The fox has many enemies. They mostly originate from human sources. These include shooting, snaring, gassing, poisoning, the fur trade and hunting. Over the next few days I will be discussing these in more detail.
It is estimated that aound 36,000 foxes are caught in snares each year. More than 12,300 animals are killed in theUK by gamekeepers every day for the benefit of the shooting interests.
Almost 70 per cent of animals caught in snares are not the intended targets. No DEFRA official has ever checked to see if a snare fulfils their own code of practice and are lawful. Animals caught this way suffer a long and painful death www.antisnaring.org.Cats, dogs, rabbits, badgers and others have all been seriously injured or killed by these barbaric devices.
Shooting foxes in the UK is widespread. Any search on the internet will show you just how popular it is. It is legal to shoot them provided it does not take place near to a public highway or residential buildings but I would imagine that this regulation is often ignored. They are shot for a number of reasons by people who still, (in spite of research to the contrary) class them as vermin or pests, or by people for 'sport'.
The fox pictured above is luckily on the way to recovery after being wounded by a shotgun.
Although poisoning foxes is illegal in the UK and carries a hefty fine, it is, in reality, widespread.and causes untold suffering to foxes and many others species of wildlife. Again the fox being mistakenly seen as vermin has led to people taking the law into their own hands and laying deadly bait in an effort to get rid of them.
It is worth mentioning the car because it is, without doubt a major enemy of the fox. No one really knows how many foxes sre killed this way but the best estimate is around 100,000 a year. Certainly a lot of foxes are killed on our roads and this may be the single most important cause of death for foxes in Britain.
The Wild Mammal (Protection) Act 1996 protects most mammals from a variety of cruel acts which are intended to cause unnecessary suffering. When a fox has been captured the Protection of Animals Act 1911 can also be used to prosecute those people who ill treat the fox.
Poison: There is no poison that can be legally used on foxes. Use of a poison to kill foxes would lead to either a large fine or imprisonment.
Gassing: Again the use of any gas to kill foxes is illegal.
Spring Traps: Can not be used against foxes and traps with teeth have been illegal in this country since 1954 for all animals.
Free running snare: May be legally used to catch foxes but is subject to many restrictions. In urban areas its doubtful that these restrictions can be met.
Self tightening snare is illegal.
Although this act is there to offer some protection, it is obvious from the above examples that there is a widespread misuse of the law in this country and thousands of innocent animals are suffering on a daily basis.