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Ha!  Urban lefty do-gooders in G.B. are discovering the repercussions of their Bambi-based effort to ban fox hunting:

It is hard to believe that an animal so blessed as Charlie Fox could, so casually, have chucked away his burnished image. Yet this summer he managed to do just that.

Seven hundred hours of parliamentary time in the first half of this decade was devoted to saving the bushy-tailed carnivore’s skin. He was viewed as lovable as Basil Brush, as cute as a Disney character. He was protected by an army (the Animal Liberation Front), fawned over by animal charities and bunny-huggers, and finally saved from further persecution by the law.

Then, in June, he bit and mauled baby twins as they slept in their cot in east London. And suddenly it dawned on the urban population of Britain that Basil Brush had a beastly side. He was, indeed, nothing more than a feral chav, squabbling, breeding indiscriminately and feeding off discarded buckets of KFC.

Last month it was revealed that he had crept into London Zoo and killed 11 penguins. For fun. Worse, he had exhumed the corpse of a baby’s body in a cemetery in Battersea, decapitated the Queen’s flamingos at Buckingham Palace and killed a number of pet rabbits owned, rather unfortunately for him, by the children of various newspaper columnists who let rip in print.

It has not deterred him, and his charge sheet grows weekly: a 46-year-old woman in Fulham, south-west London, had her ear savagely bitten while sleeping in her bedroom. In Dartford, Kent, a baby boy was attacked. In Islington, north London, youngster Jessica Brown had her arm mauled as she slept.

Across the metropolis, cries for the curbing of Reynard are mounting. Even liberal maven Sandi Toksvig, host of Radio 4’s News Quiz, has called – in jest, of course – for urban hunts to be introduced.

It is hard for anyone in the countryside not to feel a smidgen of schadenfreude – well, quite a lot of schadenfreude, actually – towards the townies, particularly if you were one of the half million who marched through London in 2002 to demonstrate against a proposed ban on foxhunting.

This year, the start of the foxhunting season (I suppose one should no longer prefix hunting with the word “fox’’) will mark five years since that 2004 Act came into effect. And in that half decade the fox has metamorphosed from Charlie to Chas. To bastardise Oscar Wilde’s aphorism, the inedible has become the unspeakable.

Repeat after me, my anthropomorphizing, bubble-wrapped metropolitan friends, “Nature is red in tooth and claw.”  Now write that out fifty times, please.

Actually, we have a fair number of foxes in the port-swiller neighborhood.   (I remember once watching a vixen doze in the sun while her four kits scrambled and scampered round about her.)  Sometimes they will come right up to the back door as they nose about looking for chipmunks, careless birds or other snacks.

While the foxes can’t get into our gubbage cans like our resident raccoon keeps doing, I do worry sometimes about the possibility of bitten gels and rabies.  (There was such a case reported in, I believe, Arlington within the past couple years.)   Unfortunately, the heavy street traffic in the neighborhood would make a genuine hunt fairly impossible, but on the other hand the cars seem to do a pretty good job themselves keeping the fox population under control.

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Heights and snakes are my worst phobias, but spiders aren’t very far behind.  Which is why this gives me the heebie-jeebies:

A study of 20 people with a medium to low fear of spiders found the human brain responds to threats based on proximity, trajectory and expectations.

Dr Dean Mobbs, a neuroscientist from Cambridge University, said: “There are several regions of the brain that are triggered when we see a tarantula – particularly the panic area which is situated in the centre.

“The UK has one of the highest rates for phobias about spiders and snakes because we don’t come across them very much.”

Dr Mobbs hopes to develop an aversion therapy to prevent the “cascade of events in in the brain” which causes spider-induced terror.

During the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, participants placed their foot into a box and rated their level of fear as they watched via a video link as a tarantula was placed closer and closer to them.

Brrrr.  I can’t think of anything that would increase my fear of tarantulas better than sticking my foot in a box with one.  Furthermore, I don’t much see the point in developing an “aversion therapy” for arachnophobia if there simply isn’t a spider problem in G.B.

No, it strikes me that this whole “study” is nothing more than thinly-veiled sadism.  Stay away from me, Dr. Mobbs!

 

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