Fox culling is cruel and pointless

Posted on the 7th July 2017

The Prime Minister has recently confirmed that there will be no free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act, meaning that, for the time being, foxes and other animals are safe from being legally ripped apart by hounds. However, we must not forget that foxes in urban environments face cruel and horrific deaths under the guise of ‘pest control’.

Recently, Animal Aid has been contacted by a number of members of the public who are horrified at news of foxes being culled near to where they live. Generally, when a ‘pest’ controller is called out to ‘deal with’ urban foxes, the animals will be trapped and shot. A trapped fox will be immensely stressed and will try repeatedly to escape from the cage. What’s worse is at this time of year, fox cubs are still reliant on their mothers to survive – if a mother fox is trapped and killed, her babies will starve to death.

Not only is trapping and killing foxes cruel, it is entirely pointless and ineffective. Current, long-standing, government policy on lethal urban fox control states:

‘Territories made vacant by culling resident foxes are rapidly colonised by new individuals. The most effective strategies to resolve fox problems have primarily relied on non-lethal methods, focusing on preventative and deterrent strategies.’

In short, if a fox – or indeed a family of foxes – is killed, new foxes will take over the vacant territory, thus failing to resolve the conflict. This will result in an endless cycle of trapping and killing.

However, the good news is that there are plenty of alternative, humane methods of deterrence that can be adopted. These methods do not rely on the killing of any animals, and are more successful and economical than lethal methods. You can find information on companies and organisations that specialise in humane wildlife deterrence on our Fox Advice Sheet.


  1. Order a ‘Helping Wildlife’ information pack.
  2. Download our humane deterrence fact sheets and only use humane methods to deter wild animals.
  3. If you hear of a wildlife cull – be it foxes, birds or other animals – please let us know

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