already somewhat out of control, have no predators at all. You think there's a rabbit problem now? In this case, based on what little I've picked up about the situation, it would seem to be to be worth the effort to indeed separate the fox from the easy prey (rabbits, lambs) so they'll get back to work controlling the rabbits which they should be focused on in the first place. You're already seeing what happens to the rabbit population when they're not adequately hunted after all, why make it worse. Instead of saying you can't make a fox-proof hen house how about making fox-proof hen houses instead. Foxes aren't the only clever species in the UK, are they? It may cost more, but in the long run you wind up protecting not only the livestock but also the crops in the fields that the rabbits threaten.

Things like this really, really need to be looked at long and hard rather than knee-jerk. If all the foxes were gone, then what? Consider the species that prey on them, if any. Consider the species they prey on. Follow that through further... their prey, what does it eat? What would happen if that were "over-eaten"?
Scientists don't believe. They conclude based on evidence.
Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:05 pm
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