“In every hunt there are one or two people, particularly terriermen, who get a sadistic pleasure from tormenting foxes.”
Paul Woodhouse, Huntsman to the Derwent Foxhounds
The Burns Inquiry into Hunting with Dogs examined terrier work and concluded, “…the activity of digging out and shooting a fox involves a serious compromise of its welfare, bearing in mind the often protracted nature of the process and the fact that the fox is prevented from escaping.” The Committee advised that, even in the absence of a ban on fox hunting, “serious consideration could be given as to whether this practice should be allowed to continue”.
Every fox hunt have terriermen ready to dig out foxes out, whilst many terrier men are independent, and will travel hundreds of miles for “the crack” (cowardly pleasure) of setting their terriers on a fox.
Almost forty percent of all foxes killed during fox hunting are by terrier work. Apart from the pain of injuries from fighting underground, sometimes a dog entered may encounter a wild animal with its back to it, and therefore that dog will rip at the backside of the wild creature. This cruelty can last for several hours, and there are accounts of foxes having parts of their back passage and abdomen ripped out while in this position.
Terrier work is one of the cruellest so-called ‘sports’ and should be illegal, just like dog fighting, fox hunting and badger baiting have become.
Typically terriermen can be categorised:
- Hunt terrierman: Sometimes referred to as ‘Countryman’. Employed by the hunt block up badger setts and fox earths prior to the hunt starting, and to bolt any foxes that go to ground. Men such as Alistair Robinson, of the Ullswater Foxhounds, who was captured on video in 2009 digging a fox out from underground before beating it to death. They are often assisted by an amateur terriermen and gamekeepers after the shooting season finishes.
- Gamekeepers: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) state that 46% of gamekeepers use their dogs for terrier work.
- Registered pest controller
- Amateur terrierman: It could be the local immature lad up the road, who has lots of different dogs and a garden full of kennels. They are often wannabe gamekeepers or hunt terrierman. For the majority of terriermen it is a hobby that they pursue with similar minded animal abusers. They are boastful of their exploits on social media. Many work in the building industry and are involved in illegal drugs.
Fox and Badger Baiting
Terrier work is all too often a euphemism for fox baiting and in the past was for badger baiting. Terriers are put into situations where they encounter and then fight foxes below ground. There are also numerous references to foxes having their faces ripped off by the dog underground.
We also have numerous evidence of dogs staying underground for a very long time to polish off (eat) so to speak the animal that they have killed underground. There have been stories told where the dog has eaten his fill and is too fat to escape up the tubes from where it came. So much for the often repeated lie that a fox either escapes or is almost instantly killed during foxhunting.
An investigation by BBC Panorama in 2007 revealed that many dog-fighting groups congregate under the disguise of terrier and lurcher shows held throughout the UK and Ireland.