Target: Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell
Goal: Prohibit the brutal torture and killing of foxes for sport in Virginia.
Fox-penning, one of the most barbaric practices still legal in the U.S., is when a wild fox, after being brutally trapped and confined to a small pen, is chased down and then ripped apart by a pack of hunting dogs. Incredibly, this practice is still legal in some U.S. states. However, a bill is under consideration in Virginia that would ban this barbaric practice.
The horrors of fox-penning begin in the forest. A wild fox or coyote is caught in a steel trap, a hunting tool that not only traps the animal, but wounds it as well. Next, the fox—with a wounded leg—is transported without food, water, or medical care to a fox pen. The journey can last for days and take the fox into a remote corner of Virginia, or into another state. After being bought by a fox pen operator, the animal is kept in a tightly enclosed space until the sport begins. Participants place bets on the hunting dogs they enter, wagering on whether the fox will be killed, how long it will take, and how easily the dogs will finish it off. The fox spends its final moments being run down by the pack until they catch their prey and rip the fox apart. Obviously a fox can only last for one round, so animals are constantly being captured and brought to the pens to keep the sport going.
Other states, including Florida, have already banned the practice. A bill was passed by the Virginia Senate on February 5th, and it will soon be reviewed by the House of Delegates. The bill fails to outlaw the practice (the ban is only applicable to pens opened after 2013), but it is a step in the right direction.
Signing the following petition will let Virginia governor Robert McDonnell hear your voice. Help urge the governor to sign the bill and take a step to end blood sports and animal cruelty in the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Dear Governor Robert McDonnell,
The practice of “fox-penning” still being practiced in your state is a blemish on our nation. We cannot call ourselves a country committed to social justice if blood sports are legally being practiced in our borders.
Capturing, maiming, and then enclosing the foxes is bad enough—but unleashing a pack of dogs to hunt it down and tear it apart is absolutely barbaric. Such practices undermine all steps we have made for animal rights, and are unethical and unacceptable.
As a bill which severely limits the extent to which fox-penning can be practiced, approaches your desk, I would like to urge you to consider its benefits. Not only will it spare the lives of countless animals, but it will improve the image of your state and our nation. I would like to ask you to please sign this important bill and restrict this brutal practice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: digitalprimate via Flickr