Petition Make foxes a protected species

I'm against fox hunting, and would like to see foxes a protected species

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Government responded

This response was given on 17 April 2019

Fox does not fit the criteria as a protected species, as it is not endangered or under threat of extinction. The Hunting Act 2004 bans the hunting of foxes with dogs, except in limited circumstances.

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Legislation in the United Kingdom provides for the protection of certain species of wild plants, birds and animals at all times; some species of bird are protected at certain times of the year only, while certain methods of taking or killing wild animals and birds are prohibited. We protect a wide variety of our most threatened native species through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injury or take any wild animal included in Schedule 5 of the Act, as well as damage or destroy places used by the species for shelter or protection.

Conservation agencies will pursue scheduling of a species when:

• There is an international obligation to afford legal protection to the species;
• An animal or plant is in danger of extinction in Great Britain, or is likely to become so endangered unless conservation measures are taken, and legal protection is likely to improve its chances of survival.

The Fox does not fit the criteria as a protected species, as it is not endangered or under threat of extinction.

Before the Hunting Act 2004 between 21,000 and 25,000 foxes were killed each year by organised hunts, which is estimated to account for 5-6% of all fox deaths annually.

The Hunting Act bans the hunting of wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales, except where it is carried out in accordance with the exemptions set out in Schedule 1 to the Act. The full details of the Hunting Act 2004 exemptions are available online at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/37/schedule/1.

Anyone who believes an offence under the Hunting Act 2004 is taking place, or has taken place during a hunt should report the matter to the police as they are the enforcement authority. Decisions on the arrest and prosecution of those taking part in illegal hunting activities are matters for the police and prosecuting authorities.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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