Target: Virginia Game Board
Goal: Change weak regulations to protect foxes in fox pens
The Virginia Game Board passed new fox pen regulations in June that do little to stop dogs from killing foxes in these pens. These regulations were passed under the objection of 2,000 Virginians. Laura Donahue, Virginia state director for The Humane Society of the United States said, “The agency’s own study proved that foxes are killed by dogs at an alarming rate within these pens. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries could have curbed animal suffering in fox pens, but instead the Board largely endorsed business as usual.”
The Virginia Game Board did pass some noteworthy regulations that will prohibit cash prizes for staged competitions within pens, require rounded corners, and lower the number of dogs allowed to pursue the captive foxes. However, two of these regulations would require a conservation officer to be present in every fox pen in order for every event to be enforced. The regulations still allow bartering and stocking foxes behind fences for private, staged competitions. These foxes are a public resource.
Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA said, “While it is encouraging that the Board voted to eliminate cash prizes for staged competitions, it is still a blight on the Commonwealth to allow this horrifying cruelty for wildlife and dogs and abuse of public resources on Virginia soil.”
Debra Griggs, president of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies said, “These regulations are at best Band-Aids but do nothing to address the root problems. New regulations such as requiring ’rounded fence corners’ only serve to remind us how barbaric pitting captive animals against each other is.”
Since the Virginia Game Board did not listen to Virginians, animal welfare organizations are banding together and have formed a coalition, the Coalition For Fair Conservation, to end fox pens in Virginia.
Fox pens are fenced enclosures where dogs are released to chase wild, stocked foxes. The foxes are often killed. More than 6,000 foxes were subjected to these inhumane events in Virginia in the last five years. Church says, “Fox pens are a bloodsport – they are staged fights where animals are forced to engage in bloody battles until some die, and this unnecessary cruelty has no place in our great state.” These weak regulations on fox pens need to change.
Dear Virginia Game Board,
Please change your weak regulations on fox pens. Fox pens are terrible, inhumane fights where animals are forced against their will to fight dogs, often ending in injury and death. Virginians are against fox penning and want to ensure the foxes’ welfare.
The new regulations passed do little to protect foxes. The improvements in the regulations are hard to enforce and give many opportunities for people to ignore them. Please change your weak regulations on fox pens so that they are enforceable and improve the welfare of the foxes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ken Billington via Wikimedia Commons