Is it unlawful to hunt foxes? In England, Scotland, and Wales, fox hunting is prohibited. In Northern Ireland, it is still legal. The Hunting Act 2004 in England and Wales and the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 in Scotland both outlawed fox hunting. However, a court ruling on 4 November 2005 allowed the return of fox hunting by landowners who had been granted licenses by the government.
In light of this ruling, there are currently no laws against hunting foxes. It is an offense under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to harm or kill any animal for pleasure. A person can be fined up to $20,000 and/or imprisoned for one year for an first offense. If this behavior is found to occur repeatedly, then a more severe penalty may be imposed.
It is important to note that even though hunting foxes is not illegal, it does not mean that you can go out and start killing them willy-nilly. There must be a licensed hunter present at all times during a hunt. This person is responsible for ensuring that no animals are killed beyond that which is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the hunt.
The legality of hunting varies from country to country. For example, in Germany hunting dogs are required to be registered with the national registry office and they must be kept on a leash when outside of their owner's home.
Ireland, Republic of Fox hunting is permissible since foxes are not a protected species, although hunts must be registered and limited to particular periods of the year. It is unlawful to use dogs to hunt deer.
In Ireland, as in many other countries, there is a distinction drawn between legal and illegal hunting. Only hunters who possess a valid license can take part in a hunt; others will be fined. The law prohibits the use of dogs to hunt deer, but this law is rarely enforced.
Hunting with hounds is popular in Ireland, especially during the fall season when stags are mature enough to provide good sport for their hunters. Irish stags are considered some of the best in Europe. A country-wide lottery system is used to select the stags for slaughter. Before being killed, the stag is given an antler clean-up to remove any velvet or new growth that might be shed later in the year after regrowth has taken place. After the kill, part of the animal's head is sent to taxidermists who mount it on display at local fairs and festivals. The rest of the carcass is processed into meat which is sold in markets across Ireland.
Foxes were originally introduced to Ireland as pets and then left over nighting on their own.
From 1976 until 2012, hunting protected animals was governed by the Wildlife Acts. It is also against the law to shoot at birds or animals with a gun.
In addition, it is an offense to disturb a fox den or trail. If you see a fox during hunting season, you can take pictures without risk of penalty as long as you do not follow the animal home.
For more information on Irish wildlife law, visit our page on Fox hunting in the UK.
Hunting with hounds is lawful in the Republic of Ireland, and there are several hound packs around the country. Fox hunting is permissible since foxes are not a protected species, although hunts must be registered and limited to particular periods of the year. Hare hunting with dogs is also prohibited.
In Northern Ireland, hunting with dogs is forbidden by law. However, many people in Northern Ireland support the practice through private clubs or organizations, so it remains active within the region.
History shows that fox hunting has been done in Ireland for many years. There are reports of hunters using dogs to chase down and kill the animals since at least 1579. The practice was made illegal in Ireland in 1835, but this law was often ignored. Between 1836 and 1890, approximately 100 people are said to have been killed by hunting dogs, most likely foxes. In 1890, hunting with dogs was completely banned by law again.
Since then, the practice of hunting with dogs has remained legal, but few people participate in it today. Approximately 1,000 hunters are estimated to take part in the sport each year, mostly from Britain and America.
Gun hunting is also allowed in Ireland. Although rare these days, guns were once used to shoot foxes for their fur in much the same way as today's hunters use rifles to hunt coyotes or dogs.
Since the Labour administration implemented laws in 2004, fox hunting with dogs has been prohibited. However, issue resurfaced after Prime Minister Theresa May stated that if she won the 2017 General Election, she would allow a free vote on abolishing the restriction.