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Archive for June, 2010

‘Down with foxes… Down with foxes…’

Ordinarily, I would wait until the end of the week to respond to the week’s news, but this one couldn’t wait…

On Saturday 5th June, an ‘urban’ fox was able to get into the window of a residential building in Hackney, East London. As result, two baby twins, Isabella and Lola Koupparis, were attacked by an unknown number of foxes, have been admitted into Royal London and are said to be in a “serious but stable” condition. Now, this is a real shame. I don’t doubt that. What I question is the unnecessary fear that has been whipped up for any mother with a child since the incident, as if foxes everywhere are plotting against children. That they have decided children are their dish of choice and that they ‘want a piece o’ that’. Obviously, this is ridiculous. Most likely, the fox managed to find its way in – either through an open door or an open window – probably trying to find food and found itself in the scenario where it felt its safety was jeopardised or that the children were food. If you were an animal and your sole functions in life were to eat, sleep and to survive by any means necessary, wouldn’t you? Not that I’m condoning the attack, but it’s an animal. I mean, how often do fox attacks happen? I can bet the statistics show the attacks to be significantly lower than a lot of household-related incidences of A&E admissions.

Anyway, the thing that irked me from this particular story was that in a follow-up, it was revealed that as result of the incident, a fox close to the scene of the attack was captured and killed… A fox… Who knows if that was the ‘right’ fox?! It could’ve been an innocent by-stander, caught up in the furor.This is typical of people, to want some kind of scapegoat for what should be the parents responsibility. You wouldn’t leave the window open of your car and leave a baby inside, would you?

Part of my day-job is to collect data published by the Health Protection Agency and analyse it for patterns or unimaginable peaks in numbers. Later in the week, a little after the incident on the 5th, I picked up the week’s data. Since I work in the North East region, and Hackney sits in my region, I noticed “Fox incident”. Now, this is only ridiculous for those who know the usual data that HPA publish – and why would you, unless you work in my field. For those who don’t, HPA particularly specialise in monitoring infectious diseases which threaten national security, so things that could potentially become epidemics like Mumps or Legionella or suchlike. So if I told you that I found “Fox incident” in the context of my weekly round-up, you can probably sense why I was perplexed. Are foxes an issue of national security now? Is David Cameron going to announce a state of ‘War Against Foxes’? In actuality, the comments for the spreadsheet noted that the babies were given rabies shots – not because they were believed to have contracted rabies but rather that it was suspected… but they didn’t say ‘Suspected: Rabies’… The said, ‘Fox Incident’.

And this afternoon, I picked up the freebie paper, as I so oft’ do, and noticed the title, “We’re being held hostage by foxes in our garden”.

These are all symptoms of a much bigger problem: People have been rendered incapable of rational thought by fear, and fear of something that isn’t a problem. Foxes AREN’T our predators. They can be kicked in the face, after all. Plus, we have guns(!) And secondly, WILD foxes aren’t cuddly animals. Why are we surprised? It’s like watching the film, ‘Grizzly Man’ all over again! Of COURSE the fox will try to attack you! Most humans, including our own Prime Minister, want them dead(!) If this becomes ammunition for him to legalise fox hunting, I wouldn’t be surprised, and in this state of rampant stupidity, I can only imagine what the public verdict would be…

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