A FARMER who lost 115 lambs to foxes over the past four years has called for the fox hunting laws in England and Wales to be changed.
Wyn Jones, who farms nears Machynlleth, mid-Wales, keeps his sheep between two big blocks of private forestry.
He claimed the problems started when hunters were banned from taking more than two hounds into the forest to flush foxes to guns by the 2004 Hunting Act.
“This year, I started off lambing inside with the first lot of ewes, but some were going out for a couple of hours because the shed was so hectic,” Mr Jones said.
“I was taking them out to the other farm we have just across the valley, and things were fine, no problem. Then one morning, bang. Foxes killed six. Bit four and ripped the heads off two.”
Mr Jones’ experience does not appear to be an isolated case.
In 2014, a survey of 650 Welsh farmers found 75 per cent had seen an increase in the number of lambs killed by foxes since the Hunting Act was introduced, while 95 per cent lost money as a result of fox attacks.
A year later, the UK Government introduced secondary legislation to allow more than two hounds to flush foxes to guns, but its plans were scuppered by Scottish National Party MPs who broke with convention to vote on the English-Welsh matter.
A subsequent review of hunting legislation, commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Lord Bonomy, said limits on the number of dogs used to flush out foxes ‘could seriously compromise effective pest control’. There is no limit on the number of dogs used in Scotland.
With hunting back on the agenda after Theresa May promised a free vote on the issue, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has used its General Election manifesto to renew its call for a removal of the limit on the number of hounds.
FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “Those who dismiss this evidence and argue against a change, or worse still, scrape the barrel by claiming foxes do not kill lambs, demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice animal welfare and the incomes of hard-working people at the altar of misguided anti-hunting prejudices.”