Pest control - Sandringham style

The Sunday Times
January 21, 2007

Pest control — Sandringham style

The fox, which is one of Britain's commonest mammals, is seen by many people as a pest that kills farmers' chickens. They are now also being increasingly seen in towns and cities.

The fox never stood a chance when it had a brush with the guns at Prince Philip’s (the Queen's husband) shooting party yesterday, writes Maurice Chittenden.

First it was blasted by one of eight people taking part in the shoot on the Sandringham estate. Then, as it lay wounded, it raised itself to snarl at a gundog, so a gamekeeper beat it over the head with a flag used to signal to the beaters. Still not sure whether the fox was dead, the gamekeeper was spotted doing the unspeakable to the uneatable, appearing to stamp on it before dragging it into the undergrowth.

The prince, whose shooting parties bag up to 7,000 pheasants a season, looked on nonchalantly, shotgun across his arm. Philip, 85, was previously thought to have given up shooting because of failing eyesight. The fox’s demise, although legal, is more likely to cause a ballyhoo among city dwellers. In 2004 the Queen was criticised by animal rights campaigners after taking a wounded pheasant from a gun dog’s jaws and beating it with her walking stick until dead. In 2000, she was photographed wringing the neck of a badly injured bird at Sandringham.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 21st, 2007 at 05:59 AM..
Isnt that just over kill? I thought this was all outlawed or is the Royals the only ones allowed?
Prince Philip watches fox shot, stamped on and beaten to death

20th January 2007

Shot: Fox is gunned down by Duke of Edinburgh's companion

This fox could have suffered agonising gunshot wounds for up to five minutes before being put out of its misery during a Royal pheasant shoot at Sandringham yesterday.

It was targeted when it broke cover from woodland, seemingly after being startled by beaters sending up pheasants for Prince Philip and his party of seven at the Royal estate in Norfolk.

As it made a dash for safety, it appeared to be shot at least twice but was still showing signs of life after collapsing behind the 85-year-old Duke of Edinburgh and his shooting partners.

An onlooker, who did not want to be named, said: "The fox was probably scared by the beaters and made a run for it. A cry of "fox, fox" went up and, almost instantly, three or four shots rang out.

"The fox was twitching on the ground, indicating that it was still alive.

"A minute after it was shot, a beater walked over and clubbed it once on the head with his stick. It was then left on the ground for another four minutes, while the pheasant shooting continued.

"When all the birds had come over and the shooting stopped, the same beater went back to the fox and stamped on it. He then dragged it for about 20 yards before leaving it in a hedge."

Foxes are often shot by gamekeepers on country estates to stop them killing game birds which would otherwise be shot for sport. However, animal rights campaigners are now calling for the RSPCA to investigate the incident.

Last night Andrew Tyler, director of the anti-cruelty charity Animal Aid, said: "The fox should not have been killed in the first place but it is outrageous that Prince Philip and his pals carried on shooting for fun while it appears to have been in agonised death throes.

"Millions of ordinary people will be dIsgusted that it could be possibly left for so long before being dispatched.

"If Prince Philip and the others on the shoot had any concerns at all for the fox, they could have stopped shooting to make sure it was dead."

An RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) spokesman said: "We will investigate any complaint of cruelty. We accept that a clean kill is the intention of those shooting for sport but it doesn't always happen and therefore suffering does occur."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "It was a private shoot so we will not make any comment."

Out for the kill: The Duke of Edinburgh, right, with a fellow shooter. Albanpix

Flushed out: The fox makes a frantic dash for safety. Albanpix

Downed: The fox hits the ground after being shot at least twice. Albanpix

Stamped on: As shooting ends a beater makes sure that the fox is dead. Albanpix

Clubbed: The twitching fox is hit as the pheasant shoot goes on. Albanpix

Dragged off: The now lifeless fox is hauled away by the beater. Albanpix

Dumped: The fox beater discards the fox's body in the undergrowth. Albanpix
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 21st, 2007 at 01:41 PM..

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