A furry freefall for a very good cause
Highlighting the national disgrace of 'cubbing'
Fox hunting has a number of ‘open secrets’ that hunters themselves know all about but that the general public are - well, ‘generally’ unaware of. The fact that fox hunting itself is banned but goes on every week under the ‘smokescreen’ of so-called trail hunting is one obvious example. That hunts typically go out with thuggish terrier-men who send their dogs into badger setts to flush out foxes trying to escape the huntsman above is another. That tax-payer funded police officers in some areas are briefed to watch sabs and monitors rather than the illegal hunting taking place right next to them. That some of our MPs are er, extremely casual about efforts to improve legislation protecting foxes - well, I’ve covered that in a blog right here.
More and more work is being done to expose #trailhuntlies. The role of terrier-men (which senior huntsman during the webinar linked to above admitted was hunting’s ‘soft underbelly’) will be coming under increasing scrutiny soon. Groups like Wiltshire Hunt Sabs are talking openly about police bias (please have a listen to this podcast with them, it’s hugely informative) and the - well, let’s say ‘unhelpful attitude’ of some Police and Crime Commissioners explored online by the likes of Wild Mammal Persecution UK. And MPs? There can hardly be anyone left who honestly believes this government could care less about our wildlife following broken pledges and the recent Queen’s Speech (which Dominic and I discussed here).
Remarkably, hunting has - with an ingrained arrogance born perhaps from learning the trade at public school (that’s right, check out ‘Schools and Beagling’) - tried to carry on as if impervious to criticism, the law, or public opinion. However, of all of hunting’s ‘open secrets’ the one that might just strip the teflon coating away if the public comes to understand it is ‘cubbing’.
Cubbing is an especially nasty form of animal abuse. It is essentially training young hounds to kill foxes by targeting their cubs. Contrary to what many people might think, dogs don’t naturally kill foxes – they ‘need’ (according to fox hunters anyway) to be trained to kill them. They ‘need’ (ditto) to be trained to know what a fox smells like and feels like. They ‘need’ to know how to hunt them down. What better way than to set them loose on younger, inexperienced fox cubs to practice on…thousands of them every year.
Cubbing is one of hunting’s filthiest secrets, a national disgrace, but hunters gleefully discuss what they now call ‘autumn hunting’ on open fora as if it was a) legal (it’s not), b) as if we’re all far too dim to understand their ‘clever’ euphemism (we’re not), and c) not something ethically and morally reprehensible that proves to the rest of us that far too many of these people are clearly psychopathic (it is and it does).
Cubbing is a loathsome part of a loathsome hobby. I’ve written and recorded a shortcast about it before (Shortcast #34 Charlie Moores | Cubbing), but even on my most upbeat days even I don’t kid myself that one shortcast changes very much (it adds to the noise, which is important, but on its own of course it’s not enough).
No, what is needed is a social media powerhouse to focus the public’s minds on ‘cubbing’. And, stepping over the door sill of a plane flying at 10000’, Rob Pownall of Keep the Ban is that powerhouse.
Yesterday Rob announced that he was prepping for a June skydive - wearing a fox costume (hence the graphic I skillfully created this morning for this blog’s header) - to raise funds for a project he’s developing to put the national disgrace of ‘cubbing’ squarely in front of the public. A furry freefall for a very, very good cause.
Rob is keeping the full details of the project under wraps at the moment, but he has told me a little bit about it and I think it’s brilliant. I’m going to have a chat with him about the skydive for a podcast in the next week or so, and given that I’ve never seen a flying fox hurtle out of the skies above a Kent airfield at 200kph before I’m thinking of heading down to watch.
In the meantime though you can support Rob by clicking here - ‘Support Rob’s Skydive and Help Expose Cub Hunting’.
As he says, “By donating you will be supporting our secret project released later this year that will expose cubbing to literally millions of people. It could be a game changer when it comes to ending this disgusting activity once and for all.”
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