'Genteel' says it all

Published December 23, 2004, in issue 0351 of the Hook

The sentiments expressed by Daisy Stevens Rojas in "Why American foxhunting survives" [Essay, December 9, 2004] are very similar to those expressed by fishermen who claim that fish feel no pain: self-serving and delusional. Fishing and foxhunting are both inherently cruel forms of human entertainment.

A fox literally running for its life does not "get into the spirit of things." If it "avoids going into obvious holes or up trees," it does so out of fear that said hole or tree will not keep it from being– in this case–savagely killed.

Rojas' smug comparison of foxhunting to deer hunting is not exactly on target either. The fox may "never be left to suffer or cause problems for the general public" because it is instead torn apart by hounds– a death that is hardly "immediate" and certainly less humane than the death of a deer taken down by a bullet.

Even more to the point is the fact that deer are used as a food source, and they are not harassed for the sole purpose of having "a bit of a run."

American foxhunters may like to think that they do not persecute foxes, but a fox being chased by a throng of howling hounds, humans, and horses is a fox that is terrified and therefore is most definitely being persecuted.

The one bit of accuracy in Rojas' essay may be her description of American foxhunters as "genteel." One Merriam Webster meaning for this word is "marked by false delicacy." Or, in other Webster words, genteel can mean pretending to possess "a refined sensibility in feeling or conduct."

A person who would use a wild creature as an unwilling toy in a game of life or death hardly possesses a refined sensibility. Surely the upper crust can do better.

Marlene A. Condon
Nature Writer/Photographer/Speaker