The British Fields Sports Society has resorted to faked photographs of a fox ‘attacking’ a chicken in its new poster campaign launched at the start of the foxhunting season.
The agency which supplied hunters with a photograph of a fox apparently attacking a hen has admitted that the picture was a ‘set-up’. The British Field Sports Society had used the picture on 2,500 posters claiming that fox attacks on poultry is a ‘countryside problem’ for which hunting is the ‘countryside solution.’
The League Against Cruel Sports had given a copy of the photograph to a London photography expert for examination. The expert later reported that in his view the scene had been carefully staged with artificial lighting and that he suspected the fox may have been ‘stuffed’ and the hen fastened in a position to make it appear that it had been attacked.
The British Field Sports Society angrily denied the League’s allegations but Frank Lane Picture Agency which supplied the BFSS with the photo admitted to the Darlington and Stockton Times: “It was set up. The fox had been captured and then was let out with the chicken behind the wire.”
A spokesman for the League said, “Well, well! So the BFSS claim foxes are a serious threat to poultry but is apparently quite happy for a fox to be captured, to be let out and encouraged to attack chickens.”
The agency claimed that the photograph is ten years old. If the League had evidence that the photograph was taken recently, it would have considered prosecuting those involved under the Protection of Animal Act 1911, for cruelty terrifying a domestic hen. However, the rules of evidence for that Act dictate that a prosecution is not possible for offences which occurred more than six months ago.
The faked photograph was republished in the British Field Sports Society booklet ‘Hunting: The Facts’.
The League Against Cruel Sports also considers the BFSS’s claim that fox predation on poultry is a ‘Country problem,’ a pathetic exaggeration. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food describes fox predation on poultry as ‘small’ and the BFSS itself states in its leaflet, Foxhunting, that more than 95% of foxes never taste domestic poultry.