Fox Hunting Illegal in Britain, Man Hunting Not

by Liz Colville

Certain British people love a good fox hunt. Too bad the “sport” was finally outlawed in 2005. But there is a replacement: man hunting, aka the Coakham Hunt. The Hunting Act means that a number of animals, not just foxes, can no longer be hunted in the UK, but men are exempt! The law, writes the Washington Post:

protects some other mammals, such as hare (but not rabbits), mice (but not rats) and mink (but not men).

Using bloodhounds instead of foxhounds, the activity (sport?) was actually invented some 30 years ago by Nigel Budd, who wanted to come up with a type of game that “would combine all the arts of venery together with a controllable quarry,” the quarry being the creatures — the hunted. So, duh, humans! Not only are they fun to chase and pretty much disposable — there are so goddamn many of them — but they don’t make their hunters traipse all over treacherous English countryside, often to their deaths or serious injury, as sly foxes tended to do, see photo, (and served the humans right, maybe?)

The dogs, being British, have crazy names like Daffodil and Tricky Woo. But how are the men not trampled by horses? Do the horses, et al have to count to 60 before they’re allowed to start the hunt? Sort of, and the men are encouraged to “run with their heads as well as their feet” to ensure maximum survival. They are allowed to “pause between chases to catch their breath, chat with the riders.” The Post writer took part in this insane muddy marathon, and here narrates the closing stretch of the day’s events:

With home — and tea — in sight and the hounds still far behind, the runners drop to a walk, when the baying suddenly sounds ominously close: “One more field to go,” yells Kay. The hounds have picked up their scent in the air and taken a shortcut. Kay urges the laggard (me again) into a lumbering last sprint as the full-throated pack closes in.


Photo via The Sterling Times