School faces backlash over Fox traps
by MATTHEW DOOLEY
Minet Junior School in Hayes has removed traps set for foxes on their grounds after a public backlash against the practice, which involves killing the animals after they have been trapped.
Councillor Janet Gardner (Lab, Botwell) tweeted that the traps had been removed after a petition was created on change.org condemning the practice and demanding it be ceased. The petition has received more than 1300 signatures.
Cllr. Gardner tweeted: “update regarding the culling of foxes at Minet Junior School/traps [sic] have been removed this morning due to the outcry the community has created by sharing, signing, emailing and phoning!”
John McDonnell, MP (Lab, Hayes and Harlington), said on twitter that he had contacted the school.
According to the petition, the school set the traps in order to capture the foxes and then cull them by shooting them.
A founding member of the South London Hunt Saboteurs, whose name has been withheld due to sensitivities surrounding the organisation, seconded this saying: “They shoot them, they clear the area and they shoot them.” South London Hunt Saboteurs is an animal rights organisation.
They also claimed that the school had been contacted by animal rights groups prior to the placing of the traps.
They said: “Instead of taking the olive branch that was given to them to solve it in the beginning, they pushed back, they had to change the policy anyway and, in the meantime, tarnish their reputation.”
Although the school has removed the traps, the South London Hunt Saboteurs is worried they will continue the cull. The member said: “We can’t afford to let them think this will all die down and then in six months’ time they bring out their traps again.”
Cllr. Gardner also voiced concern tweeting: “…I suspect it [the culling] hasn’t ended, so be vigilant.”
Members of the public have claimed that the school has deleted its social media accounts and were not responding to emails or voicemails. The school, so far, has not responded to IKB insider’s attempts to contact them.
Many people were concerned by how the culling would affect the children at the school.
The petition stated that: “Children attending the school that come in early often stand with their parents, visibly excited about seeing a fox.”
Many people who signed the petition voiced their anger in the comments.
One individual commented: “Teach children to love wildlife not kill it. To trap animals and allow them to suffer and then kill them is despicable.”
Others called the practice “barbaric” and “disgusting.”
The member of South London Hunt Saboteurs said: “Teaching children that if someone is a bit of a nuisance then the argument is to shoot them, it’s not a message we want to be teaching them.”
The culling comes amidst a wider conversation about pest control in London. Advocates of culling point to the diseases carried by the animals which can be spread to humans, particularly children.
Animal rights groups, however, say that culling is largely ineffective and that foxes help to keep rodent populations in check. They support non-lethal pest control such as fencing or other deterrents.
Fox hunting, the hunting of foxes on horseback with the use of hunting dogs, has been banned in the UK since 2005.
It is, however, legal to trap foxes, grey squirrels and mink under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 as long as the animal is humanely killed without being moved.