The proposed measure in the Virginia General Assembly to ban fox penning has been shelved for a year. More than an hour of testimony was presented to the Senate Agriculture Committee at a meeting crowded with animal rights advocates and pro-hunting forces.
Supporters of the bill argued that the practice is inhumane and often ends in the death of the fox. Hunters maintained that it’s a safe and secure way to train young hounds, and that escape earths are provided to ensure the safety of the fox.
Hunters also said that the practice has been wrongfully portrayed. The purpose, they maintain, is to train hounds—not to kill foxes.
Senators expressed confusion at the wide variance in how fox pens are portrayed by the opposing sides. Bob Duncan, Director of Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, who has visited fox pens, said that while the pens aren’t as portrayed by some proponents of the bill, there are probably improvements that could be made in the protocol for the benefit of the foxes, and he was certain that responsible hunters would work with the department to achieve those ends.
Action on the bill was continued to 2013.
Read Chelyen Davis’s complete article in The Free Lance-Star.
Posted February 14, 2012